11 Things That Happen When You Ride All Winter

You’ve made the commitment to tough it out and keep riding right through the winter this year. It won’t be easy, but you can expect a lot from your efforts.

You get stronger. Winter is classic base-training time. Riding long, steady sessions in Zone 2 (around 70-percent max heart rate) for several weeks over the winter increases the size and number of your energy-producing mitochondria, helping you ride longer and eventually faster in your aerobic range before hitting threshold. A surprise bonus: Because you’re wearing heavier clothes, carrying more gear, and often using a heavier bike (like a cyclocross bike, mountain bike, or fat bike), you’re also getting stronger and building muscular endurance in the process.

You get smugger. You’ll find yourself humble bragging all over the place about how you’re braving the elements while others forsake their winter fitness. Don’t feel bad: All those cold outside rides will also make you legitimately tougher in the face of bad weather. When it’s a little chilly and rainy come spring, you’ll be totally comfortable while your still-hibernating buddies shiver in their gaiters. Want a support group excited to hear about your successes? Join our 21-Day #RideStreak Challenge for daily tips and motivation, and to be part of an online community stoked about getting after it.

READ MORE: http://www.bicycling.com/training/motivation/11-things-that-happen-when-you-ride-all-winter?cid=soc_BICYCLING%20magazine%20-%20bicyclingmag_FBPAGE_Bicycling__

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