Number 3 June 2002

Kickmail for Ketkupolkka members

Questions and Answers

Many a Kickbiker has already gathered quite a log of miles this spring and now wishes to gain some speed, too. We gathered here a few typical questions that arise when you begin kick training in order to improve your performance.

Q: I find myself experimenting with different styles of kicking. A kicking friend suggests a big kick with a very high knee and coming up on the toes of the foot that is planted on the footboard, then kicking straight back. This does seem effective for speed in short distances but doesn't feel so fluid for many kilometers. Which style is most efficient ?

A: On flatland when wheels keep rolling swiftly the traditional pendulum-like kick is the most efficient. As your friend suggested, at high velocities you should lift your knee higher up in the front and bring your body further back with the kick that ends with your ankle extended.

Extending the kick ankle keeps Alpo ahead of the pack.

On the other hand, a rotating kick where you flex your knee already when bringing it to the front is an effective allround technique that can be adjusted according to the terrain. In uphill or headwind you can easily increase frequency which makes the rotation cycle shorter.

In both techniques the knee lift can be exaggarated in tailwind and moderate declines. You can occasionally switch from pendulum kick to rotating kick and vice versa merely to get some variation for your muscles.

Coming up on the toes of the supporting foot will waste energy as it makes your torso move up and down. However, you might use the trick occasionally to give more momentum when changing rhythm, in all-out sprinting or while ascending steep and short inclines.

Rotating kick brings your foot back to the front with the knee flexed.

Q: I have now destroyed one good pair of running shoes kicking so I will have to find other shoes just for kicking. What criteria should I keep in mind while selecting kicking footwear ?

A:The shoe sole should be as thin as possible if you don't want to compromise the advantage of a low footboard. Thick soles add height to your foot position and thus lift your centre of gravity. The height of the sole at the forefoot matters less than the height at the heel. Running shoes with cushioned heels are therefore not optimal for kicking. As a footnote one ought to mention, however, the some people with achilles tendon problems like wedged heels to compensate for the backward tilt of a lowered footboard on a Kickbike, especially when doing high mileage.

Other important properties of footwear are stiffness and lightness. Motion control is not so important as in running. In order to deliver the propulsion force effectively and to avoid excess strain on your foot the midsole should not be too flexible. Still quite recently the very fast kickers used carbon-fibre inserts in their shoes, but now it seems that a compromise is best where the elasticity comes from the foot itself.

If you want a good kick shoe that you can purchase off the shelf then look for racing flats with a relatively stiff midsole. Racewalking shoes could work too but are not very widely available. Another interesting alternative might be stiff skateboarding shoes with almost no heel wedge. Shoe selection has always the individual aspect, so no brand or model can be recommended for everybody.

The tough guys can give you information how to create customised footwear. For instance, you can grind away the spike bases of a track shoe and glue rock climbers' outsole rubber under the forefoot. You can also ask a local shoemaker to paste ordinary ca. 4 mm thick rubber under the forefeet of your kicking shoes.

Q:What do you think of running track work (400-800 meter repeats) ? Will this give specific benefits to kicking muscles, or are kicking intervals too different of a muscle motion? I have always found such track work, together with bounding with poles on hills really builds leg speed and strength for running races more than weight-lifting which I do little of these days. It always surprises me though how specific training must be to really maintain a high level of performance.

A:Training should indeed be specific for kicking, especially the speedwork. Relaxed sprints of 10-40 seconds that do not produce much lactic acid are perhaps the most efficient way to increase kick speed if your fitness level is already good. Longer repeats are beneficial, too, but place a lot more stress on your body. Running, skiing, rowing and other sports can be used for recovery and base training even with kick-specific muscles a bit sore from strenuous workouts or races.

A weight training programme targeted especially for kick muscles might be beneficial, probably more so than a programme for running. Lunges, back extensions and hip flexions are examples of basic gym exercises for kickers. The value of gym exercises depends on whether power output is a limiting factor for your performance. Muscular types generally do not benefit much from resistance training, whereas a skinny kicker might witness a remarkable improvement.

Special thanks to Richard, Antti and Hannu

Excerpts from Slickkedder's Diary in Spring 2002

Week 15 10.00 h KB 230km, 2.15 h running

Mon 2h KB Loviisa loop with Kuckubacken 3.14

Tue 1.05h run incl 35min at brisk pace

Wed 1.30h KB incl 10km time trial 20.48 with Kuckubacken 3.10

Thu 2.40h KB to Valko 60km, yesterday felt heavy

Fri 1h run

Sat 1.50h KB 40km + 10min run

Sun 20km warmup + rough repeats on Riipiläntie 3 x 10km 19.44, 20.06, 20.21

Week 16 9.55h KB 223km, 2.30h run, 25min circuit training

Mon 55min easy KB + 25min circuit training with emphasis on upper body, massage

Tue 1.05h run

Wed 1.57h KB Loviisa loop 44,5km

Thu 1.30h KB incl 10km time trial 20.42 with Kuckubacken 3.06 = 35km

Fri 1h run incl 5 x 60m

Sat 3.55h KB 88km

Sun AM 1.41h KB 37,5km PM 25min run

Week 17 Thusis week 7.00 KB 150km, 1.30h run, 30min circuit training

Mon1.10h KB warmup + 5km run warmup + 4km XC running meet NÅID Östra kretsens mästerskap (district championship), won the race + 20min KB = 30,5km KB

