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Does performance decrease in the winter?

SwainsLSwainsL Posts: 33
edited October 2012 in Road beginners
Do you believe that seasonal changes effect performance. I understand that a person will have peaks where they perform their best, but does the season have any effect on this?

Also, is there any scientific explanation behind this?

Posts

  • elderoneelderone Posts: 1,410
    will watch this one as good question,
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  • nweststeynnweststeyn Posts: 1,574
    This question has been (indirectly) discussed on another part of the forum recently:

    viewtopic.php?f=40088&t=12886142

    Have a peek!
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Tend to feel slower in winter, think your body needs more energy to keep you warm plus more clothing slows things down.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    My average speed per trip (plus 45 day moving average). Next question! :lol:

    MilesgraphSept2012.jpg
    Faster than a tent.......
  • carl_pcarl_p Posts: 981
    I've read a few posts suggesting the colder denser air of winter slows you up and there might be something in this. A lot of it is you may tend to ride less, perhaps weekends only and even then bad weather may prevent that ride. The result being your cycling fitness reduces and you fail to hit the heady heights of summer.

    Road condition is also factor. Less grip and traction reduces forward momentum a bit and you tend to be a lot more cautious.
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  • nweststeynnweststeyn Posts: 1,574
    Rolf F wrote:
    My average speed per trip (plus 45 day moving average). Next question! :lol:

    MilesgraphSept2012.jpg

    That's actually quite interesting! :lol::D:D
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    nweststeyn wrote:
    That's actually quite interesting! :lol::D:D

    No, it's quite depressing - I just updated it after making the post and I'm well into the vertical speed plunge zone :lol:

    There's more variables than clothes and temp. I use different bikes at different times and traffic is lighter when there are no parents driving their children to school and clogging the roads up! It's weighted to my commuting speeds and those are affected by seasonal variation in prevailing wind as well. But it still tells a story.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Depends on far too many factors to give a definitive answer. Winter isn't just a 'thing' that affects performance.
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  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure during winter could cause a decrease in performance: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083379
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  • I 'feel' best in spring and autumn when its cool, not cold or warm. No evidence one way or another, but thats how its always felt.
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • Had 4 weekends of the bike, went out to day and felt like a novice! was doing about 85 miles over the sat and sundays then nothing for the 4 weeks, 37 miles today mostly uphill and i was done.
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  • TakeTurnsTakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    I 'feel' best in spring and autumn when its cool, not cold or warm. No evidence one way or another, but thats how its always felt.

    This is much like me. I believe my body is most comfortable in these conditions.
  • randorando Posts: 285
    I think the colder weather has some effect as on my ride today which was in temps of just above 0 and then towards the end +3 I was slower on my normal route. Not by much but it also felt much harder work. Seems more difficult to breath the cold air. Did still enjoy it though - nice crisp fresh morning.
  • TakeTurns wrote:
    I 'feel' best in spring and autumn when its cool, not cold or warm. No evidence one way or another, but thats how its always felt.

    This is much like me. I believe my body is most comfortable in these conditions.

    Indeed. Cool enough to stop you overheating too much when cycling, warm enough to stop your body have to work harder just to keep warm.

    Living in Britain is actually pretty good for this weather, outside of Nov-Feb its rarely freezing cold and outside of high summer its rarely baking hot.
    "That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I'm going to clown college! " - Homer
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    I put it down to layers like tights and jackets etc, however good/breathable they are as soon as those layers are removed in the spring it's a relief and i feel like i'm breathing again.
  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    Isn't the main cyclocross season in the Winter?

    So in Winter, won't performance increase for the dedicated cyclocrosser?
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  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Most peoples fitness declines in winter simply because they train less. As mentioned above, air density, cold roads and stronger winds do make a difference to speed. But most people simply train less and therefore are less fit.

    Some people reduce their intensity and do "winter base miles", other people reduce their training hours (because it's cold and wet or 'cos they're on the piss doing "Christmas parties"), other people only really get intensity from racing and otherwise just bimble along.

    So yes, most people find they're less fit in winter. Although there's another group who are often fitter in winter - the people who rest too much for their races or sportives, and the lack of rest in the winter means they go better as they train more regularly.
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  • RushmoreRushmore Posts: 674
    I think it's down to the cold air being denser and harder to push through...
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  • Penfold06Penfold06 Posts: 161
    Motivation as well. You can't beat a nice, warm, sunny, dry day during spring spring/summer to get you fired up on the bike. When it's cold and wet outside its not the most exciting prospect now is it?

    Also i don't know about you guys but i find the cold gets to my chest in the low temps if i push myself hard.
  • Hals1967Hals1967 Posts: 231
    Don't forget it's usually wetter over the winter period - I don't mean rainfall but road conditions - they are usually wet, greasy and in poorer condition.
    If you try flying around on winter roads you'll end up on the tarmac.
    I know.


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  • nick1972nick1972 Posts: 144
    Rushmore wrote:
    I think it's down to the cold air being denser and harder to push through...

    +1 to this
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I went out on Sat night, partly because we'd been enjoying rain / hailstorms for most of the day, and partly to escape X Factor. Clear, starry sky and a full moon, temps about 2c. Really felt like I was pushing quite hard, but when I got back I noticed the computer was telling me I was 1mph slower than my usual average :(

    I notice this every winter and also put it down to the denser cold air.
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