To Train Inside or Outside?

Do you cycle outside in bad weather, or do you revert back to Zwift?

Writing snuggled up under a fluffy blanket with puppy in full sleep-mode with legs sprawling in the air acting as my hot water bottle, I’m still trying to get my head around what made me think heading out on my bike this morning was a good idea. I felt like I had a long ride in my legs and I was just getting far too restless to not spend my Sunday out on my bike. Indoor training sessions can help keep your fitness topped up, but they just can’t match pedalling outside can they?

People not quite so outdoorsy must think I’m mad. It’s a weird feeling heading out in the wind and rain. With every car that went past, I must have looked like I wasn’t moving much at all, but like in Belgium, deep down I think I was enjoying it to some extent. The headwind was relentless at times, but bearable once back on country lanes and off the main roads. The rain was making it hard to read my Garmin. Roads were flooded and sometimes like rivers. Yet I was still oddly content with being outside in my own headspace.

Country lanes are fab most of the time as a cyclist, but you can end up in the middle of nowhere rather quickly. By this point in the ride you could I wasn’t exactly thinking straight. My kit was soaked through, so the cold wind was starting to take its toll. My only focus was the cafe I was trying to get to, Caffi Florence in Loggerheads near Moel Famau. I was so close, but had a swirling river I was simply on the wrong side of.

Having just descended a rather steep hill I didn’t particularly want to head back up, there was no option but to fall back on my mountain biking skills to get me to the cafe. Luckily, the unsuccessful crossing of the river happened to be right by a footpath I knew ended up right at the cafe I was desperately trying to get to. With some funny looks of Sunday dog walkers as I rode past on muddy trails on my road bike, I finally pulled up outside Caffi Florence.

My Garmin wasn’t a huge fan of the stormy weather, so I think that had given up a long time ago. By this point, with my hands stinging from the cold, I thought it might be wise to try and get picked up. I’d love to say I was hardcore and rode home, but not being able to change gear due to cold hands made that rather difficult. No phone signal made ringing anyone difficult, so I frantically went in search of hot chocolate in the cafe.

Looking probably quite delirious stood in the middle of the cafe freezing cold thanks to wet kit, the other customers must have thought I was completely bonkers. The guy behind the counter must have felt sorry for me as he popped my hot chocolate on the table with extra marshmallows. I don’t think I’ve ever drank a hot chocolate so fast, it must have looked like I hadn’t eaten in weeks. Honestly, writing this it makes me feel like I’ve been on some massive epic, but I’d only ridden 17 miles by this point!

Catching the attention of a little boy who found my cycling helmet rather interesting, I was slowly starting to feel more human as I thawed off. With no phone signal, the only option I had was to start riding and see where it got me. The original route home abandoned having lost all faith in my Garmin, I was just heading home on roads I knew.

Finally getting some phone signal and my inability to change gear thanks to numb fingers, Ryan and Elfyn met me on the way. Elfyn being a permanent fluffy hot water bottle, his cuddles were very much needed.

So I hope this post hasn’t been too depressing to read. I hope you could have a little giggle at my misfortune after thinking I could tackle riding my bike outside today. I’m not even going to start on how the sun came out after being rescued.

I guess all I have left to say is to those who feel guilty for opting for the turbo at the moment. Don’t. Trust me, you’re not missing much outside. Head out for a walk to get your fresh air fix instead. We’ll be back riding the country lanes in no time.

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