by Oliver Evans
With gratitude and relief, it’s time for a break and a cold one of course!
Off-seasons are different for everyone. Just like regular training, there is no secret formula or code to follow to ensure success—the same plan will not work for everyone.
My main goal during the off-season is to refresh. I want to try different things, continue to be active as well as rest, recover, and take care of my health. The last thing I want is to dread getting back on my bike once my off-season is over, so I must ensure that a balanced and careful rest period is had. It cannot be too short, and must feel as though it has been sufficiently restful.
I’ve actually been in a bit of an off-season since my crashes in May which ended my season prematurely. I took some time at first to be with friends and travel a little. Once I could be more regularly active, I started hiking and riding again. However, riding took a different, more off-season form once I hopped back on the bike.
For the past few months, I’ve been riding only a few times a week. I always have a bar bag, a t-shirt instead of a jersey and aBluetoothh speaker mounted to my bars. I never have a Garmin or a power meter, and am rarely alone or have a proper ride plan. I’m riding for the sake of riding, not to train.
If there’s any single requirement that applies to all athletes during the off-season, I’d say that it’s to have fun. If you’re riding during the off-season, intervals or structured training likely shouldn’t be a part of it. Enjoy the bike. Enjoy the ride.
I’ve been doing loads of gravel riding as of late. In fact, I’ve been enjoying trips to the different Gulf Islands which include an early morning ride to the ferry, a ferry crossing, and then an adventurous lap of the island trying new gravel roads and trails before hopping on the ferry and then riding home. These are all day affairs which often include a beer or two, a sunburn, lots of laughs, exhaustion and bonking, and at least one point where the group gets lost. The purpose of the ride isn’t to train or build fitness; it’s simply to ride because we want to.
An off-season also presents riders with the perfect opportunity to try other activities, be it sport or other. I enjoy lots of hiking and have even tried surfing during my time off. I’ve also enjoyed hosting friends regularly for dinners, seeing concerts, spending many days at lakes or other swimming holes, playing with my camera and taking road trips. Most of these activities are difficult to accomplish during the season, so it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity. Variety instills better balance into a year, which is important.
During your off-season, I encourage you to rest, find balance, have fun on your bike, have fun off your bike, try something new and focus your energy on something other than riding for a little while! Challenge yourself in some other way, and push your comfort zones.
Oliver Evans 20-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, currently living in Victoria.