Winter’s dark nights, cold weather and dirty trails take their toll on your motivation but Marine Cabirou has a few tips to keep on riding.
Sometimes it is super hard to train when the weather is not nice, I especially find it difficult when I have a 2-3 hour road bike session and it’s freezing outside! But I have my goals and know I have to train, but still, I can find it difficult to become motivated. On those days I like to ride something new, or I get my brother, cousin or a friend to ride with me.
I know that I have to get out and ride my road bike for 3 hours at a time because it’s important to keep up with my training, but I much prefer to get out on my downhill bike, motorbike or ebike. Even in the cold mud, it’s something that I am naturally more motivated to do and it’s much easier to get warmed up than on my road bike…
I also find it important to train in bad conditions because after when the weather is nice, everything becomes easier!
I admit sometimes when the weather is really really bad, and I don’t want to go train outside, I call my trainer, Nicolas Filippi, and we choose another activity to do, like swimming, playing squash or climbing … I really like to do some other activities sometimes, it’s important for me to have various activities.
Over the past 4 years, Nicolas and I have come up with a few different ways to keep motivated in winter and below I’m going to share them with you.Marine Cabirou
Setting goals works well for me and motivates me to get out on my bike even on the coldest of days. For me, my goals are to be fitter and stronger and ready to race once the season begins, but you could set non-racing goals. Your goal could be to reach and maintain a certain weight or cover a set number of Km each week. Another interesting goal is to ride in a different place each time you go out on a bike to see how many new places you can discover, rather than riding the same tracks over and over again.
Ride something different
As the saying goes “variety is the spice of life” and sometimes the best way to get motivated is to ride something different. If you’re struggling to get out on your mountain bike then why not try ride something else? Ebikes are a great option in the winter, they give you that little push to get out and ride, make climbs more fun and let you ride more downhills in a day. If eBikes aren’t your thing then take your downhill bike out for the day, or spend the day riding an epic XC ride and enjoy the winter scenery.
Sometimes it can be tiring to keep having to clean your bike after each ride, so if I don’t want to get muddy I like to take my road bike out for a ride, or even my jump bike to the local pump track.
Riding different bikes helps me to keep motivated but it also helps me to practice new skills.
Ride somewhere different
This year might not be the best year to test this idea, but if you have access to a variety of different trails then try and ride as many as you can. It might sound obvious but it’s surprisingly easy to fall into a trap of riding the same trails all the time and it can soon become dull. Try new tracks, ride new places, even if you find that you didn’t enjoy it at least you have tried and you know where not to go again. Riding in new places also helps to improve your riding skills and bike control on different terrain and in various conditions. And don’t let snow put you off, riding in the snow is great fun!
Don’t ride by yourself
Sure there are times that you’ll want to ride by yourself, but having a group of riding buddies is a great way to stay motivated. It’s much more difficult to try and get out of a ride when you have a great bunch of friends encouraging you to get out. Riding as a group is great for skills too, you tend to encourage each other to ride new lines, and try trails you might not by yourself. Riding in this way, and in more difficult conditions means that once the summer is back, your riding will be better than ever.
Take a day off
Sometimes it’s worth taking a break from riding so you don’t burn yourself out. This is important for riders who are training for the 2021 season, but equally so for those of us who just want to get out and have fun on two wheels. Taking a day off allows you time to recover, gives those muddy trails a rest, but it also means you can focus on other important bike riding necessities such as bike maintenance.
Riding through the winter, especially in France and the UK, can be tough on your bike. Grit wears drivetrain and braking components faster than in the summer. Water and mud can cause corrosion and frame finishes take a beating.
Unlike in the summer, you’ll probably be cleaning your bike after each ride, but I also like to give my bike a really deep clean. I tend to clean and degrease my drivetrain after a couple of really dirty rides and coat the chain rollers in good quality lubrication. Cleaning and maintaining your bike means your bike will ride better, and be more reliable so when you do ride you can spend more time having fun and less fixing problems. This maintenance time is a great time to inspect your components for wear or damage too.
I hope my tips will help to improve your winter riding, and that you get out and enjoy these months as much and as often as you can.
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