Getting Back Part 1.

So, winter is halfway done and you feel bad about all that holiday weight that's dragging you down. Now you promised yourself you're going to get back to the saddle, but how? Here are five easy steps to get you started.

1. Gut Check

Yes, literally - look down and examine your belly. It maybe depressing for some of you but that's how you start. Get a note pad and measure your waistline. Weigh yourself; check your blood pressure and resting heart rate. Write them all down and label it "day no. 1" It's a good idea to know where you started from so you can figure out how much work you need to.

2. Rig Review

Unless you don't believe in the off season, more than likely your bike is gathering dust somewhere in the garage. Take it out, dust it down and do a thorough check. That includes the cables, chain, tires, spokes, etc, etc. In short, tune your bike; take it to Blann or to your local bike shop.

3. Set Goals

Now you need to figure out what you want to do. It may be hard to imagine at this time but give it a shot. MS150, a Century in June, racing in May? Sound reasonable, keep it simple and attainable. Goals that are too hard will eventually get you off track. It's not a bad idea to "chunk" off the rest of the year. Meaning split 2012 into quarters and set objectives in each one of them. That will keep you fit til 2013

4. Start Slow

Hibernation is not all that bad - just keep the mantra "endurance over speed" and "long and slow" in mind. Endurance power is the bread and butter of cycling - also known as aerobic power. Training this way allows you to ride all day - speed can wait. Work on your pedaling efficiency along with your bike handling skills. Give this about a month or so.

5. Challenge yourself

Sign up for events other than the ones you've done in the past or set a new personal record on a course on your beaten path. Ride with other people and meet new friends. It's always good to get out of your comfort zone.