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5 Cycling Challenges to Fuel Your Winter Training

9 October 2020

How to cycle through the winter…

As the days get shorter and the warm summer breeze turns into a biting winter chill, the drive for all of us to get out on our bikes can start to fade. To combat this, we bring you 5 cycling challenges to spice up your winter training so that you can keep the motivation levels high when the temperatures are low!

Photo: Daniel Willinger

1. Red Bull Time Laps

The Red Bull Time Laps are a great excuse to keep the pressure on during your October training. For the worlds longest one-day road cycling challenge, teams of 4 are challenged to ride the furthest distance in a 25 hour time period. Last years race ended with a SunGod-heavy podium with Pro Team Athletes from Bianchi Dama and the Internationelles taking 1st and 2nd respectively. This year, due to COVID 19 restrictions, the Red Bull Time Laps will be a virtual event making it free to enter - All you need is to enter your team on www.redbull.com, a strava account and a bike – Good luck!

This years event begins at 12:00:00 BST on Saturday 24th October and finishes at 12:00:00 UTC on Sunday 25th October. For more information, head to www.redbull.com

“It’s great to achieve something like this together. The harder it is the better that feeling.” Emma Cockroft, SunGod Ambassador and member of the 2019 RBTL winning team.

2. Cyclocross

Freezing temperatures, mud splattered faces, skidding around corners – it must be cyclocross season. If you haven’t discovered cyclocross yet, this is your moment. Traditionally held over the winter months, cyclocross is used by many road racers to aid fitness in the off-season. Races involve a mass start followed by an off-road circuit consisting of tight corners, mud and obstacles to carry the bike over. If you’re looking to keep the fitness levels high and the adrenaline higher, this is the sport for you!

Riders from SunGod Pro Team Ribble Weldtite have already been storming around the cyclocross courses this autumn.

3. Winter Time Trials

Cycle racing in its simplest form, time trials allow you to leave it all on the track. No one to draft behind, no team mates to push you forward. Just you, your bike and your lung capacity. Most events take place on roads at a fixed distance using an ‘out and back’ format or circuit. The best part is, unlike a road race where if you fall off the pack it’s over, it’s a race against the clock with only the fastest time to beat. With time trials will happening year-round at the moment, they are a great way to keep motivated and keep the pedals spinning when the temperatures drop.

With time trials will happening year-round at the moment, they are a great way to keep motivated and keep the pedals spinning when the temperatures drop.

4. Enter your first ultra-distance cycling event

Ultra-distance cycling is any bike race further than 100 miles with the clock running continuously from start to finish. With most ultra-distance races taking place in summer, use the winter months to decide which race you wish to enter and get prepping!

SunGod Ambassador Nora Turner who rode the 560km Race Around Austria Challenge this summer says: “Decide which race to enter and spend the winter prepping hard! If it’s your first ultra-race, I can highly suggest testing your equipment fully in the coming months. Also, if you can make time for a few long rides, 300 or 400km adventures or a full day on the roller, this will help too. Good luck!”

"Decide which race to enter and spend the winter prepping hard! If it’s your first ultra-race, I can highly suggest testing your equipment fully in the coming months." SunGod Ambassador Nora Turner. Photo: Daniel Willinger

5. Gravel Rides

If riding for exploratory purposes is more your thing, keep it fresh this winter by rolling off the tarmac and onto the gravel trails! Gravel riding is a great opportunity to, quite literally, change the scenery, if you’re tired of riding the same roads. Pedal away from the bustle of the roads and into the wilderness, unconstrained by the terrain. With a gravel bike at your disposal, fresh winter adventures await!

With a gravel bike at your disposal, fresh winter adventures await!Photo: Chris Sansom

Sometimes, all we need is a bit of inspiration to motivate us to train through the winter months. By maintaining strong base fitness levels in the off-season, it will be easier to smash the bigger goals come spring. Above all else, remember that continuing to adventure outside will keep the endorphins flowing which is what it is all about!

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