What Should You Do in the Off-Season?

5 Oct
10 MIN

While the gravel season is winding down and Track World Championships are still on the schedule for some of the Jukebox racers, the season is coming to an end for most. Rachel Pageau has already hung up her downhill and enduro bikes for the season (mostly) and the gravel crew is looking forward to some down time coming soon. If you're heading into the offseason, here are a few tips from the Jukebox riders about how to make the most of your time.

Celebrate wins and losses

That's right, before doing anything else, give yourself permission to celebrate the season, regardless of how it went. This means taking the good and the bad, and simply being proud of yourself for showing up and handling whatever the season threw at you. While it's easy to celebrate when everything is going well, we know it's tough when a race didn't go the way you planned. Maybe, like Rachel Pageau, you ended up with lost bikes around key races, or had serious injuries that made you miss out on certain race days. Or maybe, like Adam Roberge, you had a solid race—but you felt like you could have pushed harder. Give yourself permission to celebrate making it through before moving on to the next step...

Assess what you want to work on next year

This could be things like specific on-bike skills. Rachel focused on jumping in the past year, and it paid off big-time, for an example. Maybe your nutrition (on or off the bike!) needs some work. Or maybe you realized that these longer gravel events mean you need to do longer rides on weekends to be better prepared.

Start thinking about goals

You don't have to have super specific goals just yet—give yourself a bit of time to rest and recover before you get super specific, but if there are bigger targets you want to hit or races you know you want to do, write those down and put them onto the calendar now, before things like family vacation or work conferences start to conflict with those dates.

Mark your calendar with key dates

With big gravel races selling out fast or even having lottery-style entry these days, it's more important than ever to plan out your year well in advance! On the note of planning your next year in broad strokes, if there are certain races you're desperate to do, look on each race's website and note key dates, like lottery openings or when the reg page goes live. A lot of races are announcing 2023 dates and info now, so check those big races ASAP!

Check your gear

How did your gear hold up this season? All of the Jukebox riders use the offseason to give their gear a bit of TLC, and to think about what they need to have an even better season next year. Maybe you realized your tires or saddle aren't ideal for the riding you're doing, or maybe you've decided you need an entirely different bike altogether. Make your gear wishlist early so you can chip away at repairs and replacements in the offseason rather than waiting until the week before your first big race next year. And if you are ordering anything new, order it NOW. Supply chain issues are still a big problem in the bike industry, and wait times on everything from full bikes to chains can be months.

Dial in other healthy habits

While you have the time since you're taking some down time to recover, this is the best time to hone healthy habits. Maybe your cooking skills could use a bit of work, or you keep meaning to meal prep but never really have the time. Now, you have that extra 5 to 20 hours free in the week, so spend that time doing things like cooking healthy meals, catching up on sleep, adding in those mobility exercises you know you're supposed to do, getting started with strength training, and even fun stuff like finally booking that massage!

Enjoy off bike time

We know, we know. Riding is the best! But you can still have fun and enjoy the great outdoors while giving your butt and your saddle a break. Take walks and hikes to get out in nature, enjoy time spent with your non-cycling friends and family, and generally enjoy having an offseason. The more relaxed and recovered you can get in these few weeks before heading into base, the better getting back on the bike is going to feel!

Molly Hurford

Author for the Jukebox Cycling Team