I thought it might be time to post another follow up to my winter training. I’m continuing to do mostly gym workouts. Since my last post, we’ve shifted gears a bit with the circuits and have been working with weights more. Tons of squats, kettle bells and hamstring curls. I’ve also done a fair amount of “core” and upper body work. There are still a few of the original body weight exercises mixed in there, but the focus has been on building strength with the weights.
I started this whole plan because, in past years, I had always lost a lot of muscle on my legs over the winter months. I would then get back on the bike in the spring only to spend the first several months building my strength back up. The aerobic conditioning seems to rebound long before my leg strength would return. My early season race results have always been poor as a result.
So far, I would call this effort a success. Not only have I not lost any muscle mass, my legs are probably stronger than they were this past fall. If I gain nothing else, this would be worth it.
One of the negative side effects has been that I’ve gained quite a bit of weight, by cycling standards. I normally gain about 5lbs over the winter and lose that extra weight early in the season. This year I’ve gained over 15lbs and not any more fat than in previous years. My shirts have been getting tight around the chest too. Only a cyclist would consider that a problem. Hopefully, I will end up enough faster on the bike to justify the increased body weight.
I’ve been able to get out on the bike several times already thanks to the unusually warm weather we’ve been having. It’s been a strange, short winter up here in Vermont. Not as short as the non-winter they’ve had in southern New England, but still short by our standards. From what little I’ve been able to ride, I’m clearly not having the leg soreness I normally experience during my first few weeks. My commute times to work are about where I left off last fall even though my aerobic capacity is clearly less. I’m really anxious to get the race bike out in the woods and do some real riding.