Knowledge Level: Intermediate
Autumn Cycling Checklist 2019
Autumn means different things for different riders. For some, it heralds the end of their racing or sportive season and a transition into off-season training. Others, who race cyclo-cross or track, will just be starting. For all, the weather can be a challenge, often throwing all four seasons at you in one ride. Follow our tips to make this autumn your most successful yet.
Plan your winter training
We’ve got a whole new set of training plans now available on TrainingPeaks. Whether you’re looking for a dedicated winter plan, are pressed for time or are wanting to hit peak form for cyclo-cross or the track, there’s a plan to suit you.
Have a break
Even top pros will have a break at the end of their season and, if you’ve been racking up the miles or racing over the summer, having some time off the bike can recharge you both physically and mentally. You don’t have to stop riding completely but just change the emphasis from training or competing to the social, family and pleasure.
When you are ready to knuckle down to training again, your first priority should be testing for your Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR) and/or Functional Threshold Power (FTP) and then using the results to set accurate training zones. This is a key step in all of our training plans and is essential for getting the most out of your autumn and winter riding.
On an autumn ride you can often get a dose of weather from both of the seasons either side of it. One minute you can be riding in the baking sun and the next in a freezing downpour. Flexible and versatile layers, such as arm/knee warmers and a gillet, are key to staying comfortable.
Pin a number on
If you’re still craving a competitive fix, you’ve plenty of options going into the autumn. Cyclo-cross and track leagues will just be getting started and there’s always the leg and lung searing option of a hill climb.
Get some Vitamin D
With shorter days, the NHS recommend that all people take a Vitamin D supplement through the autumn and winter and this is even more important for cyclists. It’ll help to support immune function, bone health and help recovery from training.
Your turbo isn’t just for the depths of winter. As the nights start to draw in or if you’re just short of time, it’s hard to beat a quality indoor trainer session. You can hit exactly the intensity you’ve planned, have no other road users to look out for and no opportunities for freewheeling.
If you’re taking some time off the bike, the autumn can be ideal for dedicating some time to some off the bike training and conditioning. This doesn’t have to be full-on strength work in the gym and the majority of cyclists would benefit as much from some yoga, Pilates or mobility work.
Time for mudguards
Probably the most significant thing you can do for keeping dry and warm on your bike is to fit full length mudguards. You don’t need drillings as there are clip-on models to fit almost all frames. They’ll also protect your drivetrain from road-spray which, from the first frosts, can contain salt. Finally, if you ride with a group, your mates will definitely thank you.
If you’ve got an N+1 itch, satisfy it with a gravel bike. It’ll expand your riding options, allow you to explore those By-ways and Bridleways you never dared tackle on your road bike but isn’t a chore to ride on the road like a mountain bike. You can also press it into cyclo-cross and/or winter trainer duties.