It's really strange to say, it's December. When did that happen? The good thing is that one of the dark rainy months has already passed and only a few to go before the outdoor season starts again (well a few..). As usual, I think pictures are nicer to browse on a Sunday evening, therefore I'll bombard you with them instead of words. I'm also planning to do something I've never done before, a real adventure. I'll tell you more about that next week, or before christmas ;)
I hope you all had a great weekend. I'll upload some more stats about training, upcoming events and site updates during the upcoming month. Stay tuned!
A picture I took early Friday morning, I need to admit, there can be nice mornings in November as well..
The trainer season has officially begun. I really can feel my lungs are not 100 % in shape (more likely 45%), not to talk about my legs, but so far so good. 2 easy workouts behind, and I'm starting to believe I can start training seriously in some weeks. Frustrating to be forced to take it really easy, but there are no shortcuts here.
Before riding indoors, you need to clean your bike, so that's what I did on Friday. The Park Tools CM5 Cyclone Chain Cleaner is a really neat gadget to clean your chain. Just add some degreaser and you're good to go.
For you who are wondering about the trainer I use and how I motivate myself to ride indoors, stay tuned, I'll share some tips on that next week!
I've been training frequently for a while now and my legs are telling me they need a day off. "Shut up legs" is the famous saying by Jens Voigt, probably the hardest guy in the peloton. On the bike, the one who can keep the legs and body "quiet" for the longest time will probably do a good in race. But off the bike, you need to listen to your body in order to avoid overtraining and injuries. So today I've been cleaning my bike, reading bike blogs and books and of course, Sundays are also for watching sports on TV.
And the truly inspirational, one and only Jens Voigt about fighting your body:
Working out, getting the right mixture of indoor cycling and weightlifting with the right nutrition and enough time for recovering. There are so many aspects to think of, and so many possible ways of failure, not to mention our bodies are all different. When I first started road cycling, I never thought I'd begin with weightlifting and gym. But as years passed I realized that was the only way to make proper progress.
My setup using Kurt Kinetic trainer and Trainerroad software
Using the trainer with your roadbike is a good way to keep fit and push that FTP (functional threshold power), but in the long run you'll notice your body needs other training as well. As I noticed this summer, I underrated the importance of the core, and by doing so had back injuries that kept me off the bike for a too long period of the short summer.
So while all coaches recommend you to begin cross training, activating and building your core, you might wanna know what you're about to do before you begin. There are several books and blogs about this subject, and later on I'll review some of the books I found were the best and most useful.
There is no such thing as a perpetual-motion machine, even though we seek to find it in ourselves
I have recently built up a training-plan and for the next weeks I'll be reworking it, listening to my body, carefully developing it to avoid further injuries. It is important to remember, there are no certain blueprints on how to successfully become better, but you'd be a fool If you wouldn't carefully read what the professionals and the scientists have been writing about the topic. So in the next couple of weeks and during the winter I will let you know more about my training methods and also about the possible mistakes I make so you can avoid them! Hopefully you'll find it both interesting and useful!
February legs, cycling slang for a heavy stoney feeling in your thighs is okay when it's February. February is usually the time when you start realizing the summer is approaching. One sign is when you start looking at new clothing for the upcoming season. Well first you start getting daily e-mails from the online bike-shops "Save up to 40% on winter clothing! Clearance on 2011 bikes! NEW 2012 ranges in stock now!!"
Before you know, you have 12 open tabs in your browser showing both bikes, clothing, helmets, energy bars, shoes, sunglasses.. you name it. You start comparing different sites, and in the beginning its hard to choose, because you need to pick up stuff for about $300 to get free shipping. And all of a sudden, when you browse through a new neat jersey it says "this item has free shipping to your country". Your basket now has 10 items and the basket value is $350. This, is spring.
