January is almost here and this winter already feels like it's been three months long. It doesn't help that we had single digit low temperatures for almost two weeks in early December and then followed that up with 4-5 days of heavy fog. Add a little chemical de-icer on the road and there are not a lot of opportunities to get out on a bike on the road this time of year. I've got the cold weather gear but the indoor trainer in a heated room seems so much more appealing.
A few general thoughts:
1) Keep pushing hard in your off season workouts and try to include a spinning class at the Recycle Bicycle Shop occasionally. They're on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 6:00. It's an incredible workout in good company.
2) Start setting your realistic goals for the upcoming year. Start with the big goals - x number of miles for the year, a certain number of rides, a double century, etc. and then work yourself back to shorter term goals. For example, I have a goal of getting into the top 5 in the I Made the Grade ride in June. That's the "big" goal. From there, I back it into a training plan with shorter goals. So, let's say in March I start by getting in one big hill climb a week, April it's up to 1-2 climbs a week with 1-2 days of intervals and by the end of May I'll be at 2-3 climbs a week. The key is the goals have to be realistic.
3) Cross train during the winter. Riding only on an indoor trainer can get boring. Go skiing, snow shoeing, swimming or join the local gym. Different workouts 2-4 days a week can keep the motivation high.
4) If they call the off season changing of drivers in Nascar the "silly season", what the heck is the offseason in cycling referred to. Checking Velonews.com or Road Bike Action (rbaction.com) and some of the other cycling sites shows an incredible number of riders changing teams each off season. It's enough to make your head spin. By the way, Team Radio Shack is looking really strong - at least on paper.