Mörfelden Staffelmarathon


A few weeks ago I saw an email from Stephan, from TCEC, asking if anyone fancied running in the Mörfelden Staffelmarathon (relay). I am trying to race myself fit at the moment, so jumped at the chance. I ate too much cake on Saturday, so work up weighing 81kg, but I know that my true weight is 79kg at the moment.

Lex Laufexperten

Lex Laufexperten, a running shop chain, had quite a few teams signed up for the Staffelmarathon.  They were kind enough to cover the entry fees for us too, which was good of them.  I seemed to have been put onto the ‘fast’ team and was given the last leg, which had the bonus of meaning that I didn’t have to be there at 9am, when the race starts, as I wouldn’t run until at least 11am.

I had to get the tram, then 2 trains, then walk to the start in Morfelden. It was no biggie, except that it was absolutely freezing! It was about -10degrees at 9am when I was waiting for 20 minute for the next train at Frankfurt stadium.  I arrived in Morfelden desperate to find a toilet, but couldn’t find one, so I waddled the 15minutes to the start.

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Gear Review – Wahoo Kickr Snap

Wahoo Kickr Snap

Before Christmas I decided that I wanted a smart trainer. The Tacx Flux looked pretty good, so I ordered it on Black Friday. The company (biker-Boarder) lied about when it would come, so 4 weeks later I cancelled that order and took the Wahoo Kickr Snap instead.Wahoo Kickr Snap from their website

The Wahoo Kickr Snap is a quite high spec trainer. It can simulate 12% climbs and offers a maximum of 1500w resistance, good enough for me!  I moved house between ordering the trainer and using it, so was excited to be able to use it in the spare bedroom in the new year.  I had heard that the Wahoo Kickr Snap is very quiet. That has not been my experience!  On a laminate floor without a mat it was very loud.  Katja told me that it was too loud for her in the living room and the whole apartment shook.

The new neighbours

I put the back part of the Snap (the bit with the flywheel) onto a yoga mat, and it was much quieter, not quiet enough for my neighbours though who complained after 5 minutes.  I decided to put the front legs on a mat too. That way everything was off the floor and it wouldn’t vibrate too much.  The neighbours complained again.  I finally put a big carpet mat under the entire thing, as well as having the yoga mat. It was much quieter, Katja said she couldn’t hear much in the living room. The neighbours complained again.

Firmware Problems

So the Kickr Snap is in the cellar now!  So that was problem 1 kind of solved.  I started using Trainer Road instead of Bkool as the internet connection in the cellar isn’t so good.  I rode my first full training session, but it was much much harder than I expected. My 4iii powermeter usually shows that I have a FTP of somewhere north of 300w. At the start of my training on the Kickr Snap pushing 220w was hard, and 300w was impossible for more than a few seconds.

I reduced the intensity down and down, but soon I had to turn off Ergo mode and go to the normal mode.  It had basically made it impossible to ride, even at 120w.

In normal mode it was ok. I could decide my speed and not hit the intervals, but I could give it what I had!  That was fine for a while, until the resistance just stopped.  I was pushing my top gears and hardly putting out any power!  The speed was so high, but without any resistance it was too easy.  I decided to switch to manual mode. But at 0% it had no resistance, and at 2% no resistance, then at 4% it was unrideable!

Updates (but only with an iPhone!)

The calibration spin down seemed to help short term, but wasn’t a full fix.  I finished the session disappointed and tired!

Online I read that lots of people had had this problem, many had even sent the Kickr Snaps back because of it, until someone mentioned that a new firmware – 2.1.6- was a saviour.  I took Katja’s iPhone and went to update the firmware.  Using the Wahoo Utility you can’t do it. So I downloaded the Wahoo Fitness App, it said my firmware was the most recent -2.1.5.

After more google-ing I found out that you have to click 5 times on the firmware version, then you can update it.  There are loads available, but I just took the 2.1.6.

