winter cycling

2014 Rapha Festive 500 - First days

2014 Rapha Festive 500 - First days

It's now a couple of days since the 2014 Rapha Festive 500 was completed. Last year I did the challenge for the first time ever, and due to only a few hours in the saddle during December I decided to give my legs the gift of trying to complete the Festive 500 again this year. The weather would be completely different from last year and that I was to learn that.

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!

Winter Cycling Season Opened

The first snow has landed in Turku, and I guess it's here to stay. So it was time to gear up my 29er and head out. -1 degrees and light snowfall, almost perfect conditions for a short ride outdoors and a welcomed change for riding the trainer indoors. 

Pre-ride coffee

Pre-ride coffee

Today's ride

Today's ride

Roadblocks are for cars

Roadblocks are for cars

Silent roads

Silent roads

Got home just before it was really dark

Got home just before it was really dark

To be honest, that was really fun. Maybe winter is not that bad after all!? Now some hot mulled wine and something good to eat.

 

Enjoy your Saturday!

Back on the Road

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.

March 15th, still plenty of snow around

March 15th, still plenty of snow around

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. 

First outdoor ride, +1 degrees Celsius and still a lot of snow around

First outdoor ride, +1 degrees Celsius and still a lot of snow around

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.

Some of the rides have not been that sunny..

Some of the rides have not been that sunny..

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...

Great lunch at LaCaffettiera in Turku

Great lunch at LaCaffettiera in Turku

I'll get back to you with more stories during the week. 'Til then, have a great one!