It's actually great writing this seldom. Well I kind of feel bad about it, but also thinking about my last post in the beginning of February, summing up January feels like ages ago. Back then, even spring seemed far away, and now we've already put behind the midsummer celebrations.
Inhale. The cranks turn, pedals absorb the power, finally transmitting it to the wheels, turning them with an almost silent hum. A few gentle clicks and the rear derailleur smoothly moves the chain further on the cassette. Exhale. I grab the handlebars tight and pull myself out of the saddle. I feel the bike respond to my every action. Acceleration is smooth, yet effective. Every move has been exercised so many times, there is almost no energy lost to the thought. Inhale. I gasp for more air.
It's been a while since I've been talking about training and everyday activities. I also have some race-reports waiting to be written. A lot has happened and it feels like summer really flew past us faster than any previous version. My racing season is over for this year, and preparations for season 2016 have already begun. This summer was twofold in many ways. There were many ups but they seemed to be followed most often by immediate downs. We also lost a great soul this summer.
It is an awesome feeling being back riding the road bike outdoors. Rain or shine, it beats the indoor training easily. Getting back that feeling of acceleration and the sound of rims humming on the asphalt, wow. It has been really windy lately, but neither has that affected the positive vibes on the bike. Really looking forward for the first races this year, that's the first point of really knowing about the progress made this off season. After a business trip to Stockholm earlier this week I got ill with some really heavy flu and a temperature. Still struggling with that, so no time in the saddle this week. I'll again share what's been going on lately with pictures instead of writing a novel.
Another passion I've had since a kid is aviation. So I do geeky things during my trips on the airports, for instance following planes on an app (flightradar), tune in to the air traffic control radio frequency and watch them land live.
There are loads of great things happening in the world of road cycling. Paris-Roubaix this Sunday and many great races have been ridden during the past few weeks. Also the Finnish road cycling project, Fincycling, is progressing with great speed. I'll write more about Fincycling in my next post. So stay tuned!
Have a great weekend!
It has been a busy week, therefore a week of silence. Besides a busy week, this week has finally ended the off-season 2013/2014. An off-season that was really different from my previous years. More time in the saddle and less gym. This was the first off-season with Resistentia, and may the stats speak for themselves.
I did 27 more workouts, tracked almost 1 100 km more, in total 54 hours more time in the saddle. My training was slightly less stressful. On average my rides were almost 20 minutes longer in duration. This can be partly explained with the new Felt F65X cyclocross I bought in November. Thanks to Huntteri.fi for that opportunity. I will write a review about the bike during spring. I also managed to reduce weight and increase my watt/kg ratio. For these results I have not only thank myself for, but especially Resistentia and Huntteri.fi. Resistentia for providing me with coaching and a well structured training plan and Huntteri for giving me the opportunity to get a proper cyclocross for the winter.
I also managed to stay healthy and had no influenza this year. I feel really good and confident for the upcoming season. Can't wait to hit the roads and challenge myself beating my current records.
Last weekend was the last time I was out with the cyclocross. Really spring already
On Tuesday this week I finally did a proper maintenance on my Canyon roadbike, cleaning, oiling, changing wires, handlebar tape, things you need to do before the season can start. And on Wednesday it finally happened. And wow, that difference from an aluminium cyclocross bike to a full carbon roadbike, stunning.
The forecasts promise great weather for weekend, can't wait to track some big hours in the saddle trying out all my new gadgets and nutrition etc.
Have a good one!
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!
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!
It has been a pretty busy week. It began with easy training, a business trip to Stockholm and then rounding up with an FTP test, Winter Olympic Games start and beginning of the Tour of Qatar.
Last Sunday I took a spin outside, probably the hardest outdoor workout this winter. It had been snowing a lot and since the temperature was around zero degrees, it was hard to keep the bike straight. In the worst places, uphill with loads of loose snow my speed was around 5 km/h and my heartbeat was around 180 bpm. With every pedal-stroke the rear wheel just kept spinning and the bike was wildly sliding from side to side. And that ride was supposed to be an easy aerobic day...
On Monday I took an easy recovery spin, and then I had to rest for two days because of a trip to Stockholm.
