By Brenda Moczygemba ToughGirl Cycling Team
The cold weather is well on its way and some of us begin to wonder, “What am I going to do now?” Cyclocross season will soon taper off, leaving a barren race calendar until spring. However unhappy you may be when the snow flies, I feel the winter season is an important transition in every cyclists' life. It is beneficial to take this time to reflect, recharge, and make time for friends and family that can fall by the wayside when weekends are filled with race travel and training.
First things first, you spent a lot of time this season training, traveling, and racing. Next season, you want to make sure you build and learn from those very experiences. Take a half-hour or so writing down what worked and what didn’t -- what your goals were and if and how you accomplished them. For example, you may have raced your first race at the Yeti Beti Bike Bash. What did you do to prepare? What did you eat before and during the race? Did any of these things help your performance? Did you perform better or worse than you had hoped for? Jot down other race prep lists – like things you packed for a 12- or 24-hour mountain bike race. It may seem silly at first. I always think, I’ll remember to do this differently next year, yet as I prep for a race weekend months down the road I find myself racking my brain, “What was that thing I needed to remember to do?” By having lists of what worked and what didn’t over the 2011 season, you can build on your strengths and train your weaknesses as you head into the 2012 season.
Next, reflecting on how you felt and performed this past season, make goals and a set down a generic schedule for next season. That doesn’t mean you jump straight into interval training, but having some goals and a handful of Spring and Summer 2012 races in the back of your mind will help keep you on track and motivated when the snow is blowing sideways and the holiday celebrations have taken the place of race weekends. From your rough schedule, you can start to count backwards to know when to start logging base miles, when to transition back into intervals, and how to reach your goals. The key here is not only to setting goals but to setting yourself up to meet those goals.
Most importantly, use the winter season to mix it up from the norm with a new activity or two -- hiking, skiing, swimming, weight lifting, yoga. In the meanwhile, let's hope for another winter like the last – countless deep powder days in the high country with sunny days and dry trails on the front range. Enjoy!