Jess Cutler’s Guide to Winter Training

Since it’s officially the off-season that means it’s time to start getting ready for the on-season by putting in tons of miles in miserable weather, eating your weight in shot blocks, and becoming a complete and total hermit.

I wanted to share with you, my five loyal readers, my secrets to getting through the slog of the winter training months, especially living in a cold and dark place.

1. Dealing with Training Alone or How I Learned to Stop Caring and Listen to Audiobooks

If you’re anything like me you’re very particular about how you do a workout and as a result have totally alienated all of your friends, your husband, your former teammates, and all of your training partners by constantly berating them for not riding in your zone or for having to pee and other stuff like that.

Last winter while training I listened to nearly every single episode of “This American Life” and “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”  This year I started listening to Audiobooks and cannot recommend it enough.  So far I’ve listened to all of The Hunger Games books, some David Sedaris books, The Life of Pi, several Flannery O’Connor short stories, Kerouac’s On the Road, and many many others.

Besides from the O’Connor stories which left me too depressed to train and On the Road which made me too much of a beatnik to be able to commit to the rigor and structure of a training schedule, listening to Audiobooks has been my saving grace for the last several months.

2. Training Inside

It’s no secret that riding inside is literally one of the worst Rollers with Handsthings in the world.  I recommend purchasing and learning to ride on a pair of rollers.  Riding rollers will do wonders for your ability to be able to ride in a straight line, your core strength, and training on them adds the extra exciting element of crashing! Just like in a real race!

In our house I have been relegated by Niels to riding the rollers in the basement bike room after I crashed one too many times in the bedroom (although I would argue having burnout marks on your hardwood floors is pretty hardcore). Rollers no Hands I set myself up down there with a fan, an open back door, and the entire Indiana Jones library.

Once you’re comfortable riding the rollers without crashing too often you can start doing hard efforts on them.  If you find that you’re still not crashing enough, try riding no hands, this almost guarantees a crash and some cool scars!

* pro tip, even though rollers can really help your bike handling, I wouldn’t recommend working on your cornering while riding them.

3. Add a Pop of Color to Your Training Wardrobe!

Spice up your winter wardrobe with a pop of color! Nail Polish For me, because I am forever attracted to bright and shiny objects, I am pretty much always wearing a bright neon sports bra from my extensive Target collection.

Also, since not everyone needs a sports bra, I recommend painting your nails fun colors!  I have just a few nail polishes to choose from and evencandid if you can’t see them under 7 pairs of gloves they will brighten your day when you pull your frozen mitts out at the end of your ride.

For Women (and men if you prefer) I also recommend always wearing a full face of makeup at all times.  As professional female cyclists we’re obviously super famous and therefore subject to the prowling paparazzi all the time.  If you’re going to be constantly photographed it’s nice to look put together much as I do in this candid picture taken of me on my training ride last week.

*pro tip, if your husband, wife, or partner is super cool like mine, he or she will let you paint each of his/her nails 10 different colors during every single visit to the drug store!

4. Make Sure to CONSTANTLY Post About your Training on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Passive-aggressiveness is actually a requirement Twitter Feedfor residing in Seattle so naturally I excel at this.  Additionally, it’s common knowledge that subtly bragging about your training is the same as actual training so if you both brag about training and actually train you’re getting twice the bang for your buck!  This is also guaranteed to not at all further alienate your friends or make you a super annoying facebook friend.  Finally, much like whatever you ate for lunch and grainy pictures of your shoes, nothing is more interesting to your friends than your training.

This picture of my twitter feed is a perfect example of how to do this.

5. Always Wear Mismatched Kits

all the kitsNothing says “I’m wishy-washy, hard to get along with, get kicked off teams, and have been racing forever” than sporting one piece of clothing from every team you’ve ever ridden for.  I’m not sure why this is such a pro look but it totally is.  If you want to look really pro, don’t even wear two matching arm warmers or leg warmers.

*pro tip, if you haven’t been on enough teams to wear a 100% mismatched kit, do like I do and make your husband/wife/partner buy you one of his or her team kits.

So there you have it, my complete guide on how to succeed at winter training and go into the season fresh, strong, and without the burden of friends or family.

Happy training!

About Jess Cutler

35 year old pro road and cyclocross racer. National Champion. Generally nice person.
This entry was posted in Training. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Jess Cutler’s Guide to Winter Training

  1. Katie says:


  2. Pingback: Our Best Winter Training Tips « Peterson Racing P/B Spokeswomen

  3. Lindsey says:

    I love the idea of listening to audiobooks while training…. Such a simple idea that just hadn’t hit me yet. Thanks for the tips:)

    • Jess Cutler says:

      It’s the best! Some books I recommend are “Absurdistan” and “Super Sad True Love Story” both by Gary Shteyngart, “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” “Happy Accidents,” and “Swamplandia!” Happy Training (and listening)

  4. Pingback: Winning at Cycling Without Actually Winning | Jessica Cutler

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