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Your Winter Training Questions Answered | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

Your Winter Training Questions Answered | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

– Welcome to Ask GCN Anything. This week coming to you
from the NaturHotel Miraval in Alta Badia in the Dolomites. This week’s show is a
winter training special, so let’s get started with this
question from Angie Munoz, who is asking about ways to
stay motivated and conditioned through the long, and
I’m guessing pretty cold, Canadian winter. – Yeah, I’m guessing that
must’ve been very tough in the past, even to this day
for some people out there. When you can’t even get
out on the road at all for those long winter months. But thankfully, with modern technology, things are far more entertaining. That is what you need to do,
is try and make your indoor training as exciting and
visually stimulating as it is when you’re riding outdoors,
or at least close to it. Now, you’ve got GCN’s
indoor training players, and I know you know all about it, because you have said that
you’ve already done Matt’s 20-minute fat burning
session and Simon’s is next. I have a couple of sessions
you can train along to as well, just to let you know. There’s also things like
Zwift, which make things very entertaining, because not
only are you racing against other people or riding with them, you’ve also got the different
gradients simulators, if you’ve got a smart trainer as well, and I recommend one of those
if you’re gonna spend a long time in the winter months on your bike. – Certainly. Next up is from Steven
Anderson who is asking about the best non-cycling
winter sport for training. Again, Steven’s from Canada,
so he’s got a long and cold winter ahead of him. Carlos Pascual is asking
a similar question, and he actually asks, “Is
mountain bike an option for winter training?” What would you reckon, Dan? – Well you’d know all about
the mountain bike option, wouldn’t you? Off-road specialist. – I guess so, yeah. Well true, maybe I should’ve
answered my own question. It’s really, really fun to
train on a mountain bike as it’s often warmer in the
woods, it’s not just your legs that are getting the workout,
it’s your arms and the rest of your body as well. – I think that you’re right. Mountain biking is fantastic
for a whole host of different points of view, isn’t it? In terms of technique et cetera as well. In terms of other sports,
you’ve mentioned cross country skiing, Steven, weight lifting and hockey. I think cross country skiing
is probably the closest thing that you can get to
stimulating the same kind of cardiovascular things,
the muscles that you would do when you’re on the bike as well. So that is a fantastic
option if that is something that you can do close to your home. Similarly, with inline skating
as well, there’s been quite a few that have gone over
from a very high level in that to being top track sprinters as well, so there’s obviously a crossover in that. But if you want to see what pro
riders do in the off season, we actually did a questionnaire
at the Tour of Britain a couple of years ago, and their answers were quite interesting. – Ahh.
– Ahh. – Ahh. – Ahh. – I’ve been known to do some dancing, but that’s more of a late-night activity. – Yeah, I do some, ah, training in gym, ah, two, three times a week. – Now I don’t do a lot in the off season, only riding my bike. – Next up, a question which
came in from Adam McConnell. “What is the best single
piece of winter kit I can buy, that will make the biggest
difference to my comfort on the road?” – [Tom] Gloves; a good
pair of gloves, 100%. Cold hands are awful. – Well it’s the extremities, isn’t it, so cold hands and feet
are so uncomfortable and it happens to all of us
at some point when we’re out cycling in winter, so I
would agree with you, gloves. If you’re talking about kit
on the bike itself, mudguards. They’re quite controversial,
mudguards, aren’t they? If you don’t use them on
group rides, you can get scorn poured on you, but also, if
you put them on a real top-end road bike, people don’t like that either. But it does make a huge
difference to your comfort, that you don’t have spray
going up your backside, onto your feet et cetera,
especially on days when it’s wet on the road but not actually raining, it makes a huge difference. – Definitely. And it prolongs the life of
your bike and your components as well, potentially. – Good point. Which links to Christian’s question. Christian asks, “Does a heavy
winter bike make a difference compared to your normal bike? Is it better to train on a heavier bike?” – Well we’ve been asked
this before, haven’t we, and I know people haven’t
