What's Cool In Road Cycling

Zьrich Calling: Getting Used To Switzerland

A special guest Homeboy this week – direct from chilly Zurich, Switzerland! Our PEZ German correspondent Florian Wenk checks in after his recent move to continue his practical studies in orthopedic medicine, and finds that a few hundred kms can seem like a whole world away.

“Now it’s exactly 5 weeks when I moved 600 km down from Germany to Zurich, …”where I’ll do the final 4 months of my practical year, doing a stage at one of Europe’s biggest orthopaedic hospitals.

The Zьrich Velodrome located at Oerlikon around Christmas time. Maybe we can get Flo to take us on a lap?

In the first weeks, this meant up to 19 hours of work per day in the hospital, bringing me close to collapsing mentally. I first thought: The average Swiss is a workaholic!

Here’s Flo riding the rollers while at home back in Germany for a few days of Christmas vacation. „I’d have never believed that I could ever miss riding the rollers…!!!“

Although I only had one real chance to go to the city centre up to now, it did not stop me to get into my running shoes nearly every evening, discovering some nice running routes in my area. (Well, I have to confess, my very first running training ended up twice so long as planned before, even using a city map… and I am still not sure why the road which looked to head straight downwards to the sea road did not do so…!?! anyways, my muscle pain at least has finally disappeared!)

I’m living 200 metres away from the clinic, being a proud owner of 13.5 square metres which I have to share with my bike (That’s 125 square feet! – ed.). I decided to bring my cyclocross bike with me, so I am ready for some snow on the roads AND can mount thin road tyres in spring.

In early December, Swiss weather welcomed me with 10 degrees C and sunshine, so on my very first weekend in Zurich I decided to do some long training rides around the Lake Zurich. This route is my standard training now, as the coastal road is absolutely flat (as you might know from the final kilometers of the famous Zurich WorldCup race) and allows good endurance training and spinning. Generally, the area around Zurich is very hilly, and I am looking forward to spring training rides up to the 850 m high Pfannenstiel mountain (where the Zurich World Cup often sees the final selection) or to the mountains and passes around Schwyz (the area Switzerland has its name from, up to 1200 m above sea level).

But to get to the base of those climbs without too much sweating, I’ll have to do some decent training during the next weeks! Fortunately, I got in contact with a good colleague via the local cycling club: Michael Karlen is a roadie as well as a medicine student. In the meantime, we became close friends and have been training together in the Zurich area, enjoying our discussions about cycling and medicine.

A question to be answered here soon: Why do you need a numberplate for your bike in Switzerland?

During the next few weeks, I want to do some research on some of the things I wondered about since I came to Switzerland, such as: – How does SwissCom (the Swiss pendant to T-Mobile) manage to let me choose out of 20 different numbers for my mobile phone? In Germany, I had the chance to choose out of 4 only… – Why do you need a numberplate for your bicycle in Switzerland? – Why is cyclocross so popular here? – Where are some professional road cyclists living in the Zurich area to do an interview for PEZ with? – And: Are all Swiss people really workaholics?

So, stay tuned at PEZ and keep spinning your legs!

About Florian Wenk:
Florian is an amateur road racer and PEZ- Man in Germany, studying medicine at the University of Wьrzburg. He’s currently doing his Ph.D. in endurance training and testing, focusing on metabolic and ergospirometric parameters in cycling performance. Right now, he is in Zurich, Switzerland, completing his final year of studies at one of Europe’s biggest orthopaedic hospitals.
You can contact him via [email protected] or have a look at
his website www.florianwenk.com

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