The main goal of the summer was to finish Pirkka, but Tour de Helsinki sportive is still the best way to measure my current level of fitness. Last year I finished in 4:34 which I want to improve. As a preparation I have tried to make sure both the bike and the rider are in shape for the event. Bike needed cleaning and I updated the drive train components. Rider needs to be physically and mentally prepared so I have tried to loose some weight and given some though on strategy.
I bought some new Rotor NoQ chainrings, a new chain and new cassette already while back. I thought I would upgrade them early in the season, but since this far everything has been working fine I only made the changes now. I also slammed the stem and adjusted the saddle position (not in pic yet). FM015 is now in a proper race setup. I will still add the Ksyrium Elite with 23mm GP4000S upfront also and I should be ready.
I have always done quite of bit of sports so to prepare physically the only thing I’ve changed is what I eat for lunch on work days. I have this piece of white paper stuck in my cubicle with columns for tallying main meals and deserts. The row options are veggie or meat and fruit or desert. Once you get in the habit of marking your lunches it is pretty easy to keep eating healthy (=salad and fruit). I could have cut down on booze and evening snacks, but I just figured it is easier to cut down calories on lunch since the cafeteria food is so awful anyway.
The change in eating has forced me to eat proper breakfasts and in evening I don’t get such a craving for ice-cream or candy since I will be hungry for real food. I’ve been at it for 11 weeks (with 5 week holiday setback in between) and I’m yet to step on a scale, but I certainly feel much lighter now. Sure, I still got a gut, but slowly but surely things are changing. At least I can already tighten the belt two notches tighter. The thing I’m worried about is that it seems I have lost quite a bit of mass in my legs. Hopefully it is just excess fat and not muscle.
On mental side the most important thing has been confidence building. The continually improving results from tempo sessions has helped. I will still need to try hanging on to faster group rides (Pre-TdH on coming Saturday as a dress rehearsal). I have also given some thought to strategy. Since this year there are no average speed groups I will try to go as fast as possible during the hectic first third (Start-Perttula). For the second part (Perttula-Paippinen) I will try to latch on to some fast group (33-34km/h) and conserve energy. The last third will be a matter of survival, but I hope I can finish in top 500 (4:15 = ~33km/h).
So, I have a game plan, but of course weather, other riders’ antics and luck will play a big part in how it all turns out.