Supermarkets are bouncing to the sound of slade and shakin’ stevens, our tvs are lit up with adverts for Gavin & Stacey one-off specials and all around you are frantically trying to fit all the parties into their busy schedules. It can mean only one thing; Christmas is upon us.
As the calendar rolls into December many of us are plunged into a cold fear; what am I going to buy so-and-so for Christmas, will my toes ever be the right colour again, am I allowed to stuff myself or should I keep training? The festive period can be a confusing time for a cyclist – should we use the time off to ride more or use it as an excuse to veg out?
There’s certainly a good case for either mindset. If you count your calories over Christmas, January won’t hit you quite so hard. If you fill your Christmas boots you’ll have a well earned rest that will give you the motivation to train hard again in the New Year. We decided to take a look at both sides of the argument.
See if you can identity yourself below and let us help you to decide whether you need to hang up your cleats with your Christmas stocking or ho-ho-hop on your bike and jingle all the way through.
THE RAWVELO GUIDE TO CYCLING AT CHRISTMAS
The Obsessive Compulsive Cyclist
You’ve been working hard all year, Training Peaks has had more of your attention than your loved ones. You re-charge your bike computer more often than you change your bedsheets and Strava had to invent new units to measure the distances you cover. It’s time for a well earned break.
You spend so much time on your bike that you haven’t even thought about what presents to buy, let alone shop for them. You’ll probably wrap some gels that you have left over and maybe pick up anything that’ll fit in your jersey pocket at the next cafe stop for everyone else. Your Grandma wasn’t overjoyed with the “Hell Yeah” socks last year, so maybe its a snood for her.
It’s safe to say that your TSS is always higher than Santa’s sleigh and wouldn’t suffer from some time off.
Rawvelo verdict: Hang up your cleats.
The Seasonal Sensation
You ripped it up in the summer; endless days of tanline improvements and an instagram feed of slick sock doping. You never let a ride get in the way of the perfect ice cream or a well earned beer garden, and why not? You’ve earned it.
You’ve started your Christmas shopping already, when it’s this cold there’s no point suffering on the bike. A few sweaty Zwift sessions make up for the lack of outdoor activity and give you more time for shopping for thermal long sleeve steez. You’re thinking about the Festive 500 again, but there’s no point risking your paint job if its icy.
If you want to head out over the Christmas week it certainly wouldn’t harm you, but go steady and remember its fun. It’ll certainly give you an excuse for a few mince pies.
Rawvelo verdict: A few social rides wouldn’t kill you.
The Park Sartorialist
The group or club rides this year have been great for you. That new gear you got has been great to show off around Richmond Park on a Saturday. Some of those rides were really tough in places, but you held your own.
Christmas shopping is definitely going to happen, there’s bound to be some money left after the Black Friday binge on your own cycling wardrobe. With an eye for style your shopping prowess is legendary and your generosity appreciated. No wonder you’re offered a wheel to follow so readily, you’re always first to the counter at the cafe stop. Flat whites all round!
If there’s a group ride planned on Christmas Day you’ll be the first to agree, so long as the atmosphere is jolly and everyone is back in time for turkey.
Rawvelo verdict: Don’t be a party pooper; on the bike or off.
The Lapsed Loiterer
You’ve definitely got a bike, you distinctly remember pumping the tyres up once and showing it some chain lube. You’d definitely like to get out more, but take umbrage to Strava sending you messages checking on your well-being.
Christmas shopping is done, wrapped and parked under the tree. All that time you have on your hands has to be spent somehow. There is absolutely no chance you are even going to attempt breaking records on the bike this Christmas. Not with all the family commitments to honour and personal promises to eat Quality Streets to maintain. In fact, the plan is very much to eat as often as possible and watch all the Star Wars films, even though you don’t realise there are now about 15 of them.
You probably don’t have any winter kit, so heading out does seem a bit extreme. A couple of turbo sessions or a little jog might take the edge off the Christmas slump though.
Rawvelo verdict: Pull your socks up, slip on them shoes.
A RECIPE FOR CHRISTMAS
In all seriousness, riding over Christmas is very much a personal thing. Time, weather, fatigue and simple motivation are all factors. A week off isn’t going to do you much harm, neither are a few pig-outs. If you do cycle outdoors or on the turbo, it might be nice to mix up what you are eating. It’s important to make sure you fuel well for any rides you do – don’t think that because you ate a huge meal and loads of chocolates you should try to fast your way through rides.
How about this great baked porridge with a festive twist. Not only is it really tasty and warming, but it’s incredibly nutritious. Porridge is packed with complex carbohydrates, which are digested at a slow pace giving you lasting energy. It also contains phosphorus which helps with energy production and muscle recovery — essential for optimal training.
1 cup of organic rolled oats
1 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp of cashew butter
4 fresh figs
1 tbsp maple syrup
A handful of walnuts
Sliced almonds and ground cinnamon
Place the oats into a bowl and cover them with boiling water, soak them for ten minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the oats are soft. During this time mix together the peanut butter, vanilla essence and maple syrup, almonds and ground cinnamon and crush the walnuts into small bite size chunks.
Stir the almond milk, peanut butter mix, blueberries and crushed walnuts in with the oats and then into a baking dish. Slice your figs and add them on top with a little bit of extra syrup to caramelise. Then bake for 20 minutes until the top has slightly browned. All that remains is to eat and have a great ride!
The baked porridge recipe has become a Christmas staple for us, so we’d love to hear about your Christmas cycling traditions. Do you have a group ride in Christmas jumpers, take turkey legs in your jersey pockets or enter some epic cycling challenges? Let us know in the comments below or share your #rawveloHoHo on Instagram Stories, tagging @rawvelo. We’ll pick our favourites for a special Christmas surprise!