On Friday I had the second FTP test for this year. I was not too confident going into the training. My goal was to raise the FTP value with at least 10 watts, and honestly this time the test felt much harder than before. Having given it my all, I actually ended up with +14 watts, a huge surprise. Having lost 2 kg's weight this year, I actually already nailed my off season W/kg record, which feels good having trained less than I would have wanted to.
On Friday the Winter Olympic Games also finally begun, the Olympics are always a spectacle I love to watch. After the opening ceremony I rewarded myself with Friday-Sauna.
On Sunday the Tour of Qatar started, and what a start. Great breakaway effort by IAM Cycling Team once again, and I'm really excited to see what the team will be able to show during this tour!
On Sunday we also saw Enni Rukajärvi take the first Finnish medal in Women's Slopestyle. Great silver medal, hopefully one of many to come.
Next week I really need to improve my training. Even if I had a couple of weeks with too few hours, I'm glad to see I'm improving and also glad I've been able to reduce my weight without losing muscles. The goal is to still lose some 5 kg's before summer.
A month or so and we are out on our road-bikes!?
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".
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:
It's already Wednesday tomorrow, almost weekend that is. Try to hang in there, not more than 5-6 weeks left of the winter!
After a long period without snow here in southern Finland the really cold weather is back. The temperature has stayed between -10 and -20 degrees, hence I've stayed inside doing trainer exercises all week. But today since the sun was finally shining, I decided to take a ride despite some -15 degrees celcius. It was also a perfect weather to try out my new winter cycling shoes, the Northwave Fahrenheit GTX (Gore-Tex) Winter Road Shoes.
I also had suffered many punctures lately and made a thorough check on the tires. And it struck me how bad that gravel they shovel on the icy roads really are for tires. They're sharp as glass and really cut through those tires, had several smaller pieces that had made some small damage already, and one that had cut through and caused the punctures.
I repaired the tire, changed the inner tube and headed out. I wore several layers of warm clothing, breathable and windproof. That's a must do if you are riding in temperatures below -10 degrees.
After 10 kilometers I had to stop because my feet were freezing. Fortunately I had a pair of neoprene shoe covers with me, so I just put those on and continued. I would estimate that the Northwave Fahrenheit GTX Winter Road Shoes will be able to handle some -5 degrees but if the temperature goes below that, you probably want to add another layer on top of that. I'll review the shoes when I have more hours on them.
After one and a half hour I made a short stop to take some photos. At this point it was - 15 degrees and a sign of cold weather could be seen as a layer of ice on my collar.
Even if it was cold, I didn't freeze. But I guess my body still reacted to the freezing weather. I had a pretty high average heart-rate even if i didn't put much effort into pedaling. The sun was setting just before I got home. Have to admit it was pretty nice to watch.
I had one bottle of warm water with me when I left home, but after 20 minutes it was already so cold I didn't want to drink it, and after one hour it was all frozen. When I got home the bottle looked like this:
It seems we won't see much of the sun during next week, and the temperatures will continue to stay below - 10 degrees. Good thing I went out today and enjoyed the weather.
Enjoy your weekend!
These weeks pass by so darn fast. Probably the worst thing about that is to try to balance work and training. And when work involves travelling, it's hard to get the proper scheduled workouts done. It's possible, I know, Alexander Stubb has proven it. Well anyway, I thought I'd share some pics from last week
Visited johan & nyström coffee shop in Kanavaranta 7, Helsinki. Such a nice place, good coffee and superb atmosphere. If you are around, you should pay a visit!
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!
Enjoy what's left of the weekend!
In the last posts before the break I wrote about my training progress and I was actually very pleased by the way my body responded to the gym and trainer exercise. This is how the progress W/Kg was developing from January to March:
Due to the fact I don't have a Cycle Power Meter on my bike (these calculations were made by the indoor training software) it is quite hard to keep track on this development. That has led to the feeling I am making zero progress. I've now ridden 1000km outdoors (total of slightly above 2000km) this year, which is almost the same as last year at this time. So with the training I've made during winter and the fact that I've ridden slightly more, that should result in me being in better shape. Is that so?
