Team Alpecin 2013 – Ötztaler here I come!

By Cycling Dad:

Remember my post about the call for applications to the 2013 Team Alpecin by RoadBIKE Magazine? Well, at the end of February, I received a phone call from one of the editors at RoadBIKE Magazine. We had a nice casual interview and one day later he called me up again to let me know that I would be offered a place in the 2013 Team Alpecin. The guys at Alpecin and RoadBIKE Magazine like the idea of the Cycling Parents blog and believe that having a nut job like me on the team could provide some nice stories ;) . He also told me to get ready for the training camp on Mallorca in April. I made it.

WOW!

I am sure you can imagine that at first I was completely starstruck. Soon after (or already a few weeks before, if you like), I started my long descent into cycling madness, which you may have already noticed as a regular visitor or subscriber to the Cycling Parents Blog. I could virtually see myself riding the Specialized S-Works Venge with those devilish Lightweight Meilenstein wheels next to former champions Jan Ullrich and Jörg Ludewig. Not to mention getting to know the other team members – regular cyclists like you and me, each one of us with his or her own distinct cycling identity and stories to tell. A dream coming true for all of us, and a huge motivation for my cause and for finishing the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon.

Preparations for the team kickoff are in full swing, and images of the team material are already starting to leak to Facebook. One of these could be mine soon…

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However, there still is one pressing question looming between me and the S-Works Venge… that is – will Alex deliver our daughter before the Team Kickoff event on March 16…? Our due date is March 14, and while there are strong indications that she will be on time, clearly I would stay with the family if she’s a bit late. You have to set the priorities right, and our credo goes ‘Love your family. Love your bike.’. Bike comes second. It is a photo finish, but a clear result alright. And if our little one is delayed by a few days, then I hope that the team will save my position. Fingers crossed.

Weekend Group Ride

By Cycling Dad:

While Alex and I are still anxiously awaiting the birth of our daughter, I took the chance to go out on a Sunday group ride with my mates from RC Mödling and the notorious “Boschberg-Partie”, a slightly paced, loosely organised ride for amateurs from all over Vienna and Southern Lower Austria that draws members mainly through word of mouth. At this time of the year, the guys and gals still don’t go too fast – but there is already the spirit of competition in the air. Anybody can jump in and out of this group and ride as he or she likes. It’s a great chance to practice paced riding in a pack and a fun way of getting to know the local racing community. If you are interested to join, just leave a comment or send me an email and we’ll go together.

Also, I wanted to try out my latest gizmo – a GoPro Hero 3 action cam. I’ll write a review about it soon, and am really looking forward to using it along with the Team Alpecin activities throughout the summer. Here is what the result looks like. Already better than our first video, but there are still some lessons to be learned. What do you think?

Cycling Parents suffering from vertical video syndrome

By Cycling Dad:

Hey all, just a quick update today. As I began suffering through the Sufferfest videos to prepare for my upcoming reviews, Alex snapped below’s short video of me. Here are the associated Garmin files with the heart rate. I sent the video back to the Sufferlandrian Ministry of Sports and Health for appraisal and received the second video below in reply, along with the diagnosis that we are suffering from vertical video syndrome.
We’ll see a specialist about it, and post better videos in the future. Promise!

 

Alive and kick… er… pedaling

By Spinning Mum:

Yes, I am still alive and still feeling fairly good, though our belly dweller sometimes limits my actions and inveigles me into rash decisions, such as spontaneously applying for the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon and Team Alpecin myself, neglecting the fact that the little lady who is forcing me to move like a hippopotamus lately is seemingly taking her sweet time and wrecking the actual realisation of these plans :)

Now that I only have around two weeks to go, my back is killing me and I often feel like a balloon on the verge of bursting. So, I was wondering whether I can elicit our little belly dweller by taking a short spin on the static trainer. I was surprised how comfortable my BMC still felt but I have to admit that it is getting harder and harder to stay the course these days…

So, if you have any recommendations on how to speed things up a bit, please do let me know, as I can hardly wait for our little angel to arrive and being able to romp around the house with Konstantin again :)

 

The Sufferfest

By Cycling Dad

Regular visitors to the Cycling Parents Blog may have already noticed my red-hot passion for turbo trainers and the sensations of seemingly endless training sessions, staring at sitcoms or just at the blank wall, thinking ‘this is not what I signed up for when I picked up cycling as a sport’ or ‘just kill me to make this end’. I despise turbo trainers. They are humiliating contraptions spat out by hell itself. Their sole purpose is to make man suffer.

So far, my strategy of avoiding the turbo trainer and the suffering that comes along with it has not been very successful. I am three months into my preparations for the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon, and have spent hundreds of kilometres on the trainer, suffering. A quick glance out the window at masses of snow gives me a premonition that there will be many more kilometres to follow… so…

I decided that, just as Churchill once said, I shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. Let there be a Sufferfest! (He didn’t say the later part).

