Archive for April 2007
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Monday, April 30, 2007

Do it whenever it's possible...

More homework on Sunday, but in the evening I was determined to do a short ride with the mountain bike. I just want to ride my bike.

 

Dark black ominous clouds...

 

The night is coming, and so is another ride...

 

A lovely doubletrack...

Almost everything had to be bad this weekend. The weather: really windy, not too cold but not warm either. When I left home at 21:00, it started to rain after I had ridden a couple of kilometres! I turned back home and waited for a moment, fortunately it was a small shower and I was gone again. I had my Sigma Sport Mirage Evo Pro helmet light with me, so I wasn't worried about the darkness. Just an hour of saddle time: 0:59:24, 19.09 km, 19.29 km/h, max. 37.1 km/h, heart rate 140/169 bpm.

Now as I'm writing this I feel much better. I'm ready to fight, tomorrow is a workday, soon it's time for a short night sleep. Tuesday it is May Day and day off from work, I'm determined to do a very VERY LONG road ride...

By Toni at 0:09 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A messy weekend

This was a weekend to forget. Friday was a bad start. I was super-tired and the early symptoms of a flu tried to hit me down. Commute stats: 0:41:19, 18.85 km, 27.39 km/h. 44.9 km/h. Not a bad effort, considering what my state was.

In the afternoon and the evening I did a lot of firewood and after that I was done. I took a lot of different medicine and after that I started to feel a little better. But on Saturday I woke pretty late and didn't make it to follow the 50th Anniversary of TS-kortteliajot. Damn! The legend himself, Eddy Merckx, was there, and former pro Jaan Kirspuu was in the start line. There is a plenty of articles in Turun Sanomat, click these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. There is also a lot of photos from the event, like these taken by Thomas Soininen:

More photos here, here and here.

The visit of Eddy Merckx in Finland and Turku was certainly historic and probably it won't happen again. Well, maybe something even better will happen to me in the future, time to move on...

By Toni at 23:16 | Permalink |
Category: General

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Memories of 2006

Kangasala 24h was the greatest experience in 2006 but after that the Marathon Bicycling was also something really awesome. Well, you can't compare a race and the best motion cycling event in Finland. Their website has been updated with photos from last years event, check them out, there are some really epic views. In the above picture, I'm with the red vest behind the CSC equipped guy.

Commuting this week so far, with cyclocross bike:

Tuesday: 0:45:01, 19.13 km, 25.52 km/h, max. 44.4 km/h.
Wednesday: 0:43:53, 19.12 km, 26.16 km/h, max 43.2 km/h.
Thursday (today): 0:38:05, 18.98 km, 29.92 km/h, max. 49.3 km/h.

Yeah, I put the hammer down today, new records in the morning (20 minutes) and in the afternoon 17.5 minutes! And I'm not 100% ok as I have had a little sore throat, just hoping that I won't get sick.

By Toni at 23:09 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Damage Ride

So the last week was at least good in that respect it worked for recovery. It also meant that today was time to do a long ride, and this time 4-5 hours was not to be enough...

First thing: great weather! For the first two hours we had actually a group ride with Simone, Jarkko and Anne. We rode fairly fast with almost 30 km/h average speed. My motor was just warming up during the first hour, the second hour felt really good. After two hours it was just me and Simone, and we decided to ride at least 3 hours more. The third hour was good but there was the early signs of the damage that had been done during the first two hours. After 3 hours I really hit the wall, my legs didn't respond at all! We rode a really hilly route, and that of course made things even more difficult. Riding was really a torture. But around the 5 hour mark I started feel a little better and seemed to recover a little.

Stats: 5:52:37.7, 160.5 km, 27.3 km/h, hr. 142/185 bpm, ascent 1095 m. This is what I need. The fast start was probably not a good idea but on the another hand it simulated the race situation where you ride fast early and try to limit the damage afterwards.

Only one photo this time, today it was really about riding hard and surviving.

Plan is to do more long rides in the coming weekends, even 7-8 hour rides. LEVI24 is coming fast, and the body has to learn how to survive on the bike, for many many hours...

