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I love watching the Twitter post and facebook comments from cyclist in the winter, and on cold nasty days. “10 degrees ferinheight and I rode.” I don’t look at this whole topic as who can ride in the coldest weather competition. I think really, how long and how comfortable was the ride. I can withstand some cold days, but I sweat a lot even at sub freezing temps. It’s too cold to not have the extra layers on and with moisture you risk hypothermia. I know a few guys that ride 80% on trainers during the winter, and only see them as the day light and weather permits them. I’m talking cat 2 guys.
The whipping winds and just being uncomfortable hampers the performance of the training. This is just my opinion, but personally I think the day is ruined if you go out only do half the time prescribed and if you’re uncomfortable the entire time. A church member says, “I passed you on the road the other day and it was maybe 28 degrees.” I smile and say yep, I won’t ride if it’s much colder than that, I just setup indoors and spend a few hours in front of the TV. The entire time this church brother is looking at me like this man is crazy, and I’m thinking those other guys are crazy riding in 10 degree weather. Those are the crazy guys, right?! Plus they don’t “race” bikes; they wouldn’t understand what it takes. There are plenty of articles about riding inside verses riding outside during these dreadful winter months. I’ve written a few over the years. I personally feel there is a “too cold” point. This point is different for different riders. While I am fine at 25-30, I know some that won’t ride if it’s 40. So while you’re laid up sick, missing workouts and completing 50% of workouts, me and my clients are healthy and ready for spring.
5 comments I dislike while winter cycling
1. It’s too Cold.
2. Man up! - followed by its 20 degrees.
3. You don’t get as good of a workout on a trainer. (false Statement or weighted statement)
4. I thought it was going to warm up today.
5. I should have… Always followed by ridden the rollers, or gone on that ride outside. Never look back. We always “should have”… I should have worn my other gloves. I should have used the winter wheels. I should have waited until later, it warmed up today. No no no no! Be comfortable with what you did do and call it a day, well of course unless you did nothing! Then I’d be worried.
More and more in recent news I keep hearing about cardio over resistance training and weight lifting over cardiovascular exercise. The fact is any one person that just does one or the other can be in serious trouble. I want to talk briefly about why people, no matter what their fitness goals are, need both aspects of training to be 100% successful.
I find a close relation to this topic and the faith and works discussions in the bible. James 2:14-26 talks about a person saying they have faith, but not doing anything and a person doing a whole bunch but maybe saying they have little faith in God. In the end we determine that one without the other is really impossible. In the same way a person cannot be 100% healthy on lifting weights alone and vice versa, a cardio person isn’t 100% healthy on running alone and one without the other is impossible. I also tie this into the “human triangle”. Mind, body, and spirit! If a person’s mind is off, usually one or both of the other two aspects are hurting. If the body is out of shape then maybe the mind will go and that for sure affects the mind.
Recently a person came on good morning America saying spin classes cause people to gain weight. Wow that is a broad statement. Really super high intensity training can cause a person to not burn as much fat, and start to burn off muscle. So yeah, if a person goes into spin day in and day out, at all out efforts, they will start to lose strength. The thing is a proper stationary trainer class and proper spin classes should focus on one aspect of cycling for the entire hour, with maybe micro intervals. In other words if it is a sprint day, it is a sprint day. If it is endurance, the heart rates remain moderate and those anaerobic intervals just aren’t happening that day. So people get bored and want to go all out all the time instead of looking at it like a program. Maybe just like a weight lifting program where each day has a different goal. The point is that some sort of strength program also needs to be going on while the cardiovascular exercise is going on. Professional athletes of all types perform better when they can run, longer and stronger. The bigger the heart and lungs, the easier everything else becomes. A running back that can cycle 50 miles or run a half marathon, will be able to last longer on the football field over the guy that can’t run 2 miles, but can lift a school bus. Furthermore if that same running back just scored an 80 yard TD, the one with the bigger lungs will more than likely be able to do it again and again and again. While the other will die out around half time.
