Even though I’m still not all that serious about cycling I have found it a good idea to plan ahead a little bit. The upcoming events help me motivate myself during the long off-season.
So next year the idea is to up the ante a bit. No official goal for distance, but 5k would be great and I would still consider 3k a good accomplishment. If the local hipsters are up to it I will surely attend their track races and fixed-gear crits.
For a number of years now I have dreamed about extending the summer by arranging an off-season training camp for myself. This November I finally managed to persuade “la familia” to join me for a trip to Puerto de Mogan in Gran Canaria. This was going to be my first real to chance to tackle mountains so I was bit apprehensive. In the end everything worked out more or less like I had envisioned. The village was nice, the mountains challenging and everybody is willing to do it again next year. Continue reading
I spent another season churning away. It wasn’t the warmest of summers, but there were plenty of sunny days to still achieve noticeable tan lines. In addition I managed:
- Riding 3500km / 194 hours (excluding commutes)
- Pirkan klassikko sportive in good company
- Rode from Karstula to Kauhava on my route to Lappland
- 6th place in Hellsinki fixed gear crit race
- 33km/h group at Helsinki Velotour sportive
All in all it was another successful season with the sport I love. I spent lot of time on the saddle, but cycling did not start to feel like a chore. Plenty of variety (gravel, long, short, fast, slow) kept things interesting. To save the best for last I still have the training camp coming up in Gran Canaria. Continue reading
The best part of cycling has been the simplicity of it. There has been no need to prepare, just go ride. Now that does not mean things could not get more interesting by enhancing the experience with some sauce. Electric derailleurs have already been around for a while, but only now battery powered bikes are really starting to make a splash. I confess I’m a fan of e-bikes, but it does not mean normal bikes are in any way obsolete. In the end it is a question of choosing right horses for respective courses. Continue reading
I got a new Android phone recently and I’ve been curious if the Strava app can replace the aging Garmin 500 altogether. As it turns out the app does 90% of the things I need.
- Starting recording is dead easy with the record widget. There is no annoying wait for catching the GPS signal either
- I can record ant+ data from my power2max via Viiiva bluetooth heart rate strap
- There is no more need to spend time uploading files to strava.com anymore
- If I run out of phone battery the recording stays and the app really does not use that much energy anyhow so battery life really hasn’t been a problem
- The app keeps running in the background even if I take mid-ride photos
- You can pause the recording, but there is no minimum speed option so it keeps recording during breaks if I walk around
- I never had need for turn-by-turn navigation anyway so I haven’t missed that. I can use Google Maps if I need help with navigation
- I’m missing some kind of audio warnings for exceeding power threshhold or heart rate zones as I’ve just kept the phone in my back pocket
- In the app there should be some countdown (not just a beep) for start and end of Strava segments and I should be able to choose segments in advance
- In general there is lot of promise. In the future the app could give instant feedback and encouragement based on virtual coaches data.
So all in all I’ve been pretty happy with Strava app and already sold my Garmin 500.
Storage space is always a scarce commodity. I decided to build a wall rack I can hang my vintage steel bike on. Basically the construction consists of two 30cm long table legs mounted with screws on a brick wall. It is nothing fancy, but I’m quite happy with the sturdiness and end-result in general. I already have some pipe insulation as padding, but I might still wrap some tape or cloth on top to pretty it up.
The old wisdom is you can only improve something you can measure. I had the opportunity to measure myself at the HULA ergometer lab last year. I got lot of fancy charts on lactates and CO2 levels, but the main recommendation was that I should be riding more light endurance training (under 135bpm) instead of constant Strava segment induced intervals.
The three key metrics were the following:
- Aerobic threshold (AeT) 130W 127bpm
- Anaerobic threshold (AnT/LT) 210W 170bpm
- VO2max 292W
Essentially the key take-away was that I can ride little over 200W for extended periods without worry as AnT translates to FTP pretty well. I was bit disappointed in the numbers, but it is good to know the baseline. Knowing you are going too easy or hard is important especially on longer hills or doing time trials. I don’t do much of either so it is more a question of pacing myself in right training zones. Continue reading
In May we spent a week traveling around Scotland in a campervan. The scenery was amazing and we drove almost 1400km. I did not bring along my road bike, but after seeing how the locals drive and how the road shoulders are almost non-existent I don’t really mind.
Some of the highlights of our trip:
- Climbed Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh
- Seafari wildlife tour to Corryvreckan. Thanks Claire!
- Seafood stand on the Oban pier
- Hired a downhill bike and rode the Red Giant trail on Ben Nevis range
- Coasteering adventure in Skye with Skye Adventure. Thanks Sarah and John!
- Driving up Bealach na Ba road to Applecross
We also did some of the must-see spots like Eilean donan castle and Loch Ness, but my experience is that they necessarily were not worth the time. The best time we had wondering on the secluded beaches and taking the less beaten track in general. Next time I want to walk up some Munros and maybe attend a closed-roads cyclo sportive.
I bought a Planet-X Pickenflick titanium frame to replace the crashed RT-90. The idea was to build one bike to rule them all. I have now few hundred kilometers under my belt and the bike seems to be performing well. TRP brakes (Hy/RD and Spyre) have worked well. Even with 28mm tyres the cheap chinese carbon wheels do bring aero benefits that are truly noticeable, especially at higher speeds. I keep smashing personal records on Strava despite just having a single 38t oval chain ring up front. Good results could be due to carry over from playing hockey all winter, but I can’t blame the bike either.
I picked up ice hockey again year ago and it is such an amazing fast-paced sport. The 1,5 hours in the ring really flies by and you are absolutely drenched in sweat afterwards. The next few days your thighs are burning and you sure know you have really worked out. Now from cycling point of view hockey makes lot of sense as it is a great lower body workout and improves your balance.