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Carsten Weber is an ultra-endurance athlete and part of the Team ZWATT community of devoted cyclists. If you think 100 kilometers is a long one, then don’t go out on a ride with Carsten! He has covered more than 13,400 kilometers so far this year.. and counting!
Last time we talked, you just came back from a victory in Race Around Denmark and was preparing for Styrkeprøven in Trondheim. How did it go?
After the victory in Race Around Denmark I went on a trip to the ‘mountains’ in Harzen, Germany. This was actually my first experience with longer hills and was important preparation to my race in Norway.
I went to northern Norway back in mid June for the renowned Strength Test, a 543 km ride from Trondheim to Olso with a lot of elevation. I learned about the race from a Danish group on facebook who plans the trip every year. The Midsummer race was a really cool experience filled with stunning nature, despite the boring course. After an exciting start with a big mountain climb up Dovrefjell, you kind of just go straight ahead through valleys down to Oslo. I finished the 543 kms in 21 hours.
A lot of new riders have a tendency towards over-training. With all of your mileage, the balance between exhaustion and the right amount of recovery must be a thin line. How do you deal with this balance in your daily life?
The balance between training and recovery can be quite difficult in ultracycling and it’s probably something I could improve as well. Just like with my diet / nutrition. I used to say, that I train in order to be able to eat whatever I want. That still applies today. My training is not too complicated: I work out when I feel like it and whenever I can fit in between work and family time. Whether that is during the day, in the evening or sometimes even at night doesn’t matter to me. I never force it. If I don’t feel like training on a particular day, then I would just stay home with the family.
How do you use power in your training?
Some critics say that power data ruins the fun in cycling. I think that power training is fun, especially during indoor sessions on Zwift. First with an FTP test to assess my fitness and then just rock & roll. When I’m outdoors it usually depends on whether or not I’m riding solo. If I’m riding with others in a group I don’t really use it. A lot of group rides are either social or “pedal to you burst”, so I just want to follow whatever the group is doing. But when I’m doing solo rides I’m always trying to do optimal pacing around 2,0 w/kg. I’ve found that this is my long endurance pace.
The best thing about a power meter is all of the extra data that you can look at. I like to nerd it out after my rides and analyse my training. I can spend hours on that!
Fall is approaching and a lot of people park their bikes in the garage as the weather turns sour. What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Well, it’s been a long season. It started back in early spring with Tour de Jutland and it’s gonna end with 12H of Monza on September 15. I really look forward to riding the famous Italian Formula One circuit! My wife’s due date is shortly after the race, so the timing is perfect for me to ease off all that mileage. I’m taking a break from training the next 6-8 weeks. But who knows, I might be able to put in a ride or two as a break from all the diaper changing and weeping. But my race calendar is cleared for the rest of the year.