necessarily agreed with my answer, but my opinion is that if
you’re training on your own, yes, a heavier bike will
mean that your local climbs take longer to get up. If you are training to power, for example, the power that you can do,
is the power that you can do. ‘Cause you’re just going to
be going slower everywhere. However, on the flip side,
if you’re going out on group rides, you want to make things
slightly harder for yourself in terms of keeping up, then
yes, a heavier bike will lead to producing more power to
keep up with the group ride. So it depends what your aims
are and what sort of riding you are doing. Next up, Oscar Wimms is
desperate to start using Zwift and wants to know the
cheapest way to do it and if it’s worth using it
with a lower-end road bike. He’s got a five-year
old Specialized Secteur. – I’d say it definitely is,
it’s a great way to kind of revamp your approach to indoor training. And at the very basic level, you just need three
bits to kit, don’t you? You need a speed sensor,
an ANT+ speed sensor, an IOS device and a turbo trainer. – Yep, and that’s all you need. And you can pick up turbo
trainers very cheap second hand these days. So get on with it, and if you
want some more information on exactly how to do that, a
very recent video here from Si on Zwift for beginners. (upbeat electronic music) – Now there are three different
worlds that you can ride in on Zwift all containing a
variation of different routes. I’m in, first time. How about jumping in with a
group ride or even a race? Loads of events going
on at different times all around the world and for
all ability levels as well. – Dave asks, “Do you have to
go base training every winter or can you just begin building
from where you finished the season?” – Good question. I always like to try and start
the winter months at a slightly higher level than I had started the winter the previous year. So, from that point of view,
you want to try to keep as much of your fitness
from the summer months when you start training for the winter. In terms of your base,
well as the years go on, your endurance naturally gets
better as you’ve been doing it for so many years anyway. But I think long rides will
always have their place over the winter months. Next up, Nicholas Danca. Real name or just what you’re good at? Not sure. Anyway, “I’ve just regained
the ability to ride my bike after five weeks. Are there any exercises to
bring back strength in the ankle and what’s the best method to avoid ice?” – I think there’s two answers to your– Well, two questions,
two answers, Nicholas. First one, we’ll just have
to leave that to your physio, we’re not professionals in that regard, so we wouldn’t want to advise you on that. But best way to avoid ice is
to train indoors if possible, if it’s going to be really icy. I think Dan and I have
probably seen enough people, hurt themselves on
ice, it’s not recommended. – It’s just not worth the risk
of going out if there’s any chance of ice on the road, is it? – No, you can’t make a save if
you hit a patch of black ice. – No. Next up, Robert Tracey: “Is
it better to build fitness in the winter, because
there’s no races, or to build on your bike skills, ie cornering?” Well it depends where you’re
at as a cyclist, I guess. If your skills really need developing, and that’s a great chance over
the winter ’cause you’ve got plenty of time. But the same really goes for your fitness. I think we personally used
to find the winter months really good for developing
your overall fitness, because you’ve got no race to
go to, which means you’ve got less traveling to do et cetera. So you’ve got a very concentrated
block where all you need to do is head out on your bike
and train week after week. – Simon Taylor says that his
“perceived effort for the same power is different when
training indoors on a turbo compared to riding outdoors on the road,” and finds it easier to
sustain higher power outdoors. So does it make sense to
track two functional threshold powers, one for indoors
and one for outdoors? – Well firstly, that’s very normal. Lots of people do struggle
to produce the same power on an indoor trainer
that they do on climbs, particularly outdoors. That’s partly due to the
inertia of the trainers, which are getting better
as the years go on, but also in terms of your own core heat, because it’s much more
difficult to dissipate that heat and sweat when you’re indoors. – Next up, we’ve got this
one from Richie Hawkes, who says, “Like many, I’m
approaching two years of power data since Zwift first came along,” and the first year I had no
clue, second year I had a plan. I’ve compared a few
metrics, average power, TSS, even the frequency of