By Toni at 19:26 | Permalink |
Category: General

Another Week in Review

Another week without blogging, something must be wrong, right? Well, there just wasn't too much to report. The week was kind of busy, on Monday I headed to Turku for shopping of new mtb shoes:

Nike YVR III. No too expensive and suitable for XC racing, marathons and 12/24-hour races. The sole is not too stiff and the shoes should be comfortable for endurance racing. I was choosing between size 41 and 42. My old Shimano mtb shoes are size 41, but YVR III in size 41 was just a little bit too tight for toes. This would be definitely a problem in endurance races, so I chose size 42.

The old Shimano SH-M 071 shoes will be backup shoes and used more for commuting in bad weather.

On Tuesday I had my doctor's checkup for workplace. I'm ok, but I'm going to recheck my breathing on Monday take a blood test during the next week.

I commuted by bike only on Wednesday: 0:41:34, 19.14 km, 27.64 km/h, max. 44.7 km/h. Thursday was supposed to be the start of the racing season with a local 10 km road time trial, but guess what, the weather turned really bad in the evening: rain and only a couple of degrees above zero! Actually, the weather has been really messy for the last couple of weeks. There has been occasionally some good days with warmer temperatures, but then there has been really windy, stormy and cold days. Later the word was that there were only a couple of riders and nobody rode the race... My decision was long before the race that I would not compete if it rains. There's really no point of doing only a 10 km / 16 minutes effort and afterwards to consume a lot of time to clean the bike, the clothes and so on.

Friday evening was for preparing for visitors of Saturday. And the weather on Saturday was simply ridiculous! It sleeted and the wind was really hard.

By Toni at 18:49 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Week in Review

A kind of busy week. I've done a lot of thinking about the another mountain bike and currently it seems that it won't happen this year. I've been very happy with Wheeler 3900zx, surely there has been some mechanical problems with it but overall it is a good bike. I purchased it back in 2001 and it was pretty cheap (have to check that price later... and a complete story of the bike). Later I upgraded it, changing the wheels, brakes and front suspension. The geometry of the frame fits me like a glove and the bike has been durable. It would be pointless to buy another hardtail, so I think I will make savings for a full suspension next year. I have some kind of a plan for a backup bike for 24-hour races, more about it later...

Commuting this week:

Tuesday: by car.
Wednesday: 0:48:24, 19.06 km, 23.64 km/h, max. 45.4 km/h.
Thursday: 0:45:38, 18.94 km, 24.92 km/h, max. 43.2 km/h.
Friday: 0:45:01, 19.11 km, 25.48 km/h, max. 43.7 km/h.

Did it with the cyclocross bike.

Took this photo on Friday. It has been really windy for an over a week and this is the result. Interesting to see if there will be any cleaning...

Saturday was a restday, allthought we made a visit and cleaned the house in the evening.

Today I was going to do a short ride, and the question was that have I recovered? The answer is that yes, not completely but quite well. Rode 2 hours with Simone and did several hard pulls. Things are looking much better now. The weather was really nice and it would have been a good day to be in the saddle for a longer time. Stats: 2:02:48, 58.3 km, 28.4 km/h, hr. avg./max. 140/180 bpm.

Tomorrow could be a good chance to do some trail riding with mtb after work, as the weather should be the same as today. After monday the temps are going down again and there could be even rain on Thursday. Let's hope not, because it would be the start for the racing season with a local 10 km road time trial.

By Toni at 20:41 | Permalink |
Category: General

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Is 24-hour solo racing too much?

That is a question I asked myself when I had not even done my first 24-hour race. Back then, in fact in the year 1999 when I read a very inspirational article in Mountain Bike Action about 24-hour racing, my interest was picqued. Is it really possible, is too hard? I read a lot of articles and surfed through the internet to find almost all possible information about 24-hour solo racing. Very soon I realized that 24-hour solo racing is really demanding, possibly the hardest sport of all, and riding 24 hours straight isn't the only hard thing. Logistics, equipment, food, planning... everything, is demanding. So today, as I'm planning my two 24-hour solo races for this year, I'm again thinking that is it too much...? I suppose the main reason for this is that I need another mountain bike as I want to race these 24-hour races with minimal pit stops. If there would be a mechanical problem with my bike, I have another ready for me and my pit crew tries to fix the broken one. Another bike means financial investment... you get the point, serious 24-hour solo racing is not for the poor one, and maybe not for the sane one... so why I want do it? Because it is a challenge, and ultimately you find the truth about yourself... it is mind over matter, something so amazing that it needs a thousand words to describe it... hmm, should I come back to earth now, I have a workday tomorrow...

