While we are soldiering on in the cold and wet winter on our bikes, one of the things that keeps us going is the SEASON. The promise of warm and sunny rides, the hours and days you can spend in the saddle without battling frostbite.

We’ve asked a few staff members what they were planning for 2013, what kind of big riding milestones have they got ahead of them – and how they are going to prepare for these challenges.

Drew Barritt – Staff Trainer

Over the New Year on a sunny beach in South Africa, I had plenty of time to reflect and think of some goals for the year ahead.

I’ve been mountain biking for 17 years, dabbled in BMX along the way, and since joining Evans Cycles started riding Road and Cyclocross bikes. Most recently I have been enjoying Cyclocross and entered a few races for fun, in addition to the daily commute. It is now the end of the Cyclocross season, and I’m looking forward to some great riding in the spring/summer ‘off season’. I have always had fun out on my bike, but from my disappointing performance in races I am very motivated to take training more seriously and enter some challenging events. I want to see what I can achieve if I really put the effort in.

The furthest I have ever ridden in one day is…. 60 Miles with about 1,400 feet of climbing on a road bike. Most of my riding for fun has been mountain biking short distances and may have involved the odd uplift or push up the climbs. So in a bid to improve my fitness and race performance, I’ve decided to take on the challenge to complete the King of the Downs Ride It event.

The King of the Downs route is made up of 10 hills, becoming increasingly harder over the 115-miles. The route takes in the Surrey Hills, North Downs, Ashdown Forest, undulating roads through Kent and 9,000 feet of climbing!
Seems like a suitably tough challenge.

So I decided to get organised and the best tips I have received so far are:

Enter Early
-Many events are limited to a number of places and some events are selling out already.
-Enter a Ride It event more than 4 weeks in advance and you can get a free High5 Race Pack worth £10! Yum Yum

Make a Training Plan
-Commit to and get started on the training plan, procrastinate at your peril. Otherwise enjoy setting the same goal again next January.

Test all Equipment, Clothing, and Nutrition in Training
-Use any products you will use on the ride in training. There is nothing worse than a new bike that fits badly, clothing which is uncomfortable or nutrition which makes you feel ill. Check everything works for you and get some advice from your local store in your training phase about new gear.

Back to my challenge. All signed up and entry confirmed, I researched a plan from the many available on the internet. General themes I found seem to be; put in quality hard training at fast pace, build up a long ride once a week from now to two weeks before the event to achieve some distance rides and get plenty of sleep/rest. With that in mind I created a plan:

- Base miles 100+ per week riding to and from work a minimum 4 days.

- 2 x training rides per week 1 at fast pace on an evening and 1 at progressively longer distances at the weekend.

- 2 x weights sessions at the gym following a plan designed to build overall power and strength.

- Go to bed a bit earlier.

Full steam ahead with the training plan and I now have just under 4 months to go to the event.
Hopefully see you there on the day and at the finish!

James Olsen, Bike Design Manager

At this time of the year a summer trip keeps the daydreamer in me happy and helps keep me motivated. You can’t beat a longed-for trip somewhere exciting or a big event with friends for riding value – it’ll get you out in the colder months so you can make the most of the big ride when it comes around and the experience and fitness will remain long after the post-holiday blues fade.

The last 2 summers’ trips have been rides that both excited and scared me in the preceding months. They were big days in the Alps that I knew would be hugely memorable, hopefully for the right reasons! A 3-day Alpine road ride did wonders for my motivation in 2011 and got me back onto my road bike more regularly, after the ride the fitness gained saw me through the first (and slightly less professional) ‘Tour de Eurobike’ with the Evans office team. In 2012 I had a spring and a summer trip planned, both unsupported ‘bike-packing’ (mountain bikes and wild camping) trips of around 10 days. The spring trip across northern Spain was a welcome break from UK weather and a wonderful new experience. It set us up well for an amazing and beautiful journey through the Alps from Geneva to Nice later that summer, following a similar route to the 2011 road ride but riding off-road.

That’s the other great thing about a big summer trip.. one idea leads to another. And for summer 2013? Currently, writing a cheque neither my mind or body can cash so the training has begun!