Winter is coming, and for cold wimps like me, it is the dreaded time of year.
I know, many of you enjoy the cold. You love the biting wind in your face and the warm mugs of apple cider after a cold nighttime ride with friends.
Perhaps this blog post would be better if I were to have a guest author come on and discuss how to dress for cold winter mountain biking.
But I don’t roll that way.
I’ll go riding a couple of times in the winter if a bunch of friends is going. I can hang with the best of them. I hate the snow; I hate the cold, I’m a whiny crying pussy about it.
But I can hang.
Just because I can hang and have the gear, doesn’t mean that I have to. When the cold starts, I head indoors.
For the longest time, I just used a bike trainer and some slick tires on the bike. It sucks. Almost as bad as riding in the winter. You stare at the concrete wall or watch some cycling reruns or early 2000’s cycling workout video on the video.
So when a friend asked me to come along with her to a Spin class, I decided I had nothing to lose. I was already stigmatized for my refusal to ride in the cold. How bad could attend a spin class be?
So can spin bike classes help mountain bikers? You get to control your workout. There is a “knob of fate,” and the more you turn it up, the more you hurt. The better a rider you will be.
Even as an amateur racer, I find these classes to be challenging. It is one hour of pure pain. Pure sweat. Pure intensity.
Sure, there are those who just hang out and spin lightly. But I try to keep up with the instructor. I don’t do “fake” knob turns. I crank that knob, and I suffer.
Does Spin Class Make A Difference In Performance?
There is a magic piece to spin class. It is called “High-Intensity Interval Training ” (HIIT).
The popular way to train is to ride for long periods of time at high intensity.
With High-Intensity Interval Training, you take your body to its maximum output repeatedly.
In my experience, it is the worst idea for exercising ever invented. There are no easy sessions. I find it hard not to dread my workouts.
HIIT workouts are proving to be the most effective way to increase performance. Not only does it boost your overall performance, but it also promotes your ability to handle peak loads.
As you know from mountain biking, it often requires repeated high-output efforts as you climb over little climbs and maneuver roots and rocks.
HIIT is also correlated with an increase in testosterone and higher power outputs, even among highly trained athletes.
In my experience, it is the secret weapon that no one else is using. It seems the other riders just don’t believe in its effectiveness. Or maybe they hate it as much as I hate riding in the snow.
The best way to train for that is to ride a mountain bike. Outside of that, I find a high-intensity training program to be the most effective way to train off the bike.
Spin class isn’t “HIIT” by name, but I find the effort and the style to be similar enough that I get an equal workout over 45 minutes.
And that leaves me with more time for drinking hot apple cider.