How do you balance a good book on the bars when you’re cranking out at a steady 130bpm for hours on end? How do you get your wine glass in the cup holder? Is there something wrong with me? No, it must be you, my odd looking gym bike – what are you doing! Why are you so uncomfortable? Why is your saddle so wide? Why doesn’t there seem to be any airflow in this place? I’m a force of nature on my bike outdoors, but indoors I’m stuck in a forest of sweat, equipment and nowhere blues.

Bah, the list of complaints goes on. So how overcome this state of mind and embrace the benefits of indoor training?

Firstly let me mention that it’s currently minus 22 degrees outside; there is ice and snow on the ground and hitting the hills is just not an option in downtown Montreal. Well, that’s not entirely true, it’s just a lot of mental toughness to get there, not to mention a lot of preparation with gear and clothes alike. Well, that’s not entirely true, mostly I prefer to sit indoors with my book and Chateau blah blah blah and ignore the regime of training.

But I signed up for a super tough race in May, so getting up and out with the daffodils just won’t cut it.

So, what to do?

Lesson one – diversify – find a bunch of different places to train. I do my “hardcore” work at Toguri Training. Scott MacFarlene is the owner of this club in the YM-YWHA here in Montreal. He is also the owner of Silber racing team, which had a wildly successful year in 2016.

He’s got a compu-training setup, lots of bikes (real bikes with real gears) and is a great small group coach. He pushes me hard, and I spend most of the session at or near threshold. There’s a lot of good help with details for me here – like how to eliminate flat spots in a pedalling stroke, and how to better shift for sprints. They sound like little things, but all add up to a big difference over a 1000km race.

For the volume riding or perhaps we can say virtual-tempo training, I head to the YMCA on Sherbrooke Street and take one of the classes offered there. Cassandra makes me work hard, and the numbers at the end of class prove the workload. When Cassey makes us jump it’s a good workout.

One of the advantages is that there is a big group there, and lots of moral support in the room. This helps to keep you limber, both mentally and emotionally.

Winter training indoors is tough, and I’m not a big fan of it, but foregoing it would be crazy.

Once I get my winter ticket to Arizona though, I’m outtta there!