For those of us in colder climates that train in an unheated/uninsulated garage, what has your experience been when it’s gets a little too cold?
I feel like I experience a decrease in performance and I think it’s mostly due to increased RPE - just more suffering due to being both sweaty and cold. But it also seems harder on my lungs.
Anybody aware of anything is happening at the physiological level?
Too cold is obviously subjective, but for me I seem to experience it when it’s around 0 degrees Celsius outside.
In my experience the colder the better. I get up to 3 or 4 below zero C here, and its glorious. Only have to put fan on low!
I like the cold that we get here, if its a bit too cold when I am on the trainer (pretty much anything below 10 or so) I start with a jacket or rain cape until I finish the warm up. Allows me to keep the fan on low and not pour sweat like the summers.
“Cold” is kind of relative, but I trained the last week in 40-50 degrees in the garage as the in-laws were in town and I had to give up the pain cave. I did my ramp test in mid-40s, and I don’t know if it affected me. I didn’t feel warm until several steps in, where normally I can warm up pretty quickly indoors. Still, by the time it mattered, I was plenty warm.
That said, it might’ve had a cognitive effect, as I felt slow and had a tough time focusing. I attribute that more to my sleep being off with the newborn than anything. I don’t think it increased my RPE; I usually get that effect when I’m too warm, rather than too cold.
It definitely had an effect on my breathing as the colder (for here), dry air left me with a little cough the rest of the day. I don’t think it affected the test, but maybe.
When I was riding in the cold garage, I’d start with the fan off and some kind of t-shirt on, usually a long-sleeve tech T. Once warm, I’d start the fan (I have one of the remote controlled outlets) connecting the fan to the house power, and if that wasn’t enough I’d strip the shirt off as I do inside.
The rest of my garage rides were Endurance/Zone 2 rides as it was a recovery week, and I’ve been able to move back to the normal cave starting yesterday.
I’m a wimp, especially when it gets cold, but it’s all mental for me. The dread of a hard workout is compounded by having to go out to my cold garage. It isn’t very cold for some of you - in the 40s F last month, around 50 now. I don’t carry much fat, so it is easy to get chilled.
I sometimes don’t use the fan during endurance workouts, but for hard workouts I’ve trained myself to note when I start to break a sweat so I can turn on the fan by remote control. A little after the hard work arrives, my sweat rate has stabilized and the cold air from the fan isn’t so painful.
Clothing is bib-shorts, 2 base-layer (long-sleeved) shirts, a fleece jacket and a stocking cap. I shed the cap, jacket and shirts as I warm up.
In my previous life as a runner, I was used to much warmer workouts, even when it was below freezing outside. In those days I would regulate my temperature with my stocking cap - removing it or putting it on as needed. For long runs, I would carry it in my hand when it was off my head.
I don’t mind the cold. To be honest, it doesn’t stay cold for long once the intensity ramps up. I see it as conditioning for early season races.
As @nju001 mentioned he does, I too start with a sock cap on my head, t-shirt and jacket over my torso. As I warm up, the jacket comes off, then the t-shirt, and finally the sock cap. This leaves me in bibs and a sleeveless base layer. It usually takes about 15min before the sock cap comes off. On an easy day, the t-shirt and sock cap might not come off at all.
In terms of performance, assuming you warm-up (e.g., break a sweat and start to feel warm), your performance should be fine. Indoors the issue is typically being too hot which drives your HR up up up. As a result, workouts suffer since you cannot hit the watt targets.
Found I’d struggle when it went below 3’c in the garage. Then I’ll turn the fan on, situated over my head… heavens knows what the wind chill was… yes I had a hat on to avoid brain freeze, but the first 5-10 minutes were horrid…sometimes I’d never warm up.
Anyway as mentioned else where in the forum, got myself one of those cheap Chinese diesel heaters, remote controlled… made such a difference, press remote in house… 20-30 minutes later walk into a lovely warm garage… turn down heater after 5- 10 minutes via remote key fob on bike… made training so much more enjoyable at this time of year, can even leave heater on full, fan on full and have door open for lots of fresh air… so far all workouts now get completed, know for me the cold made a difference at the time.
The thought of going into a cold garage is often much worse than the reality for me.
As others have said, I will start off with a fleece and hat on and sometimes gloves and gradually remove them.