So even if we have loads of snow and it's still below 0, the mind is set on spring and summer. I ofcourse envy people living in southern latitudes, where you already began your outdoor cycling season, but to be honest, the Trainerroad app that I mentioned earlier is taking good care of my pre-season shape. I now have ridden more than 500km (well above 300 miles) in a month, and finished the Early base (Foundation,form&base) training plan. Next week the treshold rides will begin, and they will add more strenght and endurance to my legs. And if all goes well, I get rid of my february legs during February month.
A month ago I ran into a superb video made by the GarminUK team. It's an ad for the edge 800 and the GarminConnect community. Check out their page with training tips and other stuff!
Click to open the Garmin site
I hope my winter training could some day look like this!
Click to open in YouTube HD or watch the video below
Indoor training, rolling on a trainer is maybe one of the biggest downsides in cycling, which comes forced by the nature when living in Northern Europe. Even if this fall hasn't been snowy, it's still not safe to head out on those icy roads riding on 23mm wide tires with only lycra covering your body. Pushing your limits indoors with fans trying to keep your bodytemperature at even humane levels is far from pleasant. Cycling is about suffering, yes, but still it's hard to get yourself on that bike when you know it will be uncomfortable as heck.
But something came to change indoor cycling last fall. Trainerroadcreated an application that communicated with any ant+ device, and by connecting your computer, your ant+ cycling computer and all of its components you all of a sudden had a full trainer application on your TV. The guys at Trainerroad took the experience even further. As we know, cycling training today is all about the power your legs produce, and how long you can maintain certain efforts. Therefore Trainerroad even brought pretty accurate power calculation to users without ant+ power meters. I myself use the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and I am hugely greatful of this feature!
Getting started (click to open website)
Bike attached to the trainer, in front of a 46" Sony running Trainerroad appAs if this wouldn't be great enough, the guys at Trainerroad even brought you your own personal trainer. The site provides you with both full training plans, according to your own personal level (that increase during your progress) and single and free workouts. And "of course" you can compare your own efforts with other users'. The software (both mac and pc) can be runned simultaneously on top of video, so you can ride while watching a movie or a cycling video (and now even synced with sufferfest workouts!).
Crossing the Attu bridge this summer, now doing it from my livingroomSo you get the software, all pre set-workouts, training plans, power calculations, user profile (career). All this at a cost of $10/month. One can wonder if this is not only the greatest thing ever happened to indoor training, but also the greatest value for money in any category of training.
Searching and previewing workouts is really easy
Workouts are immediately saved and uploaded when done
I strongly recommend this application for all cyclist, whether you are professional or just riding for fun. I'm more of the riding for fun- kind of cyclist, and now I'm training almost every day according to a professional plan, and yes, I'm really enjoying it! Beating the workout power averages is great, but beating your fellow cyclists out on the road is priceless! Hence $10/month for outpowering someone on the road is nothing.
So, if you can't stop the Winter, you at least can try to make the most out of it. Recently, thanks to a friend of mine, I found this neat page, TrainerRoad.com. As a cyclist in these northern latitudes, the indoor bike-trainer-season is pretty long, but this site and the software it provides will hopefully make the season a bit more interesting. It'll provide you with approximate watt results, and all the information you can get from your ant+ cycling computer. All you need is a usb ant+ stick and you can pair the TrainerRoad software on your computer with the ant+ products (watt meter,heart rate monitors etc.). And one without a power meter can use the VirtualPower system, that will give you a watt reading on the screen. What is neat about this, is that I train in front of my TV, and since I now can connect my computer via HDMI to the TV, I can now watch my training data from the TV at the same time I'm watching for instance a cycling workout video. How cool is that!? I'll let you know how this all works as soon as I've put my ass down on that trainer!
Click to open the TrainerRoad website to read more
This is what the ant+ usb stick looks like. As for a finnish citizen iI found the cheapest sticks on Probikekit.com, some 40€ (click the picture to open the location)
Check also out the video about TrainerRoad:
I also spoke about some new stuff on the page. And as I sat down last week I realized it could be nice to share some info about the stuff I read and the gear I use. So from now on you can find some descriptions about the cycling gear I use, and have used along with the literature (Readings) about cycling and training that I've read or currently read. Check them out!