Quick recap of the 2013 cycling season – and a fresh look ahead!

By Cycling Dad:

Hi all,

The Cycling Parents have been a bit quiet recently. What has happened?

The 2013 season ended with a double bang – first the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon. After the race, I was working on an epic writeup – but woke up to a loss of all data on my hard drive, a move to Berlin with the family and a new occupation to keep me from blogging (and cycling). Bummer.

Here’s one picture to sum the entire Big O up – it was wet. It was cold. It was a tough race, but I made it. 10:52:09 h. Kudos to all of you who completed this race in 2013. It was mad.

Okay, one more picture. It was epic, but it was also fun!

One week later, I was on the starting line for a race in my hometown with my buddies from the old days. Axel, Basi – you guys rock and I bet you can see that I enjoy racing with you:

Two weeks after that, Alex and I participated in the Endura Alpentraum. Here’s another picture to sum it up:

The best part about the Endura Alpentraum was that I got to ride it together with my soulmate Alex. Apart from that, this race is sheer madness. It took me 12:57:47 h to reach the finish line, and I arrived there completely wasted. I honestly do not know how we made it, but we did it.

After these two races, Alex and I spent the rest of the year cycling for pure enjoyment, spent more time with the children and even looked into setting up business in the cycling industry. All of this took time away from blogging. Eventually, we decided to move from Austria to Berlin, Germany, where we arrived in January after two month of commuting between both cities. Life is slowly starting to “normalise” again, with the near promise of kindergarden places for the toddlers. Oh, needless to say that Konstantin and Johanna are taking more of our (and especially Alexandra’s) attention now. ;)
Family always comes first.

As we are slowly getting back in the saddle, this blog shall live up again soon to collect our cycling memories. The Big News is that this year, Alex has won a starting position in the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon lottery and is planning to get in shape for it. Oh, and there are a couple of other surprises, but I will leave it to Alex to tell you more about it.

We are thinking about moving the blog to a German language format – simply so we can produce content faster and hopefully also more eloquently than writing in a second language. What do you think about this idea? Do you think that Google Translator can help you keep up with our voyage? Is there anybody out there still reading this blog?

Keep in touch!

Final preparations for the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon

By Cycling Dad:

Only three days to go until the first main event of the season – the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon! Up until around two weeks ago, training took up most of my available time next to job and family. In July, I spent roughly 18-20 hours per week in the saddle, which kept me from blogging as much as I originally planned. Alex and I took turns in looking after the kids. Once I got home, she went out for her training – or vice versa. Since getting back on the bike post-partum, she spent roughly as much time as me on the road. It is a bit difficult, but manageable somehow. I also will have to keep this post short, as either one of the kids seems to be constantly coming up with a new issue. When I started this post two hours ago, Konstantin was pushing his toy excavator across the keyboard. Right now he is in his bed, (still) screaming at the top of his lungs, defying sleep… thanks for bearing with me… Anyways, the main training is done and all that’s left to do is final preparations. Time for a quick recap.

Since the beginning of the season, I cycled around 8,500k and climbed a cumulative 72,000m in altitude gain. As part of the preparation, I raced in Moerbisch, Feldbach, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Berlin, Mondsee and Hohenems (the last two race reports are still missing due to the above mentioned obstacle…). While distance and altitude gain increased from event to event, I could equally feel my fitness increasing. I managed to finish the last event, the ‘Highlander’ Cycle Marathon in Hohenems with 187k and 4000m alt gain in 7 hours and 41 minutes as 289th out of 589 starters, still feeling okay in the end.

On August 8th, the entire Team Alpecin met at Radlabor in Frankfurt for a second performance diagnostics. Three weeks before the Oetztaler, we wanted to find out how much the training over the summer had improved our performance potential. One by one, we took to the SRM ergometer and completed the threshold test. Here’s me closing in on max power:

Without going too much into the details, the long endurance miles paid off – I should be able to tackle all climbs of the Oetztaler with a 230 watt average load. In theory, this should give me a chance to finish the distance below ten hours – but the weather forecast is not too good and a lot of things can happen along the way.

If you are interested to follow my progress online this Sunday, August 25th on the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon – you can sign up for an SMS alert service on the website http://www.oetztaler-radmarathon.com – just click on the red button “Starting List” and yet again in the next window the red button “SMS Service”. My bib number will be 556.

