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

Rough Outline of a Training and Competition Plan

Many visitors of this post are looking for more information on how to get on the Ferry Dusika Velodrome in Vienna. Click here to jump directly to the corresponding blogpost.

By Cycling Dad:

There are nine months left until the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon… Fittingly, I do feel pregnant with the idea of finishing the Big O next year. Nine months, which will decide about victory (finishing the ordeal at all) and utter defeat.

As regular readers may have noticed, this scribe has been laboring with the development of his training plan for some weeks now. I got the winter gear, and more equipment is already on the way in order to increase the total sunk cost of the entire endeavor. I have collected bits and pieces of information here and there in the meantime, and have also started doing a few haphazard rides. Also, I still remember parts of my old Junior-Category training schedules. But how much is enough, and how to manage squeezing all this into my professional and family life?

Since last week I am a member of the local bike club RC Mödling and have hoped to find support from a coach there. But (un)fortunately the chaps here are a bunch of really nice people with a strong focus on spending quality time together. On club meetings (which of cause take place in a local pub), there are more cycling veterans with 50+ years road and race experience then I have ever seen bunched into one place. It’s fun, but on the downside there’s no coach, no structured team training and at this time of the year a stubborn resistance to leaving the pub for cycling. Still, Alex, Konstantin and I had a very warm welcome to the community and we are sure to make friends here. That is most important. And indeed, I have found a group of four regular riders that I can join on the weekends for the longer rides and some trash talk along the way ;) .

Back to the training plan. As my former coach Bill rightfully pointed out in reply to one of my earlier posts, “endurance mixed in with low-weight high reps sessions is the focus at this time of the year”. I think what the coach really wanted to say is “Kai, try to get through this winter without gaining too much weight. There’s cookies, drinks and you’ll try to find more excuses for skipping a ride or training session then there are lights on a Christmas tree”. The coach knows me, but he also holds six US national cycling titles and one PanAmerican cycling title. So his advice carries some authority. I will try to do some long rides on the weekends for endurance and mix in some squats and lunges on the sides for power. During the week, I am too time crunched for anything surpassing one hour of training time Monday through Thursday. With working days often ranging from 8am through 7pm, you go figure. Add in an hour commute per day and try to spend the remaining time with the family… Oh and there’s a new excuse problem: the neighbors have started complaining about our washing machine running for an hour between 5.30 and 6.30 in the mornings. So no more pre-work static training, unless I spend another 300 bucks for a more quiet static trainer. I have a personal history with static trainers, so that is not going to happen – especially as the vibrations seem to cause the noise in our neighbor’s bedroom… Getting on the trainer at 8.30pm after a day at work and preferentially after dinner? Tough call.. and potentially also prone to the objection from our (otherwise lovely) neighbours.

There are still other options, such as swimming and gym training. In fact I have spent one hour in the pool last Thursday evening and the week before (8pm through 9pm, before dinner) and the core training seems to ease the strain in my back from sitting in the office chair most of the day. I am not sure if this will make me faster in the saddle, but I guess I’ll give it a try and find out. Regarding gym training, I have signed up for a regular class “winter training for cyclists”, taking place each Friday night between 6pm and 8pm. Focus is – again – on core training and intervals. This may give me a good excuse for leaving the office a bit earlier on Fridays (which should be no problem), but the training takes place in Wiener Neustadt, which requires a 45 minute drive one way. I’ll check it out and let you know if it is worth the effort.

That still leaves Tuesday and Wednesday for more cycling-related action. What are the remaining options? Well, on the one hand there’s commuting to work by bike which could give me 55k per day… I have the clothes, and I still have some lights… let me think about it just a few more days…

And then there is the Ferry Dusika cycling stadion in Vienna. Yes, we are among the few blessed places in the world that actually have an indoor, wooden cycling track. With club membership, it would be just a small step to get permission to train there, but I need to find a track bike first. Dishing out another 600 bucks to get a basic model seems too painful, so I am trying to find someone to rent me a frame size 60 model. I would love to go on the track one or two nights per week during wintertime.

Dusika Stadion Vienna
Photo: Florian Ertl

So to put it into a nutshell, I am trying to fit two one hour sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, one hour of swimming on Thursday, one to two hours gym training on Fridays and long rides on Saturday and Sunday, most likely in the 70-100k range. A couple of squats and lunges sprinkled in between. I will try to increase intensity in a four week cycle, three weeks with steady increase followed by a rest week with just an hour or two of riding on the weekend. Incidentally, the plan more or less matches the training advice from British Cycling, which Mr. Eton was kind enough to procure from obscure sources. This outline should be good until end of January. I will then start with some interval training on the hills and significantly longer rides on the weekends in order to build more muscular endurance at high intensities. But there’s still time to work that out and hopefully some more advice from knowledgeable resources.

Training Plan? Check.

 

Competition Plan

In order keep me motivated to get on my bike and provide feedback on my preparation status, I figured that it may also make sense to plan some training races in 2013. I am sending this offer out to the world, to everybody who is interested to join me in one or several of these races - here is the rough outline of my competition plan for 2013, which may be amended in the coming weeks.

That’s it for now. It has taken me all weekend to finish this post as Konstantin is teething and has an unbelievably foul mood… Alex and the belly dweller are doing great and Alex is generally enjoying her pregnancy, apart from temporary times of nausea. Last but not least – here are the training statics of the past week:

3 hours on the trainer (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday)
1 hour in the pool – freestyle ca. 2.5k (Thursday)
75k road Saturday
85k road Sunday

It has been a good training week.