Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ice cold

Today was probably the coldest day of this winter and I celebrated that with a long ride on my bike. I did not do much asphalt today but tried to stay on the smaller dirt roads instead. Less cars, more nature and slower speed (less wind cooling...). I started with a moderate intensity, trying to save some energy for later on. This was going to be my longest ride for a while and I did not know how my body would react to the distance. That, and I did not want to risk going out of energy at this cold temperature. When your body runs out of energy it stops warming itself, nothing you want to experience when it's ice cold outside.

-13.5º C  ( 7.7º F ) at the start of todays ride. Tried the thermo jacket for the first time in a very long time. Felt great and even kept my arms warm. Fingers and toes where more of a problem today though.

Five minutes from home and already out in the countryside.

A Swedish Cyclist

I the beginning I was going so slow that I actually laughed at myself, after a while the speed had increased a bit and when I was getting closer to home I increased the tempo slightly and pushed my self to go faster. It felt great, but I know that it is easy to feel great when riding alone.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More Monark

When I woke up this morning we had -13° C ( 8.6° F ) outside the kitchen window. I had planned a ride outside because the weather forecast for the next days promises even colder temperatures. But the temperature rose to slow, so I cancelled todays outdoor plans and prepared mentally for a hard time on the Monark.

To make the training a bit more pleasant I brought my computer. It contains 38 full lenght cyclocross races and that offers some distraction when my legs are begging me to stop. I wached the 2008 GVA Trofee from Hasselt. Great action. And watching others give it there all helps me to push my self a little bit more. 2 * 20 minutes @ about 290 watts was todays figures. If I, sometime during this winter, can do 3 * 20 minutes @ 300+ watts without killing myself I will be more than pleased. I think it is possible, do you?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What to wear?

Temperature as low as -10° C (14° F) at the start of todays training. During the whole ride my heart rate monitor showed -10 degrees. And that is the lowest temperature it can register...

This was what I was wearing today, head to toe: helmet, buff, scullcap with wind protection in the forehead, long sleeve jersey, short sleeve jersey, long sleeve base layer, lobster gloves, roubaix bib shorts, No wind tights, two pairs of overshoes, MTB-shoes and wool socks. In my pocket was a pair of thin gloves and an extra buff. Just in case. As I was about to leave my apartment I thought it would be smart with a vest to protect my front side from the wind. That proved to be a good idea as it was quite windy today.

My arms was quite cool for the first half hour or so (and my face of course..) but the rest of me was not to cold. Head, hands and feet is the most important thing to keep warm in order to have a pleasant ride in these  conditions. Maybe a thermo jacket would have made things even better, but I kind of like my long sleeve jersey and who needs warm arms anyway?

I had very pretty ice beads in my eyelashes after about 20 minutes into my training. Face was red from the cold air and the head wind. 

This is how it looks between Toftbyn and Svärdsjö, as if you did not already knew that.

Some fifteen minutes or so away from home and that last climb is waiting for me. Picture is taken when leaving Skuggarvet behind me. 

For the first hour I felt strong. After about one and a half hour I started getting low energy levels so I ate some marzipan and that gave me my power back. I was out for two and a half hours today and pushing it a bit in the climbs during the last 40 minutes. Average hart rate was 150 and my maximum heart rate was 171 Came home feeling great. Cold, but great. I had not noticed that my feet was cold, but when I got inside it felt like they where burning. Wached the live stream from the cyclocross world cup in Koksijde with my three year old son whilst getting my body temperature back to normal before taking a warm shower.  Been eating and drinking since I got home and will take a break now for a good night's sleep. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cross country skiing

A good alternative for cycling during the winter is cross country skiing. I did no training except riding my bikes for almost ten years until last year when i stoped trying to be elite. I then tried some running (no fun at all, but very nice to get that tired that easily) and during the winter i skied a lot. I had an average of five training hours each week during the winter, almost exclusively on my cross country skis. My big target was the Vasaloppet wich is the biggest ski race in the world. Almost 16000 people start at the same time and race for 90 k. My goal was to make it under six hours (victory time is around four hours) and I made it in 1801:st spot with a time of 5.45.58. When crossing that finnish line I tought it would be a great challenge to try and make in less then five hours in 2011. Last year I started my ski training around christmas after not using skis for 12 years. Now I have a winter of skiing behind me and I have already started the ski season. This year I'm not in as good shape as I was last year, but now I have the routine!

Look how happy I was this tuesday when I was going to do my first ski session this winter. It was late (9.45 p.m.) and I started working 6 a.m. the following morning so I was only out for 15 minutes. Little training is better then no training! My skis on the picture are from 1982 but works fine for training. I have an other pair of skis as well. Top of the line, of course.

A picture of the crime scene. This is The National Ski Stadium. Or as we call it in Swedish: Riksskidstadion. The world championships will be held here in 2015 and we (Falun) host a world cup every year. So I really have great skiing really close to my home.

Today I had company, it was my friend Christian who is also aiming for Vasaloppet this winter. It was great to have someone to ski with and I pushed my self a lot harder today. Average hart rate of 161 during our 48 minute session and a maximum hart rate of 183.

