With long hours of darkness and sub-zero temperatures, quality training can be hard for our Adventure Race Team. Team Ellis Brigham MTB specialist Ali discusses how he gets around this...
Trying to keep up with training in the winter months is challenging for us in Team Ellis Brigham who just want to be outside.
The turbo trainer sits there like the backup car in Top Gear - always there but you really don't want to get on it. But there is an answer for those of us who have to spend all day at a desk or computer. With a few key bits of kit the trails can be yours to explore even on the coldest, darkest nights.
By the time you have got home from work the light is fading fast and even if it's clear, the moonlight won't be enough for technical riding. So you need bike lights really, really bright ones. We use Exposure Lights which are simply fantastic. 1800 lumens for the main bike light and 1000 lumens on your helmet illuminates the trail in front like daylight - all you will need for a great night's riding.
Solid ice is enough to cause falls and serious injuries. Imagine a ride where you actually choose to cycle on the ice as it is smoother and easier. We use Ice Spiker tyres, giving us this confidence to a point where it is safer to stay on the bike than put your feet down. They are a significant investment but open doors to many adventures. I once won an ice covered Open5 Adventure Race by one of the biggest margins just because I could stay on the bike. They are good on mud and technical rock descents too.
With these two additions to your bike a winter wonderland is waiting! With a full moon glistening on the snow covered Pennines I headed out onto the bleak moors. It was cold and still, the only sound was my spikes biting into the hard ice. A barn owl flew off the wall next to me, silent in the lights. In only a couple of hours I had a great adventure that kept me glowing inside for the rest of the week. What could have been an ordinary Monday evening turned out to be a special night which I will remember for some time.
After I got home and tucked up warm in bed, my mountain rescue pager went off calling the team out to 6 cars stuck on the icy roads over the moors. We got in using crampons on our feet and snow chains on the vehicles to find cars littered around the totally impassable road.
If only they had ice spiker tyres...