This past weekend brought the end to daylight savings here in Australia, while a few weeks earlier our friends in the Northern Hemisphere gained an hour of daylight. In either case this transition marks a new year in the mind of cyclists everywhere in the world.
Luckily the shift in daylight and shorter days here in Australia simply marks a new season, not the end of cycling for 6 months. I couldn’t be more excited. ROAD SEASON has officially started! (For those readers unfamiliar, the Aussie summer is crit and track season while the winter is when all the road races are held). I love the festive atmosphere of the criteriums but road racing is what I consider to true racing. Crit racing is like 20/20 cricket (not that I remotely understand cricket)
With the change in season naturally comes a shift in our cycling goals. The demands of road races are different than those of criteriums and you’ll have to adjust your training accordingly. There are two parts to achieving your goals: strategy and tactics. Thinking about strategy will give you an overall picture of what races you want to set goals towards. Tactics will give you a path to those goals and will dictate your training plan.
Think about how the summer crit season went for you. Did you accomplish your goals? If not, what are you going to do differently to change that? If you keep going about your ways that didn’t get you any closer to your goals then you should probably look at modifying your training or setting more achievable goals. It’s good to write down all your race goals get an overall plan together when heading into the season. It’ll give you a clear view of what events are coming up and which ones you’d like to prioritize. A previous post that might help can be found here: How To Set a Training Plan. The tough thing about setting a training plan is working out the detailed training rides. This is highly individual but I’ll post an example of a good 12 week training plan in the near future.
Unfortunately one of the big differences in road racing over crits is the volume of training required. Road races are longer and require more endurance and strength than crits do. To train endurance and strength requires being out on the road for longer periods of time. With the winter’s short daylight hours this is more difficult to achieve for those who work and have a family.
What’s the solution to this? Well, I can’t speak for everyone but more ergo training is the answer for me this winter. I have a wife to keep happy, a demanding job, a blog, a full race schedule. We only have 2 1/4 points to play with and it’s apparent that I need to be efficient with my time on the bike. There’s an old saying, “60 on the ergo is 90mins on the road”. Of course I’ll still be doing 2 long rides per week on the road to get my volume in, but the ergo will build the intensity.
When I left Canada I vowed to never sit on another ergo or set of rollers again – especially while living in Australia. We used to spend countless hours during the winter on stationary trainers doing base training (and I hated it!). However, I’ve found that many of the top cyclists here use ergo training as a integral part of their routine to. Who knew?! It doesn’t need to be countless hours however. Only 60 mins at a time along with a good TdF video is all it takes.
Alternatively, if you’re happy cycling along for the pure pleasure of it without any aspirations to lift you up and smash you down, good on ya. I sometimes wish I could be more like that!