Every year I always treat October as a pretty steady month of the bike; it's my off-season. The off-season means something different to everyone. Some people take the opportunity to have a full month off the bike and sit on the sofa with cake, others take up a weird sport called 'running'. I on the other hand try to strike the balance somewhere inbetween and carry on riding but at a much reduced level of intensity and distance, taking the opportunity to enjoy a few cafe stops rather than smashing around. The off-season is the time of year where cafe stops increase, the winter bikes come out and people that have ridden all summer suddenly dissapear from the planet as if they had never existed.
It seems though, that this year more than ever, the off-season has become the perfect excuse to do absolutely anything you want. If you're at that cafe stop and there are two tasty looking pieces of cake then the response is "well, it's the off-season". How about you fancy a glass of wine at lunch on Saturday - "well, it's the off-season". I've seen some pretty questionble activities attributed to the off-season this year but they seem to work all the same. My favourite use of the off-season so far has been to use it to plough my way through two full roasts, two portions of sticky toffee pudding and half a bottle of wine.... In one sitting. It seems therefore that it's peak excuse season, unless you're one of the odd ones that tries to ride up a hill as fast as possible whilst not upsetting your stomach.
Strangely though, the off-season seems to be the prime time for your stomach to wake up and scream at you; even more than your legs do in the summer during a race. Ever since I slashed my miles my appetite has more than increased to make up for the diffence. I'm constantly hungry and no amount of food seems to satisfy the stomach. I don't get hungry on a 120 mile ride but as soon as I'm sat on the sofa playing GTA5 I suddenly need 50,000 calories just to keep my energy levels up. Pass me the bacon someone?
At the same time, if a food was banned during summer in the interest of weight saving the chances are it's now suddenly top of the list of acceptable foods. It's a funny world where we spend six months of the year making ourselves and our bikes as light as possible, only to slam a good 3kg onto our gut over winter. It's perfectly acceptable to spend £300 saving 100g then £1 eating 300g. We're an odd bunch.
The off-season seems to continue all the way through to boxing day so that Christmas is included and entire boxes of Quality Street can be devoured. The problem here though is that once boxing day is done, the end of the off-season hits you like a wrecking ball. Your lycra becomes too tight and you feel sluggish but you enjoyed that extra pizza. This is the time when suddenly, you spend another £300 on the bike and cut out the rough stuff again.
Thankfully, it's only the middle of October so there is still plenty of time to chub up right now on pizza, bacon and pies.
Do you take a break or carry on as normal?