Taking it slow

Säkästä

Riding the long route home from Sääksjärvi beach

I’ve been on holiday and mainly spent my days fishing or playing soccer with my son. It has already been couple of weeks since I have done any serious riding or any other sports for that matter. It starts to be time to get back in action again. The goal of the summer was to do some adventure type rides, but this far I haven’t gotten around to doing anything of that sort. The ill-fated gravel grinding segments were fun, but do not really count. I want to go on a proper bike expedition with camping gear. On other news I took part in an amateur track riding competition at the local velodrome. Even though I couldn’t attend for the whole day the Velorution event was a blast and couldn’t recommend it more. Trying new things is always worth the effort. There is still plenty of summer left so let’s see what kind of surprises there are in store for us. I have been meaning to go ride some downhill at Porvoo or Klaukkala and maybe I will finally ride around Lake Lohja or do the 7 brothers route.

So far – So good

Motala 001 Last weekend I took part in the 297km Vättern Rundan cyclosportive and I’m quite happy with the result. This time I rode with TUT-EIK group and it proved to be a good choice. Their jolly company and the much better 2:52 start time gave me a real chance to better my dismal result from last year. The weather in Motala was just great and the bike worked like it should. Of course there are always things to improve upon, but I couldn’t really hope for a much better trip over all. Continue reading

Season so far

In Finland the spring time, especially May, tends to be the best time to ride a road bike. Plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures (15-20C) are the perfect conditions for cycling. This time the spring has however been unconditionally cold and windy. Luckily there have been some clear days and I have still managed to get a reasonable amount of miles in. Vättern Rundan is getting close and I’m getting bit anxious. I’m trying to avoid riding too often and too long so that I wouldn’t fall ill right before the big event like I did last year. The longest ride this far is 113km, but I’m pretty confident I should be able to finish. I haven’t really actively trained my body for utilizing body fat instead of carbs. I have some other tricks up my sleeve.

  • To cope with the cold feet I’m going to be using chemical toe warmers
  • Actively drinking and eating during the first 100km to avoid bonking
  • Buying a bigger battery to keep the Garmin charged through the whole ride

I hope these should help me avoid meeting the man with the hammer. If all else fails I will just keep grinding and try to pass the time playing with my new video gadget. There will be a beer waiting at the end after all.

Something done right

lenkillä 003

After the first three rides of the season it seems I have done something right during the winter. I did gain some weight, but riding on the road everything feels great. It seems I’m in a fairly good condition and most importantly  performance just has not dropped as drastically as it did over the previous off-seasons. There are probably some good explanations for the way things panned out.

I never ended up running to work, but I kept commuting daily through the winter. I did some short runs before Christmas and some excellent weekend single-track rides on the snowy trails. Also I had ended the season late in Italy and now I  have been able to start quite early. My asthma feels better as the roads have been cleaned up early. I may have also been in much better shape to start with. So it seems it was combination of things that did the trick.

Of course the great feeling may also just be the difference between a steel frame and carbon. Now we have had some bad weather (snow, sleet, rain – your pick) and I have missed some opportunities due to a flu. So I’m little unsure about my current shape after a two week hiatus from riding. I will also be very busy at work, renovating the new flat and there is a trip coming up next week so I really need put some miles in whenever the weather is warm and sunny like today.

If I just manage to find the time to it shouldn’t take too long to get back into shape. I’m starting to feel the pressure of VätternRundan already. Riding the 1000km recommended before mid-June is going to be tough.

Review: Xiaomi Yi

I have thought about getting an action camera for a while now. When the chinese GoPro killer was finally published I plunged in. Xiaomi Yi has a nice simple design. It has just three buttons and four indicator lights. However the instructions were only in Chinese so I had to surf the net a little bit to get going. So far I’m pretty impressed, but there are still some downsides to the gadget. I will be updating the post as I learn more. Continue reading

Long live the king

commute 003

Considering the amazing off-season sales that went on this spring one could think the golden age of buying cheap chinese carbon direct is long gone. To an extend the notion is true. Players like PlanetX and Canyon did offer great deals this spring. It is very difficult to beat an offer of a complete carbon bike with SRAM Force groupset for 1200€ considering you get a full warranty and support. What you can’t get buying a ready-made bike is the full custom experience.

There is something strangely satisfying in building up a bike yourself. Sometimes you can also recycle parts from an old steed. The second hand market for bike parts works great on the internet. For example if you are willing to stick to 10-speed drive train for few more years there are some excellent bargains to be found. The real question is what the next big thing (electronic shifting, power meter or something else) is you can not ride a bike without and when can you source direct?

CX – What a wonderful excuse

VPCX Winter War 011

By this time last year I had already ridden my first short training rides on the road. It seems spring is running late this year with continuous wet weather instead of the more seasonally correct dry roads and constant sunshine. Of course it is early days and the thing to remember is that there is lots of fun to be had even if the weather is not all that great. The local cyclo-cross series VPCX had its final season ending event and despite the dismal weather in the morning the day turned out pretty awesome. I think I even saw a glimpse of the sun.

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Wintertime love

auringon lasku 002

In addition to the short commute to work I haven’t done much cycling lately. I have just been feeling tired and had too much to do. Last weekend I had some time so I tried mountain biking in the winter for the first time. Now I’m kicking myself why I haven’t tried it before. During the summer the woods here are full of roots. Same paths with trampled snow however are the best single-track I have ridden. It is slippery at places, but snow studs keep you upright as long as you have enough momentum going. It gives you confidence to know there is a 30cm snow cushion to catch if you were to fall.

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Winter time winds blow, cold the season. Psyched to ride I’m hoping to be. Fallen ill, is that the reason? Keeping spinning is warming me.