Cycling in temperate climate zone is more or less a saisonal sport. Mass events are also mostly held between mid-spring and early autumn. It is possible to cycle in the winter, but it does not give the same satisfaction like in summer. Dark, cold, windy, brrr. Cycling doesn’t move a person’s lower body. This sport requires a whole body fitness.
For the winter / foundation period, many cyclists choose a cross sport. This second sport trains / keeps the cycling muscles in shape. It can be indoor or outdoor. I’ve done several cross training sessions in the last years.
I couldn’t even tell you exactly when I had my first running workout. I started running in Veszprém. In 2015, I took part in a university evening run. The track led through the city center. As a beginner it was way more difficult than I thought. However, the beginning of winter gave new motivation for running excercises. I was so determined, that I ran for a good 40 minutes or an hour with empty stomach 3x a week before university lections. Later I also got a heart rate monitor. It was a very useful accessory. It is much easier to keep your heart rate when cycling. The slope, the tailwind can help you, you can roll without pedaling, stretch. Well running is not quite similar sport. You should always keep your leg moving, up or down is not matter. In return a person’s toes / hands do not freeze so quickly in winter, as they are always in motion.
I could build up a really good running form in the winter. I tried to make running to a whole year sport. In 2016 I did a half marathon in 2,5 hours.Yes, if you train 1 hours/10-12 km´s, don´t espect the best time on Earth. I would not even recommand that because it was painful. In the sommer I got a taste from trailrunning. I went for a race aside of Lake Balaton. It was really muddy/hilly, I enjoyed it.
The last milestone of my running career was in January 2017. In Balatonalmádi was a quarter marathon really icy trailrunning race. It was also a kind of farewell to the area. I moved to Austria a week later. Winter running gives you fairly good sense of balance and good reflexes. There were exciting moments as both of my feet slipped on the icy road.
Training in gym
I could write bodybuilding as well, but it would be a porly chosen word. What kind bodybuilder burns his muscles with cycling? This hobby replaced my running workouts. Running was a great thing, but aside of cycling, it was too intense for a second sport. With the start of the cycling season, running has been pushed into the background. Thus running is always hard at the beginning. It takes many weeks to develop runner muscles.
The inspiration to work out in the gym came from: where I moved, there was a fully equipped gym and it could be used for free. So I asked my competent relative for a workout plan to work out my upper body muscles three times a week. I worked out always different muscle groups each day. I would not necessarily list this sport as one of the easiest sports to do. You need to invest enough time / energy in lifting weights to become stronger. For example, in the first weeks I could barely lift the smallest one-handed barbell. No wonder that novice women prefer to use weights under 5kg. For traning time 40-60 minutes turned out optimal for me. It is not worth training less, because approx. Fat burning starts after 30 minutes. In the other hand I have never claimed more. 4 repetitions is plenty enough for me to get pleasantly tired. One can be completed in 10 minutes. After that I mostly make a few minutes long break.
After I moved to Pécs (in 2018) and I got an office my interest job to bodybuilding started again. Therefor in the summer of 2018, I tested out some gyms and I found a sympathetic one where the equipment was good, it was cheap, and it was close to home. I usually did the workouts after work. I also tried to calculate the overtime so that I could make a traning before the gym is closed down. Even so, sometimes I had to stretch the workout in 40 minutes. Which was pretty intense without any break. I also started consuming protein powder. The problem with this was: my body likes the build and store fat. Thanks to the evening workouts / higher dose dinner / protein powder, when I was able to push 50-60 kg off my chest, I was over 72 kg. Of course, you need a certain weight to lift more weights. But you also have to take it with you on a bicycle. I was less explosive on the uphills. It took me more time to get up.
