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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.

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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

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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

I love my Garmin Edge 500

By Cycling Dad:

I could not wait for the weekend to arrive so I could take my brand new Garmin Edge 500 out for a ride. Today’s tour was 110k and my verdict is that this is the best bike computer I have ever owned…  it surely is also by far the most expensive cycle computer I have ever owned.

So far the Garmin has cost me a bit more than EUR 2 per km and it is clear that I need to work on these figures to justify the purchase. I’ll leave the maths to you. But look at the wealth of data this contraption provides about today’s ride (click on ‘view details’ on the bottom right corner to see the full pony show):

This is what you get: at 48x69x22mm, the Edge 500 is not exactly the smallest bike computer on the market, but at 65g including mount, it sure is still not too heavy. In fact is snugs right in the space between your handlebars and fork top screw. Included in the kit is a heart rate chest strap, a wireless cadence and speed sensor as well as two base mounts so you can use the Edge 500 on a second bike. In fact you don’t need the sensor on the second bike as the 500 will compute the speed from the GPS data, but it is essential for the cadence and I understand from the manual that the sensor will increase the accuracy of the speed readings. Setting up the system is super easy and I was done within 10 minutes. Here’s a size reference:

The Garmin Edge 500 is charged and data synchronised via a USB cable that comes with the box. It has a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that lasts for around 15 to 18 hours on a full charge. Before going for the first ride, all you have to do is set up the custom screens you want to use. You can have up to five screens to cycle through and each screen can be loaded with up to eight data fields which can be configured freely to display a range of information about your ride. From the usual speed, distance, time, to more sophisticated heart rate, cadence to useful bonus features incline and alt difference there’s nothing left to wish for. All information is available as per actual, average and lap. You can even connect the Garmin Edge 500 to ANT+ enabled equipment such as static trainers and power measurement cranks and hubs, but I will leave that for next season. One key feature that I have not tested so far is the option to display a pre-set course by GPS coordinates. While the 500 will not display the surrounding environment on a neat map (you have to get the bigger brother Garmin Edge 800 for that), it is supposed to display the route in a breadcrumb trail and tell you when to make turns to find the way. I am curious to find out just how well that works, but it may become a key asset for the longer exploration rides with Alex in the summer.

Also included in the package is software to enable synchronisation of your Garmin with Garmin Connect, an online portal to store and share all your cycling tracks. This is cool because it gives you a complete overview of your training performance over time. Transferring data between Garmin Connect and the device is fast and very easy.

Both thumbs up for the Garmin Edge 500.

I ordered my Edge 500 at Chain Reaction Cycles, my trusted purveyor of cycling goods. CRC is also my recommendation for a wide range of other cycling equipment, so make sure to order your gear from them and please support me by clicking on the link below before making the purchase :D .

www.chainreactioncycles.com

Stay tuned for more product placement ;)