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. 

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