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Tracking progress and loss of power

Tracking progress and loss of power

I've been picking up my off season training this week. After a somewhat long pause, I've also added workouts with slightly harder intervals. And darn I can feel the powerless February legs. The downside with having the Garmin Vector power data is that I now can accurately measure the loss of power.

Weekend behind - a new beginnig

Weekend behind - a new beginnig

A month ago I got some news that made it uncertain whether I could train for next season or not. That would mean, next season would be just one of getting back to shape. On Friday I got to know, that event won't take place now, and will be postponed until spring or autumn, or in best case not take place at all. 

Ups and downs the past few weeks

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. 

Fixing the bike before first outdoor ride is really important!

Changing all wires on the bike (yea, no electronic shifting here.. yet)

Clean Canyon

Also stacked up with some nutrition, I've changed from Maxim to SIS this year

First longer ride ahead, including Garmin Virb Elite

Klaus arriving

Crossing Aura river

A coffee break on a windy and chilly ride

Nutrition and hydration is important as well

Nutrition and hydration is important as well

One of the best road cycling books ever, Domestique by Charly Wegelius

Turku evening

We also have some cobbles

Stairway to water

Garmin Virb Elite mounted to the handlebar

It seems even uphills can be fun

Selfie...

Canyon having a break

Spring!

Not all sunshine

Soaking

"Seated" uphill training

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.

Planes landing on 19L

Back in Turku

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!

Spring is in the air

This week has been warm (well not warm like Italy, but warm comparing to the average temperatures in Finland this time a year). This week has also been great for cycling. On Friday it was time for yet another FTP test, this time a proper one. Having done only a few hard strength training workouts I was a bit nervous. But gladly I managed to perform pretty close to what I expected I could. Felt really strong at the latter part of the 20 minute interval and that gave me a nice boost in self-confidence on the bike.

Post FTP workout

After the FTP test, since it was Friday I rewarded myself with sort of "junkfood" and Sauna.

This morning I woke up well rested having had troubles sleeping during the week. And what a great feeling it was to wake up when the sun was shining! This winter has probably affected me more than the previous winters for some reason, and I realized it today feeling great, energized and really happy. Can't remember the time when I would have had all those 3 feelings at the same time. So the sun was shining and Kjell had planned a 2-3 hour easy outdoor ride for me today. Great!

I prepared myself some morning coffee with my Bialetti Brikka (that is by the way working flawlessly and makes a tremendous crema!). While having my espresso and porridge, I had all the time in the world to read the news, twitter feed and update myself with the latest in the cycling world.

After an easy and relaxing morning it was time to change the studded tires for normal cyclocross tires and head out. And folks, that makes a difference!

Look ma, no spikes

"Oh please, how long can it take to take that pic?"

Today's ride-snack, nuts

Nice fog on the lens

Goodbye winter!

One more, still, like the looks!

All the asphalt roads were dry, and almost 100% ready to ride with a roadie! I returned home just in time to watch the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, and what a race that was! As a hockey fan, I also watched the "Winter-classics" Talviklassikko between HIFK and Jokerit, a pretty close game, and a nice ending to the rivalry of being the best one in Helsinki.

Yum!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite sporting events of the year, Vasaloppet where almost 16 000 skiers, both elite and amateurs participate. 90 kilometers on skis and what's interesting is that you usually see tactics in this race, similar to the ones in road cycling races. I've been following this race ever since a kid, and I'm excited every year to watch it, brings back good memories. Also a couple of friends of mine will participate, so it will be interesting to follow them! Tomorrow also Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne will be ridden. So a great day of sports!

 

Have a good one, enjoy your weekend folks!

February coming to an end

I'm actually thrilled about the fact that time passes by really fast right now. I have many great things to look forward this year, some of those things I can't tell you now, but many of them will be "game-changers" in some way.

So cycling in February, how has that been? I haven't been able to ride as much as I wanted (sounds like I've said that before as well), but still I've been able to make progress. I've lost some 4 kilograms of body weight and at the same time been able to increase my FTP value. My goal is to lose 4 more kilograms before the season kicks off for real.

