Winter cycling: how to get ready to ride on the snow

The right preparation and the right clothing allow you to train and have fun on two wheels even in winter

It is a well-established commonplace that the bicycle is a suitable vehicle only for the summer months. But with the right equipment there is no limit to passion and fun. Of course the cold and the bad weather can be scary, but winter can also give unique atmospheres and sensations, landscapes and formidable colors! Winter can indeed be a season in which to experience the bicycle with renewed satisfaction, provided you keep a few simple precautions in mind.

Treat clothing

It is thought that playing sports outdoors, with low temperatures, can weaken the body and increase the chances of having to cope with flu and colds. In truth the physical activity in the open air in the cold months is able to stimulate the immunity defenses strengthening the organism and diminishing the onset of seasonal illnesses.

We must learn from those who know how cold it is: in a large northern city such as Copenhagen, although there is a time of wolves for almost the whole year, the most widespread means remains by far the bicycle. If you ask a Danish, he will tell you that “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”. So as not to put limits on our desire to pedal even during the winter it is then first necessary to procure clothing that keeps us dry and that keeps our body temperature stable even on longer-lasting rides.

It can be useful to dress in layers, to be ready for varying temperatures and to create an equipment that is easy to modify and with the right balance. First of all, the underwear must be taken care of, essential to maintain the temperature of the” engine “, the trunk and vital organs In addition to being warm, underwear must be breathable so as not to make you sweat excessively, and merino wool is often used for these garments, a material capable of combining these two characteristics, mixed with synthetic fibers of greater elasticity.

Equally important is the outer layer, consisting of a jacket or cape that must be waterproof and must be able to block the wind. The intermediate layer that can be formed, for example, by a long-sleeved thermal mesh that is added to a winter overalls should also be evaluated. In general, this layer must also be heavy enough to avoid excessive heat loss, but light enough to avoid excessive sweating. It must not be forgotten that feeling a little cold at the start is completely normal.

If keeping the trunk warm is essential to maintain a high level of performance, we must not neglect the extremities, which are always very exposed and risk a sharp drop in temperature. We therefore need to wear winter cycling shoes that are also waterproof and often they also cover the ankle.There can also be heavy socks in wool or in technical fabric and, even if they are more uncomfortable and bulky, good winter gloves cannot be overlooked.Shorts and leggings then serve to keep the arms and legs warm.

Finally, to complete the equipment, a hat or cap, to be worn under the helmet, that is able to maintain the temperature and block the wind is fundamental. Usually these specific cycling caps are made with a waterproof outer fabric and a padding that also protects the ears.

Equip the bicycle

In recent years, fat bikes have become increasingly widespread, bikes with wider wheels that provide greater stability and were originally designed specifically for the snow-covered soils of Alaska. But it is not necessary to buy a new bicycle to walk on snow-covered roads. It may suffice to equip one’s own with good winter tires capable of providing the necessary grip, perhaps kept at a lower pressure than normal.

It is also very important to fit fenders with adequate dimensions to prevent sleet and water from being lifted from our wheels and ending up on your back. This in addition to being extremely annoying in the long run would make our carefully selected waterproof clothing useless.

Consideration must also be given to the visibility conditions that are usually worse during the winter season and can change quickly. It is therefore a good idea to use special care and always be equipped with signal lights for your bicycle.

Adapt your driving style

Last but not least: to ride safely in the winter season you will need to take some special precautions when riding the bicycle. For example, it will be necessary to avoid bending excessively in curves, which are made more insidious by humidity and atmospheric agents. For the same reason it will be important to avoid drains and metal parts as much as possible.

In general it is useful to keep a seat that is not too rigid, but relaxed and with a slightly set back center. That helps to better control the bicycle on terrain made unpredictable by snow and ice and allows you to react quickly but smoothly, cushioning with your legs, in case of surprises. It is obviously essential to pay close attention to the use of the brakes, which should be used as little as possible and never abruptly.

Where possible it will also be useful to maintain a fairly central position in the roadway, to make oneself more visible and avoid the dangerous residues of snow that accumulate on the sides of the road.

How to be ready for the first Grandfondo of the season

The 10 steps not to be missed to get the body moving again and get ready with the maximum profit for the first big company of the year

With the end of February the temperatures begin to rise. He begins to feel the end of winter but also the call of the competition because the time of the first marathon of the season is approaching. Every fanatic prepares to leave the short competitive “lethargy” and try again with long distance races.

