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Winter riding effects on the body(4 posts)

Winter riding effects on the bodyhrdcorebikerboy
Dec 13, 2003 6:39 AM
I've been off the bike for three weeks due to the lovely winter weather we've had in the NE and a tough work travel schedule. I've been working out almost everyday, including spinning. I got on the bike today, it was 25 degrees with a wind chill of about 18 (9 mph wind). I got on all the weather gear, hopped on the bike and took my usual route up hill out of the neighborhood on to my usual 15 mile training loop (all hills). By the first climb that usually serves as a great warm up, I felt like I had just ridden 50 miles. My legs were burning, the cold took my breath away and I felt light headed. I dialed it down a notch figuring it was just tougher to warm up in the cold weather. While things did improve, I felt as if I was pulling an extra 50 pounds around...I was slower on the loop by at least 3-5 mph and the lactic acid thesholds just dropped -- I was hurting way sooner than normal.

Is this a typical winter experience? Can three weeks off the bike put you this far off the mark? A combination of both? What does the cold weather do to the body and how it functions aerobically?
re: Winter riding effects on the bodyThe Walrus
Dec 13, 2003 12:13 PM
Even with winter riding gear, the body's going to attempt to maintain its core temperature by restricting blood flow to the torso, to support the vital organs; the limbs just have to make do with what's left over. Your muscles aren't getting the blood (and oxygen) they need, so they can't perform at peak efficiency. When I ride in cold weather, I tend to feel like I'm riding in about 3 feet of water, just because my muscles seem to be working so much harder. It helps me if I make a conscious effort to keep well-hydrated, which helps to keep the blood flowing.
re: Winter riding effects on the bodyTNRyder
Dec 14, 2003 7:36 PM
I always experience a drop in performance with the cold weather. As you warm up, the performance improves, but the cold air is hard on your lungs and when working really hard.

I just try to relax and have fun on cold weather rides. Save the hard training stuff for indoors on the trainer. Cold weather riding is an act of passion.
re: Winter riding effects on the bodyhrdcorebikerboy
Dec 15, 2003 6:48 AM
Maybe it's time to break out the skis. I just picked up a Cycleops fulid2 trainer and will unwantingly drudge off to the basement to spin away the days until warmer weather months...