I normally use a pair of winter cycling gloves and a couple of sessions ago I had left them on much longer than normal. I wiped sweat of my face and the rough grip material on the palm scratched my face in a few places. That was a mistake I will not make again.
Overalll I think I think that any feelomg of being cold only last a maximum of 10 minutes whereas in summer the whole session can be too hot even with the fan going full blast.
I start with layers on and fan off. It doesn’t take long for it to be the other way around! I always have a glove and an arm warmer handy - that way I can mitigate the effects of having a fan blowing freezing air on bare hand/arm. If I forget them choosing between being too hot or having frozen fingers is really frustrating!
I think if it gets really cold (below 0*C) then it tends to affect my breathing a bit and I get a sore throat. I have to focus on drinking more to help with the latter, but there’s not much I’ve found helps with the former.
The worst bit of riding in the garage in the cold is if my neighbour turns on his car to defrost it. Diesel fumes.
I start with a fleece on, and then take it off after the warm up in the workout.
My garage is usually 10c in the depths of winter, which is the sweetspot for me. Uncomfortably cold at the start, but i soon get warm. Recently, it’s gotten milder and the temp has increased to 14c in there and i sweat noticably more.
Summer on the other hand, it was 28c in there and i was really suffering!
I start layered up, as mentioned - hoody/ jacket/ hat and then gradually strip off as I warm up.
Hands and feet are my only issues - hands I use full winter lobsters (that I could never get on with on the road), which pretty much just leaves feet (Galibier Firefeet, same as outside).
Even with snow on the ground, anything beyond endurance I usually end up putting than fan on.
I agree! It’s easier to push very hard in a workout when surrounded by cold air.
I train in an unheated brick shed, often just above freezing. Even at that, I have an 18" fan blowing in my face after the warm up section!
Must admit I used to find that when running, mentally I’d think colder the air, thicker the air, more air I get per intake… just find it hard to get going when its cold in the garage.
I’ve tried several layers too, find that a pain, stripping and making sure nothing dips into drive system! if I can get it between 10-14’c for training I find that perfect… Glancing past the diesel heater I can see the aircooler unit gathering dust, guessing its only a few months before that’s firing up again!
I don’t believe the cold affects you once you get going, it’s getting in there in the first place that’s challenging. The only time I think it’s hard is when you do might be doing some hard efforts, followed by more than 2 minutes recovery, especially if you don’t have a fan that you can turn down in reach.
Interesting range of responses here! My personal best temperature range is 40-50F in an enclosed porch, which is usually at least 20F warmer than outside and perfect for training. I start with fan and fleece on, then ditch the fleece as I warm up. Much below 40F, though, and my performance suffers. Maybe it’s because I’ve not found the right fan/clothing combination, as it’s only happened a handful of times.
My pain cave usually hovers just above freezing, but occasionally dips below, as indicated by frozen water bottles. I ride an old fluid trainer (cyclops fluid 1), and it drives me a bit nuts. For the first 20 min or so, resistance bounces all over the place, often messing up my first interval. Does anyone else have this issue with frozen fluid trainers? At some point I’d like to get a wheel off smart trainer, I am concerned what sort of toll using it in the cold could have on such an expensive piece of gear though. Any weird experiences from those using smart trainers in the cold?
I also start with a cycling jacket on, no fan running, and find that by the end of the first warmup “clearing effort”, the jacket is off, and once the first sweet spot or higher interval starts, the fan is cranked. It’s amazing how fast, and to what degree you warm up!
Hammer V1 user here… no issues with the cold, lowest I’ve trained in garage was 2’c , can’t imagine if it dipped below freezing it would have any issues… They do state on support site that any trainer with fluid or trainer with electronics be stored above freezing, can understand fluid reasons but electronics, if anything they work better in cold than in heat, maybe its full of old electrolytic (wet) capacitors and they are scared of those freezing, can’t see even that causing issues as they don’t dry out as fast in the cold over time (years)… strange.
Personally I wouldn’t have any issues myself running one in freezing conditions, rubber belt might be a bit less flexible but calibration/warmup would sort everything out, only issue would be myself being on it, maybe someone from cyclops can comment on their support statement.
Colder the better. Means less fans. When below freezing then even better. Far more issues in summer!
Apparently it can increase your maximum oxygen uptake at a given intensity. Mind you, that was from a study of sibling goats!