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By: Zdenko Kahlina
Last social ride for the season is behind us!
We have had a great season of riding! I hope everyone enjoyed the rides, but all good things must come to an end. Sunday, September 29th was our last ride of the 2013 season.
Two years ago, this was a lonely adventure. Zdenko can recall rides with as few as two riders. The no-drop ride grew slowly in popularity over the next two years, but nothing prepared Zdenko for this end of season’s show of support. This year I was riding with a group of more than 20 cyclists.
“It’s mind-boggling how far it has come in three years,” said Zdenko.
“It’s been an absolute kick in the pants to see everybody smiling and talking about how they will show up again next week.”
The Sunday morning ride has turned into a full-fledged event, connecting many recreational veteran cyclists from Edmonton and Sherwood Park and attracting riders of all skill levels. At its height this summer, the ride enjoyed five consecutive weeks with at least 20 participants. The season-best was 34 riders who came by 09:30 in the morning at Ardrossan Sports centre. I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for coming out during the whole year and riding with me on all these weekend rides.
The last ride of the season left the Sports centre as usual at 9:30 o’clock. Sharp. Zdenko was planning to have a shorter than usual ride to accommodate a pizza-and-drinks celebration afterwards. During the long winter months in Alberta, the ride will be missed by many, especially by those who have grown with it this year.
Steve MacLeod made a comment on the ‘Zdenko’s Corner’ Facebook page:
“This was my first group ride, I chose to do, when I bought me road bike this year and decided to get back into the sport,” he wrote. “This ride is special to me and I have enjoyed the people, who really make the ride what it is. I cannot wait until it starts back up next year. Zdenko was showing great leadership throughout the season.”
The weekend rides will return to Ardrossan Sports centre in first weekend of April 2014.
Zdenko believes this ride became popular among recreational cyclists because it is a no-drop ride catered to those who can keep a 25-30 kmh pace. Slower riders are often accompanied and coached up by the faster and stronger – not just left in the dust. That kind of camaraderie resonates with people, he said. In addition this is totally free ride without any obligations for participants. They just show and go!
“The help slow riders get from the faster riders … most come out to help the slower riders. It’s a no-drop ride. No one rides by themselves. Even if you’re the slowest one out there, you’ll have three to four riding with you.”
Although this was last group ride for the season, it wasn’t my last ride this year. The weather continued to cooperate during October and I was riding (alone) pretty much all month. Time to hang up my bike came finally on Sunday October 27th, when Edmonton received first snow of this winter.
If you are a cycling weekend warrior please join me next year again on every weekend during the cycling season, for the ‘Tour of Strathcona County’ bicycle social rides! Next year Zdenko’s rides ‘Tour of Strathcona County’ are already tentatively set to begin every Saturday and Sunday mornings from April 5th, 2014. These rides are free of any charge and are open to experienced bike riders (both gals and guys) who can manage bike rides of 2-3 hours, at an average speed between 25-35 km/hour. You will make new friends, or just relax and discover the joys of cycling.
If you’re thinking of joining Zdenko’s social rides, please visit his blog ‘Zdenko’s Corner’ to read more about the rides.
WINTER TRAINING SUGGESTIONS
Here are some ideas to use as a starting point to design your own off season program so that you can be in some dicent shape by April 2014 and ready for the first group ride:
Stationary bike - the goal is fast cadence, interval work. Warm up for 15 minutes. Do step intervals (30 sec with 60 sec easy spinning, 60 sec with 60 sec easy spinning, 90 sec with 60 sec easy spinning, up to a 3 minute exercise interval and then cycle back down). Aim to keep your cadence above 90 and heart rate at 80-90% MHR. Cool down for 15 minutes. Three times a week.
X-training sport – This is an important strategy to prevent boredom and staleness. Consider swimming, x-country skiing, whatever, but don’t forget to take a day or two off just as you did during the regular cycling season.
Weights – Now that you are into the routine, it is the time to begin to build muscle mass. 3 days a week, 8 to 12 reps, 2 to 3 sets.
Stationary bike – Time to move into an endurance phase with a moderate cadence of 85-95 with heart rate at 75% max. Do a 15 minute warm up, a 12 minute ride, and then a 3 minute rest with easy spinning. Three times a week.
X-training sport – Still important to prevent boredom and staleness. Swimming, x-country skiing, whatever.
Weights – Still working on bulk and strength – 6 to 10 reps, 3 or 4 sets, 3 times a week. Try to add a fast component in the lifting phase (explosive power) to prepare for the demands of cycling.
Stationary bike – Back to speed work. 10 all out sprints of 20 seconds in the highest gear and the fastest cadence you can manage. Then easy spinning for 5 minutes between sprints. Cool down for 15 minutes. Three times a week.
X-training sport – Hang in there, this remains a key to prevent boredom and staleness.
Time to prepare for endurance on the bike again. Lighter weights (maybe 75% of the weight used in Jan/Feb), more reps (12 to 15, 1 to 2 sets). And only twice a week with the balance of the time back on the bike again.
Mountain biking – If weather permits, consider throwing in a little mountain biking. Experience (and internalizing instincts on conditions) gained will boost your ability to handle skids, slippery roads, unexpected excursions off the pavement, and even riders who go down in front of you. One of the skills, along with balance, is developing the right instincts on the brakes. When your tires are at risk of losing traction, remember that braking hard in turns or during a skid will only put you on the ground. You can’t have control unless your wheels are free to turn. This is a common thread for wet and slippery pavement, dirt, or a light covering of snow.
Road riding – Time to get out on the road again - endurance rides with occasional sprints on the bike until your base of 500 kilometers has been established.
And when it’s time to get out on the road again, don’t forget that the right gear makes a big difference in those marginal conditions. Hypothermia (a decrease in your core body temperature) is always a risk – especially in that combination of conditions that often occur with winter training:
- damp and sweaty after a good workout
- you left home without that extra layer
- you have depleted your internal carbohydrate reserves and are behind on Calorie replacement to keep up your metabolism and provide some extra body heat
- there is that extra wind chill effect as you finish your ride
And it doesn’t have to be bone chilling cold. Especially when you are fatigued and energy depleted, hypothermia can occur in what might otherwise be considered just a cool fall day. So here are a few tips on gear:
- Booties – extremities don’t get good blood flow when the arteries clamp down with the cold, so protect those toes.
- Windproof tights – keep those muscles warm.
- Head covering – You can lose up to 25% of your body heat through your head. Keep your head covered and you’ll keep your core warm.
- Vest – Thin, lightweight, but it’ll help protect your core from the wind.
- Some extra Calories – cookies, gel, power bar, etc.
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