Winter miles make summer smiles

So here it is: not-so-merry January. Christmas is but a distant memory, with only our bigger waist-size and even-bigger credit card bill to remind us of the festivities. Our fitness levels have fallen through the floor, in favour of binge-watching Netflix and eating our bodyweight in leftovers (turkey sandwich, anyone?), but now is your time to let new habits die hard.  

Many of you riders are starting to face the prospect of getting back on their bikes. However, the combination of cold, dark nights, wet weather and a severe case of the CBAs stands between you and the saddle. Nevertheless, as hard as it may be to stomach, January is the perfect time to get back on your bikes, particularly if you want to be achieving your personal goals this summer. 

Getting out on your bike in January not only helps to build up your base miles, but also helps to improve your resilience for when things get tough. We asked Stephen Titmarsh, British Triathlon Coach of the Year 2013 and GB Age Grouper, his thoughts: 

“In the world of coaching, I am often bombarded with numbers, power, speed, heart rates, threshold… the list is endless. We live in a world now where computers control everything we do and in many respects they are a very useful tool. The turbo trainer has come on leaps and bound and in addition to live-training apps like Zwift, it has slowly pushed out the good traditional Sunday morning hack on the winter bike. 
From a personal view I use a turbo for specific sessions but I get out on the road as much as possible and prescribe as much to my athletes. Balance and specificity are key and getting out there with the right clothing is invaluable to achieve a well-rounded cyclist. 
You not only make great physical gains, specific to riding on the road in a way a turbo generally can’t deliver, but key is the psychological gains by taking on the elements and overcoming adversity. Attach that to the social side of group riding and you’ll see that there are great benefits to riding on the road. Now, get out there and enjoy!”     

Getting out is not as difficult as you think: make your rides social, by meeting up with like-minded people and multiplying the fun. This time of year is about getting out as often as possible, so why not consider commuting in to work as part of your regime or joining the Gorilla Coffee Sunday morning social rides?  

As the great five-time winner of the Tour De France Eddie Merckx, said: 

"Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel.... But ride!"