It was -9 ºC degrees (15.8 ºF) outside this evening and quite windy. Go fast and you will keep warm.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Henrik Öijer Honorary Award 2010

I'm so proud of this award. From 2010 a group within the Swedish Cycling Union, called CX Sverige, will hand out an award to the best man and woman in Swedish cyclocross. I did not get the award, but it has my name on it. You see, I am Henrik Öijer. They named the award after me for what I have done for cyclocross in Sweden. I feel so honored to have this award named after me, it feels unreal.

News found on he homepage of The Swedish Cycling Union (translated by Google.com/translate):
"Karin Aune and Emil Lindgren got Henry Öijer Honorary Prize 2010
2010-11-23 19:45
Karin and Emily was awarded the Henry Öijer Honorary Prize in the East Bike Crossen of Engineering on Saturday.

The jury said:

Karin Aune, Örebro Cyclists
Road pro showing that cyclo-cross is a very good addition for fall and winter season.This shows she is by far, by taking multiple victories and holds the line on domestic cup Merida Northwave CX Cup.

Emil Lindgren, Rabobank-Giant/Alingsås CK
MTB-pro, which according to many, is Sweden's most humble cyclist. He shows that the Cyclo-Cross is a very good supplement during fall and winter season. Emil won the Championship and has several wins in Merida, Northwave CX-Cup 2010 and holds the lead in the Cup."

The Swedish version: 

"Karin Aune och Emil Lindgren fick Henrik Öijers Hederspris 2010
2010-11-23 19:45
Karin och Emil tilldelades Henrik Öijers Hederspris i samband med Öster Cykelcrossen i Jönköping i lördags.

Juryns motivering:

Karin Aune, Örebrocyklisterna 
Landsvägsproffset som visar att Cyclo-cross är ett väldigt bra komplement under höst- och vintersäsongen. Detta visar hon med råge genom att ha tagit flera segrar samt innehar ledningen den nationella cupen Merida Northwave CX-Cup. 

Emil Lindgren, Rabobank-Giant/Alingsås CK 
MTB-proffset, som enligt många, är Sveriges mest ödmjuka cyklist. Han visar att Cyclo-Cross är ett väldigt bra komplement under höst- och vintersäsongen. Emil vann årets SM och har tagit flera segrar i Merida Northwave CX-Cup 2010 och innehar ledningen i cupen."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter training in a dark and cold country

If you are thinking of becoming a successful cyclist living in Sweden; meet your new best friend:

Bikes like these are probably one of the reasons Sweden produce good time trial riders, like Michael Andersson, Magnus Bäckstedt, Gustav Larsson, Thomas Lövkvist, Fredrik Kessiakoff and some really good national riders as well (Fredrik Ericsson, Alexander Wetterhall etc.). Time trial is boring. But it is boring in an interesting way. Ergometer bike on the other hand is just plain boring. It must be the most boring bike related thing you can do. But it is super efficent for improving your power. Staring into a wall for five or six months is great for your psyche as well. A part from the fact that staring at a wall is super fun and you get stronger by riding these Monark-bikes, training outside is not always that nice during winter time in Sweden. First we have the darkness. Around christmas we only have about five hours from sunrise to sunset where I live. In the northen parts of our country the sun never comes up for a couple of weeks. Headlights help, but I prefer riding my bike during the brighter hours of the day. One other fun limiting factor is the temperature. Some days we have temperatures around -30° C (that is -22° F) and temperatures below -10° C (14° F) is quite common during December, January and February. Temperatures as cold as that is not good for your respiratory system and you can actually get quite cold as well. When it's cold and dark outside, bring your human friends for a nice training session on your new best friend.

It's not only good for power, mental health and bad weather. It is time efficent as well. Today I knew I had limited time for training. So I went up at 4.30 a.m. and did a short session on the old Ergomedic before heading to work. I did 13 minutes on 300 watts and then three sprints that lasted 30 seconds each with a couple of minutes rest between each sprint. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Something new

This blog will be all about me, a cyclist living in Sweden. After many years as an elite cyclist I decided to take a step back after the 2009 season. During 2010 I have been riding for fun and attended only a few races. The reason I chose to step down was not due to lack of motivation, but because I have kids and a wife that I wanted to spend more time with. I have, for some years now, been writing a blog in Swedish and that have been a lot of fun. I will continue writing in that blog but will also try this English thing out. English is my second language so don't expect no linguistic miracle here. Instead I'll try to post many photos to inspire you to get out on your bikes. Why read text when there are pictures?
Except this brand new blog, I am also starting up my training again. I want to stay in shape and I love to ride my bikes. In 2010, my training has been sporadic and I feel much better when I do at least three training sessions a week. During the 2011 season I will probably do the National Mountainbike Marathon Series, a couple of road races and also some cyclocross races.

Here are som photos from todays ride. Managed to get three long hours in the saddle with an average hart rate of 145 (74% of my maximum hart rate). Felt great for the first hour or so. Halfway through the training session I had to slow down a bit in order to make it home. Not quite in shape yet...

Todays trip: Falun - Bjursås - Sågmyra - Rexbo - Smedsbo - Falun