It’s the Wheel Circumference stupid!

So yesterday I went back to the cellar and started on Trainer Road again. The wattage was way off again. The first interval at 270w was very very tough.  I decided to monitor it with my power meter. At about 70% intensity the trainer was about right. I mean if Trainer Road wanted 3 mins at 300w, I would do 3 mins at 210w on the Kickr Snap and my power meter would show it as 3 mins at 300w.  There were no weird braking issues, so the firmware seems to have fixed that, all that is left is the massive difference between my power meter and the Kickr Snap.

I used Trainer Road in the past with a dumb trainer. I had heard that you should change the wheel circumference from 2112mm or so to another value so that the virtual power is more accurate.  It was set to 1500mm.  This setting was still in my Trainer Road.  1500/2112 is 71%. I haven’t tested it yet, but I think it seems fair to assume that that has been my problem!  I hope now that the wattages will be pretty close to each other and I can start to set up my sessions properly.

A bright future

I am looking forward to getting some good training done on the Kickr Snap now.  There is a bit of a clicking sound when I ride that I still have to look into, but otherwise everything looks good.  When the Ergo mode is working, it is really nice that you just ride and know you are hitting your intervals.

I will write a post in the future after I have more experience of the Kickr Snap, but right now after all the start up problems I have had, I am looking forward to getting some good sessions in before it warms up and I can do some longer rides outside. Liege Bastogne Liege is only 93 days away!

UPDATE 26.01.2017

It wasn’t the wheel circumference. Wahoo told me to update the firmware to 2.2.51, which I did using Katja’s iPhone (it wouldn’t work with my android).  I pumped up the tyres to 110psi, then adjusted the back wheel until the spin-downs were taking between 10 and 15 seconds to complete.

Then I did the advanced spin-down on an iPhone to lock in the new settings and it seems like it works!  I did a ride last night where I could ride at just under 300w, which wasn’t easy, but was doable.  I need to check it with my Garmin, but it could actually be reading lower than my power meter now, as I would expect a higher HR at 300w after 10 minutes than 150bpm.

Looking better

It was being a bit weird reacting to intervals, it would slowly change the power, so I would click out of Erg mode and back in so it would quickly adjust the power. It isn’t a huge problem though.

Low Speeds = Quieter

My other big discovery is that if I ride in a low gear at low speed, the Kickr Snap is much quieter, but the power stays the same.  I could watch Top Gear and hear it too (without head phones), it is also good that Netflix works in the cellar!

I might do one further update when I have compared the power meter with the trainer over different session, but I am happy now, I can ride, it isn’t too boring and the power is about right 😀

Lindenseelauf 10k 2017 – End of the series

Lindenseelauf – part 3

The last leg of the Lindenseelauf series was at the weekend and it was another chance to test my form.  I haven’t been training so much recently. There was Christmas, the weather has been cold and snowy, and I have moved house.  I am ticking over, but compared to last year, I am way behind.

One positive is my weight. I got down from 81.5kg to 79.3kg in 2 weeks!  I wasn’t even trying too hard, so that was great news.  A 38 minute run felt possible for me in the Lindenseelauf, which I expected should wrap up 3rd place in the series.

I got the train there and arrived 20 minutes before the start. Robert Ploen and Sebi Dahl were both there, so TCEC had a good team again. I did a little bit of a warm up, but it was about 0 degrees, so I wasn’t exactly warm!  Soon enough I was at the start line at 14:30 and ready to go.

The Race

The race started and the usual suspects went up the road, with Sebi just ahead of me and Robert behind me.  I started a little fast,  think 3:35 for the first km. The guy who was 4th in the series was running with me, so I knew I just had to stay with him and I would be good for 3rd.  There was a bit of snow and ice on the course, but it was okay to run.

I noticed after about 3km that Sebi wasn’t pulling away from me, and on the hill at 3.5km I caught him and pulled in to offer some wind protection. He ran behind me until about 6km, going past the 5km sign after 18:28, then he faded quite a bit.

