Winter training tends to consist of volume rather than intensity. It’s safe to say that since the end of the racing season about the most intense session I’ve done involved several pints of ales of diverse hue and complexion. It was not dissimilar to a ‘quality’ set of intervals, with dizziness, nausea and a desire to vomit, a sensation of being light-headed and cross-eyed and a pronounced difficulty in finishing the last one.
Last winter we managed to get some regular ‘base’ rides going. As with any form of training there are lots of conflicting sets of advice. Some people advocate staying in ‘zone 2’, whereas others argue that a regular intervals throughout winter contribute towards more sustained gains in fitness. As always, stick with what works for you and ignore everyone else.
What works for me is extended volume and dropping intensity. I keep hilly rides in there, this throws in some extended intervals, but nothing like the type i do in direct preparation for racing. When doing solid winter training with no desire to ratchet up the average speed, i opt for fixed wheel over gears.
Today Mark, Kieran and myself headed out on a fixed wheel base ride. It was great fun. We cycled and chatted and generally enjoyed the sensation of being out on our bikes. The fact that it was a base ride was of minor importance. We met up with Graham at the top of Burrington. We were mostly riding 67-68″ which meant careful route planning to avoid the really evil Mendip brutes, opting instead for a couple of more gradual ascents. Most of what we did was flat, with a short excursion onto the levels, a strange and beautiful place with lots of birds.
On the way back in we were all feeling fatigued. My saddle isn’t quite right for anything over 1 hour. This wasn’t good. My legs were tired, heavy and unresponsive. I ate a lot of food when i got in. It was a successful morning.