November 01, 2018 — By Steven Kyker
As the temperature starts to drop, getting outside to ride becomes increasingly more complicated. But you’re committed to riding outside, and more committed to not bringing your trainer out from storage where it’s been collecting dust with your high school yearbooks. We all remember the first cold ride we went on where you realize thin running gloves and ski socks aren’t going to cut it. You try to regain feeling in your fingers and toes, but wind up burning them as you jump into a hot shower post-ride. You slowly acquired appropriate gloves, neoprene booties, a jacket, thermal tights, and merino wool everything underneath all of these layers. Oh, and you also needed a balaclava - not to be confused with baklava. (However in desperation 10/10 would recommend going to a Mediterranean restaurant asking for one). All of this doesn’t deter you and you still commit to checking the weather compulsively to time your two hours outside in 40 degree weather. “Who needs a trainer!” you say as you curl up in your sleeping bag with the heat set to 80 after getting out of a scalding shower still frozen to your bones.
One too many cold rides later, and that fluid trainer from 2011 finally crawls out of the attic. It’s the epitome of a love-hate relationship. For the first week you actually kind of enjoy it, getting caught up on T.V. shows, scrolling Instagram in between intervals, and not having to leave your house. But eventually the loud whirring, the pools of sweat, and the feeling of motionless gets you back outside chasing euphoria looking like a mummy. You feel like you just can’t win - go out in the cold to freeze or sit inside like a hamster on a wheel. You wake up each morning praying for summer so you can skip winter entirely.
Right as you’re about to give up and put your bike away until summer, you have a Zwift epiphany. It completely changes your trainer rides, giving you the stimulation you’ve been looking for. You buy a new smart trainer and the loud whirring sound is gone - and now you have a power meter! You begin to view the pools of sweat as a measure of how hard you work. You buy a Kickr Climb days later to truly feel how hard it is to scale the alps. And did I mention you get to race your friends!? All of this from the comfort of your own home. Forget about frost-bitten toes and that time you thought a balaclava was baklava.