Cold weather performance

Strith Posts: 541
edited December 2012 in Road general
Don't know if this should go here or in training section, but anyhoo....

I've been out early this morning on my usual 80k loop down to box hill and today it was just too cold to really get going. Checked my climbing times when I got back and I'm a solid 10-15% on my times! Do people find this typical when the weather is this cold, around ~0 degrees C?

I was pretty well wrapped up and only my feet felt a little bit cold, the rest of me was fine. Don't think I'm ill or coming down with anything, just found it really tough to get going.

What do people think?


  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Cold air is denser i.e. greater air resistance, combined with generally stronger winds, energy required to overcome the effects of heavier/ more restrictive clothing all conspire to slow you down i.e. don't bother chasing Strava segments. Many slow the intensity of their winter training for these reason and focus on just getting steady miles in and wait until the spring before doing higher intensity efforts. Besides, if you don't build some periodisation into your training, you'll likely just reach a plateau.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Sounds to me like you've answered your own question - it was too cold to get going. I'm in no way an expert, or even for that matter a knowledgeable novice, but I would have thought that the effect of colder muscles would be a drop in performance?

    I was out at about 6.30am, and it was about -4 here in South Cumbria, and could not really get going either, then again, I was going extra gingerly in places due to ice. My feet were more than a little cold, they were practically numb, even with thick shoe covers on.
  • Strith
    Strith Posts: 541
    Yeah sound advice, and I'm not chasing segmet times really, was just a little suprised. I just always feel like I strugle when the temps plumet. It's not that important as I'm only keeping the milage up through this weather.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Denser cold air, longer to get your muscles warm, fear of sliding on ice / diesel spill, fear of freeze-drying your lungs, can't see where you're going cos your glasses have steamed up, coupled with the fact that you've just eaten half a tin of Quality street
  • Heart rate will also be up as well just to keep warm. I also think that the layers if clothes also restrict your movement and you don't quite get into the right position a lot fo the time as you're trying to keep in a warmer position.
  • I've experienced this too, just going to be keeping the miles up over the winter. Think i'll set myself a target of mileage for the month as a goal.

    That might give me a bit of an extra push to saddle up when all the Christmas cheese/chocolate/goodies are beckoning me.
    Hills are like half life - they wait until you're 50% recovered from one before hitting you in the face with the next.
  • I'd say congrats on getting 80k in today, I left for my usually 35k route this lunch time and got to about 8k and had to turn round, the thick fog where I live just absolutely drenched me and my energy level really dropped, so turned round and limped home. Overall mph was down by 2.5 mph too.
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  • simona75
    simona75 Posts: 336
    I think I've posted this link before but it's a good read as to the reasons why you are slower
  • Gabbo
    Gabbo Posts: 864
    im currently struggling on the roads this morning. Feel about two stone heavier and my legs can't get out of first gear. If I try they tend to fatigue - frustrating! Hands are numb, feet are numb, and the cold dense air is making things a struggle, even though the winds are not particulary strong. Can't wait for the summer - hurry up!
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    I set a PB yesterday.

  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    Cold air in your lungs doesn't help ! It was -1C when I went out and it felt like my lungs were trying to shrink and freeze dry themselves ! Plus, every corner I came to I had to slow right down, if they roads weren't icy, they felt greasy, not ideal riding conditions, so I just slowed down and enjoyed the ride.
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • Gabbo
    Gabbo Posts: 864
    TakeTurns wrote:
    I set a PB yesterday.

    Is it a route/course that you've not attempted for some while?
  • edhornby
    edhornby Posts: 1,780
    cold ligaments too, the lack of flexibility is a kicker, keep them knees warm eh
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • Strith
    Strith Posts: 541
    simona75 wrote:
    I think I've posted this link before but it's a good read as to the reasons why you are slower

    Quite interesting thanks.

    Funnily enough I wasn't so bad today, especially when I consider I was on my winter trainer. Roll on summer.
  • Avant
    Avant Posts: 29
    It was too sunny and clear yesterday not to go out (and I had to justify spending £100.00 on a new windstopper jacket). On a quick 20 mile loop I was a few minutes slower than normal and took more time to ensured I had warmed up.

    Sceaney was stunning with the frost and every other person I met on a bike said hello, including the group struggling up Goodwood so it was worth losing the feeling in my toes.
  • Today was the first time I really struggled.

    I've felt the effects of cold weather for a couple of weeks but not really had times too drastically effected, but this morning I was going up the same old hill I do every day and found myself panting out of the saddle.

    I was at least two or three gears lower than normal and it felt like I was riding through treacle.
    Hills are like half life - they wait until you're 50% recovered from one before hitting you in the face with the next.