Review: Fitness tracking apps (TBD)

I’ve been a long time Strava app user, but now that they lost their mind I’m looking for alternatives. Strava’s data sharing practices have been somewhat scetchy and working with them as a partner a royal pain, but this time the company has put another nail in their coffin. They have really fumbled the ball by dropping the support for HR and power sensors in their app. The winter is coming so by next spring I will try to test out a bunch of apps.

I just don’t understand Strava’s reasoning. To me it is evident dedicated cycling computers are going to go extinct sooner rather than later. Maybe Garmin and other vendors have been pushing them or they have issues with software libary licensing. There is a market for such product and I’m sure I will find a solution that suits my needs. I’ve already exported my data from Strava so we will see whether I will migrate for good and delete my account as well. Meanwhile it is time to Zwift!

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Review: Strava app (revisited)

img_0370.jpgI sold my Garmin cycling computer already a while back. Since then I have been using just my mobile phone as my primary ride tracking device. For some reason lots of cyclist shy away from using their phone. My two years worth of experience with Strava app on Android have been positive. The app is stable and when I have very rarely run out of battery it shuts down gracefully. So I don’t really understand all those that have been tricked into buying a dedicated cycling computer and with plenty of use can now share my experiences. Continue reading

Unbearable Lightness of Cycling

20190602_160036As a human race we keep developing new technologies (robots, AI, comms) that make our existence easier and easier. At the same time our lives and existence does not become simpler as a result. Instead masses are loosing their jobs and must find esteem and self-actualization elsewhere. Universally people still crave for meaning in their lives. Simple meaningless things like exercise can help fill the void and create happiness.

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Season 2019

20190605_213619This cycling season starts to be over and it is time to look back. I managed riding 3000km and I felt I was in pretty good shape. I kept making new records on Strava, but there were probably multiple factors contributing to that. I had ridden Zwift and played hockey all winter and spring. For keeping in shape it seems to be sufficient if I train 20+ hours a month. Also it did not hurt the bike was the best I’ve ever had (aero frame, DI2, Speedplay,  aero rims, 52t chain ring). In retrospect it has been a fun year with lots of  fast riding and exploring new places.  Continue reading

After-market aero stems

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New brand-name bikes are hiding all cables inside the stem in the name of aerodynamics. Couple of months ago I started to search for an after-market solution, but even though I was willing to route the cables externally finding a solution proved to be almost impossible. All I expected was to be able to match the looks of my aero frame. The only wattage gain I could foresee was potential to tuck the rear brake hose inside the stem. So far I haven’t had much luck. Continue reading

Upgrading to DI2

kukatElectronic groupsets have been around for a quite a while, but somehow I have managed with mechanical shifting. Now that I bought a racy bike again I was ready to upgrade. I waited for Sram Force etap all winter. Upgrading to 12s turned out to be way too expensive and it was clear DI2 was the way to go. After shopping around I finally found a rather scarce R8070 second-hand groupset on ebay and snatched it at Buy It Now price. Maybe I paid a bit too much, but full sets are rare and I still saved a bunch of money compared to buying brand new.
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Pickenflick – The gravel grinder edition

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Pickenflick Gravel Grinder 650b 27.5″

For the last couple of years I have been happy riding my titanium CX bike on the road. Last fall I bought a new carbon fiber racer so it was time to find new use for the old frame. I already tried 700c 40mm tyres earlier and did not find them fun to ride. Over the winter I bought a set of 27.5 mtb wheels and 2.1″ tyres.  With the new set of wheels the bike is amazing and I have had more fun riding than in a while. The spring over here is usually sunny, but quite cold and windy so I prefer riding in the forest or the local gravel roads rather than on tarmac. With wide tyres you can take the bike even to rooty single track and on loose gravel traction uphill is just phenomenal.

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Goals for 2019

 

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Winter is a good time to re-assess what it is you are trying to achieve. I have started to feel a little tired of attending the same sportives every year. So I thought this year I would concentrate in participating or even organizing totally new things.

  • Organize Ronde watching event together with Eurosport
  • Ride the Finnish Nationals in fixed-gear crit
  • Trip to Mallorca in the fall to extend the season

So instead of just attending cycling events this year success will be measured by experiences gained. I might still ride some longer rides (Kauhava-Kokkola, 300km to Pukkilanharju or HelaTorsdag 200km brevet) and I would like to get my FTP closer to 250W, but as long as I have fun achievements don’t matter.

Off-season training

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As the autumn sets in many nordic cyclists opt for indoor training instead of venturing out into the darkness. The gloomy months are good to time to recover, but it is also a great chance to instill some variety into training. I was planning on playing ice-hockey two times a week to keep myself in shape, but I managed to fracture my wrist in September. Five weeks off the bike and ban on all other exercise as well has resulted in unpleasant 2kg weight gain. The wrist is still not fully healed yet, but it is time to hit the smart trainer in the garage.

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Dolce far niente

As the autumn sets in many Nordic cyclists opt for indoor training instead of venturing out into the darkness or muddy CX races. The gloomy months would of course be a good to time to recover, but it would also be a great chance to instill some variety into training. Previous years to keep myself in shape I have played ice-hockey and gone climbing always when time allows. This year I managed to fracture my wrist ice-skating early in September. Five weeks off the bike and ban on all other exercise is starting to result to severe weight gain. I’m over-eating to compensate for aches and consequently loosing all results from summer of cycling. The worst part is doing nothing much is awfully boring. I need my fix of regular exercise!