Tue 50min run + 30min circuit training for upper body

Wed 2h KB 45km

Thu 1h KB, Koivalonmäki hill with full effort in both directions

Fri Rest, travel to Milan, got accommodation with ”last minute booking” system in dowtown Milan in hotel Amadeus for 53 €.

Sat Took the train from Milan to Bellinzona and from Bellinzona by bus to Thusis. After my arrival at 12.17 Peter Smit recognised my KB bag and came to introduce himself. We went to the event centre to make entries and preparations. The race started at 14.55. There were 47 participants from three countries, forty from Switzerland, two from Finland and five from Germany. A plenty of cheering public lined the main street of Thusis.

The kickers filled the street in the start (photo M.Kunfermann).

The first 8 km was more or less downhill and the average speed was well over 30 km/h. Pascal Huber and a few others could follow Tomas and me for the first two kilometers after which the race became our duel. The decline at 15 km was not as fast as I had assumed and therefore the average speed was not very high. My finish time on 25km was 56.49,1. The roughness and stones on the "footpath" slowed especially me down because I had the lowering set mounted on my KB. I gained an advantage of 30 m over Tomas 3 km before the finish in a small uphill. Although I continued kicking at maximum speed towards the finish Tomas could almost catch me and our difference in Chur was finally only mere two tenths of a second.

Tomas came close in the end (photo M.Kunfermann).

This was my first victory in a scooter race ever and tasted very good despite the absence of other tough Kepo monsters. In the finish I was totally exhausted and was taken directly to massage. After the massage we were served some snacks whereafter whe took the way back to Thusis. In the evening we could discuss the future with the race organisers at a good dinner.

The winner's smile (photo M.Kunfermann).

Sun After a good night sleep and breakfast in Hotel Weiss Kreuz I still had some time left to check out the local Alpine roads before my trip back home. My 25km morning KB tour with 1 km vertical elevation was one of the highlights of the weekend. Uphill took me 1.12 h and back only 18 minutes. The snow-covered Peak Beverin (2997m) dominated the magnificent scenery.

Week 18 ”Denmark Safari” KB 18.00h 358km, 40min run

Mon 50min easy KB + massage

Tue 2.05h KB mostly on gravel roads

Wed 1h KB 23km + 30min run

Thu 1.30h KB incl time trial 10 km 20.17 + running time trial 2,7km 9.09

Fri Rest day. Flight to Copenhagen and train to Vejle.

Sat 8.10 AM 2.20h KB with safari pack 46km Vejle-Grindsted. In Grindsted I had 30min time for recovery and race preparations.

I started out fast and could keep up the pace the first 15 km where after the wind started gradually to slow me down. The last 10 km felt like the Victor Balck 100 km kicksled race. I struggled to keep up a good touring pace. The Danish fellows Kim Kristiansen and first-timer Jaan Riisgaard kicked at a brisk pace, too. Kim improved his PB by three minutes. After the race I took a massage, visited the "sauna" in Grindsted swimming hall and had a nice kickosophical rendezvous with Jaan Riisgaard.

Flasketømning når man er KickBiker. (photo

After 5 PM I kicked from Grindsted to Givskud youth hostel. The 36 km ripped the rest of my energy, but the sun shone and the scenery was beautiful.

Sun 8.30 AM kicked 21 km to Vejle railway station. Quite some downhills in Vejle with max speed almost 60km/h.

Stepped off the train in Ringsted. The trip to Kastrup was an 118 km long enjoyable safari. Took the Marguerit-ruten that is marked with dandelion signs. The best part was the countryside route via Gyldenlöveshöjn to Roskilde. The way from Roskilde to Copenhagen went through more densely populated areas. However, the traffic culture was interesting as in Denmark the light traffic has received a lot of attention. It was a delight to kick through Copenhagen. Cyclists have their own lanes without nasty thresholds like back home. After 6.30 h of effective Kickbiking I arrived at the Kastrup airport two hours before my scheduled flight back home.

Week 19 KB 9.40h 217km, 1.20h J, 30min circuit training

Mon Rest

Tue 1h KB + 30min easy run, massage

Wed 1h KB 22km incl short sprints, nice feeling in legs

Hannu demonstrated his speed by winning the prologue in Hattula.

