Winter Training and Racing

As the PPYCC coached sessions have now finished for the 2017 season we thought it would useful to highlight winter training and racing opportunities to help riders build on the great improvements they’ve all made this season.

Just get out and ride !

There are a few straight forward options that don’t require travelling hours or investing in expensive indoor training equipment. The most obvious of these is to just get out and have fun riding with friends and family anywhere and anytime you can. If the rider is too young to ride on the open roads there are lots of tracks, trails and bike paths. Whilst we’re no longer coaching the Preston Park track remains open for public riding throughout the winter and provides a safe (roller skaters and scooters permitting !) venue to continue riding ready for next season.

For riders 12 years and older PPYCC have previously organised Sunday club rides of 2-3 hours length starting from the track in November. We’re currently assessing the demand for the club rides and will post more details shortly.

Turbo charge your training

Indoor ‘turbo’ training is a very effective alternative to road riding when the weather is wet or cold. For those thinking about purchasing an indoor trainer there are lots of options out there in Brightons bike shops as well as second hand deals to be had on eBay. Tacx, Elite and Cyclops are three of the more popular brands and there are lots of good cheap models available if you hunt around. We’d suggest going into your local bike shop for advice or looking online at the many cycling websites have undertaken reviews to help you select a model. If the rider has a small bike with 650c, 24″, 20″ wheels check before you purchase that the trainer can be adjusted to fit the smaller wheel sizes. Riding on a trainer can get very hot and boring. So make sure you have a drinks bottle to hand and preferably a small fan or open door/window to keep you cool. To keep the training interesting there are lots of free training videos on YouTube. Global Cycling Network (GCN) in particular has some excellent training videos for sessions 20 minutes to 1 hour long. Having a computer or heart rate monitor isn’t necessary but is useful when following a training video and helps to track your progress during the winter.

The next level of indoor training uses online training systems such as Zwift or Sufferfest where the training session runs from a computer or tablet which connects to a ‘smart’ Bluetooth or ANT+ wireless turbo trainer. The connection between the computer and trainer not only allows the display onscreen of how you’re performing, tracking your session but also can control the resistance on the trainer when going up and downhill making the session even more realistic.

The main advantages of indoor training are that it’s safe when the weather isn’t good, you can ride a specific training sessions in a very controlled way e.g. intervals , and they are a very effective way of training as there’s no free wheeling, slowing down for traffic or stopping at junctions. A 45 minute session on a trainer is easily worth an hour of training time on the road.

Organised Training Sessions

In terms of organised training over the winter track, road and cyclocross club cluster sessions are available across the winter.

Whilst PPYCC are not running coached sessions at Preston Park across the winter for the outer ring riders we will be setting weekly endurance based sessions for riders to undertake themselves at the track. We’d suggest riders meet at 10am each Saturday morning so that you can undertake with other club riders. However, as these are effectively stand alone sessions they could be undertaken at anytime. These are not PPYCC club sessions and will not be supervised. Riders will need to support attending these sessions themselves in terms of bringing pumps, bikes checks etc and ride in the track at their own risk as the track will be open to the public.

Track cluster sessions are hosted monthly at Lee Valley velodrome on Sunday mornings. They start early at 8am and last 3 hours with groups rotating for time on the track. Dates for these sessions are on the British Cycling South East Regional page and also on our calendar.

Entry is in advance via British Cycling website. These are excellent sessions aimed at improving riders skills and count towards indoor track accreditation allowing you to race at London Track League. These sessions are for riders over 10 years old and if you don’t have your own track bike these are available to hire but smaller sizes are limited so you’d need to check with British Cycling or the velodrome in advance to check what’s available.

For riders moving to u14s next season and older British Cycling run circuit cluster sessions every Tuesday evening 7:30 to 9:00pm at Cyclopark. Sign-on is 7pm entry on the day £5. These sessions are already attended regularly by 4-5 PPYCC riders and focus on endurance training and race skills. If you do want to attend it’s better to join sooner rather than later as the demands increase during the winter.

More locally, if you have a mountain bike or cyclocross bike VC Jubilee/Brighton Excelsior run an excellent cyclocross training session on Tuesday evenings at Waterhall fields until February. £2 for a 90 minute coached session starting 6:30pm. These sessions are aimed at riders U10 and older and great for improving your off road skills and building fitness.

Winter Racing

For those of you who are interested in racing during the winter there are lots of options. Traditionally winter is the season of indoor track and cyclocross racing.

There are a small number of circuit races during the winter and the next of these is at Redbridge circuit on 9th December, entry is online via the British Cycling website. In the new year there are winter race series at both Redbridge and Hillingdon for u10s and older categories and once these dates are available we’ll update the club calendar but entry will be online via British Cycling website.

Cyclocross season is already in full swing and it’s been great to see many of our riders in the London Cyclocross League races. These races take place most Sundays anywhere from Sussex across to the Kent border. The races are for u10s and above. The dates and venues for these races are on the London Cyclocross website.

Indoor track racing is held at two regional venues – Calshot and Lee Valley velodromes.

The London Youth Track League is now established as a highly competitive regional racing series. The race evenings are held every other Thursday from now until the end of January. Riders need to join the league in advance and enter races online via British Cycling. Places for these races are in high demand and you need to enter quickly when the races become available for entry. Age categories are for U12s and older but you must be indoor track accredited to race. The best way to obtain accreditation and increase experience before racing the league is to attend the track cluster sessions and if possible race some of the Calshot winter league.

The Calshot winter track league is held every Sunday afternoon from now until end of January. The racing here is competitive but rider numbers are lower and it’s not as intense as London Youth Track League. These are great races to gain experience and develop racing skills. For these sessions you do need to have your own bike but unlike the London Youth Track League you do not need to be accredited. However, to race you must already have outdoor and some indoor track experience gained in previous years at our Calshot training sessions or at the track cluster sessions. Each week there are different races for each age group and typically riders get 5 races in a session.

We hope this helps provide options to keep you training and motivated to continue with your riding this winter. We hope to see as many of you as possible at the AGM and Annual Awards on the afternoon 18th November, further details will shortly be published. To those of you who can’t make the AGM well done for your efforts to improve your cycling skills and performances this year and we look forward to seeing you all for the next coached session on the first Saturday of March 2018.