But with the recent Winter Olympics in Russia annoyingly cutting in to the cycling content in our newsfeeds and TV time – and with surprisingly little unrest over Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ laws – this seems like a good time to take a look at a winter sport that can be useful as a cross-training tool for cyclists.
It’s a sport that is not all that popular in Australia, but is certainly growing. I speak, of course, about Ice Hockey – or as it is known in some parts “6-Man Frigid Puck Sliding”, which is not to be confused with the rather obscure summer sport of “43-Man Squamish”, which was popularised back in the 1960s.
So here are some great reasons why Ice Hockey is a fantastic cross-training tool for cyclists looking to get the edge.
Obviously, nobody enjoys cycling in winter, that’s why Cyclo-Cross was invented back in the early 20th century as a way for European road cyclists to stay fit during the winter months when training on the road bike was uncomfortably cold, wet and windy. But Ice Hockey, as the name implies, is a sport designed specifically to be played in a winter climate, on ice, which means that it is an ideal sport to keep you both fit and motivated during the cold winter months.
Nobody enjoys road cycling in Winter, so why not try Cyclo-Cross or Ice Hockey to mix things up a bit?
The primary mode of transport in Ice Hockey is skating, although this is closely followed by sliding on your bum, face or stomach, even at the highest professional level.
A bit of practice on the ice should help with maintaining your poise in bunch sprints.
The Zamboni magically materialises between periods (specifically thirds) to add a shiny new layer of smooth ice to the surface of the rink. It’s an impressive sight, especially when it's painted like this.
Road cycling is also no stranger to the amusement that can be generated by motor vehicles, but just imagine how much better this scene could have been with the addition of a Zamboni.
Obviously you’ll need to invest in some equipment such as skates, padding, helmet and stick among others, and even more specific stuff if you are the goal tender (goalie or net minder). But if you are clever and willing to think outside the box you can probably manage to salvage and reallocate some of your old cycling equipment.