Winter in Utah is tough on cyclists. While the cyclocross season gives many riders some much needed race time, those of us without the required knobby tired CX bike must shift to "base building" mode out on the road or on the trainer...long and slow, low heart-rate rides in anything from sunny and 50 degree weather to snow flurries and 17 degree temps. (17 degrees was the coldest day I rode outside last year!)
I actually enjoy the winter base miles. Now that I work from home I can get out and ride mid-day and take advantage of the sun and enjoy the views of the snow capped Wasatch. Plus, if the temps are at least in the 30's my water bottles won't freeze!
For the past 2 years, I have stepped up my winter training a bit and the results the following season proved my efforts worthwhile. This winter will be no different.
I've enlisted the services of a coach, Dave Harward of Plan 7 Coaching. http://www.plan7coaching.com/ This is a first for me in quite a while. I've been self coached my enitre cycling career. I haven't had a real coach since my swimming days but I'm really looking forward to it. I upgraded to Cat 3 this past fall and the racing now gets longer, tougher and from what I hear, much more tactical, meaning I need to race smarter as well.
I really found my niche as a crit racer this past season and I want to keep the focus on that discipline. However, Cat 3 road races will be almost double the length of the races I've been in the last few years so I'll need to beef up my endurance quite a bit. I've also discovered LOTOJA is not really my race, but I'd still like to get under 10 hours for the 206 mile classic.
So tomorrow, my winter training officially kicks off with a testing session with Dave. I did some power testing last season and having a baseline fitness level to work from made for a very focused winter. With the new coach, I expect an even greater focus and hopefully some decent results in my first year as a Cat 3.