For Ben Dijkstra, Giant ambassador and full-time triathlete, Winter is a crucial time of the year when he starts his offseason training and builds his base for the season ahead. Due to the importance, it's crucial he doesn't miss a session even if its cold and miserable, so here are his top tips for getting out of the door come rain or shine.
Training in winter and getting the base miles done may seem like a struggle, but this is a crucial part of the year which will certainly help with your summer season. I often find it rewarding coming back from a long ride in awful conditions knowing that I have completed the work which I had set out to do. You may not realise it at the time, but the long hours spent in the saddle will pay off.
A big part of training in winter for me is preparation - ensure you look at the weather before you step outside as there are few worse things than starting your ride, feeling a bit cold a few miles down the road and then realising you’ve not got enough layers with you. I’d always recommend taking spare clothing, just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst, even if it just a set of arm warmers, a cap or a gilet which should all easily be able to fit in your jersey pockets.
Another area it is essential to be prepared with is your equipment; with more spray, mud and grit on the roads in winter, it's certainly worth giving your bike a quick clean post ride and a brief check-up pre-ride to reduce the chances of an inopportune mechanical when riding. I usually carry a slightly larger pump with me (the Giant Control Mini Combo) to speed up the puncture repair process and minimise the time spent on the side of the road should I or one of my friends get stuck.
Additional bits of kit for on the bike I'd recommend getting for winter include mudguards, lights and a different set of tyres to help reduce the chances of getting a puncture. With the additional spray on the roads and daylight hours decreasing, these relatively cheap items are a great way to keep you riding and smiling until the sun starts to come out again, and lets you save your best tyres until the summer.
A word of caution I would emphasise is to be sensible with when you choose to ride, I find it fun being out in harsh conditions, but if the weather is severe, then there are much safer alternatives, such as riding indoors where you can still get the work done. Rollers are a great way to challenge yourself technically and with the social side of turbo riding through apps such as Zwift then riding inside can be made that little bit more exciting. I’m a bit of a newbie with Zwift, so I’m definitely looking forward to giving it a go if the conditions take a turn for the worst this winter.