In the spring of 2019 I got a new bike. The bike was about 12 years younger than its predecessor. 29er wheel size, 1×11 drive, carbon frame. There were brutal differences. The larger wheel size on narrow paths feels like a boat. It’s not enough to turn the handlebars, you have to steer the bike with your body allignments. The larger wheels likes to go downhill faster, but they would like to roll backwards more on steep climbs. The 11 speed sounds good on paper. The new technology uses the most commonly used speeds without the first shifter. Hooray, finally the front derailleur doesn’t drop the chain in either direction. However, the 72 kg and 11 speeds were not 100% compatible with each other. On the slopes, thanks to the strong upper body, I was able to hold lines that I have never held before. The lightweight carbon frame helped a lot. Thus its stiffness was absolutely mindblowing. You step on the pedal and the bike insantly accelarates under you. No wonder that many manufacturers only offer carbon bikes in premium category. A big question however, is durability. You can easily break a bike to total damage. For the price of a new frame, you can probably buy a whole second hand bike.
The story of my cross-training continues in 2020. Coronavirus, closed gyms, postponemed hospital examinations. A great opportunity came and after 3 years of hard work I was finally able to get back in Austria. The moving was not easy because of the new silly regulations. I got a quarantaine. I only saw / felt the sunlight from the room for two weeks. I didn’t believe that the police would check me every day. I did not have any problems with the Hungarian police, but once the speeding penalty has been raised to 100 USD. Once I was lucky or rather unlucky to get one. This 100 USD was my saved-up money in the whole month. Who raised this sum up? How much money he gets every month? That is nonsense. Once after the control I wanted to do a ride alone. I lived 1 year in this building in 8 years. Suddenly two people recognised me and acted like I am being a sort of criminal. I do not miss this part of the Hungarian mentality. After that incident, I took out my rubber band, which I bought a couple of years ago. Rubber band training is a great alternative to weight training. Here one does not struggle against the gravitational energy, but rather against elastic energy. I’ve been doing it for a year now and I’m happy with it. Similar exercises can be done as with dumbbells. With a fit (swiss) ball is a really good combination. They don´t replace a gym with machines, but it does not even cost money. Moreover in Austria loyalty must be proven. You have to pay every month for a year. After that you can eradate your contract. This is not worth it during the covid period, but even after the closures are over. Who knows what will happen in a few months. You subscribe and everything will be closed again in 5 months. Bad business.
I’ve heard good things about spine gymnastics. Personally, I have never tried. I don’t even know its exercises, if you can start on your own etc. Yoga can also be an alternative. I only do yoga when I a nerve gets pinched in my back. Fortunately, I rarely need it. In general, women like to do it because it is a good social activity, easy and female bodies are basically more flexible.
If someone loves cycling and running, with swimming one can buy a ticket into the world of triathlon. A shorter triathlon race can be accomplished by almost anyone. I’ve been thinking about it before, but my swimming skills are converging to zero. Maybe I can get a taste from this sport in the future.
A gyalogtúrázást én kifejezetten hegyvidéken és hűvösebb időben szeretem. Nyáron macerás 3-5 liter vizet háton cipelni. Útközben egy jó, hideg sörnek nincs párja. Egy szerpentines túra az Alpokban… 10 km emelkedő leküzdése 2-3 óra alatt.
I especially enjoy hiking in the mountains in cooler weather. In summer, carrying 3-5 liters of water on your back is not fun.
On my way I tend to consume a good cold beer.A serpentine hike in the Alps… 10 km uphill in 2-3 hours.The sense of space increases, the landscape unfolds itself in front of a you.Every drop of sweat worth such a view.Just keep it in mind that the mountain peak is only the first part of the hike.Somehow you have to get down. In the downhill sections your legs and knees can hurt.You have to be in a good friendship with your footwear because they can make yours life bitter.
I think the ideal cross-training depends on the individual’s preferences, goals, and infrastructure. If someone hates running, don’t choose it as cross training. If someone loves swimming, but there is no swimming pool / lake in the area, it will also be a difficult. If someone is looking for a national title, it is not enough to do gym training only in winter. You need to train your muscles whole year. If someone isn’t doing cross-training, some compromises must be made. A cyclist burns his muscles on his upper body. Which isn’t necessarily a problem for cycling, but it can be missing when flirting.