Pickenflick – The gravel grinder edition

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Pickenflick Gravel Grinder 650b 27.5″

For the last couple of years I have been happy riding my titanium CX bike on the road. Last fall I bought a new carbon fiber racer so it was time to find new use for the old frame. I already tried 700c 40mm tyres earlier and did not find them fun to ride. Over the winter I bought a set of 27.5 mtb wheels and 2.1″ tyres.  With the new set of wheels the bike is amazing and I have had more fun riding than in a while. The spring over here is usually sunny, but quite cold and windy so I prefer riding in the forest or the local gravel roads rather than on tarmac. With wide tyres you can take the bike even to rooty single track and on loose gravel traction uphill is just phenomenal.

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Goals for 2019

 

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Winter is a good time to re-assess what it is you are trying to achieve. I have started to feel a little tired of attending the same sportives every year. So I thought this year I would concentrate in participating or even organizing totally new things.

  • Organize Ronde watching event together with Eurosport
  • Ride the Finnish Nationals in fixed-gear crit
  • Trip to Mallorca in the fall to extend the season

So instead of just attending cycling events this year success will be measured by experiences gained. I might still ride some longer rides (Kauhava-Kokkola, 300km to Pukkilanharju or HelaTorsdag 200km brevet) and I would like to get my FTP closer to 250W, but as long as I have fun achievements don’t matter.

Off-season training

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As the autumn sets in many nordic cyclists opt for indoor training instead of venturing out into the darkness. The gloomy months are good to time to recover, but it is also a great chance to instill some variety into training. I was planning on playing ice-hockey two times a week to keep myself in shape, but I managed to fracture my wrist in September. Five weeks off the bike and ban on all other exercise as well has resulted in unpleasant 2kg weight gain. The wrist is still not fully healed yet, but it is time to hit the smart trainer in the garage.

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Dolce far niente

As the autumn sets in many Nordic cyclists opt for indoor training instead of venturing out into the darkness or muddy CX races. The gloomy months would of course be a good to time to recover, but it would also be a great chance to instill some variety into training. Previous years to keep myself in shape I have played ice-hockey and gone climbing always when time allows. This year I managed to fracture my wrist ice-skating early in September. Five weeks off the bike and ban on all other exercise is starting to result to severe weight gain. I’m over-eating to compensate for aches and consequently loosing all results from summer of cycling. The worst part is doing nothing much is awfully boring. I need my fix of regular exercise!

 

NBD: Aero Killer

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Yesterday was a new bike day (NBD). Winter is coming, but I bought myself a second-hand White RR Aero Killer with Shimano 11-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. Basically it is a no-name chinese frame with decent kit. I’m not a big fan of the awfully long hoods and white bar tape, but this thing sure is fast. I’m tempted to upgrade it to Di2 or eTap, but let’s see if I can get the mechanic 105 setup just right and how I  get on with the hoods if I change to an even shorter stem.

Till it’s over

20180718_201322When I wrote the earlier post on season 2018 we were in the middle of an unprecedented heat wave. I had been riding in record amounts, but exhaustion was already starting to kick in. By mid August I reached my goal of 3000km for the season and I was already contempt with that. I kept riding to keep fit for season ending sportive, but now I’m happy to pack it in. It wasn’t a disaster year, but not really a total slam dunk either. There were many good moments and that is what counts.  Continue reading

Helsinki Velotour 2018: Story

Velotour2018.jpgAfter last year’s solid performance I dared to sign up to the sportive‘s fastest group. Still before the event I was pretty apprehensive how I would manage. Everything doesn’t always turn up as expected and this time was no exception. Basically things turned sour already the day before. I went to oil my chains and found the rear tyre flat. That was not what I would have hoped for after the weather forecast had just turned better and flu symptoms were almost gone. Still all I could do was to change the inner tube and try my luck the next morning.  Continue reading

Cheap chinese aero frames: The 2018 edition

I already thought chinese carbon frames are totally out of fashion, but what goes around comes around. After gravel bikes were the “must-have” trend aerodynamic disc brake bikes are now the latest craze. Slowly but surely the market is responding to the demand. There are several models available from chinese carbon frame manufacturers that can alleviate the itch of buying a Venge, a Foil or a Propel. Some things have clearly changed since the golden years of cheap chinese carbon fiber and worth noting about the latest developments. Continue reading

Helsinki Velotour 2018: Survival strategy

ImmersbyI signed-up for the Helsinki Velotour sportive’s fastest leaded group and I’m seriously worried I’m in over my head. I’m still hoping I can keep myself protected in the group and tag along at least until half-way. If everything goes amazingly well I just might make it to the finish.  Keeping with the group would require an incredible feat on my part so I need a plan on how to tackle the beast. I would love to end the season in style. Continue reading

It ain’t over…

20180718_201403.jpgIt is still summer, but the short nordic road cycling season is eventually starting to near its end. After the trip to Belgium and a 200km brevet pretty early in the spring I had plenty of early season prep. The hockey playing seems to have transferred over quite well and it hasn’t hurt that I weight 5kg less than usually after the winter. There were couple of rainy weeks, but mostly weather has been amazing. So, at least so far, things have turned out alright with healthy mix of riding both on gravel and tarmac. Continue reading