Brodie’s road map to year-round training!

Brodie Chapman Pro-rider and FulGaz ambassador

Pro-rider, Brodie knows how to maintain form throughout the year, peak at key moments, and take care of her body in the off-season. As the seasons roll over throughout the year, you will find you are best to make some changes in your approach to riding and training. Here’s Brodie’s guide to how to make the most of riding throughout the year to ensure you’re looking after yourself and stay on track.

AUTUMN/FALL

TRAINING TIME: The slowly dropping temperature signals cooler weather and, thus, the last days of summer. Plan your rides around the warmest hours and soak it up while it lasts. Take advantage of a slower morning to get your life admin done and enjoy the afternoons.

DRESS CODE: The humble gilet was made for this season – a lightweight yet wind-resistant vest, it will catch the cold air before it hits your chest. If there is a whiff of rain, come prepared for that with a rain jacket in your back pocket. It’s worth starting with arm or knee warmers, too. You can always cool down by removing them but you can’t warm up if you leave them at home! Make sure to ride with a rear light as the days get shorter.

NUTRITION: Time to get creative with homemade ride food. You are still able to reach into your pockets and unwrap a baked good without removing too many layers to get to it. Obviously, it’s the season for pumpkin spiced flavoured things and hearty banana bread. 

RECOVERY: Alfresco cafe time. Park up in the sun and enjoy a late afternoon beverage before the sun sets earlier each day. I like to spend some time stretching or doing some yoga in the sun, too. 

WINTER

TRAINING TIME: The daylight hours are limited so it’s important you are proactive and stick to a time schedule lest the day escapes you. It’s normal to train for shorter hours in winter, so make them count! If the weather is particularly gruelling, opt to do half your training indoors, half outdoors. 

Spend the time creating a plan on FulGaz and working it into your week with the flexibility to get outside on a good day. You can compile a “Favorites” list with some sunny locations. Winter is also the perfect season to spend time in the gym working on strength and conditioning. Other activities such as cross-country skiing or trail running are supplementary for cycling and will be beneficial to your endurance and cardiovascular system

DRESS CODE: Dress warm to stay warm! I’m talking thermal knicks, long sleeve undershirts, neoprene style jackets, neck warmers and ear or head warmers. Most outdoor stores sell good buffs and lightweight beanies that can be worn under a helmet. Don’t forget the importance of booties. Keeping the feet warm and dry is vital for a comfortable ride. I also like to apply a warming cream to my legs before rolling out on a cold race day. 

BIKE ADJUSTMENTS: Your bike demands its own winter dress code as well. Get over your stylish bike aesthetic and weight weenie tendencies and don your steed with a mudguard or ass-saver. I also go for wider and more durable and winter tyres and ensure the drivetrain is cleaned and lubed regularly. Fit front and rear lights to ensure visibility if you are likely to start/finish a ride in low light. Choose a wet chain lube if your winter means wet rides.

NUTRITION: Get started with a hearty breakfast like oatmeal and hot coffee. I find it challenging to eat or drink on the bike frequently enough during winter, partly due to the fact that stopping isn’t ideal when it’s so cold and we all know reaching into your pockets with thick long fingered gloves can feel awkward. A solution is to get hold of a bar bag for easy access to snacks in winter. I like to roll out with warm black or green tea and some sort of sweetener like sugar maple syrup. The caffeine helps the perception of effort a bit and the tea warms me from the inside out. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, don’t forget to drink during training, as under all those layers you’re working up a sweat!

RECOVERY: Straight to the hot shower! Have a warm recovery meal or hot chocolate as a recovery drink instead of a smoothie if you are really cold. Try to avoid sitting in cafes in your kit for too long as the sweat will become cold and you’ll sit wet and shivering in your own filth. I also like to visit saunas in winter for improved blood flow and recovery.

SPRING

TRAINING TIME: Finally, the sun is making short appearances and the landscape is coming back to life. A great time to get outside and feel the seasons change. It’s time to lure your ‘fair weather rider’ friends out of hibernation for some longer kilometers and revive the group ride.

