Winter Cycling Has Been A Stage Race for Me

I’ve been through several Stages in my winter riding routine. Call it a stage race.

Stage 1

First, there was the ‘Never ride’ stage (Stage 1). You know the one. It’s where you sit on the couch a lot, watch more TV as a result, and drink more beer to medicate the boredom. Surprisingly end of winter brings 20 pounds to shed, and early rides are torture, partly because you don’t fit into the tight-fitting riding clothing anymore. The bigger reason is your fitness level is at zero and you can’t breathe.

Stage 2

Next stage (Stage 2) for me was the ‘Get winter clothing and studded tires and ride no matter what’. Unlike Stage 1, this stage isn’t for everyone. I’ll admit, I love being on a bicycle, and I hated my job. The feeling of being alone out there on the bike on abandoned trails was something spiritual. I got my aggression and frustration out every day on my way home, and fell asleep fast at night. Yes it came with a dose of pain, the wind on my face, and it took me twice the time of summer rides, so there was the downside.

But then I started working from home and found out that when you don’t have to ride somewhere, it’s harder to ride in general.

Stage 3

Stage 3 meant I had no reason to get on the studded tires and hit the trail, because I was already at work (home). But now I was also busier, I have 7 kids, and a lot less time for the couch.

Stage 4

Now comes winter 2018-2019, Stage 4. I bought an indoor trainer. I know. I hate them too. Tried one years ago and it really stinks sitting on the bike staring at a wall. But this is a trainer connected to the internet and to Zwift. I mounted a TV on the wall and rode a few times a week. This stage was the biggest revelation, that indoor riding can be fun. Mostly I have Zwift to thank for this. Still, being indoors is kind of warm and unless you can open all the windows, you will probably overheat. I did. So I needed yet another iteration.

Stage 5

Stage 5 is Winter 2019-2020. I’m in Monument CO and we have already had our first snow. Not much but winter is here.

I really wanted to ride frequently but I didn’t want to take a lot of preparation time away from work. So I moved the trainer/tv setup into my office, where I do art, and I have my desk for coding. The bike is now a few feet away from me when I’m working. When I want to ride, I go into the closet for a minute and change into riding gear.

Another benefit in all of this is that my office is close to a cold workshop so I can open a door, turn on a fan, and have a steady supply of cold air to moderate my temperature. This is a big improvement over the warm air of my previous workout location.

I also added an Apple TV which has the Zwift app, which means I don’t have to plug an HDMI cable into my computer anymore. Saves time (highly recommend it). 

Now, I actually want to ride every day. Which goes a long way in keeping the body and mind young!

Thanks for reading. I’ll be posting stuff in cycling, the art world and market (I’m an amateur artist), technology (I run a small software company) and maybe I’ll throw in some woodworking, as I recently built a hardwood table. Anyway, More to come!

Tim Norton