The Pinkbike Podcast: Staying Sane In the Off-Season & Toaster Talk

Nov 16, 2023 at 11:28
by Dario DiGiulio  
photo
Art by Taj Mihelich


Take a seat with Mike, Alicia, and Dario as they discuss the intricacies of staying sane in the darker winter months. From running to night riding to a good book, there's plenty of strategies to keep you from coming unglued before spring rolls around, plus all the news quips and music recommendations you may or may not want as well.


Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Music Corner

Dario's Pick

I'd really recommend the full self-titled album Goat Girl, the precession of the tracks is a great ride.

Mike's Pick


Alicia's Pick


Eric's Pick (Eric is the mysterious Canadian that edits the pod)




Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, Megaphone, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.

Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
147 articles

80 Comments
  • 20 1
 Unrelated, but I appreciate whoever is moderating the Buy/Sell stuff. I flagged a potential scam yesterday and they took it down the same day.
  • 15 0
 I mean, even when it gets dark at 4 I still manage to get a lot of rides in, most weekends I get out and don’t care if I get caked in mud…then just get in the gym…spring rolls around in no time, granted it’s shit but as long as you keep moving your body all is well
  • 53 0
 Mmmm Spring Rolls
  • 15 0
 I feel a short break from the bike can be beneficial to your riding. Focusing on the gym, letting the body heal from the nagging injuries and just rejuvenating the excitement for biking.
  • 2 0
 @bbachmei: snow rides can be so much fun. Especially with a good group.

That alone rejuvenates me for spring.
  • 11 0
 Where I live there are lots of trails groomed for fat biking. It is quite a bit of fun and the blue square trails can be a little spicy when they get a little icy.
  • 2 0
 Following snow mobile trails also works pretty good, tho not as well as groomed stuff
  • 4 0
 Love groomed fat bike riding. Where I live the local trail system is a root nightmare, but then in the winter it gets groomed and all the trails are transformed into flow trails. It's really cool. I like the roots too tbh but in winter it's like we get totally new and different trails.
  • 3 0
 @charliewentoutside:
re: rooty trails

Our winter trail crew grooms 15-20km of singletrack using a Snowdog and we say given the right conditions some of the trails can be ridden faster in winter than summer.
  • 1 0
 @dlford: Yeah, ours are the same. If you're the type of person who cares about Strava, you have to always check when KOMs were set, because on a lot of trails the KOM is from fatbike season and times that fast would be pretty much impossible when the trails are dirt.
  • 1 0
 The trail runners and snowshoers pack the singletrack here. Its for sure dicey but you have to just get over your riding a narrow line and your ok. Only issue is going off trail you drop down into pow lol.

The stuff that is groomable with a snowdog is a bit more mellow in town but the park thats near here is more green than anything in summer but so much fun in winter groomed.

