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.

After the lunch break the rest of the ride was taken in leasurely pace, but I had some trouble with my italian bottom bracket unthreading itself. All I can say is that I was really happy as bike and I made it in one piece to the finish line. The complimentary beer really tasted great after having to fight for it a little bit. While the arrangements were excellent the best part of the experience was chatting with people along the way. So big thanks to Heikki, Alessio, Jykä aka Inforest, MrVelo and the dude writing the rolling resistance blog.

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On a related note I visited the Cykel vintage bike exhibition while on a holiday trip to Stockholm, Sweden. We always stay at Hotel Skeppsholmen, but it was incredible luck to spot the exhibit at the Moderna Museet’s architecture center. Here are some pictures I took.

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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

 

Getting ready

TdH preli 011
TdH sportive is getting closer and things are getting hectic. It has been quite rainy lately so on Sunday I was supposed to do my final preparation for the event. I have been feeling kind of tired so it was good to get the blood flowing. It turned out to be a good learning experience. First I had my first ever flat on 23mm tires. I managed to change the tube pretty fast, but I think I my CO2 inflator will be up for grabs. Luckily I got to loan a real pump from a former elite rider. He also gave me some tips as we took off in the same direction. It was really useful to get some tips. Key take-aways were how to cruise down  without drag from freewheel and when to hit the sprint button on the hills. I will be sure to utilize these. We parted ways, but the day wasn’t over. I rode another 40km and a spoke broke in my Ksyrium Elite rear wheel. I managed to limp 30km home, but now the wheel needs to get fixed fast or I need to buy a new one for the event coming up Sunday.

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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

Chinarello gear

I’ve been thinking it would cool to produce some Cicli Chinarello gear. T-shirt, a cycling cap, jersey and a buff came first to mind. I played a little bit with a graphics program and came up with the design below. The dragon is by Hydro74. The colors might still change, but let me know if you are interested.

Cicli Chinarello 2014

Cicli Chinarello 2014 T-shirt graphic

For now I’m just scoping for demand and will decide later whether to pursue this avenue or not. I think the price would be around 40€ for a t-shirt, caps for 10€ and bandana 20€. Jerseys should be significantly more expensive, but more on those later. Shipping globally can be arranged. Payment by PayPal.

 

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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Into the wild

There is something really quintessentially scandinavian about spending the mid-summer solstice hidden as far in the woods as possible. To make the transition from office drone to a child of the nature more tangible I made part of the trip by bike. Shortcuts through gritty gravel roads and riding in the rain have a wonderful cleansing effect on your soul. When you finally warm up your toes in the sauna you feel like a born again man.

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Finland is the land of thousand lakes so to document the road trip I tried to take a picture anytime I rode over a bridge. Sometimes judging from the number of lakes and rivers in my pictures it feels like I might enjoy paddling or rowing more than cycling. I have given it some thought, but I don’t think I’m ready to give up cycling quite yet.  However I think I might put these longer rides on hold and concentrate on shorter more intensive rides.

Against all odds

Hjo harbour

Vättern Rundan 2014 took place last weekend. My training had gone pretty much as planned, but as the event started getting close the usual jitters kicked-in.  I started getting worried about what to wear,  how the travel arrangements would work out and how the home front would cope. Things took a turn for the worse as I got sick less than week before the event. For a few days it seemed like the only option would be to forfeit defeat and stay home. In the end despite all the odds stacked against me I managed to pull it off. It sure wasn’t pretty or fast, but I did finish.

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Ready or not – here I come

Tour de Liesjärvi

Vättern Rundan is approaching fast. Currently the start is in 11 days. The good thing is I think I have prepared physically  as well as I possible could. Riding 350km in April and  650km in May puts me well over the recommended 1000km. I have also ridden two trips over 200km so I know what it is like riding tired and in the cold. Unfortunately I don’t have experience riding in a group in the dark and I need to sort out what to pack. Once I make sure the bike is in good shape I think I will be as ready as I will ever be. The last week and half I will spend resting and sorting out the details. Continue reading