Veni, vidi, vici

L’Eroica vintage cycling event took place October’s first weekend in Tuscany, Italy. The village of Gaiole is tucked in between lush hills of Chianti and provides a beautiful backdrop for an epic cycling adventure. I had signed up for the 135km route and despite some hard ships along the way managed to pull it off. Whatever distance you ride you need to be prepared for some heroics as the name of the event suggests.

Strada bianchi

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Tuscany – here I come

L’Eroica vintage sportive is approaching fast. Reading about epic accounts on the event it is slowly dawning on me that I’m in for a real challenge. Originally the idea was to leisurely stroll around some strade bianche, the famous white roads of Chianti. When the event was six months away riding 137km did not sound too far fetched an idea. Apparently hills in Tuscany are brutal and it will be pretty much impossible to draft behind others on gravel. The only thing working for me at the moment is that I got a proper sized bike. My 55cm Tunturi Professional (fabricated by Paletti no less) should be a good fit. Now I just need to get my butt and the bike to Gaiole.

Frame By Paletti, full Shimano 600 Arabesque groupset

Frame By Paletti, full Shimano 600 Arabesque groupset

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Spec season kick-off

Uphill slog

With the road cycling season ending in a disappointment this month’s physical exercise has mostly involved playing soccer. Even though we have had some fun rides with the kid it seems the only way to really get excited about cycling again is to start dreaming about a new bike. Good engineer starts with a requirement specification so I’ve tried to gather my thoughts. The way it is now I think only a good set of carbon wheels and a power meter can cure the gloom. Continue reading

Third time unlucky

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It is horrible feeling when you realize all the training you have done all summer is going down the drain. That happened to me this weekend as I suffered a puncture 100km into the Tour de Helsinki sportive. Of course you got to be thankful to have made it safe to the goal line, but there is no joy when your season goal is in ruins. To be perfectly honest my preparations did no go exactly as planned so I guess you just have to take it as it comes. Continue reading

Back to the golden days

Una poesia scritta con la bicicletta

Wauhtiajot is pretty much the finnish localization of the l’Eroica concept. In August I took part in the 100km option on my pretty vintage Bianchi. The ride tooks us through classic roads around the eastern part of Helsinki metropolitan area. It all started early as we drove behind police escort through the sunny Helsinki centrum. I had some technical trouble and got bit lost on the way, but was caught and herded back to the bunch as the race part started. The route was pretty grueling. In all honesty I was pretty exhausted after grinding on gravel and soldering on in the rain. Continue reading

Chinarello jerseys

I had couple of custom Cicli Chinarello merino jerseys made and they arrived today. Both the long and short-sleeved jerseys look absolutely amazing. The design nods towards the golden days of cycling and the quality is great. The wool fabric is bit thick and embroidered text is still little stiff, but I’m sure I will find lot of use for these. I just love the look and I’m really happy all the effort payed off.

Cicli Chinarello jerseys

Cicli Chinarello jerseys

 

Swimming with the sharks

Hepolenkki 004My aim this month is to prepare myself mentally and physically for the TdH sportive taking place at the end of the month. My goal is to ride under four hours or at least give it my best shot. Since first 10km of the 143km distance is equalized reaching the target would require roughly a 37,5km/h for the rest of the ride. It is not impossible, but requires spotting a suitable paced group from the start and hanging on for dear life. Being able play my cards right is going to be crucial. This time I don’t want to waste energy leading the pack for extended periods or getting dropped due to boarding a group that is too fast for me.Hepolenkki 007As part of the training I try to ride one fast short group ride a week. Local cycling club HePo arranges about 35km group ride every Wednesday and it is a  perfect opportunity to up the ante. If all goes as planned I should be able to keep up with the group by the end of the month. This far I’ve been dropped twice and ended with average speed around the 35km/h mark both times. Sharp accents up the hills and sudden changes in pace have been the biggest challenge for me, but I have had to fight just to keep up on a non-technical descents. Anyways I hope this kind of interval training will harden me up and I will be able to keep up in a bigger group.Hepolenkki 009

 

Triathlon – the new golf

With increasing frequency road cycling is getting referred to as “the new golf” in different media outlets. To some extend it is true. Cycling appeals to that same middle-aged well-off demographic as golf has become more accessible. Also cycling is gaining popularity fast just like golf did in the 90s. Part of me cringes at the thought of being part of a fad or a victic of a clever marketing ploy. On the other hand who cares. Cycling is healthy and a great way to spend excess free time. WP_20140721_002 Continue reading

Cycling on the cheap

Cycling is one of those hobbies where there is really no limit to the amount of money you can spend on it. There will always be upgrades as companies are continuously developing enticing new products. Falling into the trap of new and improved, but short lived standards will force you into a vicious upgrade cycle. On the other hand if you have the will power there are ways to get started and even continue your hobby without selling a kidney or robbing a bank. In addition to no-name products other cheap skate tactics include buying second hand and trading up. Most important strategy is separating wheat from the chaff ie. recognizing industry trends that have actual longetivity.

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