High in the Rocky Mountains at Gran Fondo Daily News World Headquarters the New Year’s Day weather forecast looks perfect for riding – winter riding, with snow flurries, cloudy skies, temperature 25F and wind at 20mph.
We are heading out for a spin and hope you do too.
Here are 8 Winter Riding Tips to help you have a great time.
1. LAYER UP. “More is better” when layering clothing, so try to look like Bibendum – The Michelin Man. Remember that speed is of the essence when adding layers, do it quick and get outside else you overheat. Since I own lots of vintage cycling clothing from “back in the day,” I wear wool jerseys, wool shorts, ski gloves, silk undershirts, wool tights, neoprene booties and a balaclava to keep my head toasty.
2. ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN. After a long winter ride without sunscreen your face will look like a raccoon or an Olympic alpine Super G skier. So even in winter, always wear sunscreen – trust me.
3. ENJOY THE SIGHTS. Winter is a beautiful time of year to relax, ride and enjoy the landscape. Maybe even take a few pictures.
4. SLOW DOWN. Some cyclists ride hard all winter. They usually burn-out and mysteriously disappear from group rides before gran fondo season starts in Spring. Just ride a steady tempo intensity to generate enough heat to stay warm.
5. LEARN TO SUFFER. Only hardcore cycling addicts ride in Winter. A few years ago on New Year’s Day I rode with another addict, Matt Seagrave, former Pro and Belgian hard-man. For 3 hours we rode side-by-side six inches apart in 20mph wind on icy roads while chatting as frozen spittle stuck to our lips. After that, climbing Mont Ventoux felt easy – mostly.
6. REWARD YOURSELF. Stopping for a hot cappuccino mid-ride, enjoying homemade tortilla soup back home and having a glass of wine in front of a warm fire are my post-ride perks. Make sure you have some too.
7. AMAZE NON-BELIEVERS. Over the years, I’ve given up trying to explain to people what I do on the bike. They can’t handle the truth. It’s easier to say “I worked out today” and let them be amazed with that simple truth, rather than telling them you spent New Year’s Day riding 4 hours in 20 degrees – just for fun.
8. THAT WONDERFUL FEELING. Whether riding solo or with a group, cycling in winter creates a sense of wonderful accomplishment. It is an exciting two-wheeled adventure that prepares you to crush epic gran fondo bucket rides next season.
Cheers, Happy New Year and most of all enjoy the ride.