Wednesday, October 17, 2018

6 sites on preparing for cycling in the Alps


A collection of good to know things when preparing for a ride in the Alps in general, and the Stelvio pass like I plan to do next summer.
These articles seem to focus mainly on road-bike climbing, starting fresh etc. My goal is to do the climb after 1400 km on the bike from Sweden so not exactly the same conditions. However, managed to pick up good information for what to prepare for and how to prepare from the following six articles:

sportive.com: 10 Top Tips For Cycling In The Alps
Worth the read, had some things that I hadn't thought of before.

The Col Collective: A Beginners Guide To Cycling In The Mountains
Same here, a wise man learns from others mistakes.

British Cycling: Tackling long climbs
Liked this one, maybe because the landscape where I live is pretty much what they describe it is in the UK.

PEZ Cycling News: Passo Stelvio: Climbing for Dummies
Another learn from more experienced post. A good read

road.cc: 13 Things I learned about the Stelvio while riding up (and down) it
Knowledge is preparation as well, good things to know before starting the climb to prevent some nasty surprises.

Alpine Cols: Common mistakes when preparing for the Haute Route
Picked up some ideas for training from here. Time well spent reading.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Training for the Stelvio 2019 Adventure while on Chemo


2 major liver surgeries and currently on chemo. How to train and prepare for an adventure like Stelvio 2019?

It will be ~2000km in 15 days, some days an imperial century (160km) and other days climbing the alps. I need to get back into shape, get stronger muscles to prevent injury and make the ride more enjoyable.

Current fitness state

When looking at the statistics I'm down to climb times lower then 2013. The few group rides that I've been on I'm slower then the beginners up the climbs. I still have some endurance left though so I can roll distances (or my brain is used to the pain), even though the speeds are much lower.
Nothing strange here, I have cancer and undergoing treatments that impact my body, the surgeries alone can be seen as major trauma, the body reacts the same.. Twice in 4 months.

When the surgery wound on my chest was healed in end of July and I was able to start training again and even with the improvements I've made since then I'm in a really bad shape at the moment.


During the 14 day chemo cycles

During these I'm pretty much just happy when I do something, anything each day. Can be 10-20 minutes. Just move. Anything counts. So far I've done some short runs, intervals, strength training, or just watch YouTube on the trainer. As I said, there is no real goal during the chemo cycle. The doctors want me to train as recent studies seem to point out that training helps with the side effects. So that is what I do.

For example, during cycle 3 I did:

  • Day 1: Rest day
  • Day 2: 30 minutes threshold (Zone 4) on the trainer. 
  • Day 3: Run 1.3 km. 
  • Day 4: Run 1.3 km
  • Day 5: Rest day
  • Day 6: Rest day
  • Day 7: 13 minutes moderate (Zone 2) on the trainer
  • Day 8: Rest day
  • Day 9: 14 minutes moderate (Zone 2) on the trainer
  • Day 10: Run intervals. 650 m warmup, 3x200m max
  • Day 11: Run 1.3 km
  • Day 12: 15 minutes threshold (Zone 4) on the trainer
  • Day 13: Rest day
  • Day 14: Rest day

Quite happy with that, a workout on 8 of 14 days.

During the rest weeks from chemo

The plan is to put in the efforts here, when the body doesn't process the medication it has more energy that can be put into training

Low intensity workouts

Minimum of 1.5 hours on the trainer at low intensity (Zone 1 or 2). These are the workouts that build endurance, we will be on our bikes for around 8 hours per day on the trip. 1.5 to 2 hours in training at this point (over 6 months to go) will help break in your body. Also, low intensity training uses fat as fuel and you need to build up that ability to burn fat at low intensities. If you only do high intensity workouts, a longer trip will burn you out if you aren't used to switching over to fat. That switch happens after around 2 hours independently of what type of activity you do. So better prepare your body for it.

Low intensity is when you are able to breath through your nose without any effort, if your breathing starts to deepen put on a lower gear and go a bit easier. For a longer workout, what starts out as easy the first 10 minutes may change over time and become high-intensive after one hour mark so be sure to adapt to that change.

More reading on low intensity training



High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Short, sweet sessions that make a lot of impact. With hearth rate through the roof, these are sessions are the total opposite of the low intensity sessions, they do not take that long time but you feel them for the rest of the day.

My favorite HIIT session is the following from Global Cycling Network. Done right on a trainer, and I don't know my own name at the end of the session. Great stuff!

More sites on HIIT sessions:

As an example my last rest week from chemo looked like this:
  • Day 1: HIIT, 20 minutes on trainer
  • Day 2: 1 hour 30 minutes low intensity (Zone 1-2) on trainer
  • Day 3: Rest day
  • Day 4: 1 hour 40 minutes low intensity (Zone 2) on trainer
  • Day 5: HIIT, 20 minutes on trainer
  • Day 6: Rest day
  • Day 7: 60 minute YouTube party mix intervals on trainer
Day 7 happens to be a Friday. And party mix intervals on YouTube is pretty much me watching music videos and just going for it. This is the fun day before the next cycle starts and Saturdays are rest days.. At least some days.


After Chemo

So the plan is that the Chemo treatment should be done sometime in January 2019, just in time when my Kona Sutra will arrive. That will give me 4 months to train in other ways, but that is probably another post.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Adventure Inspiration 2018 October


Some stuff that I've been reading lately. Not that much this time, but well worth the time all three of them!

blameitonthebike Cykla till Italien
Two Swedish girls take their bikes to Italy. In Swedish, but your browser can probably translate it for you. Well worth the read! At least for me, as this is pretty much the trip that I'm planning for next summer with Stelvio 2019

Six tips on long-distance cycling in Japan, learned the hard way: 1,200km from Tokyo to Sapporo
I think that the title says it all!


Across Australia from Sydney to Perth, including Tasmania
By that crazy guy on a bike, Art Brown