It is very cliché, but “champions are made in the offseason” is 100 percent correct. It might be easy to ride/train all winter in sunny Southern California, but for most of the northern hemisphere, it’s hard to get out on the bike in the winter.
If you can ride, do it. Layer so you can shed clothes as you get warm. It’s a lot easier to take clothes off as you go if you get hot than it is to warm up if you’re under-dressed. Make sure you have good gloves and shoe covers (wearing thick socks sometimes reduces circulation because your shoes are too tight and actually might make your feet colder; booties are the best).
Give cyclocross a try. Cyclocross is a quick 45-minute to 1-hour race, usually done on a modified road bike, but a mountain bike works great, too. The races are short, intense and a lot of fun. It’s a great way to stay fit and keep your motivation when it’s cold out.
Riding a mountain bike is usually much warmer than riding on the road, since you’re going slower on the trails and often working harder.
Take advantage of the colder weather to do some cross-training, such as running, swimming (indoors), skiing, hiking—anything to get your heart rate up for a sustained period.
Winter is a great time to work on your strength, so get in the gym. Most people don’t have races or other events they’re keying in on during this time of year, so it’s okay to ease into the strength training and get a little sore. You can also incorporate some strength-training exercises that don’t require going to the gym by getting creative at home.
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