So before those of you in the rest of Canada laugh and belittle me for my west coast reaction to snow, I’ll have you know that we got at least a full centimetre of the white stuff here in Victoria! It even hit -1…

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I’ve actually experienced my first ever snow day, which literally never happened to me in Winnipeg with its measly precipitation quantities and exaggerated ‘feels-like’ temperature lows. Victoria has shut down, forcing me to reach into my emergency kit of space blankets, Vienna Sausage and Spam for dinner last night, and my favourite coffee shop closed early. This is truly a time of shock and necessary adjustment for all.

This need to adjust has extended to my training, which had me brainstorming about some of the possible cross-training activities in which I can partake.

Before I get into some of these options, it’s important to recognize that for those that are serious about training and hate to stray from their plan, we must always consider what is within our control. We cannot control the weather, so the stress caused by inclement conditions with regard to missing a day or two of training is important to manage. Getting super worked up, frustrated or nervous won’t change the weather. A day or two off the bike is okay.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cross-training. I’ve actually counted shovelling as part of my training, granted the snow here is much wetter and heavier than in other parts of Canada. But in all seriousness: it’s a workout, and by activating your core and elevating your heart-rate as well as using other less commonly used muscles in the body, it’s not a bad idea.

Cross-country skiing is an excellent full body and cardio workout that translates to cycling very well. For an uncoordinated cyclist such as myself, it usually results in an epic yard sale. The proof is in the pudding with this sport though, just ask Leah Kirchmann, whose sporting career started on the ‘sticks’. With a proper orientation, I’d highly recommend skiing if you get the chance.

When it’s too cold for you outside, the gym is always an option. If you don’t have a membership, loads of gyms have super cost-effective first-time packages or even free trials. Take advantage of this and do some bicep curls (and get a free shower). Maybe there’s even a pool too and you can get a swim in, which is always an elegant balance between a super difficult workout and trying to stay alive since not all cyclists are good swimmers.

Running, hiking, snowshoeing or simply walking are also excellent options. Michael Woods, this really good cyclist from Canada knows a thing or two about how running helps with cycling. It’s cheap, and you can do it anywhere.

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When it comes down to it, take advantage of the opportunity to add some variety to your plan, have some fun, and exercise other muscles that are otherwise often neglected on the bike. Be cognizant of the need for your body to adjust to different forms of exercise and be mindful of the risk for injury. If done right, this forced change may actually have larger benefits on your mental and physical well-being than if you were to simply keep riding.

Oliver Evans 20-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, currently living in Victoria. In 2019, he will race with Trek Red Truck Racing.

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