During March I felt the overtraining creeping (read more about overtraining on Trainingpeaks). So I had to take a break in training. Probably that led to a drop in the "good feeling" about training and resulted in actual performance loss as well. It was a pity taking some time off, but that was a must. Together with high expectations that is probably the reason why I feel I am underperforming.
That's why I will be doing some serious change in my training, I'll let you know more about that later.
This week will bring the first race of the year, Giro d'Espoo. It was a great event last year, 111km of superb riding in great weather (you can read about last year's event here). The weather now looks quite the opposite, +15 degrees and rain. I also heard the roads are in quite bad shape at some sections, so it can become a quite dangerous ride. So maybe I'm not able to beat last year's time, but anyhow, just finishing will probably feel great.
The route will be the same as last year, as mentioned 111km mostly rolling hills. For all you attending, click here to see all the sections which are in bad shape. I really hope there won't be any big crashes, would be really disappointing to have the bike destroyed and a bone broken with the whole season in front of us.
During the spring we have had some rainy rides, which hopefully will help us now. I also bought some new waterproof clothing, that I'll review at a later stage, they've been working great.
Hope you stayed awake reading this!
Enjoy the spring!
3 Months, really? That's how long it took to be back here writing again, wow. That means I need to summarize my winter training. January and February where superb training-wise, both gym and trainer pedaling went as planned, or even better. March brought some flu that made a small break in the training, and once I got out on the roads it was once again hard to go back to indoor training.
The winter was longer than usual, and the first outdoor road bike ride was ridden March 23rd with plenty of snow around, and April 12th was the first time I took my bike out without first driving by car to a snowless place.
Even if I was able to get out on the roads later than last year, I have a couple of hundred km more ridden than last year at this time. Having that said, it still feels like I'm a bit behind schedule with especially the legs. All the longer rides have been a struggle in the end. And the first race of the year, Giro d'Espoo will be ridden already on Sunday this week. Not sure if I'm ready for that yet, but we'll see how it goes.
I have a lot to write but I'll do that in smaller fractions, no one's interested in reading a 10 page long story about training. And as usual, just to prove nothing has changed, there is a picture of food...
I'll get back to you with more stories during the week. 'Til then, have a great one!
As we get closer to the new outdoor season, it's time to go trough the old clothing and update the cycling wardrobe. Time to open up the wallet once again, but saving on clothing will cost you on the road. Freezing, numb toes together with sweaty yet cold torso will make you regret you sorted the price list view from low to high and didn't bother to scroll down. Today I received the first pre-season shipment..
And to once again show you something else than food:
Just a couple of days and it's weekend again!
Looking out the window, it still doesn't look like we would be a month from getting out with our bikes. Actually that doesn't worry me too much. Training indoors on my trainer is not half as bad as the previous years, so make it a month and a half and I'm not worried at all ;) A week has gone again and this week included some progress at the gym, added on some weights as the power training phase approaches. Otherwise I've been eating and making some nice workouts on the trainer. Next week will end the last base training plan, and Sunday will include a FTP progress test before stepping into the first power build phase. Really looking forward to do that test. Meanwhile I'll enjoy the rest of the day watching Biathlon and rocking on that trainer.
Oh, it's snowing again.. Enjoy your Sunday!
The first month of the year is behind. It was a good training period and I had some good results as well. Without yesterday's minor back injury at the gym, the month has improved my aerobic fitness as well as strength and power. It's the result of both slight reduction in weight as well as increased power output.
The next real progress test will be in just a couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to that. A bit concerned about yesterday's minor injury, but hopefully it's just a minor strain. Will try a ride today to check how it responds to training.
The awesome thing about stepping into February is that it is probably the single last month of pure indoor training! However, contrary to last year I'll probable be training indoors until April/May to sustain and increase the power abilities.
In the cycling world we've seen the Pro Tour kick off. Tour Down Under was won by the 23 year old Dutch Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). We also saw Andre Greipel take 3 stages with huge sprint efforts, Team Sky working hard for Geraint Thomas and a huge effort by Finnish FDJ rider Jussi Veikkanen hitting the top 10 with 10th place! The next big race will be the Tour of Qatar that'll kick off on Sunday. It's the first big race for the new Swiss Team IAM Cycling, and the first test for Kjell Carlström as a directeur sportif!
