My brother and I used to call them "Belgium Days". Those were the rides that built character, improved your mental toughness, and showed just how dedicated you were. However, we lived in Hawaii so what the hell did we know.
Living in Virginia Beach is unique. It's unique in the fact that since we don't get consistent periods of really cold weather, it's tough to train when the temperature does drop. The reason is we are not typically prepared for it, equipment, body conditioning, and mentality. Over the last couple of weeks, the temperatures have hovered in the thirties. We had a day in the forties, with 20+ mile an hour winds. Whether you are building a base or trying to build your anaerobic capacity, the environmental conditions can have a negative effect on your plan.
I am a believer in cross training. Cycling is a sport that has movements primarily in one plane and is done in a hip flex position. Amateur cyclist spend about 7-15 hours a week in this position. Couple that with computer/desk work, it's easy to see why so many riders end up injuries related to muscle imbalances. Cross training gives cyclists a chance to improve their fitness with high end training while decreasing the likelihood of burnout and injury.
Now I'm not advocating cross training as the only method of training, and I even suggest combining it with your cycling. For example, last week I completed 20 intervals of 1:00 on and 1:00 off on the Versa Climber:
Next I did a little strength training:
When I got home, I got a little food and within two hours got on my bike. I've done this outside and inside. The bottom line after an hour and a half of cross training, the final hour on the bike felt like the final hour of a 3+ hour ride. I was able to get high end anaerobic training, strength work, volume of training, miles on the bike and even skill work at times:
All this without exposing myself to harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, when planning your winter training, be creative, embrace variety, and don't get caught up in simple mileage goals.