Coach's Corner:
Mixing it Up in the Off-Season

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in The California Events Schedule, January 1993


To have fun while maintaining or improving fitness and skills during the winter months.


A random mix of various workouts, both on and off the bike. This includes road cycling, trail riding, rollers, exercise bikes or stationery trainers, and anything else that spins your legs in circles. Incorporate as many of these in any given week as possible.


On the road, keep it simple and unusual. Explore and do rides you've never done before. I know it's sacrilegious for some, but ignore your speed; even leave the bike computer home. Ride with friends, but keep it social, not competitive.

Improve your skills by taking to the trails. Whether you have a mountain bike or not, try some trails with your road bike. You'll be surprised at how much you can do with skinny tyres, plus you will have a blast. Think technique, not speed.

Other outdoor possibilities include tandeming and fixed gear. Both will build strength and skill. Surely someone in your club or social circle has a tandem or a track bike. Otherwise, many shops have rental tandems, plus track bikes are available for rent at the Hellyer Park Velodrome in San Jose. Give it a whirl, have fun, and get fit! Your spin will improve, plus you'll improve your skill and technique repertoire.

Finally, spend a day or two per week riding indoors. Workout options include rollers, which dramatically improve spin and smoothness (balance yourself while both wheels spin beneath you); stationery trainers to which you attach your own bike, especially good for leg burning workouts while watching TV; and exercise bikes at the gym (be sure you set the seat height accurately). Give them all a try and watch your fun and fitness improve.

Anything you can do to keep your muscle memory up while diversifying and funifying your training during the winter will pay big benefits come spring-time. Just remember to keep the emphasis on fun.