Fed up with the ice and snow? Here's our run-down of the things to do to brighten January.
BOOK THIS... A training camp somewhere warmer
What further incentive do you need to book a short get-away to somewhere warm and sunny this spring? Any sustained effort to get some base miles in over Christmas and New Year has been hit by the weather, so there's nothing for it. Majorca, Tuscany, Malaga, Portugal, Lanzarote. Lots of companies organise trips but it's just as easy to get a few club-mates or friends together, book some cheap flights and some decent accommodation and enjoy a week riding in the sunshine. It'll set you up for the season whether your goals are races or sportives.
DOWNLOAD THIS... The Sufferfest
With all the snow and ice on the roads, the turbo trainer will become the companion you love to hate. But instead of mindlessly churning away, why not add some excitement (and, yes, some pain) into the experience? The Sufferfest is a series of downloadable video programmes to pedal along to. Stick it on the laptop or burn it onto a CD and get on the turbo trainer. Follow the on-screen prompts and by the end of the hour's work-out you'll feel like you've been in a race. We've had a go at The Downward Spiral, which uses footage of Paris-Roubaix and Flèche Wallonne (licenced by ASO) to great effect. Are you ready to suffer? Check it out.
Whether it's circuit racing, cyclo-cross or track you're after, there are lots of events in January. Check out British Cycling's event calendar for all the details. January's circuit race highlights include the Imperial Racing Team winter series at Hillingdon, the Hog Hill winter league, and the SERRL winter series at Fowlmead, near Deal in Kent. There's a lot of cyclo-cross, with events all over the country, and Manchester, Calshot and Newport are all hosting regular track leagues. Why not get out and race.
RIDE THIS... An audax event
All month, everywhere
It's winter, a time for long steady miles, so why not enter an Audax ride? There are events every weekend this month and some of them have some belting names that enticing even the most reluctant to brave the freezing weather. Having check that, you will want to check the event is on before travelling. There is The Poor Student, a 100km ride in Oxford on Saturday, January 9, or the superbly named Goodbye Xmas Yorkshire Pud at Thorne, between Doncaster and Scunthorpe on Sunday, January 10. Other evocative events include The Norfolk Nips (Jan 16), The Willy Warmer (Jan 23) and the shorter version of the same event The Little Willy. Only in cycling, eh? Check the website for full details.
WATCH THIS.... Revolution 27
January 16, Manchester
The Slicks and Forza are tied at the top of the Revolution Championship standings. The third of four meetings takes place at Manchester velodrome on Saturday, January 16. Call 0161 223 2244 for tickets.
VISIT THIS... Final round of the National Trophy
The final round of the National Trophy cyclo-cross series takes place at Oakham in the East Midlands. It's organised by Colin Clews, the man who brings you the East Midlands Cicle Classic, so it's bound to be a belter.
WATCH THIS... The Tour Down Under
January 17-24, Adelaide and Sky Sports
See Team Sky's first race, watch Lance Armstrong make is debut appearance in Radio Shack's colours. The event kicks off with the Cancer Council Helpline Classic, a criterium in Adelaide, on January 17. The race proper runs from January 17 to 24 and highlights will be shown daily on Sky Sports. Times have yet to be confirmed. Defending champion Allan Davis makes his debut for the Astana team. But the big question is: Can Team Sky get off to a winning start with Chris Sutton, Greg Henderson or perhaps Russell Downing?
Tour Down Under preview
RIDE THIS... Reliability trial with Raleigh rider Dan Fleeman
Rugely, January 31
Get the miles in, meet the Raleigh riders and enjoy some post-ride tea and cake. Sounds perfect. Tour de Nock reliability ride.
DO THIS... Sort your wardrobe
Do an early spring clean. Sort through all your cycling kit and get it ready for the new spring and summer season. Be ruthless. Get rid of any shorts with a thin and ageing chamois insert. Check if you need to order new socks and mitts. Take advantage of the January sales many of the big retailers are running.
RENEW THIS... Your British Cycling racing licence
If you haven't already, order your BC licence if you want to race in 2010. All the details are on British Cycling's website.
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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.
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