interval

Sunday on the road

Today was another spring day in Finland. After the last post where I wrote about spring, the next day we had snowfall. Anyhow, I still want to believe spring is here, even though it's only beginning of March. Today for the first time I got company by a friend, he was riding his Bianchi 1885 road bike, whereas I still had my Felt F65X cyclocross. Maybe next weekend I can take out my Canyon, but first I need to do a proper maintenance on it. Today was sunny, +8 degrees warm, so a perfect day to ride a bike even if it was close to storm with winds gusting up to 15 m/s. On today's agenda we had a couple of 15 minute intervals with a moderate workload and some strength training intervals with low cadence uphill. Enough talking, now for the ride-pics!

Bianchi season is opened!

Leg-powered

Uphill, big gear, low cadence

Out of the saddle

2 minutes done uphill, back down and repeat 8 times

Bianchi 1885

Felt F65X

3 hours 20 minutes, first really enjoyable longer ride outdoor this year, and really looking forward for next week, weather forecasts show some more sun and warm weather. Next week will also be pretty darn interesting with Tirreno-Adriatico and much more! I will also tell you some more about new things coming up. But that will be next week, now enjoy what's left of Sunday!



Stepping up off-season training

After a slow start for the road cycling season 2014, I've slowly managed to make progress in my off-season training. The days at work seem to be way too long and it often feels impossible to find energy for training. Afterwards, once you make that decision to hit that workout, you will thank yourself for doing it.

I often motivate myself by going back in time, thinking about those races and special moments when I just couldn't hold on to that wheel in front of me, or when a breakaway attempt wasn't strong enough and just drained my energy, that feeling when I failed. If there is something I hate in cycling, that's failure, especially failure because I just wasn't good enough. I couldn't execute my plan as I wanted because I wasn't in good enough shape. I have experienced several failures and I remember most of them really well, remember exactly how I felt when those seconds hit me, when I wasn't strong enough to perform as I wanted.

These moments I remember so well, will help me move forward. To hit those intervals on the trainer, to go out cycling even if it's freezing and dark or to head for the gym early in the morning. I want to be better. I want to progress, I want to be better than last year, last month or even last week. I want to outperform myself, surprise myself. And most of all, I do not want to give up, at least not without giving it my best. Limits are created by your mind, giving up before giving it your all is not an option. If you then however fail, that's ten times better than a "what if". 

Doing intervals while watching ice hockey, easier said than done!

During the weekend I had a great, almost 3 hour outdoor workout, mostly just easy pedaling. Made some minor adjustments on my position on the bike, and darn those changes were good. The position now feels perfect and no pressure on the knees anymore. Below some pictures from the weekend:

Cashew - Tea break

Sunday morning

Sunday morning coffee

Orange juice in the making

A Finnish breakfast?

Sunday evening

It's already Wednesday tomorrow, almost weekend that is. Try to hang in there, not more than 5-6 weeks left of the winter!

Progress

Today was the first off season test to illustrate the real outcome of the training so far. I was hoping for an additional 5-8 watts to my FTP, and in my mind I was a bit worried about the big break in December. I also had increased the amount of training lately and had slightly sore legs before the training. 

All set up

All set up

In the first couple of minutes I felt pretty uncomfortable and it took me a while to find the right position on the bike. A couple of heavy but short intervals made the heart beat quite hard and I felt the legs weren't fresh. But as the first of the 8 minute intervals began I felt pretty strong, and in a couple of minutes I gained a lot of self confidence, all of a sudden it felt pretty good. And that feeling kept going all the way trough the workout.

Spinning

Spinning

And it all ended with an FTP that was actually 15 watts above the previous. So in a month my training, both gym and riding the bike had increased my Watt/Kg by 0,36. Yes, I am pleased, and this is the part of training that will keep you motivated to train even harder.

This again proves the huge gains about actually tracking what you do and having a training plan. There are few things in life that compares with that feeling when you realize you actually are much better than just a couple of weeks ago, or you achieve a goal that you tried to reach for a long time. I warmly recommend all of you, even if you're "just running on your spare time" to track your running, use a heart rate device and you'll understand what I'm talking about. 

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

I also spoke with Kjell Carlström today, Team IAM Cycling directeur sportif and ex professional pro tour cyclist. Really interesting stuff with building up a new team. That team sure has a lot of potential, will be really interesting to follow them! Unfortunately their webpages are in French only, but they should be updating them soon. And you'll find Team IAM Cycling on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/IAMcycling

Tomorrow new week, new possibilities, take them and enjoy them!

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I've read in the Finnish newspapers that we have had the coldest summer in 25 years, and to be honest it has affected the training. To be able to complete my goal, and to even have a small chance of reaching the main event in september being fit, I need to start biting the dust. Next week will be focused solely on training and taking care of myself (read: visiting the sports masseur). Despite the chilly and rainy weather I've managed to make a couple of good rides. This week we put in some hill-interval training. That's probably one of the hardest workouts on a long time! Lungs and legs burning and heart pounding like hell. I guess that's when you feel you're alive! 

A couple of days ago we completed a hill-interval training. Pain, was the word

This is how my day started, and it will continue with planning the workouts for next week and with the Tour de France Time trial, that will be the last stage before heading to Champs-Élysées tomorrow!

 

Have a nice weekend!