Bike Random

Embracing the Cold

Those cold and grey days are tough. We are currently getting up in the dark and going to bed in the dark. So everything feels a bit moody. After work or on weekends, I am also experiencing a strong pull from the couch. It’s hard to resist, when all you want to do is to cuddle up into a huge blanket, scroll through social media or watch Netflix.

Those times, I need some tricks to help me find the initial motivation to get going. One of the (simple) things that were a game changer for me, was preparing all my things in advance (usually before going to bed the day before). Like this, everything is ready and steady to go. When the alarm clock rings, I get up right away and follow my plan. I have already chosen the clothes I want to wear, the bike is checked and chain lube applied. Everything is working automatically and all I have to do is grabbing my things and leaving the apartment.

woman on mountain bike at wexl flow trail with snow
End of Season Ride at Wexl Trails (pic by Ellis Gugerell)

Early Morning Bliss

Those early birds are cool for many reasons. Once awake and ready to go, I am really looking forward to get outside – even if it’s cold. I feel fresh, awake and I am (hopefully) in good company once I hit the trails. Shortly after sunrise, the feels are spectacular and the atmosphere is stunning. A lot of times, nature is creating some magic moments with marvellous colours and the sun turns everything into bright rose, orange or purple. Other times, there are reflections on the snow that create a bluish freshness that goes well with the crisp air. That way, the cold is soon (almost) forgotten.

No chance for hibernation

The local trails around Vienna are closed during winter (from Nov until the end of Feb). So we have to get a bit experimental. That means, either looking for events that especially allow mountain biking (like the yearly Schneefräsn and Pistenwexl). Or we decide to drive to areas a bit further away. The good thing is, that we always have Winnie with us. So we can change (wet or dirty) clothes and relax a bit inside the van after or in between rides.

If mountain biking does not work out for some reason, exploring the flat trails nearby with the gravel bike is also an option. Often, there is something new to discover and we recently had a lot of fun in the ‘Viennese Jungle’.

The cold is your friend, or is it not?

Once outside, I love being in nature, enjoying the quiet, having some decent conversations or simply letting the mind wander. For us that means long walks with the foster dog and the periodic dips in cold water.

With the Old Danube we have some pretty nice locations around here. The (currently 2 degrees) cold water is good for the body and mind and a great alternative to the sauna. Some deep breaths in the emerald green water, feeling the prickling sensation on the skin and everything feels right. After that, the motivation is high and it’s perfect to engage in some creative projects afterwards.

When it comes to the rest of the training, I tried to create a new routine. The local gyms were recently in lockdown again due to „The-Thing-That-Must-Not-Be-Named“. So the strength training is happening in the home gym or outside in one of the parks nearby.

I am also exchanging some of the endurance sessions with other sports like running, hiking and maybe even some cross country skiing. On one of my gravel rides, I passed an outdoor boulder rock which I will check out as soon as the fingers are not freezing onto the holds.

It’s worth it!

Back at home, it’s time to relax with some warm beverage. On the couch, I sometimes think back of those wonderful moments of spring and summer. When we were able ride our bike just with a t-shirt and enjoying the cool breeze on our skin. This will soon be possible again. But until then, there are some cooler adventures head.

So, get outside and play!

group of mountain bikers in the snow
Embracing the cold

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