As autumn turns into winter, every cyclist eventually starts to think "I better get off my butt and start training for next year."
Or more likely, "OK, I can't stay on the couch any longer. Must... Get... Up..."
Cardio training can take two principle forms, on-bike or off-bike. On bike means riding outside, riding an indoor trainer, and that new thing, spinning classes. Off bike can mean winter weight training, or some of the very fun outdoor winter-cardio-ports like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing (or, ugh, running). It can also mean going to a gym and using cardio machines.
I personally vouch for the effectiveness of the regular plain-jane Stairmaster (on maximum). During all of my best years I maintained extremely high fitness levels using the Stairmaster on maximum. Stairmaster, and my custom workout tape!
For the outdoor training thing, I have been recently snowshoeing in the excellent and deep fresh snow of late December 2007. Snowshoeing is great exercise, and it's almost fun. Ok, it is fun. I like the "go-anywhere" capability we have on snowshoes.
But while cross-training is fun and efective at maintaining the cardio base, there's a certain amount of in-the-saddle time that needs to be logged during the winter to keep our bodies tuned to the real thing: riding a bike.
So I put all the wires on to my computrainer and plugged it in last night. Everything worked so I am set to go. Sweating it up on an indoor trainer will make the process of riding outside and getting back on the road in spring much better.
A indoor training tip: Put the fan in front of you, if you are doing indoor trainer riding properly, you'll sweat like a pig! Since the fan produces quite a bit of wind, it isn't totally stupid to wear your bike shades when the fan is blowing in your face and eyes.
So, I have to decide, indoor bike riding or go for a presupper snowshoe up the mountain?
"Ugh. Must... Get... Up..."
...3 hours later...
Well I exercised. I did it old school... carrying 20 pounds of library books back to the Grande Bibliotheque - and doing it over the trails of Parc Mont Royal, and then carrying 30 pounds of new book back home.