Do you use Zwift during the off-season? Why or why not?
Currie Gillespie, Winnipeg
I did a bit last year. It definitely made riding indoors a little less tedious and, dare I say, a little fun at times. I really liked the Saturday-morning group rides and getting KOMs. But last year, I didn’t ride outside at all during the winter. I was pretty miserable.
This year, I’m not riding rollers. I sort of refuse to. I’ve become a huge fan of spin classes at BPM Indoor Cycling and participate in classes all the time. They’re much less lonely and certainly more fun. Otherwise, if it’s not too rainy and I’m feeling motivated, I do my best to get outside. On Saturdays, I do a real group ride outside.
RELATED Zwift winter-training plan
If I was training on the rollers consistently, I think I would use Zwift. The competitive element encourages harder workouts. I think it’s the most engaging way to ride in your basement. I certainly would recommend at least trying Zwift to anyone training inside.
Other than bikes, your No. 1 investment in time is?
Jake Goucher, Calgary
During the off-season, I’m working, but that’s at a spin studio so maybe that still counts as bikes.
Apart from writing, if I’m not working or biking, I do a lot of walking/hiking and cooking (and eating…a lot of eating). Trying to find balance has been a key goal of mine during the past year. Although I’m not satisfied, I think the scales are less dramatically tipped toward riding. Nothing comes close to the time consumed by bikes and things related, but a combination of other interests certainly does.
If you could suggest one thing to developing cyclists, what would it be?
Aidan Livesey, Victoria
To the riders themselves, as cliché as it sounds, keep it fun. I can’t take credit for that bit of advice though, as my first coach, Bill Algeo, reminded me of that value from my Kids of Mud days before I moved to B.C. Keeping it fun could include continuing with other activities. I feel that I “specialized” too early, and would have benefited from having another commitment outside of cycling, such as another sport or learning an instrument.
To the parents and coaches of developing young riders, I would encourage them to normalize conversation around the mental stresses of being an athlete. Kids will put immense pressure on themselves, and will likely keep their mental stresses to themselves. Through personal experience, I’ve realized that I regret not opening up until recently. This past spring, I wrote about the importance of attention to mental health for young cyclists.
Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling. He’s happy to take your questions. Submit them in the comments below or send him a message.