various range of efforts, but what is the best stack to focus on? Efficiency, normalized power, heart rate? – Ah, well, you want to,
Matt, have a varied training program, just as you would
do with any outdoor riding. But if you’ve watched Si
do any racing on Zwift, you will realize that he has
to produce an enormous amount of power to be up there at
some of those Zwift races. I mean, the standard is quite
incredible on some of them. So from that point of view,
you really do need to raise your functional threshold power, because without a decent
level from that point of view, you’re just not going
to be able to keep up. So variation is the key
when you’re riding on Zwift just as it is outdoors as well, really. And actually, if this is
all gobbledygook to you, or the TSS and CETL, ATL and
overall chronic training load et cetera, the next video might help you, because it’s five key
metrics when analyzing your power data. So let’s go through a few
of those key metrics now, the ones that we look at
after each of our rides. – [Matt] It takes into
account power variants through your ride, so the
difference between a hill interval session and a longer, steadier ride. Now, what it does, is it
gives you the most accurate indication of the true
physiological cost of your workout. – [Dan] Yeah, it’s much more
representative of the real effort that you’ve put into
ride, versus average power which is simply a numerical average. Next one is from Victor Wheeler. – Good name for a cyclist. – It’s very good, yeah. What tips do you have for
keeping your lenses clear in the winter, either
from misting up or covered by rain water? – Ahh, I thought about this
one for awhile, Victor, and the only one I could
really come up with was just if you are using a neck warmer, is to make sure that you don’t
have it covering your mouth or your nose, because I
always found when I had that, it would channel my breath upwards, which would then mist my
glasses up a little bit. Otherwise, you see even the
pros in super-wet races, will kind of sometimes nudge
their glasses just down their nose a little bit so
that they’re not steaming up and they can see over the
top of them if needs be. – You can get some of those
sprays, can’t you, for lenses, which is supposed to encourage
the water to drip off quicker, thus giving you better vision through the lenses themselves. And also, actually, a good
old-fashioned cycling cap with peak down, of course,
will help to keep some of the spray off your lenses,
so that could help you too. Tristan Matthews is asking: Conventional long steady
base miles versus reverse periodization, so fast before
far for winter training. What’s your opinion on this? Gonna get some dialogue
in the comments box here, he’s expecting. Ah, I’ve never done
completely fast before far, I’ve always sort of mixed the two. And when I did do some
intensity over the winter, it did work for me quite
incredibly actually, in terms of the gains that I made. Probably one for us to try
at some point, I guess. – Yeah, I guess I kind of
did it, ’cause I used to have a couple of weeks
off after the road season in September, race cyclocross
up until the end of January, and then switch towards road training. So I didn’t have too many
issues with it really. I found that if you were
training kind of short, fast training sessions on the turbo
trainer or out on the road through November, December,
January, doesn’t really feel like you lose much, ’cause
you’re not riding for five or six hours in freezing weather. – No, and I think if you
look at some of the most successful stage race riders
over the last few years, you will see that they’ve
been winning races right from the very start of the season. So less so with Froome this
year, but last year he won the Herald Sun Tour in late
January, early February, Richie Porte this year, won
the Tour Down Under in January and kept that form going
all the way through to the Tour de France, where
unfortunately he crashed out. But there’s so many examples of that. Certainly does you no harm
to do some intense riding over the winter months. Finally for this week’s Ask GCN Anything, and don’t forget you can
leave your questions below using the #TORQUEBACK across social media. But the last question comes
in from Mike McCartan. “Will you be doing some more
cyclocross content this year?” – We certainly will, Mike, can’t wait. Watch this space. And while you wait and watch this space, don’t forget to hit the
GCN logo to subscribe. On the screen right now is a
masterclass in cycling skills, from Sven Nys which is right there. – Yeah, or if you would like
to see Matt’s first effort at a cyclocross race, you
can find that just down here. Make sure you subscribe to
this channel by clicking on the globe.

