Hey there – I’m Alder and this is my first time writing to you. Most of you probably don’t know me so let’s start with a quick introduction:
I began riding at 12 with Chad as my coach. I finished last in my first race (it was a Cat 5 race), crashed in the second but quickly fell in love with the rush of riding my bike fast. After 15 years of racing, 8 of them as a professional, I developed a burning love to ride my bike. And while I don’t ride nearly as much anymore (my Strava weekly average hoovers around 1-2 rides a week) every time I return to the saddle, I end up with a huge grin on my face, the satisfying motion of pushing a big gear, and the thought why don’t I get out and ride more often?!
And the answer is simple: motivation.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to put on a few thin layers of lycra and face the cold; to stop what you’re doing, stand up, and give yourself the gift of an hour or two of the pure, exhilarating joy of riding a bike. I promise, you won’t return home regretful of the choice.
I know what you’re thinking It’s easy to write this, Alder. It’s not so easy when the moment of choice arrives. And you are absolutely right. So here are three of my tips to getting out the door:
1. Meet a friend. Set a time and place. Maybe its at a coffee shop. Or lunch. Your friend doesn’t even have to ride with you! I used to meet friends for coffee downtown. It forced me to get up and out the door and stay in touch with people I care about – as long as those people are ok with me tramping around Starbucks in brightly colored spandex and loud cycling shoes!
2. Ride with a friend. Tips one and two rely on the same basic principle – accountability. But tip #2 makes the ride so much more enjoyable. Don’t have any friends who ride? Come join the TotalCyclist Winter Bike League and make some. It starts tomorrow, (December 22) at 930 am. You can find more information here. Weather looks to be SUNNY! (At least at the time of writing)
3. The Strava Festive 500 Challenge. I am a big fan of Strava and their monthly challenges are fantastic motivation to get out and ride. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Festive 500 is a challenge to ride 500 kilometers (310 miles) between the 24th and 31st of December to end the year on a positive note.
If that seems like a daunting, or even impossible, challenge, I would urge you to talk to your TotalCyclist coach* about the best way to tackle it or set a more realistic goal. Remember, this is about motivation. Don’t have a coach? Check out our monthly plans. There are four levels so you get exactly what you want and need.
*as a side note, you should always consult with your coach before changing any training plans
Riding In Rain and Cold Weather – Should You Do It?
Quick answer – no. You do not want to get sick or injured. One day lost to the rain beats out a week or more to illness. However, if the chance of rain isn’t very high or there is just some water on the roads, you should absolutely get out there!!
Keeping my feet warm has always been a struggle and I have tried a variety of methods. In my experience, when my feet get too uncomfortable, the ride will quickly follow. I came across this ingenious method on Instagram a few weeks ago by Elodie Kuijper. It’s in Dutch, but you understand what she’s doing.
I’ve never seen aluminum foil used as a liner to keep your feet warm but I bet it beats the plastic bag trick that leaves feet warm – but soaking wet after! Give it a try and let me know how it goes. You can shout me out at @aldermartz on Instagram, Twitter, or Strava.
Now if the weather really is horrible, riding inside is an option. Here are my tips for riding indoors:
1. Set a time and stick to it. Similar to riding outdoors, riding inside takes even more motivation. Just start by putting your bike on the trainer. The good news is you don’t have to spend 15 minutes getting dressed and another 5 coating your feet in petroleum jelly and aluminum foil!
2. Do an actual workout with intervals. Riding around in Z1 or Z2 on the trainer is boring. Come up with an hour of intervals* to shake things up and make the ride bearable. Want a better pedal stroke? Work on one legged drills. Want to get faster? Do higher cadence intervals. Want to build strength? Nothing beats some solid over-gear efforts.
*aka talk to your TotalCyclist coach!
3. Ride with a friend. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it works. When I was younger, I would get together with a group of juniors and ride our trainers in someone’s garage. We had a blast! And guess what – there is a similar, positive environment, full of motivating people who also want to ride at any of the TotalCylist training locations! First class is free. Complete schedule is here and classes are continuing to run throughout the rest of the year.
The real question is – do miles on the trainer count towards the Strava Festive 500?! Let me know by tweeting at me @aldermartz.
Until next time, enjoy the ride, be safe, and enjoy the holidays!