With the transition from summer to autumn well underway, it got me thinking a bit about the seasons, more specifically about the seasons of cycling.
Whilst we all know the 4 meteorological seasons, racing cyclists really only have the 3 seasons of cycling in a year. The 3 seasons of cycling are the ‘off season’, the ‘cycling race preparation season’ and the ‘cycling racing season’. By this time of the year the competitive season for road cyclists has or will shortly finish. Unless you’re gearing up for cyclo-cross this means that after 6 months of pain, suffering, joy, despair, logistics and travel you’re ready to step off the merry-go-round which is the competitive cycling season and enter the ‘off season’ part of the year. The ‘off season’ is where you get to enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation. For the next while you can reduce the frequency and intensity of cycling training enabling you to catch up with yourself as well as family and friends. You’ll still continue to cycle your bicycle. It’s a great time of the year to get in some enjoyable low intensity base miles with your cycling friends and cycling club mates around the many fab cycle routes in the Dublin region. Saturday nights out are back on the agenda, at least for a while and it’s a good opportunity to catch up on your non cycling social life. The ‘off sesaon’ also allows racers the time and space to evaluate their previous season’s cycling performance, plan changes to their cycling performance training and re-calibrate cycling objectives for the coming cycle racing season.
The ‘off season’ period extends to the start of the new year for most racers with the exception of the few weeks in December where hostilities are resumed for the traditional Christmas hamper races. Having the bragging rights are just as important as winning the hamper. With the Christmas and New Year festivities out of the way and the next cycle racing season only a matter of a couple of months away the ‘cycling race preparation’ season kicks off in earnest.
The ‘cycling race preparation’ season is all about bringing your fitness back to a level where your performance can once again be competitive when you hit the chalk for the new season. The intensity of your Saturday and Sunday cycles will increase noticeably as will the introduction of mid-week higher intensity performance training sessions. Cyclists will also focus on diet and try to lose any extra weight gained during the more relaxed ‘off season’ This can be an anxious period for riders as they build form in the hope of achieving their cycling and performance objectives for the coming year.
The new racing season for most cyclists coincides with the start of spring and is eagerly anticipated by most cyclists after all the efforts of performance training and preparation. This is the time when new bicycles, kit and teams appear with rider motivation at its highest level. It’s the time to perform and make your mark , whatever level you’re racing at.
Before you know it, you’re back into the full swing of cycle racing which can be up to 3 times per week as the season progresses and the evenings lengthen. Hopefully the weather has picked up as summer approaches and that you’re achieving your cycling and performance objectives and picking up some prizes along the way. Before you know it, the racing season has passed by for another year and you’re back in the ‘off season’ phase again.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge next year into the world of performance rides, triathlon or cycle racing why not give Velo Rides 4 U a shout and see how we can help you achieve your cycle performance and racing goals.