Went to a seminar on nutrition and training a couple of weeks back. Training side covered a lot on winter training with former pro Daniel Lloyd. He showed about 4 years worth of his own powertap data analysis and his improvement when changing his winter training from long base miles to shorter (1-2 hour) near peak sessions was pretty dramatic. He and a lot of pros also apparently like to ride with little or no energy supplements during a ride as kind of an equivalent to high altitude training. That is to say that when you enter the part of your season when you want to perform, your body has become better at drawing on fat reserves and will receive a kind of turbo boost from energy supplements while riding.
Gold Sportive times mean winter months spent building your endurance base, so riding hard will defeat the object. Do long slower rides all through the winter and then around Feb time start introducing threshold sessions. Whether it be on the road or turbo. You can then start fine tuning and doing more hilly routes to develop your climbing etc.
Now they are very good questions.
Previously, I've tended to bunker down in the winter and not done that much mileage, so this year I'm trying to keep some base fitness going so I feel less like Fatty Ullrich come Jan/Feb, and then build the intensity up.
I don't have specific peak goals for events etc. if you were going to ask me for one I would like to get myself into Gold Sportive territory, time-wise. I know I'm capable of that as I was only a few mins outside of it last year, having waited 10 mins for a mate who'd snapped his chain, unbeknownst to me.
I'm not really doing it for competitiveness sake, I just like being able to ride, fast, long and in comfort and to keep the weight off.
The other thing I am doing is talking to someone about cross-training exercise and stretching off the bike, as doing just one sport can lead to problems through physical imbalance, and getting my setup checked.
A sportstest will give you many things but at the minimum you'll get your MHR so you can work out your training zones. Throughout the winter I try and stay under 80%.
If you ride too hard in the winter you won't teach your body to source energy from bodyfat. It will crave glycogen from food. The slower you go the more it will grab from bodyfat too. If you are overweight you can also introduce fasted turbo sessions. Not always easy when you have to go out to work. Maybe do a couple of sessions at the weekend. 60-120 mins is a good length if you can stand it and keep your heart rate really low.
Even if you're not overweight, these fasted sessions will teach your body to be more energy efficient.
I do one once a week and 90 mins is the min. To give you an idea, my MHR is 188 and my fasted sessions are between 118-128.
Was actually an excellent session, I wish I'd taken better notes. If you get a chance to see either him or nutritionist Dr. Robert Child speaking I'd thoroughly recommend it.