Living Jackson

Benefits of cycling
The Tumble Challenge

The Tumble Challenge


I started to bike about two and a half years ago. I had this bicycle laying in my warehouse I haven´t touched my bike for like twelve years or so. I had my friend who was working in this place where they take care of your bike I asked my husband to take my bike there to get it fixed. I thought maybe I can try that. It seems it seemed like a easy and efficient way to gain a bit selfesteem and feel better and look better. I am trying to get myself ready for a race that is taking place in Cardiff, in the UK. and I am terrified about it! Last year I did four races in Finland and then a colleague of mine was like “maybe you could consider some of those races like in France?” Sometimes he gives me some old magazines and I came across an article. The article was about the first Velothon that was held in Cardiff and that was just last year. And when I read the article, I really felt like I want to experience that, I want to go through that and have the same feelings and emotions, and enjoy that landscape. I want to try that. After I read the article I went on the webpage of the event. It was strange because I had these mixed feelings. On one hand I said “oh that looks very exciting” and then on the other hand it was like “No way, completely out of my league. Not for me”. During the summer my brother Fionnan, he lives in Ireland, half Irish, half French, he was over and we went cycling. Then I mentioned this race and he said “oh yeah, that sounds cool, why not?” So then that suddenly becomes real. If we sign up for it then we have to make it happen. The enrolment was in November. Then you start to panic because it´s all the rest. I decided to sign in for a spinning class this year because last winter on the way back from work, wich is 32 1/2 km, I fell on the ice, 600 m from my house and I cracked my tailbone. I could´t cycle for five weeks. The two first weeks were very painful, I could hardly walk I really wanted to not loose the shape I was in so I knew I had to find a way to keep training. Then every now and then I have this drop of motivation. Like there’s some days I just feel like: “just let go, you don´t need to do that, what are you going to prove? It´s pointless. There´s no reason for it.” Sometimes I am just too tired. I just don´t feel any energy to get on the bike. It´s even been sometimes I just felt like “ok, let´s just sell all the bikes, this is so stupid, why did I get myself into cycling in the first place? It´s completely pointless. I spend to much money in all those bikes and bike gear. Let´s find something else.” I planed to train during the winter but it did not go at all like I expected. I was very tired so physically I didn´t find the energy to commute between home and work like I usually do. I was quite disappointed in myself for that and as a result I am not in super good shape now. It´s Easter sunday. Every year for Easter we go to my husband’s family in Kemiö/Kimito. Since I have not been very good with my training, I thought like maybe it would be a good opportunity to do my first long distance training this year. So it´s about 120 km. I am a bit anxious because I don´t feel physically prepared at all for that distance. The aim today is not to go fast or anything. It´s just to check that I still have the endurance to go long distance. It´s six o´clock. I should be leaving now. In about six hours I should arrive in Kimito. I really wish I could have taken my road bike for that. Since the weather has been quite on/off, like a bit of snow, no snow, icing temperature then positive temperature, I had to take my hybrid bike. So let´s see how that goes. First 20 km was fine. No problem. 30, 40, I think until 50 km was quite ok. After 60 I started to doubt a bit. I am half way. It´s long. At 80 km I was like “I am really stupid. Why did I do that now? Obviously I am not up to it” “I am not in shape. I am not ready for that, I should stop. 90, I tried to convince myself: “It´s only 30 km down. I think I can do that.” The wind started to be very heavy. When I saw the sign saying 15 km left, I was like: “It´s 45 minutes, it should be ok”. The head wind was so strong! My speed was around 10-12 km/h. It meant that I had another one full hour of work before I get there. Then I see Harald coming back. I was like: “Fine, that´s good, I need that kind of support, to see that there is somebody there waiting for me.” It´s really though at the end. “You have to show me the house!” I asked Harald: “where is the house?” He goes: “it´s not far, you have to go over the canal and then another 10 km. What?! Seriously? 10 km? I can´t do 10 km! You don´t realise what it means for me at this stage!! 