Sunday, October 17, 2010

Question from the Readers

How are you getting through the winter?

As for how I'm getting through the winter in general w/ respect to cycling...

I was just ruminating about this yesterday! I can't believe how crazy we were as juniors, willing to go ride five hours in the snow no problem. Now if it's below 60F I have to play mind games to force myself out there!

I live in Pittsburgh, PA, USA and winters here are quite unpleasant for the cyclist - they're cold, grey, windy, and there's often freezing rain instead of snow. We get almost no sun and the cycling community here is almost non-existent to begin with in comparison to a place like Southern California, where the Montrose Ride attracts hundreds of participants every Saturday. Credit though to the local ACA for organizing an ongoing series of local races for almost four decades.

When I was racing full-time I always went somewhere warm during the winter - two years in a row I lived in Uruguay, which was "the bomb," as they used to say, and then my last two years (05, 06) I lived in Altadena, California.

So to survive from now til late-January, when I'm either going to be reborn or ... I don't want to think what the other option is ... I'd like to get an MTB and try to rediscover my love of the trails. I hope to go back to working out in a gym, snowboarding at least once per week and, like others, staying active online in the virtual cycling world, writing about cycling topics, supporting the anti-doping movement, testifying when necessary, and definitely trying to stay in positive spirits.

I notice more now the importance of community, and that's why websites like are great - they foster a shared sense of commonality and inclusion amongst people who enjoy an esoteric sport that's not well-supported in certain parts of the world (especially where I reside!).

I do have a standing invite to travel to the San Diego area that I still hope to take advantage of. I'd like to see Moab and the Slick Rock (I've never been), too. For now I'd settle for just getting over being sick!


  1. I've always wondered how you guys in the cold part of the world deal with riding in the winter. I'm super spoiled in SD, we ride year round and complain when its overcast and in the high 50's because we have to wear arm warmers and maybe knee warmers. Then again there's riders who break out the winter garb when its in the high 60's as if it was snowing or something. Heck I did my official first rain ride this past Sunday and it was only in the low 60's and when I say rain its like the mist you get when you run a hot shower in a small bathroom with the window closed. The streets were empty due to the mist, except for the true die hards who ride no matter what.

    I guess I'm no help in how to deal with the cold, other than move to the south!

  2. Hey Jorge, thanks for your comment. By SD I take it you mean San Diego? Mmmmmm...I'm jealous. I lived for two winters in SoCal and it was amazing. Not as nice weather as when I lived in Uruguay during their summer (our winter) but still pretty darn amazing.

    You guys do have it way better than you realize, and in short, cycling on the roads comes to an end here in the winter, and we only get out on rare nice days. It's horrible.

    When I was a junior and then a stupid U23 I didn't care though and once rode 80km in -15F temps through snow. Fuck that now.

    I want desperately to move to California TODAY but unfortunately things are way more complicated for me now then they were even a few years ago.

    The one upside if I'm stuck here will hopefully be snowboarding.

    Enjoy the warm weather and get in some km's for us poor bastards in the northeast.

  3. Joe -

    Do you have any tips for trainer workouts this winter? By the way, I don't have a powermeter nor do I intend to get one. As a result, I'm looking for simple, effective workouts that don't require lots of data (wattage, HR zones, etc.)

  4. Anon, check - they may have a section of "training" DVDs that you can download for free which would provide workouts that you can follow. Otherwise, you can do a lot of technique-based pedaling intervals and longer sub-threshold intervals...anything to avoid pedaling along aimlessly, w/o any direction or structure. lol


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