Archive for January 2011
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Step back

Winter has taken a little step back, as in the last two weeks the temperature has risen above zero several times and also hovered around zero. Last night a lot of stuff came down from the sky, fortunately in the right kind of form: snow. Commuting was also much better after icy nightmares.

The beauty of winter:

The latest 10 day weather forecast is a little more promising, as we should have slightly colder temperatures at a range of -5 to -16°C. However, the window is now smaller for the Ice Journey adventure.

It has been only two weeks now from the last S24O but I'm already looking for another overnighter. Hopefully it will happen in the end of this month.

By Toni at 19:33 | Permalink |
Category: Commuting, General

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ice commuting

 

The long, below 0°C winter conditions from early November 2010 halted on Sunday, and yesterday I was back to conditions that I haven't faced for over two years: ice, damn slippery ice without studded tires.

 

 

The Nokian Boazobeana tyres are great in snow and slush but horrible on ice. Back to WXC300 studded tyres for tomorrow.

I shot a couple of photos today as well.

 

 

Also finally updated the Snow overnighter report with some thoughts on gear.

By Toni at 18:41 | Permalink |
Category: Commuting

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Snow overnighter

The Epiphany and good weather gave the opportunity for the first winter overnighter with Peter of this winter for me. I was a little worried as I'm not 100% cure after the flu, but I didn't want to miss this as worse weather is looming, or has been looming. Fortunately the latest weather forecasts have been coming true poorly, and actually I don't believe that there will be a lot of above 0°C conditions. AO index is very negative so it's more likely that the hardest part of winter is still ahead.

The main purpose was to test my new winter gear and train and prepare for our forthcoming epic adventure called Ice Journey. But of course this was to be a little adventure in itself and snowy conditions provided a lot of fun.

My bike packed and ready to go:

 

Meeting Peter in Piikkiö:

 

And into the dark forest and trails. I just love this stuff! It's dark but our lights are brilliant!

 

Peter rode with his Pugsley some parts pretty easily. I had to push my bike for the most of the time, here's a video:

 

Lots of snow and a nice hard bike-push to the lean-to:

 

 

Peter cooking some pancakes:

 

Here's my sleeping system. A cheap winter sleeping pad, AlplKit bivvy bag, Halti Airlite 450 sleeping pad, KingCamp pillow and Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag. I'm really satisfied with this system. I slept fairly well, althought my feet were a little cold, but that is easily fixed with a warm water bottle.

 

Snow = bliss:

 

We had a lot of fun riding in snow. Fat bikes are amazing, here you can see how easily Peter rides his Pugsley. (Peter will have more videos in his blog later).

It snowed a little during the night, and the streets were covered for my riding back home:

 

A slideshow of a couple of more photos is here.

What an overnighter again! Thanks to Peter for a great company. I will update this report later in the coming weekend, with more thoughts on gear, stay tuned.

LATER EDIT: Overall I'm very satisfied of my winter gear. The Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag is very warm and nice. The Alpkit Airlok Xtra drybags are very good for packing and carrying stuff with bike. I will add bottle cages to front fork and purchase a small cookset and cutlery set.

Some of the photos are not so good as I hoped, apparently my hands were a little too shaky. The Olympus uTough-8000 is 12MP camera but the overall picture quality is not very good. But it's enough for my purpose at the moment.

By Toni at 14:33 | Permalink |
Edited on: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 19:38
Category: Adventures

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Snow fun

We had a couple of inches more snow again last night. Also the local snowplowers are not doing their work so well, so I decided to change the tyres of my winter bike. Nokian Hakka WXC300 studded tyres are not good in snow, but I happen to have a pair of old Nokian Boazobeana tyres that were marketed as snow tyres back in the late 90s.

A view from my normal commute. The Boazobeanas are much better in these conditions.

 

I decided to check out some of the local trails after work. The evening is setting in.

 

Snow paradise.

 

 

This trail was not rideable but it was still fun to push the bike thru the snowdrift.

 

 

I took this short video of my walk.

Some tracks of local inhabitants.

 

 

Came across to a point where some people had walked. I tried to ride here but it was impossible.

 

A look to awesome evening sky.

 

Another view from the trail.

The Boazobeana winter tyre.

My winter bike with a retro feel.

A beautiful winter evening in Paimio.

It was -14°C when I got back home. The forthcoming night would be perfect for a winter overnighter! The weather forecasts don't look so good at the moment as temperature is supposed to get closer 0°C, or even above, in the end of the week. But let's see what happens. I'm looking forward for overnighter with Peter on Wednesday-Thursday night as Thursday is a holiday.

By Toni at 20:41 | Permalink |
Category: Commuting, MTB Rides

Monday, January 03, 2011

2010 -> 2011

 

2010 is gone and we are already two days into 2011. It's time to have a little retrospective of 2010 and to see what is in the store for 2011.

It was pretty clear to me that my focus was shifting from endurance racing to bikepacking and little adventures, althought the core of my riding came from daily commuting. I'm really happy that I can ride bike on daily basis and that there are no barriers - I have done it from extreme cold to pouring rain. But the real highlights of the year were the overnighters - small adventures. There weren't many of them as I had so much other things going. The first winter overnighter in March was a real eyeopener and I was hooked.

In 2011 I'm looking for more overnighters and for a couple of slightly longer adventures. There is also a chance that I could return to 24-hour solo racing as well.

Winter overnighters and adventures will be much better with the new Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag that I got as a Christmas gift from my supportive wife, big thanks again!

And quite amazingly, it can be packed to small space:

One thing about last year was the winter that was really great, lots of snow and temperature below zero all the time. Over the years there has been a lot of talk about global warming and climate change. My opinion on this issue has been a long time that climate is a very complex system with a lot of variables and human race still knows very little about it. Current winter is even colder and snowier than last year. So what's going on? Negative Arctic oscillation index when colder and snowier winters occurs.

I'm finally to start feel fairly normal after a terrible flu in Christmas and the week after. Tomorrow I'm back to work and daily commuting and I'm going to try also some snow riding fun...

By Toni at 0:10 | Permalink |
Category: General