The Sufferfest is a Sufferlandria-based, government-owned broadcast system that claims to make the hardest, most exciting, most get-on-your-bike-and-suffer-your-ass-off cycling training videos in the world. They make these videos as part of a secret training programme for the national cycling team. As Sufferlandria is a poor country, they have to sell their videos online. You can purchase them at affordable prices from the Sufferfest website. Here is a sample of what you get:

 

I applied for the right to abode in Sufferlandria, and was surprised to receive a letter from the King himself. He offered me to review some of the videos and even invited me to become a Knight of Sufferlandria, if I prove worthy. In his letter, the King also disclosed to me that it was the Sufferlandrian government that was there, negotiating with the police in the station after that arrest involving the Porsche, the night club and the box of hamsters. He did not go into details, but told me that he’s glad I got my life back together.

He also included some words of wisdom, which I shall be glad to recite:

- “To live is to suffer. To survive is to find a meaning in the suffering.”
- “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars.”
- “Only through trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened.”
- “A man who fears suffering is already suffering what he fears.”

Amen.

I decided to take on this bonus mission, and will report about my learnings on this blog.

IWBMATTKYT

The long road to Soelden

By Cycling Dad

With the applications to the Oetztaler Radmarathon and Team Alpecin on their way, all that’s left for me to do right now is getting in some base mileage. It finally stopped snowing, so I took the chance to go out on a 100k solo ride today, which was truly liberating after yesterday’s two hours on the turbo trainer. Riding outdoors in these conditions still is not much fun, but Alex was kind enough to lend me her iPod shuffle. A little music makes a big difference when riding in this monotonous landscape (snow everywhere).

Despite the low intensity, my heart rate started drifting upwards right after the short 70m hill at 2:55h until the end. Upon consideration, it appears sensible to do more of these long, low-intensity rides. Here’s the data:

Despite all, I found this lovely documentary about the Oetztaler Radmarathon on former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich’s Facebook page, which I find very motivating. Unfortunately it is in German, but the day will come for online synchronisation. So in the meantime, all my non-German speaking friends please be patient and enjoy the scenes. The slow-motion scenes of dozens of athletes stuffing their faces with carbs must be the most random thing I have seen all week.

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!

How to get access to the Ferry Dusika Cycling Stadium

Dusika Stadion Vienna
Photo: Florian Ertl

There may be quite a few cyclists out there who are wondering how to get access to the Ferry Dusika Cycling Stadium. I am not just talking about residents of Vienna and its suburbs, but also those of you living close to the Austrian border in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. For all of us, I have assembled the following step by step guide – so you don’t have to go through the research or struggle with translating the available resources, which are mostly in German.

The address of the stadium is Engerthstraße 267-269, 1020 Wien, Österreich.
Here you can find it on google maps.

Getting to the Ferry Dusika velodrome is quite easy. I you are already in Vienna, you can get there with metro line U2, the station is called ‘Stadion’. The much larger Ernst Happel stadium is right next to the velodrome, so look out for the Ferry Dusika Stadium. If you come by car, please note that you can’t park directly at the stadium. However, there are paid parking lots available at the Stadion Center shopping mall, just across the street.

In order to get access to the track, you have to hold a valid UCI racing (or track training) license, which can be obtained from most amateur cycling clubs. With the license, you can apply for an access card to the velodrome, which costs around EUR 50, and gives you access to the track for a full calendar year (Jan-Dec). Contact persons can be found on the website of the ÖRV – Österreichischer Radsportverband. Hedwig Weisz or Christian Langhammer are the right persons to contact. They will also be happy to help you with any English inquiries.

You will need to bring a track bike as there are no rentals available at the stadium, which is a shame and on my list of topics to discuss with ÖRV. Track cycling is a lot of fun, and it would be nice to give more cyclists a chance to give it a try. Shop around for used track bikes on bikeboard.at or other cycling forums. There are also great track bikes available from Dolan, but spending EUR 600 for equipment that you may only want to use from time to time is a tough call. Bikes can be stored at the velodrome, but you will be asked to remove it prior to major events, which take place every couple of months. One last thing, make sure to check out the track schedule before heading out.

Looking forward to seeing you on the track, or on any of the Cycle Marathons in my event schedule (top of the page).

Keep in touch!

Full ahead into 2013!

By Cycling Dad:

Going on holidays has turned out a bad idea from work’s perspective, as I found myself extremely busy immediately after returning to the office. So here is but a short update.

However, there has been some progress on the training side and I am mostly on track. I even managed to complete my first 100k ride with 1100m altitude gain in the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Also, I retook the Functional Threshold Test a few days ago and managed to sustain both a higher heart rate and a higher (perceived) power output than the first time. My new training zones are:

There are some small updates on the website. On the landing page, you can now find my training stats since the beginning of December. Figures include number of rides, distance cycled, total altitude gain, calories burned and my current weight, along with a weight reduction target. Every kilo counts in the season ahead.
I’ll try to give you a monthly update on these figures.

Unfortunately, so far I have not received a reply from Michael Creed yet, but once he runs out of clothing, I expect him to come back to my offer.

I’ll be back with longer stories soon, so stay tuned!