As for their comments on testing fatbikes, they were all wide xc bikes with nasty self steer, the new blizzard slack hta fixes that and its like a mountain bike riding it, had 2 farleys since 2015 and this is a game changer. Just need f’n snow… or a mastodon.
  • 10 0
 Off season?
  • 11 0
 Yeah it's just the Muddy Season and Really Muddy Season.
  • 4 0
 @fartymarty: really muddy season also known as the "shoulda brought my lights season"
  • 1 0
 I'm just coming back from a knee injury that had me out all summer. Feels like Spring to me
  • 3 0
 Yeah I’m curious about this “offseason” too.. this is prime time in the desert.
  • 1 0
 @Rhymer: Same here. I’m still not ready to ride. Typically I just hang up my bike for the winter and find something else to do, but if my knee is ready to go in the coming months, I’ll be out there.
  • 1 0
 I'm definitely confused by this, as someone who lives in Southern California. Can someone explain it to me?
  • 1 0
 in Phoenix, AZ half the year is regular summer and the other half is sonoran desert summer. Big difference Smile
  • 1 0
 Riding in snow is also cool up to 5cm Smile This gets me rolling typically to the mid December, then start again in March. It's quite surprising how slick trails can be under snow. But after such winter you get the hero mode in spring, all my PRs are right after the winter. It's off season only if you want it to be.
  • 2 0
 Australia it's either warm or hot. Riding season all year.
  • 2 1
 @fektor-b: Yeah, but poisonous everything and sharks and crocodiles waiting to kill you around every corner.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: this is true. Ive seen 9 snakes since the end of our winter. All venomous. Maybe I should carry a Bluetooth speaker while I ride to scare them off?
  • 1 0
 @fektor-b: Don’t mind me, man. I’m just bitter that we are losing daylight and won’t have consistently nice weather here again until June 1. Australia is a wonderful place! Enjoy the summer.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: you're lucky you get "consistently good weather"....
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: we do get a lot of sun here. And actually today is great! But it will be a good exception rather than the norm for a good while.
  • 6 0
 Slift! I saw them a few months back. They played the stuff from the new KEXP session. The new album is going to be absolutely bonkers!
  • 3 0
 Nice! I've been watching the KEXP sessions and keeping an eye out for some West Coast shows. Love Ummon
  • 3 0
 Last year before winter I started with regular trail-running and because of time possibilities I could go only in early night or early morning. Since then I love running through the black dark forest, fog is pretty adventurous as well. You realize there's another depth in the forest when all is totally dark and your headlamp is always fooling you with phantom shadows and siluethes. There's no off season.
  • 1 0
 Look into the Kogala running light.
  • 3 0
 I just got into trail running. I run trails that were either boring or not accessible by bike. Uphills are way more fun. It's been a game changer. It's also been great for lower body mobility and strength.
  • 1 0
 @njparider: Trail running is much better than road running because it requires you to use upper body to quickly and gently counterbalance the lower body movements. I feel quite tired after 10km on pavement while the same distance in twisty up and downhill trails is like relaxation excercise.
Also, I started to ride the very same trails differently. I've never been the bomber style rather picky and technically carving my way down the trail. But after starting to trail run it's even better.
  • 8 4
 We hike and do trailwork in the off season. Then ski. Trailwork in particular is very rewarding as you see trails in a different light after
  • 9 1
 Yeah I'm sure once that snow melts the new trails you put in look completely different.
  • 1 4
 If you're able to do trailwork you're able to ride so still go season.
  • 3 0
 Winter here in Utah is pretty much the offseason, even there is no snow on the ground, the dirt is sticky clay like. But Moab is only 3.5 hours from SLC and St. George is only 4 hours. So winter is definitely "Desert Season"
  • 1 0
 A lot of time you can ride some lower bench stuff but I agree it is a shell of what it is in the summer.
  • 5 0
 I hide inside to save money so I can have a bike season.
  • 1 0
 New Yorker here, the thing it took me years to learn to get my hands warm in the winter was wearing enough layers on the core. If you don’t do that, your hands will be cold no matter what gloves you wear. It took many years of frozen fingers to figure that out.
  • 3 0
 Fat biking is the way to go over here in Quebec! Also 10 hummingbird birds as a unit of measure, Americans will truly use anything other than the metric system!
  • 1 0
 Quick question for everyone, best 4 season riding in the country?
Hawaii- great weather (even Tho it is quite wet in the winter) not a ton of trails.
Northern Utah- great trails but winter is less than ideal (southern Utah 4 hours away)
southwest- too hot in the summer to not ride at 4 am
PNW- great riding but winter is quite dark and outside of Bellingham not a ton of trails.
Ashville-very wet in winter and trails cany handle moisture.