65 comments on “Your Winter Training Questions Answered | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

  1. If your outdoor ftp is accurate then setting indoor ftp to 95% of this should 'help' keep zones accurate in terms of perceived effort…..but bare in mind that you will be given a lower tss and strava fitness/freshness will be effect (unless you keep changing ftp setting in every app accordingly)

  2. I will make cycling videos on my channel with my new gopro. Thanks to gcn to make me batter in cycling. Please support me. Thanks gcn

  3. Q: How will you be training this winter? Let us know
    A: Smart and effectively. This includes rest from cycling, body conditioning, cross training, pain cave with Lucy ruling. Some outdoor cycling, including relaxed commute on not frosty days, is included too.

  4. Hi gcn, if I'm doing say a session with 20 minute sweet spot intervals should I go full gas in the last minute of the last interval and "get everything out"? #torqueback

  5. In theory a heavier and less aerodynamic bike should give more training. It is just harder to keep the motivation when riding it. For me personally the result is that I provide less effort on a heavy, slow bike.

  6. I like the look of the mudguards featured in this program (3:03), can anyone name them please? Can anyone rate them? My bike doesn't have the lugs and threads on the frame to attach mudguards so would these be suitable, can anyone recommend some? Cheers.

  7. nothing about warm-ups or warmth out on the roads, nor the coldest temperature people are likely to stay out until. winter will be long up here, and I can't afford a turbo yet (need snowboard gear!)

  8. A great VR app for training indoors is FulGaz – real videos of real rides in all of the great cycling venues; the Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees, Santa Monica Mtns, etc., with all of the GPS data to work with smart trainers to simulate the exact rides on the road. It is a great alternative to the video game style interface of Zwift.

  9. I can confirm training on heavier or lighter bike is irrelevant if you stick to a set power or perceived effort. I alternate between my 2 roadies which are about 1.2kg apart. The training is all the same (equally painful).

  10. I have been looking at over sized jockey wheels with ceramic bearings. Are they worth the money, Do they work better then the standard ones, have you ever tried them, do any pros use them. #torquback

  11. #askgcnanything #torqueback Hi GCN, what's your opinion for CX bikes: Single or double chain ring? I'm new to cx, live in the flat rolling-hills of Denmark, on the road I usually stick to the big ring.

  12. Either you guys are drinking non-alcoholic wheat bear – which is a minor fault in various occasions – or you are actually making the most severe mistake when it comes to drinking wheat bear: crystal wheat bear! So 1 little piece of information for your upcoming trips to german-speaking regions… Never ever order a crystal wheat beer (Kristallweizen/ Kristallweizenbier) again! 🙂 Why? Because they filter out mostly of the yeast, which is one of the most flavour inducing ingredients of a wheat beer. Instead, order a "helles Weizen" (bright/light white beer) resp. a "dunkles Weizen" (dark white beer). Cheers 😉

  13. #askgcnanything the question is: how can I gain weight this winter in a "healthy way"? I finished my season last week and I need 3 or 4 kg. My body fat is about 5%. Thank you

  14. Good way to keep glasses clear is baby shampoo/ (not oil pervert) Smear a little neat shampoo on both sides with your finger, let it dry then polish off works a treat on swimming goggles as well.

  15. I've recently purchased a new bike and I came with knobby tires, in between paycheques at the moment so it'll be a bit over a week until I can get to the shop the get a pair of slicks, my question is how bad of an idea would it be to cut the knobbys off carefully to get a little less resistance in the meantime?

  16. If you're using iOS you'll also need an ANT+ dongle assuming you have an ANT+ speed sensor, so really four pieces of kit. Another logical solution, if the person doesn't have an iOS device would be their computer, an ANT+ or bluetooth speed sensor, and an ANT+ dongle if needed.

  17. Richie Porte does a lot of swimming during the winter.
    Best kit – get some fleece lined long bibs. And yes, mudguards are more sociable in the winter so that you don't soak riders behind you.