10 km I can´t do that. I can´t. I was really feeling like crying. I started to feel the tears on my face under my glasses. Too hard. Way to hard. It turned out to be only another 4 km but then I arrived. “We miscalculated by 5 or 7 km! I need shower” I knew also that if I would have given up in the five last km, it would have been a failure. Mentally it would have been very hard to overcome that for the race. Now I know that when I go for the race, in the end when I will get desperate, I just have to remember I can do it. I know I can because I have done it before. I have this colleague, Panja. She´s a super top athlete. She does thriatlon and iron man. I asked her opinion: “There’s this climb in this Velothon I am going for, like 6 km long.” And she goes: “That’s a very long climb”. Then I went to a Facebook group called Hepo. It´s like the cycling association of Helsinki. I asked, how can I train for this climb? It´s called the Tumble. Some of the first replies I got was: “That level you will not find in south Finland at all”. Then they gave me a lot of advices. They indicated some hills around here were I could train. They explained to me that it demands a lots of resources. You have to really find a pace where you are comfortable, that the heart rate does not go to fast. So you need to have a quite low cadence, not too fast, easy gear. One of the members I contacted afterwards and he also gave more detailed advice on how to prepare. He mentioned the possibility to go to some place where you can pass an aptitude test. It helps you to evaluate what are your different heart rate zones It helps you to develop the part, it can be like endurance or power and so on, depending on what you need for the race later on. You are going to perform a direct maximal oxygen consumption test. When you think you have fatigue or you don´t wanna continue anymore you can quit but I will try to make you go a bit further. So when you feel tired I am going to try to push you a bit harder. We´re gonna increase the resistance every 2 minutes. The second minute of that you´re gonna breath through a breathing gas analyser. We analyse your breathing gases and your respiration. You can start cycling. The first maybe 3-4 levels will feel easy. Then you feel the hill is getting steeper then you will fatigue pretty fast. It´s pretty short. 30 seconds left of the level. So I´ll increase with 30. Try the next even though you would´t go to the end. 240. Not bad. Just force your legs. I will take a short measurement. Just take the gun! Keep the cadence! Force your legs! Lift the cadence a bit! 15 seconds! And, good! Good job! Well done! I am gonna bring the systems down, see that your heart rate comes down. Well done! On a scale from 1 to 7. It´s a six. Very good. Basic training is low intensity and pretty long duration. It increases the capacity to transport oxygen to your muscles This improves your ability to recover from hard training. It also improves your fat burning capacity as well. Then we have the cardio training. That’s a bit harder to very hard training that increases and improves your hearts capacity to pump blood to the system more efficiently. All in all you are in a good basic fitness. You have good oxygen uptake. What you should improve is your basic endurance. The capacity to keep the heart rate low but to still have a higher intensity. You will do it by training with longer sessions with a very low heart rate. Now I am selling my very first road bike. I am a bit sad, emotional. I remember when I got it. It was such a big thing for me. Yesterday I went to this bike shop, just wanted to try something I had my eyes on. I made a deal on a completely different bike that the one I had my eyes on. The bike I am going for is a newer version of the one I have, in exchange they take my bike back. Only three weeks left until the race meaning only two weeks to train. I always double check everything. Good. It´s 1 1/2 centimeters shorter. When I sat on it, it really felt like really good. Right away. It felt like home. But it´s like this much shorter, that one. This measurement here is 6,44. One more millimeter. It´s perfect. I think it´s a good decision . I´ll put these on and we can change them. Your average speed is going up at least 5 km an hour when it comes to 100 to 200 km rides. I am happy. Let´s see! Can´t wait to try it! I just got my new bike ready yesterday. They finished to change the handle bar, I picked it up yesterday evening. I haven´t even tried it since they made all the adjustments. Today there is a preparation tour organised. So I go with some other cyclists. You do the route of Giro d´Espoo. The distance is 110 km so if they did´t fit it correctly I will have pain. 32 is to one group. The other is 24. He explained that the maximum per group should be 16. The should have 32, 28, 24 24 is nice so you can still see the environment. It was a lot easier than going to Kimito. The bike is good. No pain in the knees. It climbs. It´s good! In terms of the order you do stuff, you don´t have a work bench, so you need to do it in a clever way, and you want to work on the bike while it´s on wheels. You loose it up. You forgot the brakes. Usually that’s what I do. Good, good, good. You put it to the side, then you walk to the front. You have not unscrewed this enough, just so you know until next time. Put it somewhere against the wall. So this is important, it is going to go on there, as you can see. The suitcase, it does´t matter if you damage that, but you can damage these. What I usually do, and that’s why I don´t have so much protection, is to use clothes. So I use my cycling clothes to pack the bike