What's Cool In Road Cycling

Post Season: Make A Clean Break

For most cyclists (in the northern hemisphere!) the season is nearly over and a well deserved break from training and racing is in order. Quitting cold turkey and hanging the bike up completely is best. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to catch up on so much fun!

Scheduling a 2-3 week break from all forms of training has many benefits. First of all, your body needs a break to recover from all the rigors of the season. Now’s the time to let that nagging back or knee pain heal. Whatever, the problem may be, take the time to fix it. By taking a physical break you’ll lay the foundation in which you can start building upon this fall and hold all he way into the 2004 season. Without being completely mentally and physically refreshed before beginning your training for the ’04 season you’ll likely run into problems later on down the road. Maybe in December, maybe in February, but at some point you’ll need a rest—at a time of the year that inhibits your forward progress.

Secondly, many athletes need a mental break as much as they need a physical break. Racing takes such a huge psychological game that it’s nice to zone out, sleep late, relax, and recharge. For those of us that have jobs, families, and relationships, it’s nice for once to not have to sacrifice time and energy at their expense. Now would be a good time to try to impress the boss at work and make up for all those Monday mornings you were spent from a weekend of racing. Equally as important would be the fact that you, for the first time in many months, have a weekend to do whatever you want with your family or girlfriend/boyfriend. Stay out late, take the kid to a ball game, or plan on a romantic weekend getaway with your significant other as a way of saying “thanks for putting up with me this season”.

Additionally, take a break from being a geeky regimented cyclist. If you were following a strict performance diet, stop. Eat cookies, order the steak, whatever you want. If you were trying to get 9 hours of sleep a night during the season, stay up late, don’t worry about it. Forget about your resting heart rate, staying off your feet, and your power to weight ratio. But remember all good things come to an end. The purpose of this break enables you to resume and hold all the components that go into being a super fast cyclist. So whatever your fancy, do it now so that you can get back to full on training and racing for the 2004 season.

Frankly, I enjoy this time of year as much as I do the beginning of the season. It gives me the chance to catch up on all those things that I couldn’t do during the season due to being so focused on training, racing, recovering, etc…. So I have created a top ten list of all the activities that I look forward to during my post season break.

10) Not worrying about next week’s race, gear selection, or tire choice
9) Waking up Monday morning refreshed instead of physically wasted
8) Spending the weekend hiking and camping in the Colorado Rockies
7) Saturday morning cruiser rides to the coffee shop
6) Happy Hour
5) Eating anything I want
4) Drinking anything I want
3) Staying up late
2) Going out with friends and #’s 7 , 8 ,& 9
1) Daydreaming about winning bike races next season!

It takes a great deal of discipline to say goodbye to the bike for two to three weeks. It’s a completely different mindset than what’s been ingrained into your daily routine for the past 10 months. But consider it a part of your annual training plan and rest assured when you’re out carousing the bars you and your coach can call it training!

Frank Overton
Frank is a USA cycling certified coach and category 1 road racer. He can be reached at his website
and may be found in and around Boulder, Colorado executing his post season top ten list.

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