Thu Races in Hattula. 920m 1. HV 1.52 2.JE 3. Slickkedder 4. AK, 5. LK 23km AK 47.29 2. HV 48.10 3. JE same 4. Slickkedder same. I could neither follow Alpo in the beginning nor keep a margin to Hannu and Jan despite my good efforts.

Ville and Hannu accelerated fastest in the road race, but Alpo left the pack behind soon after the start (photo Julia van Camp).

Richard van Camp (USA) performed surprisingly well in Hattula and revisited the race with Alpo and Ville.

Fri AM KB to Loviisa for some small errands 48km PM Running time trial on my tough course 2670m 8.59, 2 sec behind my PB.

Sat 99km to Porvoo and back 4.30 h

Sun PM 27 min run + circuit 30min

Week 20 KB 10h, 55min run, tough weekend

Mon 1.05h KB

Tue 1.30h warmup KB incl short running sprints. I followed the Lapinjärvi team in the East Nyland provincial relay and gave the juniors some advice. My own last leg went satisfactorily 3800m 12.23. I was quite exhausted in the finish.

Wed 2h KB 44km from Porvoo to Sondby. At first bit flegmatic, short horse kick repeats on my way back.

Thu 1.20h KB mostly on gravel roads, some sprints in the end.

Fri 45min run

In the misty marketplace mile in Nakkila even the most skillfull kickers had to round the corners with caution. Jan is leading before Hannu and Alpo, but Hannu finished fastest winning both the mile and the road race.

Sat The last uphill on the 16.3 km road race course in Nakkila will remain in kick history as extraordinarily tough. The weather was rainy and chilly. I was quite staisfied with my long sprint. Hannu and Alpo were only 0,2sec ahead and Jan was clearly behind.

Slickkedder had more success in the road race than in the marketplace mile.

Old champion Hannu received a rocking chair as the winning prize.

Young Ville Hyvönen from the organising club Nakkilan Wisa warmed up the spectators by leading the marketplace mile after a quarter.

Sun 9 AM cycle touring event in Porvoo, with Alpo, Hannu and Ville participating in the KB class. We kicked at a brisk pace to Sipoo, but then the headwind made our tempo quite conversational. I picked up the pace and left the others behind. Soon Alpo kicked past me in a uphill. However, he didn't have a drinking bottle so he stopped at a refreshment station to wait for Hannu. I continued the brisk pace to Porvoo and could raise the average speed over 25km/h. The finish time on 56km was 2.12. Alpo and Hannu finished more than 10 minutes later.

PM 27km on Loviisa road 1.02 25,9km/h, first half behind a road cyclist, back pushing alone in the headwind.

Footnote: Today on Thursday 23.5. I made a new PB with normal tyre set on my 10 km time trial route 19.58 !!! Tomorrow I will leave to Time, Norway to represent Lapinjärvi in a fellow municipality meeting. Looking forward for new kick delights !

Kick news

The latest results and reports from Kick News maintained by Antti Lehtinen partly in English.

Coming events

You can find the most current kick race schedule at Kickbike calendar .

Kick to Pietarsaari!

I have the honour and delight to invite all the kicking folks to Jakob-Marathon in Pietarsaari (Jakobstad) on Friday 26.7.2002 at 6 PM. In order to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the city there will be a kick class for the first time ever in the Jakob-marathon programme.

The traditional route between Pietarsaari and Uusikaarlepyy (Nykarleby) is typically Osthrobothnian or "Dutch"; flat with a few small hills. The whole route is paved with asphalt except for a 300 m segment about 2 km before the finish at Pietarsaari central sports field. Because of the Jakob Days festival there will be lots of spectators present at the start. There are some very nice scenic parts along the route.

In the old-time marketplace you can purchase handicrafts, participate in a traditional auction sale and admire veteran automobiles.

During the Jakob Days 21.7.-28.7. (the "side-event" of the kick race) the town's population of 20 000 will be doubled. There will be lots of activities, for instance street dance, park rock, beer festival, historical sailing tours on the "Jacobstads Wapen" and much more.

An intrinsic part of summer in Pietarsaari are the long beaches of Fäboda.

You can reach Pietarsaari easily by plane, train, car or scooter. From the Kokkola-Pietarsaari airport there is a bus connection (40 km). If you come by train you should step off at the Pännäinen station 10 km from Pietarsaari, from where there also is a bus connection. By car or scooter some distances to Pietarsaari: Helsinki 467 km, Tampere 294 km, Vaasa 99 km, Jyväskylä 252 km ja Oulu 233 km. The Porthin family offers accommodation to all kickers with a sleeping bag of their own. Remember to make your entry before 19.7., late entries are more expensive.