During the winter it is always advisable to stop training and even the most daring cyclists have a rest period. Even if you are equipped with a good basic preparation, you cannot approach such long and demanding races in an improvised way, but you need to carefully plan the recovery of the best shape.

Here are 10 useful steps to arrive with the right preparation for the first marathon of the season:

 

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1- Set the goal:

The first thing to do is to find the right race to try out. It is not possible to choose only based on the beauty of the track and the charm of the race. Their abilities, training status and course difficulties must be assessed.

 

2 – Carefully consider your physical state:

If winter has made training difficult, perhaps for work reasons or for really prohibitive weather conditions, it can be difficult to imagine doing well at the beginning of the season. It may be wise to approach the first race after the winter break with less performance expectations.
 

 

 

3 – Taking care of the equipment, clothing and bicycle:

The winter break period can be a good time to take care of renewing the equipment.

It is important to have enough winter clothing (better if personalized) that is insulating enough to allow you to start training when conditions are still difficult. Likewise, some changes to the bicycle must be considered to be safe during the winter.

As the races approach, it is then necessary to check the mechanical parts and replace the damaged or worn parts.

Even the clothing for the race should not be overlooked. It is good to avoid bringing for the first time in uniformed competitions or accessories that have not been tested in training. On the other hand, it may be useful to check that you do not have clothes or accessories that are too worn out that could risk causing problems precisely in times of difficulty and maximum effort.

4 – Prepare a training plan:

It is very important to prepare a training plan that takes into consideration the time available before the race. Proper training for such competitions can hardly take less than 8 weeks of work. Aerobic endurance, work on the lactic threshold or strengthening should not be neglected. The type of training must then be parameterized on the type of course.

 

 

5 – Training in the gym and strengthening:

Dedicating at least one weekly training to the gym upgrade is always recommended. Both to increase strength and to train the parts of the body that are not stressed during pedaling, such as the abdominal and lumbar areas, the upper limbs and the trunk, but which are very important for feeling good on the bicycle.

During the winter it can be very useful to dedicate a more substantial part of the training to the strengthening in the gym in preparation for the resumption of cycling activity. However, it is always necessary to select or indicate exercises that tend to maximize the increase in strength without affecting the muscle volume.

 

6 – The exits, cycling training:

Obviously the one in the bicycle is the central part of the training and to find the form you will have to recover a good frequency of training. At least two or three weekly outings should be considered, the duration of which will vary depending on the specific type of training.
It will be necessary to start from the outputs on the long, to be carried out at low intensity, which serve to recreate a good base of general resistance. then you will go to speed by entering the shorter and more intense repetitions to work on the anaerobic threshold and other types of specific training.

 

7 – Take care of the feeding:

Paying attention to food is essential to make your training effective. The diet must also be balanced according to the different phases of the training itself. For example, during a period in which you work more intensively on strengthening it is useful to have a diet with a greater protein base. While in the periods of prolonged exits a greater quantity of complex carbohydrates is necessary.
It must then be considered what to provide for the tender itself. Counting the distance to be traveled and the duration of the ride, it is not only essential to continuously rehydrate, but also small-sized products must be selected to help reintegrate the athlete’s energy such as maltodextrin bars and gels.

 

8 – Bring good performance assessment tools:

It is important to monitor the performance to evaluate your improvements and understand if you need to change your workouts. To this end it is essential to equip oneself with the right tools, a heart rate monitor that serves to assess the work thresholds both during training and during the tests on the race track cannot be missing.

 

 

9 – Race simulations:

To improve performance it is very useful to understand what can be expected in the race. Understand how the physicist will react to stress and how to dose strength. For this reason it is good to carry out race simulations on the track that will host our granfondo. It is also a good idea to use the same equipment that you will take to the race to become aware of any problems.

 

 

10 – The importance of rest:

After each workout, especially if intense, the body needs a period of time to recover and to make the improvements stable. Therefore, the right pauses should be observed between one training session and another. Tend to consider at least one day of rest, which can be devoted to stretching.

It is also very important not to overdo the training loads in the period immediately before the race because they could prove harmful and negatively affect performance. It is indeed a good idea to give yourself at least a week of rest before the race.