There was no one ahead of me for about 200m, and no one behind me who was catching me, so I could just keep a solid pace going and get to the end in one piece.  I realised after 8km that a sub 37m looked unlikely, but I did try anyway.  Coming out of the woods I could see that I wasn’t going to gain or lose any more places.  Sebi was quite a way back, but I doubted he would lose 2 minutes in 4km, so I wouldn’t pass him in the overall ranking.

And over the line

Coming to the houses at the end, I saw 36:30 on the watch and sprinted in the vein hope of a 37min run, but at the final turn the clock ticked over, so I could only manage a 37:13.  I am still very happy with that time though given my recent training.

Sebi came in about 1 minute down, and Robert managed a 39:10, a PB for him, so he was happy too.

After a shorter than normal wait came the prize giving. I didn’t win in the tombola, but I was 2nd in my age group on the day, 6th overall. I was also 3rd in the series overall and 1st in my age group.  They seemed to kind of ignore the 3rd place in the series, and gave me a 1st in the age group prize instead.  I didn’t like that too much.  Anyway I came home with 12 beers and a towel, good value nonetheless!

Coming up

I am going to run a staffel-marathon, i.e. a 4 person team marathon next weekend in Morfelden.  I will be looking to do a sub 39 if the course is decent.  Then I plan on doing the half marathon in Morfelden a few weeks later.  I want to do a Rodgau race again sometime, but that would be easier if Jochen drives!

I’ll write again next week after the race. I am calling this part of the season – Renn mich fit!

Sporting Review of 2016 – Some success and some failure

I made a list of goals at the start of 2016, I try to make them hard to reach, but not impossible either.  Lets have a quick looks at how I got on:

Goals for 2016

Get down to 75kg – Failed by about 2kg
17:20 minute 5km – Success (kind of)
36 minute 10km – Failed
1:20 half marathon – Success!
Comfortable sub3 Marathon(s) – Success!
Run 3500km in 2016 – Success!
Sub 6h Maratona dles Dolomites – Failed!
WIN A RACE! – Failed


That is a 4/8 success rate, which isn’t bad I reckon.  I haven’t really been close to 75kg, even when training lots and in form, I still struggle with my weight.


The running time goals were tough. I ran a 17:07 at the Mainz Firmenlauf, but it was possibly a tick short (my GPS showed 4.93km). It is close enough to count though.  The 36min 10k didn’t quite happen, but I will keep that as a goal for 2017.

My best sporting achievement of the year was my 1:18:55 half marathon in Frankfurt. That is better than a 36 mins 10km or a 17:15 5k and predicts a 2:45 marathon. It was just a great run for me and one I hope to repeat someday.

The marathon goals was a little bit weak, I wanted to break 3, and didn’t know how far under I could go. Really I wanted to run sub2:50 in 2016, but 2 runs of 2:55 aren’t bad either. I haven’t got the hang of the marathon yet, I always feel sluggish, even when running slower than I should be able to.

I thought 3500km in 2016 would be tough, but I cruised it!  The first 4 months of the year were crazy running months for me and I was running so well too.  I kept up my mileage after that though, so almost got to 4000km by the end of the year. My cycling was cut way back to allow for the extra running, so I reckon I will run less in 2017 to allow for more cycling.


I picked a 6h Maratona finish time out pretty randomly. Given the amount of training I did and the traffic for the first 4 climbs I was very happy with my sub6:30. I think I could do sub6, but I also don’t think I will as there are lots of other sportives to do before going back to one I have already done!


Win a race, well that didn’t happen either. It will be a lucky day for me if and when I win a race. This year there wasn’t ever a race I ran where I had a chance, though there were others that I could have run and probably would have won.  I will target one or two next year where I have a chance, I am specifically thinking about the Polderlauf 15km, Lampertheim super-sprint tri and maybe even the Wörrstadt TT.