This weekend marks the winter solstice, and the time of year when we look forward to the days getting longer again and the festive period arriving.
Christmas, as you may have noticed, is approaching fast, as is the worst of the winter weather if some of the wind, rain and ice of this week is anything to go by.
However, ‘the show must go on’ and before we know it the 2014 season will be upon us – a year which could be a particularly big one for some of these young riders.
It could also be a big year for keen amateurs too, and with big challenges ahead, it’s crucial to stay out on the road and clock some valuable winter miles.
Winter gear will also come in handy, and we have looked at what features you should keep in mind when choosing a winter tyre.
Experienced wheel builders insist a new pair of winter hoops would be an equally valuable, and potentially long-lasting investment too.
As for the effort you should make at this low point in the off-season, well good old intuition could be a starting point but why leave it to chance? Here are five ways to get the most out of your ride.
At professional level, preparations are also in full flow with Mark Cavendish and Omega Pharma-Quickstep among the teams heading to soak up some Spanish winter sun.
The Belgian team’s training camp also saw the Manx Missile return to the track – find out why here.
Oh, and as if you need reminding, Christmas will be here before you know it!
Stuck for gift ideas? Then look no further than RCUK’s Christmas gift guides – and don’t forget to check back on Monday for some more last-minute ideas.
Have you been out on the bike this week, battling the conditions? Or over-indulging at the Christmas party?
Don’t worry if the morning headache has caused you to miss anything on RoadCyclingUK though – you can catch up on the best of the last seven days over the following pages.