  18. #torqueback I've now lost two lower back molars, as the top ones are now redundant do you think I should get them removed to save weight?

  19. If you don't already own cycling glasses, don't skimp.
    Bought a set without hydrophobic lenses and they fog up continuously.
    If you do own, the coatings are good. Seen washing up liquid suggested as a cheap alternative

  20. Just man, or woman up and get out there. Get the right gear and maybe a cheap second bike, something like a mtb or cx bike that you can stick some nobblies on.

    Those who live in parts of the world where you may get eaten by polar bears and the like are exempt from the above advice.

  21. #Torqueback hi gcn im doing up an old road steel frame bike but would like to use it as a cyclocross bike it has standard calliper brakes. Have you any suggestions to mabye improve the clearance or is there a way of adding cantilever brakes thanks.

  22. #Torqueback hi gcn im doing up an old road steel frame bike but would like to use it as a cyclocross bike it has standard calliper brakes. Have you any suggestions to mabye improve the clearance or is there a way of adding cantilever brakes thanks.

  23. #Torqueback hi gcn im doing up an old road steel frame bike but would like to use it as a cyclocross bike it has standard calliper brakes. Have you any suggestions to mabye improve the clearance or is there a way of adding cantilever brakes thanks.

  24. How does one park a bicycle at an outdoor parking rack without the rack damaging/scratching the frame? I don’t understand how the rack designers expect the frame not to get scratched when the rack materials are generally metal. #torqueback

  25. Cleat Float Question (three related): (1) Do pros generally ride with zero degree float cleats or is there not a huge advantage? (2) Do you lose or 'leak' watts as cleat float increases (even if marginal)? (3) I've just switched to zero degree float, am I on a path to knee issues!? (I've had a decent bike fit) #askgcnything #torqueback

  26. Dear GCN, I have a Genesis Equilibrium and have been riding it (happily) for just over a year. I have even used it for some time trials which has given me a taste for competitive cycling. I'm interested to know whether you think a bike like mine is enough for me to realise any potential as a sports cyclist or whether it will pose a (significant) disadvantage? Thanks 🙂

  27. Fasted Rides. I usually cycle to work fasted and have breakfast at work. I've recently read fasted rides should be of low intensity, zone 1/2, but on my commute i'm usually trying to get there as quick as possible, am i still getting the fasted ride benefit or just wasting my time? #torqueback #gcndoesscience

  28. #torqueback I got wider rims this summer, and put on my 25mm tires without thinking about it. Now I’m looking for winter tires, and found out about ETRTO recommendation for rim/tire combinations. How serious are these?

  29. A small amount of normal washing up liquid rubbed on lenses will help to stop them misting up. Peaked cap helps keep the rain off. Simples!

  30. How can you patch/repair cycling kit after a small crash? What items can be mended easily? (can you mend things that stretch a lot like arm warmers?) Is it a faux pas to ride with something that has a (small) hole from rubbing the pavement? #torqueback

  31. I have a question as a commuter. I regularly need to suit up, and my commute of 35 km (a total of 70km a day) is not really doable with it. I can pack up my regular clothes, but a suit would get folds. Do you guys have a good hack or top to counter this?

  32. I have a stress fracture in my shin from cross training (running) and now I can't run for a few weeks. I don't think I can ride either. Is there a way to keep my fitness?

  33. #askGCN, alot has been covered regarding clincher tires and tire pressure, what about tubeless? iv recently upgraded my wheel set (Aeolus Pro 3 and Bontrager R3 TLR and cant find much content about road tubeless tire pressures, i know they should be lower than conventional clincher tires but how much… ponder…

  34. Several pedal manufacturers offer pedals with a longer axle.  For what reason would a rider need a few mm on the pedal axle???

  35. Glad to hear you defer to medical professionals about the ankle injury. Interested why you don't do the same when it comes to nutrition?

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