 

Also this year we will support many competitions and initiatives. Here is where you can find us:

03/04 March Gran fondo CITTA ‘DI CERVETERI and Gran fondo ANDORA
10/11 March CHRONOSQUADRE OF VERSILIA
17/18 March Gran fondo SANREMO-SANREMO
24/25 March Gran fondo MURETTO DI ALASSIO (ALASSIO SAVONA)

07/08 April Great fund of ITALIAN and YOUTH VELODROMOCAMPIONATI DUATHLON CUNEO
14/15 April URBAN DOWNHILL TOSCOLANO MADERNO and Gran fondo PERINI
April 25 1st GRAN PREMIO LIBERAZIONE RORETO DI CHERASCO (CN)
28/29 April Great fund LA GARIBALDINA and BRA-BRA SPECIALIZED (POLLENZO CUNEO)

We hope many of you will come

Spring comes, here are 4 pieces of advice to go back to your bike

Spring is coming: 4 useful tips for getting back on your bike and not getting caught unprepared

The arrival of spring causes numerous changes in our body, the days that lengthen and the increase in light cause the metabolism to accelerate naturally. It is a great time to start cycling training because the body and the muscles are more active and ready to get stronger.

It is an important moment to resume the activity after the winter break in the best way and not be caught unprepared for the warm season. We must therefore start in time and pay attention to some fundamental aspects such as the type of training, equipment and power.

1 Training in time

After the winter discharge period it is usually a good idea to start with a period of general preparation, with long outings at low pace, to rehabilitate the body to exertion without excessive stress. It is important to start early with this type of outings, perhaps in the final part of winter, to be ready to take one more step during the spring period. In this way it is in fact possible to advance in advance to specific exits in which the physicist, more ready, can be subjected to a higher stress that allows to improve the performances in view of the summer commitments.

It is also useful to continue the training in the gym started during the winter, which allows to increase the strength and resistance of the muscles in preparation for the cycling season and makes it possible to train the body in a harmonious way without focusing only on the legs. In this period, moreover, it is good to devote time to stretching that allows to loosen muscles and joints and allows the body to more easily recover the form necessary for a more demanding physical activity after a period of less intense activity.

2 Select clothing

The spring period is a period of transition. The temperatures are not as rigid as during the winter but often they are not very high yet, in addition there is always the risk of sudden changes in atmospheric conditions. It is useful to have a versatile clothing that allows you to adapt to different conditions and it can be indicated to dress in layers in order to be able to react to changing temperatures without too much difficulty and without wasting too much time.

Compared to winter it can be useful to avoid an intimate layer that is too heavy. It is also worth considering when to abandon long-sleeved shirts and long trousers and to rely on leggings and sleeves. It may be useful to equip oneself with accessories such as technical fabric gilets that increase wind resistance and maintain the temperature of the trunk without compromising on comfort, also avoiding the risk of excessive sweating.

It is also essential to have a cape with you to use in case of rain or a sharp drop in temperature.

3 Bike Check

Often at the beginning of spring the bicycle is taken back after a period of inactivity. This is an important moment to check the conditions of your vehicle and intervene where necessary to restart the activity safely. The winter break and the period just before the recovery of the activity are perfect to replace worn parts and avoid problems and slowdowns once the training period has started.

The conditions of all the consumables such as the tires and the elements that make up the brakes must be checked. It may be convenient to replace cables and sheaths, check the adjustment of the derailleurs, and it is important to check the lengthening of the transmission. We often forget to check the tensioning of the spokes which is however essential for maintaining the correct shape of the wheels. Finally, good control of the locks must be put into practice, screws and bolts must be set for the safety of your ride.

4 Adapting to change: nutrition

We have already referred to the important changes that the arrival of spring causes in our organism. The increase in the quantity and intensity of light leads to a decrease in melatonin production compared to winter, while the level of neurotransmitters that activate metabolism such as serotonin and dopamine rises. Furthermore, the adrenal glands increase the production of steroids and anabolics involved in strengthening muscle mass.

The organism therefore becomes more performing, but to do it in the best way it is necessary to combine training with the right nutrition. The accelerated metabolism, in fact, puts a strain on the liver that is called to increase its purification activity, it is important to avoid overloading it with excessive sugar consumption or alcohol consumption.