what am i missing???
  • 11 7
 So we're down to just one Mike now, huh?
  • 5 1
 Feels that way.
  • 3 0
 Hang up the bike for a bit and get into the backcountry snow. Seasons are the best.
  • 1 0
 Got caught out last night at 16.30 without lights. That happened fast. Also, in case anyone hasn't seen the real comment gold: www.pinkbike.com/news/saddlespurs-new-saddle-presented-without-comment-of-any-sort.html
  • 1 0
 Dammit, now I'm looking at $300 toasters. I love my toaster oven, but stuff inevitably gets baked on to a point where it can't be cleaned, so I end up buying a new one every 5-10 years.
  • 1 0
 Winter is when I strap my mattoc to my hardtail and charge up my electric stihl (which fits in my camlbak) for som serious trail «maintenenance» keeping up the progression of my local trails..
  • 1 0
 Combination of fat biking, Zwift, and Nordic skiing for me. Hoping to add curling back into that mix this winter. Winter is probably my overall favorite season until about mid-March. Then it can go away.
  • 1 0
 Probably trainers are a good solution - helps keep an aerobic base. I'm tempted to get one, but also to use the money for a 2nd bike too.
  • 4 0
 Trainers can be OK if you have a workout written for you or maybe Zwift. You need something to think about and change things up — mindlessly spinning sucks.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: that first year a Covid I did whole bunch of riding a fluid trainer and it takes a lot of mental fortitude to make it through a long workout with nothing to focus on but hitting a specific power number
  • 1 0
 @TheR: Thanks for the feedback ... I was wondering if I could incorporate a trainer whilst watching a show. I also like the idea of Zwift, but not for $15 monthly.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: I believe it.
  • 2 0
 @njcbps: I just listen to music or podcasts. I have some workouts that get progressively more difficult each week, and they include various cadence and technique drills that make the time go more quickly. (Sitting, standing, fast spinning, slow spinning, etc.) It just gives me something to think about. And I only go once or twice a week. I’m not saying it’s as much fun as riding a real bike, but it makes it a good deal less tedious. You just have to have a purpose or a game to play.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: podcast help a lot to give me something to focus on. Back when I had that setup I lived in a town home and couldn't stop myself from humming/singing along to music which the neighbor did not appreciate at 5am so I had to stop (lol).
  • 1 0
 @TheR: Thanks - I didn't go for it. $800 for a Kickr Core was too much - esp for something that only I could use. I couldn't find a way to keep it easily accessible for 2 or more riders, who wouldn't want to keep changing bikes.
  • 2 0
 @njcbps: I’m definitely not an evangelist for stationary bikes or trainers. I do not own one myself, but have had access to some good ones over the last 10 years or so. I just wanted to give you some suggestions to stay sane if that was your only option in the winter. I’m rehabbing a knee injury from this summer — so stationary is my only option at the moment.
  • 1 0
 So, I'm not the only trail running, (gym) bouldering, cyclist around here?

(I like outdoor stuff, but takes too much time away from my bike)
  • 1 0
 I used to do all 4-3 times a week and lift weights (minus trail running). Then it caught up with me. Not giving yourself recovery time can really mess you up.
  • 1 0
 Really enjoyed dario's music pic this week, ended up listening through the whole album. Wasn't the biggest fan of I dont care pt1 and pt2 but super cool vibes throughout
  • 2 0
 I'm glad to hear Dario is filling Sarah's shoes as the resident vocal fry expert.
  • 2 0
 Down South, it’s peak season.
  • 3 0
 What's an off season??
  • 2 0
 Best part of Socal, winter riding is by and large the best riding.
  • 1 0
 ^only time it's not a dustbowl eh?
  • 3 0
 @flattire: still a dust bowl. Still fun.
  • 2 0
 @birdsandtrees: exactly this!
  • 7 9
 I have a peloton spin bike in the house. It's a fantastic tool to stay fit in the off-season. No commuting to a gym, excellent array of online instructors, cycle, stretching, weights activities. And good music to accompany it all. And some really attractive women instructors as well.
  • 1 0
 Deleted
  • 1 1
 Unsure why this is downvoted - the easier Z2 that can be achieved with a trainer is missing during MTB ride (IE Z3 and beyond intensity).
  • 1 0
 Yes Dario - deerskin work gloves are a well kept secret in the moto world. Thin, warm, cheap - pick all 3!
  • 1 0
 People living below 49th pararel talking about their days days being short- hilarious!!!
  • 1 0
 Many moons ago I rode with welding gloves in cold weather... had forgotten about that until now!
  • 1 0
 What is off-season?
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