As a kind reminder – I am running a fundraiser for the SOS children’s village in Hinterbrühl near Vienna, Austria. Your donations will be used to build three new houses, where abandoned children will be able to grow up in a loving family environment. A big thank you goes to all my supporters. Here’s the link to the donation site: http://bit.ly/13RGhCl

Cycling from Vienna to Sölden the route becomes the destination… probably next year

By Spinning Mum:

Some weeks ago when Kai and I were planning our trip to Sölden for the Big O we were discussing the possibility to start off our journey a bit earlier in order to take turns cycling and driving along the way.

Frequenting the Ötztaler Radmarathon Facebook Fan Page Kai coincidentally came across an interesting post. The organisers of the Oetztal Cycle Marathon are offering a long distance rally from Vienna to Sölden for 20 ambitious cycling amateurs. During a period of six days between August 18th and 23rd the enthusiastic participants have to overcome the following six demanding stages:

Baden (near Vienna) – Graz 181 KM; 3,447 meters in altitude
Graz – Großraming 219 KM; 2,050 meters in altitude
Großraming – Abtenau 157 KM; 2,344 meters in altitude
Abtenau – Großglockner – Lienz 171 KM; 3,288 meters in altitude
Lienz – Felbertauern – Gerlos – Innsbruck 199 KM; 2,803 meters in altitude
Innsbruck – Sölden 111 KM; 1,910 meters in altitude

At a price of roughly EUR 1,000.00 taking part in this weeklong adventure is not quite inexpensive but it certainly beats your mama’s run-of-the-mill package holidays which are often more costly and infamous for leaving you with more than just a little weight gain and training deficit :) Plus, there is much more to the package: Next to a guaranteed admission for the 2014 Oetztal Cycle Marathon all starters receive fantastic goodies and excellent support along the way, including accompaniment by a service car, catering en route, etc.

Following the slogan ‘the route becomes the destination’, pregnant and combative me immediately thought “Wow, that would be a fun way to get to Sölden and with an accumulated distance of more than1,000 km and almost 16,000 meters altitude gain it is even more challenging than the Big O itself” (A fact I could banter Kai with over the next decade^^). Not forgetting to mention that it would be a fantastic story to share on cylcingparents.com :)

I blame it on the hormones that I was giddily thinking I could survive such an endeavour despite of my lack of training throughout the past months. So, I got in touch with the rally organisers from the Oetztal Tourism Board right away to find out more about the tour and would probably have been ending up submitting my application if our little belly dweller wouldn’t have axed this plan.

Actually at that point I was pretty certain that Konstantin’s premature birth would increase the chances of having another premature baby. Don’t get me wrong, I was absolutely NOT wishing for another early delivery, but (given the fact that I was suffering signs of early labour when I was only 29 weeks along) I had a strong gut feeling that Johanna also wouldn’t wait until the estimated date of birth. Against this backdrop the only bright side would have been an earlier start into the season and thus more training which would have been essential for the tortures of such an epic cycle tour.

Well, all the old wives’ tales about having another preemie after a preterm delivery proved to be false and Johanna took her sweet time cycling into this world. At the end she was even overdue and we tried everything to lure her out including a special cocktail mixed from spices, castor oil and cognac. Fie! Unfortunately, all these homespun remedies did not work and upon advice of my obstetricians I agreed to have the birth induced. Alas, this plan did not lead to the desired result either as it turned out that I was suffering from very weak contractions. Hence a Caesarean was unavoidable :( Worse Luck!

Thankfully the medical team did a great job and Johanna and I were both recovering quickly from the rushed operation. Nonetheless, in spite of (or actually due to) the fact that I was still dazed and confused from the anasthetics I was given one of the first things I asked even before I was rolled out of the recovery ward was “When exactly will I be able to start cycling again?” :)  [Since I did not particularly covered a C-section in my previous post about exercising after childbirth, I will share my latest insights by updating this article as soon as the little rascals allow].

But back to the actual topic of this post…
Since I had to revise my plans due to the prolonged recovery time, taking part in the rally to Sölden was no longer an option for me.Too bad… even if it would have meant countless sleepless nights wondering whether I am capable of handling the distance and altitude gain :)

Be that as it may, I will definitely keep the rally on my watch list for the coming year. For this year spending less time in the saddle gives me an opportunity to write more reviews, for example about the book ”Ich habe einen Traum… Ötztaler Radmarathon” by Ernst Lorenzi, chief organiser of the Oetztal Cycle Marathon, who was so kind to send us a copy when he learned about our blog due to my request for more information about the rally.

Thank you, Ernst. We are absolutely enraptured by the pictures, field reports, training tips and statistics you meticulously put together and hope that we will be able to share our thoughts about your book soon.

