Tuesday, 18 February 2014


The weather forecast for a few days has shown that today should be the first sunny day for what feels like all of 2014. When I realised there would be a gap in work I therefore decided to make the most of it and go for a ride. After taking our dog for a walk to school with the children I jumped on the Klein and rattled off a standard 60 km round on Södertörn. A Lovely -2 to 0 degrees the whole way

Not just comfort cycling though; I included my patented TTTT (Tungelsta - Tullinge Time Trial) which is 20 km in the nicest part of the ride. Luckily I needed photos to show you so I had a few minutes rest somehere in the middle. Otherwise it was about 40 minutes with my pulse between 85% and 91% max.

Crispy lake, crispy grass, crispy Klein

It wasn't hard to look happy today!
I finished off with another 5 km speed section but my heavy legs were compensated  by endorphines squirting out of my ears and a big grin on my face :-)
Bring on the spring!!!!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Quadriceps theory

On Tuesday I was a research subject for a colleague's project at work. The study was designed to investigate certain effects of muscle soreness. The setup was to run downhill on a treadmill for 30 minutes to subject the legs to extensive eccentric work. As I am pretty welltrained but do not run much, I was a given subject. The run was OK, the last 9 minutes @ 16 km/h on a 7 degree downhillslope. At the end it felt like my quadriceps were bashing down onto the floor at each impact, but it wasn't a problem running the full time.

But what an amazing muscle soreness I got yesterday! I've never felt anything like it; walking downstairs is nearly impossible, each quadriceps component feels like it is being shaven off the bone, each step results in spasms of pain, I can feel the strain in each individual muscle fiber whenever I move. Wow. I carefully plan what to do at work to try and avoid walking, especially in stairs. For the first time ever I have started taking the lift at work. Today I'm even wearing compression tights at work in a desperate attempt to keep the quadriceps attached to my femora.

I gathered up all the muscle bits lying on the floor and stuffed them inside these tights. Definitely feels better than without tights.

The funny thing though is that cycing works fine! It hurts a little bit to really push myself, so I can wait with that, but pedalling with normal concentric quadriceps work is no problem at all and even feels like it might be helping. Riding to work today I started wondering how, in exactly the same muscle fibers, eccentric contraction can hurt like h-ll, while concentric contractions are fine? Both are obtained by contractions of the same sarcomeres with the same actin and myosin interactions, so how can one contraction cause pain and not the other? Are the pulling myosin heads direction senstive? Are they asymmetric so that pulling one way causes pain on one side while being pulled the other way unloads that side and does not cause pain?

Luckily I'm a biomechanist, not a muscle physiologist, otherwise I'd have to solve that now :-). Feel free to help with comments if you have some ideas though!


Sunday, 9 February 2014


I've been getting my body used to slightly heavier loading after weeks of training mainly around threshold levels. So yesterday I tried 4 minute intervals at 350W, not extremely high, but tough enough for me. Managed 3 good intervals but got beaten in the last one. Its not out of reach though and I'm looking forward to pushing to higher loads before spring.

This morning I was up at 5.30, all my clothes and bike ready for a calm 90 km distance round. Skulled a quick coffee and threw down a small bowl of müsli. I saw that it was a bit colder than expected (1 degree), so I put on a warmer jacket than planned and went out. And it was raining.

Now I don't mind rain. Some of my favorite rides have been in rain. But at 5.45 on a Sunday morning, unexpecteldy and around about the freezing point, it just hit me. Curling up in the sofa suddenly seemed like a far more attractive alternative... Difficult, these mornings. If it is a ride planned with others the possibilities for cancelling are more limited. Even by myself I don't normally just quit. But, as I've written a few times now I haven't quite got the right feeling at the moment and have to work on that. 

Anyway, I wasn't only lazy. An hour later I jumped up and onto the Monark and tried to increase the load at which I can do longer intervals (i.e. presumably something around my functional power threshold, FPT). So I rattled off a series of 15, 12, 9 minutes @300W and was quite satisfied. Maybe 2x20 @ 300W will happen soon.
Still feeling a bit cocky
If I followed these instructions I'd need an in-house physician

A funny thing with Monark-training is that the gps thinks the Monark is riding around in Skogås. According to the Garmin, I rode a whole 327 m today.

Now, that's what I call distance!


Friday, 7 February 2014

First it was Saturday, then the weekend, then I didn't get a new tyre until Wednesday... Since my puncture last Friday I have had so much to do at work that I either 1. haven't had time to ride (or train at all for that matter) or 2. haven't had the energy to train in those gaps that did arise. Instead of a rest day or two its ended up being a whole RESTWEEK! I guess the frustration that builds up is somehow a good sign indicating that my body and brain are used to and need physical training.

I have recently started a new job and I still have to find a new routine for fitting in training sessions. Not just riding but a bit of gymwork and running as well.

Last night I got the new spiked tyres on the Klein and today my legs will at least get the 40 km to and from work. I'll do my a set of 4 - 10 - 4 - 2 min intervals on the way home. These are distances on the ride that I can easily push hard. That'll be fun!

This weekend I intend to combine a bit of Winter Olympics on TV with some interval work on the Monark and a longer outside ride on Sunday. I hope I will have the energy for it!


Saturday, 1 February 2014


I have for a few weeks planned a longer distance training ride today. About 150 km, slow and with comfortable food stops on the way. So I spent some time yesterday getting the Klein ready, changing brakepads, getting rid of all the salt and sand from the gears and chain and fixing a puncture that had turned up "overnight". When I checked what the cause of the puncture was I realised that some spikes from the  rear tyre had been pushed through and were scraping on the innertube. I don't have spare spiked tyres at home so that was the end of my distance plans for today.

There's something missing there...

The tyres are Nokia W106 and they've gone at least 3000 winterkilometers so it's maybe not surprising that this starts happening. I immediately ordered the same ones again over the internet. 

When I looked out this morning this is what the road looked like:

Did I really want to spend 8 hours riding in this?

Images rose of the wagon slowly being pulled through snow up to the axels in John William's "Butcher's Crossing". But there there were oxen pulling, I only have my own two small legs.

I think fate was trying to tell me something.

Instead I'll do some long intervals on the Monark now, watching cross country skiing on TV. Then go to a football tournament with my son.Tonight I'll make pizzas which we'll eat with some friends while planning a skiing trip in Italy in a few weeks. Fate was quite OK today; it seems like it will be a fine day anyway :-)