securely. Let´s see how this fits with yours. It´s in that direction and not towards the bike. Yes, otherwise I can damage, no? Most likely. Your pedals and these can go like this. For instance, you have to figure out a bit how you do that. And this here. It´s the check list. Chain around here. The smallest one. And then we try to Ok, tight. And this one. The tape moved a bit so it´s hard to find the line. That should be ok. But it doesn’t Something’s wrong. Ok, so it´s not straight. It´s not difficult, but it´s not as easy as it seems either. I´ll bring it tomorrow to be checked. That works at least. Happy! I am not sure the handlebar is 100% straight so I will get that checked. When I put back the chain and I couldn´t turn the crank then I though, it must be the breaks. So I did´t panik, I just used my brain. It went better that I expected. I was expecting more difficulties. I met my brother Fionnan and his friend Niall. Usually when I go for any event, I always have somebody with me, or until now I had somebody I was cycling with who knew better so I felt secure and safe. Now apparently I am in that role. They are completely clueless. At least Fionnan has not even tried to ride in a group before So I am very concerned how it is going to go because there is really many people tomorrow. You need to know how to anticipate the move of the group so you don´t get into a crash of provoke a crash. So that adds to my stress level. Now it´s 10.30. My plan was to go to bed at 10 so I am half an hour behind. I have to get up at five. I think I will push it to 5.30 so I can get seven hours of sleep. I am waiting for Fionnan and Niall. The shimano tent where we were supposed to meet is down. I hope they still show up around here. I tried to call but their phone is off so I can´t reach them. I´m wondering how much longer should I wait, or should I go now. Is that? I need to see the bike… Is that him? I was worried! I could not call you! I have this dry meat if you like, at some point it can be nice. I made two small packages for you. Oh, perfect! It´s protein. Thanks, it´s really nice. So we try not go to fast. We try 24-25 within the group witch should be easy, until the Tumble. Then we see on top of the Tumble how much energy we have left. Then we use what we have left for the second part of the race. Ok, let´s go. Sounds good. Let´s do it. It´s a bit funny because I though the Tumble was at 70 km but it’s further it´s more like 80. Suddenly on the side I saw a very small sign. Now it starts. So I changed my gear quite quickly, then I started counting. I had programmed my mind like 6 km hard. So I started 6 km. Then I check my Garmin all the time. 5.8, 5.5, 5 every 100 m when you go up hill like this and you don´t have the possibility to recover or to get a break, it doesn´t stop, it´s just up all the time! Its very long. Very heavy. It´s difficult because you see so many people really dropping. They just stop. You see so many walking. I can´t stop. I don´t wanna stop because I trained for that. I want to do it! If I stop I will be so disappointed in myself. I really wanna make it! Then I arrive at 3 km. “Oh, I´m only half way still 3 km to go!” And then you switch: “No, no, no! Already 3 km done, only 3 km to go!” It´s hard! Is that the summit? Am I there? No, it´s not. It still goes up a little bit. That was pretty hard! I did it! I lost Fionnan and Niall very early on. I guess they will be waiting for me at the arrival. I go on. It´s a mix of bliss. It´s so easy. It just goes down, but it goes so fast! You are over 60 km an hour, so it´s also a bit scary, you just break. Then you arrive to Caerphilly That’s quite a shock! It´s short, I think it´s 1.5 km or something. There are some sections at 15%. It´s really, really steep! This is so fucking hard! They could have had it at the beginning. Then I got upset. I was like: “stupid legs. you cannot let me down now! You have to go! Come on! we’re almost there! You did the Tumble, you can do that!” This race is about the Tumble. Then you have Caerphilly and it’s so really hard and it´s so close to the arrival. You don´t expect it to be that hard. The last few minutes, I really thought I was gonna pass out. You know, the final sprint! There was someone who’s tried to get ahead of me, I just went really bananas! Usually at the end, the last five kilometers, I don´t have any legs, I don’t have power or anything.. Mentally I don´t manage. It´s the first time I manage Like at the end it was really cool. How long have you finished? When you rang me, I was going up the second big hill. I lost you after the feeding station! I stayed around there for a while. I went to the ladies and there were big lines. I was like I guess you’re gone. It was raining and everything. I saw you at some point. So what’s next? Sell the bike? Oh, no! Wrong answer!! I think I am going back to running. I think I am gonna do a marathon. A triathlon! That’s what I am thinking about. Never that long again! It´s too long! Excitement is slowly going down. Still super happy. I think the body is saying: “Now I need a break”. If I could, I would do the one in Stockholm and Berlin…

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