On this edition of The Kona Edge we touch base with Aku Oja to find out what he loves and hates about his Ironman bike training. He shares with us what his greatest gains have been on the bike and how he has improved his performance.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back to yet another edition of The Kona Edge and today we chat some cycling. We head back to Finland, just West of Helsinki, Aku Oja joining us. Aku, welcome back, thanks for joining us today.
AKU OJA: Hi Brad, good to talk to you again.
BRAD BROWN: Aku, you spend lots of time on the indoor trainer, do you get to ride much outdoors or do you prefer, if you had the choice, would you ride indoors or would you ride outdoors?
AKU OJA: I’m kind of a freak in the way that I actually enjoy training indoors, be it bike or running, but yes, cycling, living in the city here and doing workouts midweek, it’s just that much more efficient doing it indoors than getting out. If you have 60 minutes to use for training, I don’t want to use 20 minutes to get out from the city to open roads and then ride for a while and then get myself back home again, that would be time wasted.
Training indoors can still produce power on your Ironman bike
BRAD BROWN: As far as the difference between training on an indoor trainer and training on the road, do you find that it doesn’t really make much of a difference to you, that when you get to race day and it’s time in the saddle regardless, even though it’s not as smooth, possibly, as on an indoor trainer, do you find that is an issue?
AKU OJA: I haven’t found it an issue. I’m surprisingly good at handling my bike, given the time I spend indoors, so yeah, I feel confident, even in the wind or stuff like that and with the rolling hills or shifting winds I’m able to produce pretty solid powers in the wattage range. It’s not too much of an issue for me riding indoors in that sense.
BRAD BROWN: You talk about, when we spoke about your swim you said you don’t swim that much, from a bike perspective, do you find that you spend a fair amount of time on the bike?
AKU OJA: Yes, that obviously gets a lot of my attention, given it’s the longest part in the race also and it also builds up for the run. It takes a good amount of my training, yes.
BRAD BROWN: What do you love about the bike?
AKU OJA: Hmmm, what do I love? That’s an interesting question. Maybe it’s the sensation of speed when you get a good tailwind or a nice downhill and you’re still able to maintain your power with good gearing. It feels really nice to fly on the road with your own engine.
BRAD BROWN: What do you hate about the bike?
AKU OJA: Well, crappy weather! I don’t enjoy riding in the rain or stuff like that. Actually did my one ride outdoors not too long ago and it ended up raining and it’s just miserable, I hated myself a couple of days after that.
BRAD BROWN: You and me both, I’m a fair weather cyclist Aku, if the sun is not shining, I find it very hard to go out on the bike, I must be brutally honest. What would you say has given you the biggest gains on the bike, in your triathlon career?
Greatest gains comes from indoor trainer on your Ironman bike
AKU OJA: Well, equipment-wise, it must be getting that indoor trainer, but workout-wise, I would say those nasty VO2 sessions early in the season. With those I can really crank up my Power numbers, functional threshold power, everything and then after that period we can change the workout in the more strength orientated and race specific work and stuff like that. Early season, VO2 sessions, I’ve found out that those really give me a huge boost on the bike.
BRAD BROWN: What’s your favourite workout? You talk about those VO2’s as the biggest gains, but what do you absolutely love doing that when your coach sends you your program you go yeah, I’m chuffed, I get to do that again?
AKU OJA: I would say it’s again those same sessions because riding two hours endurance really easy, you just talk to yourself like yeah, I get the benefits from this, this is great, but when I get to the point where I know I have this certain weeks of really tough work to do on the bike, I kind of feel pumped up and ready to go and see how I fair against last season on those tough intervals and when I do well, the feeling is really good. So yeah, I love those short, hard efforts on the bike.
BRAD BROWN: Fantastic. We look forward to catching up with you once again and we’ll chat about your run. Aku, thank you for your time today and take care.
AKU OJA: Okay, bye.