 

Ride your dream bike with Alpecin and Roadbike Magazine

By Cycling Dad:

Alpecin, purveyor of male-oriented hair care products, has teamed up with Roadbike Magazine to assemble a team of hobby athletes for the 2013 Ötztaler Cycle Marathon.
As a regular visitor to the Cycling Parents Blog, I am sure that you are aware that this coincides with my season’s goal and social fundraiser for 2013.

When I first hit the Team Alpecin website, I was instantly blown off the saddle.

I’ll keep it short and relevant – this is what you get if you are among the chosen few:

And here’s the slightly longer list of goodies:

TEAM ALPECIN EQUIPMENT

•    Specialized S-Works Venge**
•    Lightweight Meilenstein Wheelset**
•    Campagnolo Record Groupset**
•    Rotor Crankset**
•    Schwalbe Tires
•    Seat Position Analysis by Specialized
•    Team Clothing by Assos
•    Helmet and Glasses by Uvex
•    Specialized S-Works-Shoes
•    Casual Clothing by Engelhorn Sports
•    Squeezy-Nutrition Package
•    Polar Cycling Computer**
•    Tools by Specialized
•    Muscle Stimulator by Compex**
•    Training Camp in Mallorca at Robinson-Club Cala Serena*
•    Performance Diagnostics by das Radlabor*
•    Personal Coaching by das Radlabor
•    Complete Race-Weekend with a starting position at the Ötztaler Cycle Marathon*
•    Starting Places for Preparation Races*

* excl. traveling cost
** borrowed during time of team affiliation with privileged purchase option

Okay, let’s take a deep breath and regain our composure. What do you have to do to get in? Sell your soul? Wash your hair twice daily with Alpecin? The answer is yes.

On top you have to fill out this questionnaire and pray daily to be selected on some ominous internal selection criteria. Would you qualify as a middle-aged, overambitious but slightly under-skilled Austrian-based blog scribe? I don’t know, but I am determined to find out. The application period ends February 20th.

One thing I do know since today is my personal baldness age, thanks to Alpecin’s baldness calculator. It turned out my personal baldness age is 43. Luckily I still have a few (albeit not many) years left and Alpecin is here to help. Is this a good or bad indication for my application? My son Konstantin will turn one soon and there’s still not much hair up on his head. Again my humble question is will this affect my application to Team Alpecin?

So, I hereby extend a gesture of friendship towards Team Alpecin and gladly offer my service in the equipe. Remember, either you’re with me or you’re against me. It is up to you, Team Alpecin, to pick the sides.

Cycling for children in need

By Cycling Dad:

As given away by the name of our blog, CyclingParents.com is not only about our love for cycling, but also about our love of having a family. When my wife Alex and I became parents, we knew immediately that we wanted to do something for children who have a less fortunate start into life than our own. We also wanted to see where our contributions are going, so when we learned that there is a SOS Children’s Village very close to where we live, we made the logical connection.

At the peak of the 2013 cycling season in August, I will attempt to finish the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon, covering a distance of 238km and 5,500 meters in altitude gain. For each meter in altitude, I will try to raise one Euro in donations for the SOS Children’s Village in Hinterbruehl, Austria. That’s 5,500 Euro for children in need, and will help me keep focused along the way. I am planning to select one meaningful area for spending the donations together with the Children’s Village, and will write about my experiences along the way in this blog.

Please support me in my endeavour and donate as little or as much as you can spare.
To donate, please click here and follow the instructions on the following pages.
To learn more, please visit http://www.cyclingparents.comhttp://www.sos-childrensvillages.org,  the webpage of the Children’s Village in Hinterbruehl (German) and http://www.oetztaler-radmarathon.com.

Please also share this fundraiser on Facebook, LinkedIn, or simply by talking about it with friends and colleagues over a cup of coffee.

P.S.: Your donations to SOS Children’s Villages are fully tax deductible. All you have to do is submit the banking transaction along with the request for tax credit in your annual tax return.

Thank you!

We love to hear from you!

By Cycling Dad:

Today’s post will be a bit different from what you have read previously on cyclingparents.com, but I wanted to share this story with you.

In a nutshell Joachim, a cycling parent from Canada, has found our blog on the net and sent us valuable feedback and input for our further training. His message matters a lot to Alex and me, because Joachim is a person whom we have never met first hand, who still felt inspired by our blog to share his experiences on the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon with us. It is part of the true spirit of cycling and we immediately felt connected with Joachim. With Joachim’s consent, I have attached the first two emails of our conversation.

We love to hear from our readers. Who are you? Please leave a short comment below.

