The Cyclist's Guide to the Holidays
Most of us eagerly look forward to the holidays. Time off work, being amongst family and friends, and of course the odd gift here and there make it one of the best times of the year. As a cyclist, this time can be the source of a bit of internal strife. Like everyone, we struggle to balance the right amount of sweets and drinks with our health, fitness and weight goals. Add in family plans and holiday commitments, and suddenly the time off work doesn't necessarily mean more time on the bike. Shopping and preparations for holiday get-togethers can quickly eat away (pun intended) the best training plans. To help you keep things in perspective this holiday season, here are a few of our thoughts for some common worries amongst cyclists.
"I have to watch my weight"
Yes, your power to weight ratio matters. No, there is no way to ride less, eat more, and improve your riding. Before you go convincing yourself that since your favorite pro makes sacrifices that you should too, we'd like to weigh in.
- You're not being paid to win in the Tour Down Under in January. In fact, your first race or event is probably months off, so relax, you've got time to get in shape.
- While most pros do make great sacrifices throughout the year, this is generally not one of those times unless they're meant to target the early season races. For those of you who've been around them, you know they can knock back round after round of, er... uh, sparkling water.
- While devouring a very large slice of cake, an old pro once said, "There is food for the legs and food for the mind. This is the latter."
We couldn't agree more with him!
"I don't have any time to ride"
This one we understand, but make sure not to loose sight of the fact that the holidays come around but once a year. If your ride is cut from 4 hours to 3, it will have little, if any, effect on your long term fitness and goals. Enjoying time with family and friends can be be extremely helpful for your mental state, allowing you to keep your motivation high throughout the cold dreary months of January, February, and March.
Keep everything in perspective, and enjoy where you are. Use the time to day-dream about your spring rides, or how to improve your training, upgrade your gear or plan epic routes. There is plenty of time for long rides in the weeks and months that follow the holidays.
"It's too cold outside to ride"
This concern, though very real for cyclists living in cold climates, is no excuse not to ride. These days, high-tech fabrics (man or woman) allow dedicated riders to train through conditions that were once impossible. If conditions are truly too extreme, indoor training is always an option. Though it can be a bit tedious, you can get quality training in a shorter amount of time, which is good for those of you who don't have much time to ride due to holiday commitments (see above).
So, as we head into the thick of the holiday season, remember that there is a time and a place for everything. Look at the holidays not as a hindrance to your well thought out training schedule, but rather a means of putting everything in perspective. With most endeavors, there is a time to dream, a time to prepare, and a time to perform. Cycling is no different. What better time to let your mind wander and dream of all there is to come in the coming year than the holidays? Just because you may not able to ride as much as you'd like, doesn't mean that you are not living the lifestyle of a cyclist. Take a step back, reflect on how far you've come this year and dream big for 2017.