As a trainer and cycling coach, I see the benefits of a good resistance training plan. The only problem I see with one over the other is that the heart and lungs are also muscles. Although they be involuntary and act naturally on their own, they still need to be “worked out”. I find so many people, men and women that may be able to lift all kinds of weight, but cannot run 5 miles. 5 miles is nothing! Or can’t cycle 20 miles, which is both an involuntary action in lungs/heart, but also natural strength. People that have a varied exercise routines, both cardiovascular and muscularly, are generally in better “shape” than someone who just lifts or just runs. Also I see the myths that calories aren’t being burnt when cardio exercise stops. The human body is always, always, always burning calories. The amount of them and how fast is determined by what type of exercise your doing. It never stops! People that do a good moderate level of cardio, have higher metabolisms and burn more fat/calories, even while not exercising. This is over time! I mean have you ever seen an elite distance runner that was fat, but you do see body builders that are. Again they may be able to lift a bus, but couldn’t walk a mile if they wanted to. Proper exercise is about having structure and routines that are varied. This is in general for the losing weight types and the weekend warriors. When you specify your sports that is when you tend to add periodization and specificity. So I hate seeing a 1 sided article. Exercise isn’t cardio verses resistance, It is resistance and cardio.
1. All cyclist use performance enhancing drugs. – Although many professional cyclist and recreational cyclist use drugs to perform better, most don’t. Most cyclists are regular old Jills and Joes. Only a small percentage of cyclist race bikes. Most are out for fitness and for social reasons.
2. Road cyclists don’t lift weights. - Cyclist by nature are gym rats. A cyclist will do all things, physically, to be faster and stronger. If Men’s health magazine says rock climbing during the “off Season” will make a rider 20% faster, a good number of cyclists will start rock climbing. Cyclists are naturalist too! By nature most don’t want to use anything outside of the natural. Lifting is the best way to gain strength. A vast majority of competitive cyclist have at least a little bit of resistance training factored into their plans.
3. Cyclists don’t eat a ton of food, and that is why they are so skinny. – Competitive cyclists tend to eat way more than the normal human. I’d argue as much or more than a lineman for a professional football team. They much watch their eating habits. It’s all about having enough calories coming in to sustain the body through vigorous workouts and races. Cyclist burn up to 5,000 calories during a bike race and 2,500 on a long training day. 2,500 is the FDA’s average daily intake. If any cyclist stuck to a 2,500 calorie diet they’d simply die of starvation.
4. Cyclists don’t care about the traffic laws and that is why they block up the roads. – Most cyclists are very cognitive of their environment. We realize cars are much faster and stronger than we are. All cyclists never want to get into it with a motor vehicle. All advocacy groups have education programs teaching cyclist how to interact with motor vehicles while on the road. It is all about placing ourselves in the appropriate place on the road that is best for our safety. Sometimes the formation of how we are riding doesn’t make sense to a motorist. People need to keep in mind that most cyclists are also motorist. Running a neighborhood stop sign isn’t bad, if there aren’t any other cars there. In NYC cyclist are legally permitted to treat red traffic lights as yields. So if there isn’t any traffic at an intersection and the light is red, the cyclist makes due process to check out the danger and then is permitted to “run” it. Most group number one action words are car something or another. “Car back”, “Car up”, “Car left”, “Car Right”, and so on. As far as I see it, the ride is 50% about where cars are and what they are doing.
5. The numero uno misconception! We all think we’re Lance Armstrong. - Do I really even need to explain? I would guess that a vast majority of bike riders could care less about Lance. Let’s take it group by group. Bicycle commuters just wants to get from point A to point B. Lance who! A mountain biker is more concerned with the trail than if Lance was a good rider or not. Recreational bike racers main goal is to focus on their training. Who has time to think about another guy when the focus is themselves? I know that sounds conceded, and I am partially joking, but on a serious note, these are the guys that the general public thinks all are in love with Lance. If they have spandex on, they must think they’re Lance. This just is major evidence that America needs a positive, non-jerk, to be the face of American cycling. Of course cyclists know 100 different names of guys to be this face, but the media fails to promote the good. Nike really doesn’t a role model, they want to sell products. Otherwise accomplished pro cyclist would each get a “NIKE deal” if they won a national championship. Fast Freddy is a good model for the kids and he is our current pro National Champ, and the vast majority of the general public, outside of cycling, has no idea who he is. I think he’s been national champ 3-4 times and still even some fitness cyclists don’t know who he is. So I at least say we all want to be Freddie Rodriquez. So everyone may know who Lance is, but most could care less especially in his recent history.