________

Here’s Joachim’s first email:

Hi Cycling Parents,

Just wanted to wish you good luck with the Oeztaler plan! I am a cycling parent in Canada now, but I lived in Vienna for a few years and did that event 3 times. I just wanted to share 3 things with you, just to add to your arsenal of information, and help you prepare:

1- you really need a powermeter (you can get second hand wired Power Taps on ebay, www.bikeboard.at‘s sale forum, etc etc). This will let you monitor your progress accurately so you aren’t just riding around, or thrown off by low pulse from undertraining or overtraining, etc. It shows you whether your training is actually working, so you can adjust it as you go, and aren’t just following a plan that works for somebody else’s bodytype but not yours. It will teach you a ton as you progress towards your goal (which will be good information to know for the future too). And it is fun watching your efforts for certain climbs and rides, especially on the indoor trainer (3, 5 or 20 minute efforts become like a video game). I can’t recommend this investment enough! (more helpful than light wheels, fancy carbon parts).

2- I had the sense that most people in Austria were a bit behind in training theory: I did better each year at the Oeztaler by riding less and less, and then moved to Belgium and raced for 2 years on even less riding, while stronger than ever. You can train your “Functional Threshold” by going out for 6 hour rides, doing shorter intervals (like your 5minute ones, or even mild intervals that train your cardio, like 14x 1 minute at tempo pace), or 2x 20 minute time trial intervals, or just 2-3 hours at a brisk tempo pace. Much more fun, and doesn’t eat up all of your time. This is all explained here http://www.biketechreview.com/performance/supply/47-base-a-new-definition. (Comment Cycling Dad: The link to Bike Tech Review seems to have a problem… I can recommend Chris Carmichael’s book on interval training instead: http://www.amazon.de/The-Time-Crunched-Cyclist-Powerful-Athlete/dp/193403083X)
My best Oeztaler happened while doing no rides longer than 3 hours, aside from one other Radmarathon (Deutschlandsberg) the week before Oeztaler, just to get some practice sitting on the bike for many hours. Because you used to race, I think this would work for you too.

3- Having knowledge/experience really helps at Oeztaler, so talking to others and learning from them is great (Jurgen Pansey’s blog, bikeboard forums, www.jimmisteiner.com/?q=node/269, my first attempt www.joachim.ca/test/?p=38, my last www.mountainbiker.at/de/mlr_racers/show_report?id=598). It doesn’t matter if others are a bit faster or a bit slower, as the goal is the same (to finish strong, safe and healthy).

Sorry for the long email- this is stuff I learned through trial-and-error and from a coach that I wish I knew when I was 19 years old. I’m now living in Canada, and have a 2-year old, so no more Oeztalers, but I look back on that as the highlight of my cycling career!

So good luck in your preparation- I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. Reading about your training rides around Wien and Moedling in the snow bring back great memories.

All the best, Joachim

________

and my reply:

Hi Joachim,

Thank you so much for your email. Alex and I were very surprised to receive feedback from someone whom we did not drag onto our mailing list in the first place ;) .

You are the first ‘outside’ visitor of our page whom we get to know. Nice to meet you!
Your message gives us motivation to keep training and blogging. Both has become a bit harder lately, with Alex’ pregnancy going into the third trimester, work keeping me extremely busy with the final sprint to the end of the calendar year, and Konstantin starting to crawl all over the place, wanting to be looked after.

Thank you also for your advice in preparing for the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon. The recommendation regarding the powermeter meets my open interest and I have been looking around a bit already, especially as the Garmin is ANT+ enabled. The link to Bike Tech Review that you sent along sums up the main benefits of threshold training quite well. As cycling parents, all of us are very time crunched. So getting most out of the limited time we can spend on the bikes is crucial.

And last, but not least I enjoy any personal story about the Oetztaler that I can find. Kudos for your 277th place in 2006 and especially the 50th in 2008!! I have visited all the blog links you sent along and have been to Juergen Pansy’s blog a couple times before. I also love Cervelover’s blog for all the detail he provides about his personal experience on the Oetztaler. If you can read German, here’s the link: http://cervelover.blogspot.co.at/2012/08/climax-beim-otztaler-radmarathon-2012.html. His placement most likely is closer to my own performance to be, if I can manage to finish the distance and altitude gain at all, which of course is my prime objective.

I have two questions that I would like to send back to you. The first: Are you still cycling these days? What is your experience today, trying to combine family, job and cycling? The second: Would you mind if I post this conversation in the blog? I really enjoyed your message, and would love to receive more feedback, also from other readers, in the future. Please do keep in touch.

Will keep you posted.

All the best,

Kai