Winter Training: The Dog Days

Winter training is a drudge, no doubt. I’m not one of those die-hard cyclists who says “bring it on” all year round. Rain is hammering on the windows, an unwelcome visitor called Storm Dennis. I’ve also had a winter bug for over a week now, coughing like an old steam engine and complementary headache to boot. No enthusiasm, a desultory hour turning the wheels indoors on Zwift being today’s gloomy highlight.

On the positive, I’ve logged 504 miles on the bike this year. The goal is 4,000 miles for the year. I don’t go with the Rules Of Cycling edict on kilometres. Brexit knocked all that out of me, I’m a less than imperial Imperial man now. 504 miles puts me exactly on track for the year, even with my late start on the year on January 8th. The good weather is still to come, so 4,000 looks doable, until the usual late summer collapse sets in.

Winter Training, screenshot of my Strava miles year to date.
Two miles ahead of schedule. Glory days.

Somewhere out there a purist is saying Zwift miles don’t count. He (for it surely it is a he) will also be saying ‘Zwift kilometres‘ I would imagine. They do count for me. I could say they should add bonus miles to Zwift miles, even with the aid of Netflix or a challenging Watopia climb, it always seems longer on a turbo trainer. It washes out the same in any case, if I look at time versus real miles versus digital miles versus training stress score versus something else I’ll shortly make up, it comes out the same. I think the lack of stop and start traffic lights is a factor. If I ran every red light, my miles on the road hour for hour would equate to Zwift miles. That’s my view. Discounting any injury or death resulting from said red light running. My saddle hours, my view.

As an aside, when it rains or snows on Zwift, I feel colder. The brain is easily led. Winter training is miserable, even on an imaginary climb. Last week it started raining outside of my real world window. A couple of minutes later it started raining on Zwift. The next ten minutes were wasted on a conspiracy theory that Zwift is in cahoots with BBC Weather, which is probably in cahoots with Facebook and before long I would be getting served adverts for umbrellas. Cycling umbrellas. You see how boring it gets training in the winter now?

It’s also that time of year where lack of sunlight, lack of vitamin D and a general lack of hope about the future of the world make me pessimistic about my potential for the year. Sweating and coughing through a low intensity hour on the turbo this morning makes 77 miles of challenging Tuscan terrain in only seven weeks seem improbable. On the upside, the new season of Narcos Mexico is good, that helped pass the hour.

What’s to look forward to? Old Storm Dennis is still around tomorrow, and I’ll still sound like cold remedy advert. So another hour turning the wheels on the turbo. No doubt a bunch of Mexican coke smugglers will give me a masterclass in business and cashflow management too. It looks as though cashflow management is the biggest challenge in that business. The Colombian cartels really sweat their payment terms, there should be government intervention to help small traffickers.

Another day, another hour, another contribution to the 4,000 miles. Hopefully another hour in the Bank Of Fitness. Soon the Dog Days Of Winter Training will be behind us.

Also published on Medium.

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