DRESS CODE: Spring might be the moodiest time of year as there can be brutal cold spells when winter decides it isn’t quite done. If you need proof of the wild weather just tune into the Spring Classics races and you’ll understand. A waterproof/windproof gilet or jacket is a must during this season. Keep the chest warm and if you dare start to let the legs out and just opt for knee warmers and arm warmers so you can easily peel these off as the days get warmer.

NUTRITION: If you’re ramping up your training and adding some long hours and intensity, you’ll need to ramp up your nutrition as well. It’s easy to get sick in the spring, so make sure you’re fuelling correctly for your workouts and hitting your macronutrients for optimal recovery. That being said, you can also expect allergies to flare up in spring as the pollen increases. I keep stocked up on antihistamines, zinc and vitamin C lozenges and frequently make ginger teas and hearty veggie soups that pack a nutrient punch.

RECOVERY: Looking after your immune system is vital if you’re out there braving the weather and wind regularly. Mix up a smoothie with whatever fruits are in season and some sort of high-protein yoghurt for a good recovery drink. Add some homemade granola to top up the carb stores and your recovery meal is sorted.

SUMMER

TRAINING TIME: Some parts of the world get unbearably hot during the summer, so it’s worth setting the alarm and rolling out at sunrise to enjoy the cool morning air before the heat sets in. I also like doing night rides in summer with a good 1200 lumen light if it’s dark, or simply rolling out at sunset for an hour or so. Check-in with your weather app and see when the peak temperatures are and plan accordingly. If you can, head to the mountains, coastline, or rainforest where it’s often a few degrees cooler. In really hot weather, remember that high-intensity efforts will be harder and that you might have to give yourself a few more minutes between sets to recover and bring the core temperature down. You can use a CORE body temperature gauge and link it with FulGaz or your head unit to ensure you don’t overheat before it is too late. 

DRESS CODE: Unzip that jersey or ditch it all together for shorter rides. Choose a high-SPF sunscreen. For longer rides, I take a small sunscreen stick in my pocket as well. You can buy jerseys made with lighter-weight material and moisture-wicking features. If you have an old jersey you no longer cherish, cut the sleeves off for some old-school cooling technology. I often go for ankle socks in summer and roll up the end of my knicks to ensure the tan lines don’t get too strong and it also feels better to have less material on the skin on hot summer days. In really hot climates such as Australia and Spain, I have been known to pre-cool before heading out by wetting my jersey or taking a cold shower before riding. If you can go for white helmets and white shoes, it will also help reflect the heat.

NUTRITION: Summer is all about liquid calories and cold drinks for me to stay hydrated and fuelled at once. You can buy sports-specific drink mix with electrolytes and carbohydrates. I also recommend freezing your bidons halfway and then filling the rest with water to keep the water cold as long as possible. Another thing I do to ensure hydration is to freeze ‘soft’ bottles (outdoor stores have them) and put them in the jersey pocket. Doing this keeps the lower back cool and also gives you an extra vessel of water. An all-time favourite amongst pros is to crack open a cold Coke or Fanta after your training session. I like smoothies for my recovery meal: pre-freeze a banana and blend it with chocolate soy milk and a spoonful of peanut butter for an ice- cream-like recovery drink. 

RECOVERY: It’s perfectly acceptable to jump into the ocean/pool/river in your cycling kit after a hot day in the saddle! Often, I stop on the way home after a hard session and jump in the creek with a full kit on, and by the time I arrive home I’m both drier and much cooler than if I went straight home. If this method doesn’t appeal to you, jump in a cold shower when you get home. Make sure you don’t neglect bike cleaning in summer, as the sweat can be really corrosive on your components and handlebar tape. Replace lost electrolytes with an electrolyte icy pole usually sold for nausea or illness (you can buy them at chemists) or make your own ahead of time.