Dealing with winter.

I’ve never liked winter much. I’m not a skier or snowmobiler or any of that stuff. I like walking when it’s warm or riding a bike, and I mean bicycle or road bike.

I’ve tried the indoor bicycle trainer route. It is really awful sitting on a trainer inside. After 20 minutes you pretty much want to go jump off a bridge. Watching movies or TV doesn’t seem to help much either.

I’ve tried to like not-so-warm weather and have tried to find outside things to make the colder months more physically gratifying. I bought an Eliptigo about 2 years ago. It’s a cross between a bicycle and an elliptical. It is really hard to ride, kind of like riding a bicycle standing up the whole time!

The result has been a consistent 10-15 pound weight gain every winter, lose it in the summer, gain it back in the winter. Then my 50 something metabolism stopping being cooperative. The past 3 years I haven’t been able to get the weight off in the summer.

Last summer, while trying to keep up with the cycling club group I ride with, I was talking to one of the guys during a long climb. I asked him how he was able to stay in such great shape all winter. He gave me an answer, then sped off in front of me up the hill, not be seen again on that day.

His answer? ZWIFT. Zwift is part online game, part virtual reality and part smart trainer. I’d been thinking about Zwift for more than a year so finally in November of 2018 I pulled the trigger and ordered a smart trainer (keeps track of power/watts, resistance and cadence) that would work with my road bike. After some messing around (thank you Jim!) I was able to get the correct gears installed and adjusted.

Zwift has a little bit of learning curve, but not bad. It is an online game where you get to see other people riding around you, feel the resistance change while riding up a hill, etc. It really engages the mind. For my setup I have a Cycleops H2, an Apple SmartTV and a 42” TV. Computers work just as well.

Zwift is not only fun but also addicting. After not being able to tolerate more than 20 to 30 minutes on the older indoor trainer, I now regularly spend 2 hours a day on Zwift! The results have been great. Instead of gain 10 pounds this winter, I have lost 10. There’s no moral to this story, except maybe to find something you like to do and do it all year ‘round. You’re going to like the results.