Having put 2018 behind, it’s time to start talking about what 2019 has to offer. As some of you might know, one of my goals in cycling has been to do a stage race in Europe. And it’s more close than ever now!
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 has been an odd Summer so far. In June I was ill for 2 weeks, and I'm still not seeing the improvement I've been waiting for. I had a really great spring and in June I felt super good. But then after the illness there is one good day and then three bad ones ending up with 0 progress. Not much to do about that, just continue spending time in the saddle according to plan and tomorrow I will be back to racing.
Yet another weekend behind, a weekend without racing this time. It was a weekend introducing riding in shorties and the first long ride for the year. A long ride means more than 5 hours in the saddle, at least that's what I read, so first one of those this year. Some great weather and first real tan-lines for the seasons are reality.
I've been busy with moving and everything that has to do with it, and again I've underestimated the total time moving to a new address takes. Anyway, tomorrow will be the second race for me this season, Keravan Kevätpolkaisu. I had a week long pause from cycling but been able to train pretty okay the last week. Tomorrow will be a good test of where my condition is at the moment.
My Facebook news feed was filled with road cycling pictures last weekend. Those pictures were taken by cyclists who had enjoyed the great weather. I too enjoyed the sun and had a pretty good week of training, some 15 hours in the saddle and plenty of sunshine. Riding outside, spending longer times in the saddle actually felt super good and the body adapted to it immediately. No fatigue whatsoever. No looking at the Garmin 810 to look for how many kilometers I had tracked or how many hours I got left until I could head home. Just pure enjoyment.
Now its not often a cyclist in Finland can update such topics in the first days of March. I am fortunate to be able to do it this year. Last year I did my first road bike ride 26th of March. Some years ago I was not able to begin the outdoor season until April. This year I got to type those words in my training calendar as early as 1st of March. I feel privileged and I have never been this excited before a season. The GoExpo fair in Helsinki is also one of the first signs of spring. I visited the fair last weekend.
It feels strange wrapping up a cycling season in February when everyone does it in December or early January. But I will do it now, mainly because my memory is really bad but also because I want to go back and look at what I did so it's easier to compare to my efforts today. Cycling year 2014 was great in many ways. And a warning to those of you who are looking for a short story, you can stop reading here.
Today was that day, when you know you will go through some pain and desperation. It has been too long since my last FTP test, so I honestly was unsure what to expect. Something less than during summer but more than last year same time. Having had some time off the bike in October and mainly easier workouts lately, I knew this could be really painful.
Today was like yesterday, but the the sun was finally visible! In November in Finland that means it will be colder. And cold it was. On the countryside the temperature was below zero. I was kind of prepared. I had triple shoe-covers, neoprene toe-covers by Castelli, water and wind resistant summer shoe-covers and on top neoprene shoe-covers. Still, approaching the second hour in the saddle my toes started to freeze. But I managed to do almost 3,5 hours without bigger problems.
Yesterday was a proof of the power of thought. I went out for a ride, and halfway I realized my saddlebag was left home. I'd been training on the trainer already for a week and therefore removed it. Well I thought, I only had one or two punctures this year, I can't have that bad luck it would happen just now.
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.
Can't believe how time flies when you have fun, or when you're just busy doing what you do. One can say the summer has turned into autumn in Finland, and a lot has happened after my last post about Fincycling, both for me as a cyclist and for the Fincycling project. I will start easily by letting you know my old neck- and back issues came back after what has been a great summer training-wise. I've beaten my previous FTP records by a good margin. I also had the possibility to travel to Italy to do some hill-training, mainly as a preparation for our trip to Italy next week. Think those kilometers in the mountains did really good for my climbing skills. I will recap the summer within the following few posts, just to not bore you too much.