January stats and racing on Zwift

So we've let go of January, one of the darkest months for a road cyclist in Finland. You need to get back on track with training after the Christmas-break. The lack of sunlight does not make it any easier. However, I managed to do the best January, ever. Having said that, I mean the best January tracking hours in the saddle. I am far behind looking at fitness and power, but tracking hours is the way to get back there. 

Tracking hours on Watopia Island

A big reason behind the hours is using Zwift. I've been using it since early beta, and even during longer easy rides, I prefer to stare at Zwift instead of Netflix. Zwift has taken huge leaps since 2015, and besides graphics and routes, the biggest leap is organized races. I decided to try out a 40 km race on Watopia. I chose a flat route, despite I think the hilly routes would suite me better. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I have to admit - racing on Zwift is really close to real life. I found myself pushing and keeping an eye on the other riders the same way I would do in real life. The day I chose to race my legs were heavy and I found myself gasping for air. My heart rate was shooting like a rocket. I chose to mark myself as category C, and that was pretty accurate, I finished first in that category. A nice start to racing on Zwift, and I will definitely try it out again!

The results for category C

I had just switched to a new saddle (Specialized Toupe Pro Saddle), and I could really feel that afterwards. If you are smart, you usually get used to a new saddle before racing. And I really got a good reminder of why. I could barely walk after I've finished, and sitting was even worse. It took me a good amount of painkillers and some 5 hours to get me back on track. My thighs, butt and legs were completely destroyed. But a couple of rides later, my body had adapted to the new saddle (more about the saddle later). 

I also met up with an old colleague from my time at Canyon, while riding on Zwift.

Canyon Crew

Since I love data and lack great photos to share, below some stats from January.

I've mostly done easy Z1 and Z2 training in January, which can be seen in the average heart rates during training.

It seems as if I've been busy biking

Comparing to previous years, I've spent more time in the saddle than ever before.

Comparing my fitness with the previous 365 days, I'm not far away from being where I was at my best last year. However, that's still far from where I've been.

Since all the images above are from virtual reality, I will finish off this post with a picture from real life. The winter is really holding a tight grip at the moment, and spring seems to be far away.

Winter at Aura River in Turku

That's all for now, thanks for reading!