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Surviving Off-Season - With Siobhan Kelly

The cold weather of the off-season can have a chilling effect on your motivation. However, some unique opportunities exist to keep your cycling enjoyable, your fitness at an acceptable level and your spirits high. Ritchey-sponsored cyclocross and mountain bike racer Siobhan Kelly illustrates how she keeps going during the cold Canadian winters.

Guest contributer and Ritchey rider, Siobhan Kelly, races 'Cross and XC MTB under her own outfit, Black Dog Racing as well as for the Canadian National Team.         

When the Cyclocross season comes to a close, there is always a bit of, “I’m looking forward to a break,” followed by, “all I want to do is race my bike again.” I won’t ignore the fact that the postseason downer effect does exist, and for me, it is a matter of finding different ways to train during those non-racing months.


The winter months can be hard, but there are other options for winter training aside from just hammering out intervals on the trainer. Getting out and embracing the winter weather makes this time of year so much better for me, physically and mentally. Sometimes the weather can cooperate, and I can get out for that balmy 5-degree ride (I’m talking Celsius - I’m not crazy) - this also helps me to remember to value those rainy summer days. That early season base is important but can be difficult to carve out in the winter when I don’t have a warm-weather destination training option. I can hike, run, xc ski, snowshoe, or swim, all in combination with rides, and can really cover my bases and end up with some good base with variety!


Taking time for a break off the bike and off training is always crucial, but sometimes the toughest part can be getting back to work, and since I live in a location with real winter, I have learned to add variation to my training plans. I always have a bit of variety in my training and being a black lab owner that means hiking and running are part of my training, year-round. Carving out time to get in workouts with my four-legged family member keeps them healthy and helps to get my butt outdoors on a cold wintery day. One of my favourite winter activities is getting out with my dog, especially if it means being able to squeeze in a cold trail ride.


“Winter is not an excuse for those who live in the Nordic Countries!” says my coach, Serge Desrosiers, who is from Quebec and knows a thing or two about training in ’real’ winter. Serge is a major instigator for me to get training in with variety and working with whatever daily training environment is thrown at me. “Take advantage of these conditions to get out of our comfort zone and work and improve some technical aspects. Champions have a habit of doing what other find boring and difficult during the winter! Let’s get outside and let’s have fun.”

So as I brave the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced this year, I will put my head down and persevere, knowing that these base efforts will pay off in the upcoming race season. T-minus 40 days to the California sunshine and the beginning of the mountain bike season.

Siobhan rides a WCS cockpit on her CX and XC bike - her favorite bars are listed below.

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