· Pick and set up a good environment: Everyone’s domestic situation is different, but picking (or negotiating) a comfortable riding room is a big first step. I know a few athletes who say they can’t stand riding inside but then come to find out they are usually banished (or have banished themselves) to dark dank basements or garages with poor lighting, no climate control and their rollers are squeezed in between un packed boxes from their last move. Regardless of the space you are in, making it comfortable, clean and as inviting as possible will do wonders for your attitude towards indoor riding. Also, make sure you have a good fan to keep you cool. It’s not wimpy, when you ride outside you have 15 to 25 mph of wind keeping you cool all the time, you should have it inside as well. Sweating in puddles may feel all Rocky like but it does you no good unless you are a high school wrestler trying to make weight. You will be able to ride longer and your equipment, body and housemates/guests will thank you. One tip, if on carpet, highly recommend some type of rubber matting to protect the carpet from cycling shoes and if riding rollers the potential trip off the side. (I lost a portion of a security deposit one time when I left a nice burn out in my rental’s carpet, oops).
· Take precautions to protect the “nether” regions. Tough topic, but riding inside causes a lot more stress on the, ahem, naughty bits and related areas. Saddle sores seem to be more common in the winter with a lot of indoor riding. I am sure science can explain it all but in short it’s related to being locked in place and not having the variety of motion and getting in and out of the saddle that you have outside. A few recommended approaches to handling this:
o Clean chamois, and a good chamois cream is a good start.
o Have a few different types of bibs/shorts to vary the chamois and pressure points on different days.
o If you have more than one bike with different saddles, another place to mix it up to change up pressure points by riding a different bike on different days.
o If using a stationary trainer vice rollers, make sure you have a block for the front wheel to keep the bike level. Many companies make ones specifically for this purpose, but an old text book works in a pinch.
o Get in and out of the saddle on occasion to give yourself some relief.
o If doing rides over an hour, take a 2 to 5 minute break every 45 minutes or so. Re fill bottles, stretch a bit, take a natural break. Not only will this give “things” a rest, it’s also good mentally.
· Entertain yourself! There is no reason to be miserable. TVs, computers, tablets and audio devices are cheap these days. Any of those can provide hours of audio and video entertainment. If you have the disposable income, there are a number of trainers that vary terrain and provide different workouts and give you tons of information that you can use to monitor and improve your cycling. They are great, but pricey. There are also a number of companies that provide cycling specific videos that incorporate workouts into the video and you can use whatever trainer or rollers you have. Pick your poison, expensive, cheap, cycling related, non-cycling related, whatever works and is within your budget, but just don’t stare at the wall hyper focusing on how awful riding inside is!
· Eat, drink and be merry! Keep up with your nutrition and hydration. Indoor winter environments are dry and fairly warm, closer to late spring and early summer conditions, and a great opportunity to practice you nutrition strategy, keep on top of it.
To paraphrase Henry Ford, when it comes to indoor riding, whether you choose to hate it or like it, you are right… Your attitude and surroundings will determine how tolerable and beneficial your indoor training sessions can be. Spend a little time prepping your environment to maximize the benefits of indoor riding to help make your season your best yet.