Furthermore, the increase in temperature means that we need to hydrate ourselves more carefully. Although it may be useful to awaken from spring drowsiness, caffeine should be avoided as it is a diuretic that makes the hydration process more difficult.

Triathlon uniforms: the right sportswear for all kinds of competition

In Italy too, the passion for triathlon is constantly growing. More and more athletes are competing with this discipline, which became Olympic in 2000, which brings together swimming, cycling and running. This sport is very demanding, in fact, not only brings great benefits from the physical point of view, ensuring an organic training of the whole body, but guarantees considerable benefits from the mental point of view, allowing you to strengthen the character and self-esteem.

There are different types of Triathlon races, which differ according to the distances to be covered: from the sprint, the shortest and the most practiced, to the super long, the legendary Ironman, the most famous and the most conclusive.

For those approaching this sport it is important to understand what type of equipment is necessary: ​​below we focus on the type of triathlon uniform to be adopted in the different types of race.

The Body

The basic piece of clothing for a Triathlon is usually a type of Body, specifically designed for this sport, which is able to adapt well to the three stages of the race. This full suit, usually in lycra, has in fact a pad inside, similar to that of cycling shorts but usually more contained, to be less bulky during the run, and thinner, to be able to dry faster after the swimming phase. Often those who prefer a less adherent garment opt ​​for a full-cut suit consisting of a tank top and shorts that have a back with characteristics similar to those indicated above. A uniform made up of divided parts can be more comfortable for long distance races.

The body must have characteristics of particular comfort and breathability, because it must remain in contact with the athlete’s skin for the entire duration of the race and must adapt to the different athletic gestures required during the different stages of the competition. This is why it is important to choose leotards that have ergonomic cuts and advanced fabrics.

Even the internal design of the pad is very important for comfort, the absence of seams in contact with the skin reduces friction and prevents irritation

It is important to inquire about the weather conditions of the race. For example, in a day with high temperatures the breathability properties are particularly important.

Different parameters must then be considered based on the type of race that will be faced. As for wearability for shorter races such as sprints and olympics, they are more suitable for bodysuits with a more high-necked cut and that more often wraps the athlete. While the less adherent, more low-cut and sleeveless ones are more suitable for longer races such as medium and long ones.

The FITRI regulation

As for the races held in Italy, the FITRI regulation, the Italian Triathlon Federation, gives us precise indications on the models that must be used for the races that are part of the circuit.

The uniform in fact must cover both the athlete’s shoulders and the torso. It must always be closed at the front and can only be opened on the back, from the waist up. If it is still possible to choose a type of uniform with back or front opening, it is therefore useful to keep in mind that during the race a front zip cannot be opened if you want to find relief from the heat.

For the Italian Championship races and for the Federal Circuits a one-piece body is mandatory, while for races over distances greater than the Olimpico the competition uniform in several parts is also allowed. For all other races, the one-piece competition uniform is preferred, but if the split uniform is chosen, the two parts must overlap without uncovering any part of the torso.

The suit and the uniform

The suit used in the swim fraction is also specific for triathlon and is formed by a layer of neoprene usually no more than 5 mm. According to the FITRI regulation, the suit is only an additional piece of equipment to the athlete’s race uniform and can in fact be used only when required.

The use of the wetsuit is mandatory when the water temperature is below 15.9 ° C, while it is prohibited when the temperature exceeds 20-24.6 ° C (depending on the type of race and the distances provided). It is instead optional when the temperature is between these two values. Usually in this case all the athletes use the wetsuit, which helps the buoyancy due to its material.

In cases where the suit cannot be used the choice of the body becomes relevant also for the swimming portion. in fact, a body that has better slip and buoyancy qualities may be preferable. Even on this point, however, attention must be paid to the regulation. The competition uniform, or the one-piece swimsuit that can be used above it, must be made of 100% textile materials such as nylon or lycra and cannot be composed, even partially, of plastic material elements. Neoprene or polyurethane inserts are not permitted.

Work out:

Obviously, when training individually, it is possible to use specific technical clothing for each of the three different triathlon disciplines. However, it is useful to use the body when training on the different fractions in combination, both to get used to its use and to speed up transitions by exercising with the equipment you will have in the race.