Eat less, eat frequently, eat properly

Last week I received my Rapha Festive 500 badge. A neat little thing that reminds me of 500 really wet kilometers. Read about my Rapha Festive 500 journey, first half, almost there, completed. Of course Rapha style it arrived in a fashionable envelope.

First part of pre-season accessories also arrived from Germany. Some small things such as inner tubes and tires.

I've been quiet about coffee for a long time (I guess?). But I also bought a new Bialetti Brikka moka pan. A huge difference to a normal moka pan, and comparable with an espresso at a bar with proper crema. 

The Brikka valve makes the difference

Proper crema

Of course I've been following the Winter Olympic Games in Sotchi as well.

USA-FIN Bronze medal game (Ice Hockey, men)

Sunday, besides a massive game by team Canada in men's ice hockey, I saw the sun for the first time this year (cycling outdoors). It almost feels like spring now, just hope there will be no more snow...

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol and post-ride coffee

So it's soon March, hopefully the month when we can take out our road bikes!

 

Exciting!

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!

Rapha Festive 500, almost there

Having days 1-3 done, with almost 300 km ridden, I headed towards day 4 and 5. I started feeling myself a bit tired already, but wasn't prepared for what awaited me early on from day 4...

 

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 4

The day began with mixed feelings. The weather was good, the sun was shining for the first (and apparently last time) during this challenge, but I was tired and could have slept for a couple of more hours. But because the day is so short in Finland, I needed to get going. Immediately as I started I felt pain in my knees, both of them. I hoped it would just go over after a few kilometers, but it didn't. It was quite nasty, both knees felt as there would be a needle inside, and that needle picked the knee from inside with each pedal-stroke. Some 10 km in the ride I started thinking about abandoning, and made a stop at 20 km to give the knees a rest. After the short pause, I started pedaling, and it felt bad, maybe not as bad as moments before, but still bad. I decided to go on, the sun was shining and if my knees would collapse, I would call a taxi. Well I made those 107 kilometers, after many ups and downs.

At my restplace in the forest, I found a boat. Strange place for a boat one could say.

At my restplace in the forest, I found a boat. Strange place for a boat one could say.

Felt F65X

Felt F65X

Amazing light, no more darkness!

Amazing light, no more darkness!

For the first time, may I present, my shadow!

For the first time, may I present, my shadow!

Second stop at 40 km

Second stop at 40 km

Neat little river

Neat little river

Never tired of having sunshine

Never tired of having sunshine

More nice light and river

More nice light and river

Still like the looks of the bike

Still like the looks of the bike

Web IMG_3026.jpg
My new favorite ride-snack, salted and roasted Cashew nuts!

My new favorite ride-snack, salted and roasted Cashew nuts!

Almost smiling

Almost smiling

Moments later I spotted cyclists in the distance

Moments later I spotted cyclists in the distance

Rode with them for some 5 km, unfortunately there was one puncture during this time. Great co-operation here! Not to mention the motivation boost you get when you meet fellow cyclists.

Rode with them for some 5 km, unfortunately there was one puncture during this time. Great co-operation here! Not to mention the motivation boost you get when you meet fellow cyclists.

Then it was time for sunset

Then it was time for sunset

Last signs of light

Last signs of light

Arriving home, food awaited!

Arriving home, food awaited!

I never get tired eating good food

I never get tired eating good food

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 5

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to continue today due to my knees. They still hurt but I decided to go for it. Putting on my legwarmers i realized what could have caused the knee-pain. I've been riding with both knee- and leg-warmers and this causes high pressure on the knee and forces the kneecap tighter to the knee. That would also explain why the whole knee is kind of tender to the touch as well. So today I rode without the knee-warmers. The ones I use are the Castelli Nanoflex warmers. The knees did hurt, pretty bad at times, but I managed to finish today's 65 km ride as planned. It was really chilly and windy, the coldest day so far, almost froze my feet. Luckily I had a pair of SealSkinz Winter Handle Bar Mittens with me. Perfect gloves!