I also found a great site for all you interested in the Pro Tour Cycling scene! The site is www.procyclingstats.com and in there you'll find everything from stats, riders, routes and races. This is the database we've been waiting for, check it out!
I hope you all have a good weekend!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Just awesome to be back in business (training) after a period of snuffles and crappy feeling. Now a week into daily training routines and it all feels superb. And tomorrow I'll have the first FTP test that will illustrate the progress made so far. It's a pity I had a 4 week break in the middle of the training, it will surely have an effect on the FTP test. But still, I'm pretty hopeful about the outcome. I hope I'm able to add at least + 5 watts to my FTP. I'll let you know how it went when I'm done with it, and also enlighten a little bit how the training actually looks like and how it's all done.
I also received new pedals, the Look Keo Blade (Carbon), and used them now for a week. Really snappy and stable pedals, a big upgrade from my old pedals. I'll write more about them when I've been able to test them outdoors as well.
Enjoy the weekend!
Another new year of cycling is here. This year will be different from the past years, hopefully better than especially last year. Year 2012 was in many ways a year of learning to listen to your body, and learning from failures.
As every year when the snow starts to melt, we take the car and drive around Turku region to scout for any dry roads to cycle on. In 2012 the day was March 11th and indeed we found a dry road in Lieto
The spring was quite cold, and my first +100 km ride (120 km) ridden May 13th had an average temperature of +14 (min +11). That ride was my preparation ride for the first of two cycling events in 2012, Giro d'Espoo. We also discovered some new routes to Velkua and Merimasku. We also had some great group rides during the early 2012.
Giro d'Espoo was the first performance marker for 2012. The weather was perfect and the 110km race was well organized. The race went better than expected and I finished in a breakaway with an total average of 33,5km/h. It all felt pretty easy.
Then it was time for the summer. A summer that never came it felt like. The weather was bad throughout the whole summer (a couple of nice days), usually heavy winds and a lot of rainy periods made the riding pretty demanding at times. This also affected the kilometers ridden. It was just easier to justify short rides in bad weather. An exception was the day in June when I took my bike around the archipelago. It was one of the hardest rides so far. +12 degrees and it was soaking almost the entire first 144km, not to mention I almost got lost and the heavy winds once again.
August was the month to test my motivation. My bike broke down in early August, and when I got it back from maintenance my neck and back broke down. A couple of weeks without riding at the most important time felt wrong, but gave me motivation for this year.
Tour de Helsinki has always been my main goal, and was also the main goal in 2012. Not having spent much time on the bike the end result was just as could be expected. A crash and cramps made sure my time would be worse than the year before. And all of a sudden it was winter again.
As mentioned, the year 2012 was the year to learn new stuff. I learned to lose, I learned about patience, I learned to listen to my body and began going to a sports masseur. I think I became a mentally stronger rider although I didn't achieve some of the goals set up for 2012. What happened in 2012 changed also the way I will be training in 2013 and it also changed the way I will put up my goals this year. So even if 2012 was probably the hardest and worst year for me as far as results are concerned, it still gave me a lot.
I'll end wrapping up 2012 with quoting Mark Cavendish:
"There's something that can't be replicated that makes cycling so special"
Some of you might wonder how serious I am about cycling. As stated in the About me section, this is nothing serious. The more you ride, the more serious it gets, even though I wouldn't classify my cycling as particularly serious, in comparison with many other amateur cyclists. I do train yes, I talk about season and off season, yes, If you ask some of my friends they'd probably think I spend too much time with the bike, yes. Cycling is kind of a lifestyle and immediately when you want to progress in an endurance sport, it takes time. So even if I'm not too serious about it (because I have a budget), I like to make the most out of it. So how does a day in an not-too-serious cyclist's life look like?
So this is how today looked like. Of course I switch between gym and indoor cycling from day to day, but today was a gym day. To finance a pretty expensive hobby, one of course needs to go to work as well. Not to mention I still have some stuff undone before I graduate (cycling isn't helping studies either). But no one's (me), interested in work or study related stuff, so no excel sheets or academic papers here.
And to show the difference between an amateur like me and a professional, take a look at the video below, and you'll understand...