See you in Pietarsaari !

Markus Porthin

More information

Street dance.

La Marmotte - Pyrenees

While making plans for summer 2002 found my traveler's diary from two years ago. Then I participated in "la Marmotte" (tour cycling event in the French Alps) and free-format following Tour de Francen on the Pyrenees and the Alps. It was an extremely fine trip, hope that you can decipher my minimalistic comments. I especially recommned the following tactics:

30.6. No sleep tonight, tinkering. 00 AM macaroni caserole at home, 03 AM macaroni caserole at KBWW, 06 macaroni caserole from airport TaxFree, 08 Lufthansa flight meal, rest of the day travelling and sleeping, almost no food/drink. Bus to the event site, mounted the KB without difficulties. La Marmotte special meal costs 60Fr, tent accommodation at Camping le Colporteur

1.7. Petit dejeuner inclusive 1/2kg cold pasta. Start from back line 7.40 AM. Slight downhill in the beginning 25-30km/h. Croix de Fer is a big but kickable incline. Water on ranson, downhill really beutiful. In Telegraph it threatens to rain. All the time the same backs in sight. I pass them in uphills but take more breaks. It rains in Valloire. At Galibier it's hot >20C after the rain. Going gets tough, legs feel bonked. Descending fast but kicking powerless. At 17.45 at the root of Alpe d'Huez. 2h ascending at 100-120 hear rate. Next year again with more kickers around. In the end was so tired that feelings varied from laughter to tears every kilometer.

Even the Kickbike needs rest at times.

2.7. Rest. Afternoon attempt to kick to la Berardeen ended halfway. France won EuroCup in football. Koud celebration, but all places closed at 01 AM. Perhaps WorldCup victory inflation ? The local schnaps is very well spiced. Try to find somewhere.

3.7. la Grimpee de l'Alpe no way, tired. I sleep late and then try some kicking. 100 m uphill is enough (U-turn). Banks closed on Mondays. ! PM -> Grenoble and straight up to Plateau de Vercors. Kicking feels already a bit better. la Marmotte's 2nd and Grimpee's 4. (AdH:46min) tests the Kickbike. Strong kick, weak technique (only 22 years of age).

4.7. Easy descending at Vercors. Fine stage. Eyrieux valley offers an chance for a peach-picking tour.

5.7. Day of long uphills. Start late. Nice siesta before Mezilhac. Passing Gerbier de Jonc and terrain accommodation.

6.7. Quality day with 1,2,3,4,5 hills a 250-400m. Bath during siesta and washing clothes. Climbing on Mont Lozere felt good for the first time.

7.7. New fron tyre, post and other errands downtown. Not many kilometres. In the evening a weak feeling again while ascending. A sloppy start of a day seems to guarantee also a sloppy end. It began to rain at night and I woke up at 02 AM in a wet sleeping bag after camping under the sky. Great feeling.

8.7. Spending money, new kick shoes (Nike Zoom Country) and train Albi-Montrejeux + free bus to Luchon (Bagneres de Luchon). Accommodation under the roof of Intermarche. GOOD!

9.7. Wearing out my shoes. Start before dawn for an extremely beautiful day of five passes. Peyresourde - nice to kick, scenic, peaceful. Aspin - good roadsigns (all the rest of the day). Really beautiful and cowed legend Tourmalet - relatively hard incline but kick feels still easy and quite fast. Last 5 km ( 8,5%) with full effort behind a bunch of cyclists. Scenery +++! In the next town camera on the street and trashed. Rather pleasant Aubisque - it has the feeling! Luckily didn't give up because of the rain. Except Peyresourde downhill and Soulor-Aubisqueta the roads were in superb condition. Night in Tour's beer telt.

There's always a level place between an uphill and a downhill.

Thereafter continued the journey: Aubisque - Lourdes -(train Lourdes-Avignon)- Mt.Ventoux - Gap - Izoard - Montgenevre -(auto Cesana Torinese-Ivrea)- Ivrea -(auto Ivrea-Aosta)- Aosta - Sierre - Lötschbergtunnel - Basel - Freiburg -(train Offenburg-Rostock)- Rostock -(ferry Rostock-Trelleborg)- Ödeshög - Stockholm. During the trip I timed a few hills. You might find yourself in the same scenery again and it might be nice to compare with year 2000 safari shape. Sestriere west: (ca.11km / +680m) Cesana Torinese (intersection downtown, sign to Sestriere) - Sestriere (Giro finish line in front of hotel) 48.52 Gd.St. Bernhard south: (ca.30km / +1800m) Signayes (church 30km GSB) AM 9.10 junction of old and new pass roads 10.27 - 11min break at customs station in the pass 11.54.10 Down to Martigny on north side: (ca.46km / -2000m) start 12.20 - Martigny ca.14.00