Freezing weather today

Freezing weather today

No more sunshine, icy rain and wind

No more sunshine, icy rain and wind

These saved my hands today

These saved my hands today

They really are warm

They really are warm

Day 4

Day 5

So one day to go, only 40 kilometers planned, but with my knees being sore, hard to even walk with, I won't party until I've really ridden all 500 kilometers. But if I make it, I just might celebrate the new year's eve with one for this one!

raphaalmost.png

 

Let's keep our fingers crossed

Rapha Festive 500 First Half

It's been a couple of long days in the rain. As said earlier, I was able to begin my Rapha Festive 500 a couple of days late, hence I've been spending more time in the rain than what feels good...

festivetrack.png

The weather has been as the forecast promised, rain, rain, wind, chilly and some more wind. After 3 days in the saddle now, every day has been rainy, especially yesterday's 100 km ride, rain from beginning 'til end. And winds have been around 8-10 m/s on average. So really some pretty hard and long days in the saddle for my legs that really aren't i shape. Having said that, I'll let you browse through pictures instead of me complaining about the weather and sore legs.

Warm-up ride

On Wednesday night after arriving home I took a short warm-up ride before the "real" rides.

Cycling in darkness

Cycling in darkness

Lights on

Lights on

Stylish

Stylish

Foggy

Foggy

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 1

On Thursday I tracked some 85 km. It was windy and grey.

Ready?

Ready?

Is that the sun?

Is that the sun?

Kirjalansalmi

Kirjalansalmi

View from the office

View from the office

View from bottom

View from bottom

Short stop

Short stop

End of the road

End of the road

Finnish landscape

Finnish landscape

Mud

Mud

All smiles..

All smiles..

No asphalt around

No asphalt around

Second stop

Second stop

At the sea

At the sea

Ridesnack

Ridesnack

And coffee of course

And coffee of course

Black gold

Black gold

It has been a really stormy winter so far

It has been a really stormy winter so far

More sand

More sand

Misty roads

Misty roads

Find the Felt

Find the Felt

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 2

The second day was all about rain and wind. + 5 degrees, 8 m/s and rain from the beginning until the end. 100 km tracked, I was pleased with that. Actually, once you've been riding for 3 hours in constant rain, you can laugh about it! Some of the pictures are not that great quality, I blame the weather.

Grey again

Grey again

Ridesnack for today

Ridesnack for today

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Wet roads

Wet roads

Finnish archipelago

Finnish archipelago

Felt waiting to get moving again

Felt waiting to get moving again

View from the office, more rain

View from the office, more rain

Naantali sun

Naantali sun

 

 

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 3

Today was a shorter day in the saddle, only 74 km. The weather was slightly better than yesterday, 10 m/s + 5 and rain only the last 1,5 hours. After this ride I've also tracked 57 % of the Rapha Festive 500 total. Great!

Today's fuel

Today's fuel

Finnish forest

Finnish forest

Forest Felt

Forest Felt

Exit

Exit

More Finnish landscapes, grey and wet

More Finnish landscapes, grey and wet

Only some 200 + kilometers to go, and no rain tomorrow (they say..). 

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Cycling, snow and pigs

A great weekend behind, and to be honest I felt it this morning. Some good kilometers in snow and great food and loads of it. Sunday began with watching Biathlon and eating a proper breakfast with porridge, fruits and freshly pressed orange juice.

Proper breakfast = good ride

Proper breakfast = good ride

Kaisa Mäkäräinen made a pretty decent job in Sunday's competition, still need to work on the shooting, but I'm confident about Sochi and at least one medal. Next up was preparing dinner and heading out for another snowy ride. Today would be a good day of food and cycling. Before heading out I was to prepare the piggy for the oven.

Pulled pork on the menu

Pulled pork on the menu

Piggy after half an hour

Piggy after half an hour

The pig would stay in the oven for 4 hours, meanwhile, I would head out. It was -6 degrees Celsius and I actually could still use the Castelli Nanoflex warmers, pretty good gear I'd say! On top of the Castelli fawesome Gilet I would also have a Craft winterjacket.

Some of the gear

Some of the gear

Ready to rob.. roll

Ready to rob.. roll

Mud-cake works pretty good as a ride-snack

Mud-cake works pretty good as a ride-snack

It's important to be seen, even from behind!

It's important to be seen, even from behind!

Really looks like winter already

Really looks like winter already

Grey..

Grey..

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View from the office

View from the office

Pulling Pork

Pulling Pork

Pulled pork

Pulled pork

Still digesting the good rides and the perfect pork!

 

Enjoy!