You hear people talk all the time about consistency in building fitness - especially for the endurance sports of cycling. And for most of the year that isn’t a big deal. There is plenty of warmth, sunshine and daylight to make it all happen. But then from middle November through February winter comes. We get weeks in Oklahoma (and across the country) right now where we have 7–10 straight days of 20–30 F degree weather. This is when the barrier to entry of “consistency” is at it’s highest in the year - which is why it makes it so important.
Not everyone has racing goals - but almost every cyclist I know likes to ride with good performance in their group rides and tours. The difference between the cyclists who keep riding November through February (1/3 of the year) and those who hang it up is startling. But if the difference is so much why do so many let the fitness they worked on all year go to waste?
Because they limit themselves, they let life take control instead of staying in control of life. When you first started riding it took a long time before you could be comfortable riding every day on the bike. Your backside and body had to be strengthened and build support for it. The same is true of the trainer - IT IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF RIDE AND TAKES IT’S OWN COMMITMENT. I think most people, myself included, expected riding a bike on a trainer to be fine at first. But it’s a different animal. And it’s a new barrier of entry into continuing to improve and grow your performance on the bike.
I’d go as far as to say, for a large majority of us, we won’t reach our goals in training and racing until we come to terms with the advantages of using a trainer. For specific focus in structured workouts, recovery days, warming up for events effectively and spanning bad weather gaps - it’s one of the most useful tools you can chose to use. This is why I cringe when I hear people say “I can’t do the trainer” - of course they could. Of all the suffering that goes into building fitness, in racing and everything else - it takes that same mentality to meet the challenge of making the trainer work.
So, instead of writing off a tool that can bring you into the Spring and your new calendar year with more fitness then before - address the challenge and figure it out. OR admit that you aren’t as committed to winning races, getting much stronger year over year and relax. Enjoy the ride for the level you’ve found and stop putting so much pressure on yourself. If it’s being in the race you love, then love it. But if it’s winning the race that you love, then don’t write anything off that can help you bridge that gap.
That is the barrier to entry into treating yourself to the top of the podium. Letting go of the automatic “no’s.” Letting go of the false idea that any part of the journey will be easy, or that there are any shortcuts. The only shortcut is riding every day when others aren’t, or continuing to improve your fitness through trainer workouts when everyone else complains about the snow. The only shortcut in cycling is accepting that suffering and hardship are tied to improvement and letting go of any hesitation you have to them. That will save you a ton of time talking about wanting to be better - becuase you will be focused on simply doing it.