I'm looking for a full suspension bike but another hardtail is also a good option, and financially easier. I'm going to decide this probably in the next 4-5 weeks...

My recovery plans got a kind of setback:

 

Too good to be true... will see.

By Toni at 22:03 | Permalink |
Category: General

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mission accomplished

My goal was to ride on Easter every day. Almost did it, as I rode on Friday, Sunday and today, Monday. But my goal was to be in good shape before Easter. Something went wrong because Sunday and Monday were painful. Friday was a good day in the woods but I think that it is there where the damage was done, and pretty hard week at work and everyday commuting. Plus, I haven't eaten enough.

A recap of todays ride. Again with Simone. He did yesterday a little over 6 hours and 172 km! We were both pretty hammered, but my goal was to ride 6 hours and Simone 4 hours. Woke up at 07:00. The weather looked fine, but it was -8 C!! Ok, it would warm up put the day was colder than Sunday (Polar S710i average temperature only +3 C). The wind was a lot calmer today. At 2:30-3:00 we came near Turku and rode pretty slow. We were very lucky that the weather didn't turn too bad, we had a few snowflakes here and there. The coldness made riding hard today, and it was obvious that I would not ride 6 hours. Stats: 5:10:25, 133.1 km, 25.8 km/h, hr. avg./max. 128/163 bpm, ascent 670 m.

Todays sack lunch was really good. Simone had done some delicious piadinas! Gotta do those myself.

 

Simone pushing hard.

 

Too skinny perhaps?

 

Me in Hepojoki. Thanks to Simone for taking the shots.

The next week is all about recovery. Tomorrow is a workday but I will probably commute by car. From Wednesday to Friday bike commuting with minimal effort. The next weekend Saturday is probably restday and on Sunday only 2-3 hour ride. As they say, train hard, rest even harder.

By Toni at 17:45 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I have to eat more...

...because currently I'm not recovering from commuting, daily work and weekend rides. And I should rest more and sleep better. Saturday I didn't train at all but me and my wife did two visits. Seems to me that it didn't work as a rest day, but it should have. Today was time for a long road ride, and... ouch! My legs were like concrete! I'm really stiff at the moment, and that's because I haven't strecthed myself. Add to this that I'm not recovering too well. Not a good situation but I'm gonna fix it.

Anyway, I rode with Simone, as almost always now. We rode to Dragsfjärd and when we came back to Kemiö I stayed there for another visit - and this time I ate A LOT.

 

Eating is the key...

 

Many hills today, this one in Dragsfjärd, Kärra.

Stats: 4:06:48, 118.0 km, 28.7 km/h, hr. avg./max. 139/176 bpm, ascent 840 m. It was pretty cold and windy. For the first 50 km we had a huge tailwind and we were almost flying to Kemiö. Despite the tailwind, all the hills were painful for me.

So, more eating and better sleeping. But I'm going to ride tomorrow another long road ride and the goal is to ride 6 hours... stiffness is power, in packed form.

Happy Easter!

By Toni at 22:43 | Permalink |
Category: General

Friday, April 06, 2007

Great start for the Easter rides!

Quick recap of yesterday: we had a storm, which was supposed to go away at nightime. Slow commuting, but with easier effort to avoid doing damage: 0:53:00, 20.55 km, 23.27 km/h, max. 47.4 km/h.

The weather situation this morning:

 

This meant that no road ride today, but certainly some kind of a ride: off-road! Took my mountain bike and headed to trails of Paimio's Revenge with Simone. And this was going to be almost an epic day!

So, the weather was bad in the morning but it turned better, at times sun was shining, but occasionally we had just a little of snow. The wind was AGAIN really hard, speeds close to yesterdays storm. But this wasn't a problem as we had a lot of shelter in the woods. Riding the trails felt awesome after a couple of months! But at about 1h45mins I had mechanical problems, something was wrong with my chainrings or the chain. After we stopped we found that the problem was with the chain, it was almost broken! Fortunately I had this with me:

 

I got this Park Tool mini tool as a Christmas present from my wife, and it saved todays ride. I didn't have a piece of chain with me but I was able to fix the chain because it has a chain tool. Later the same thing happened and I had to fix the chain again:

 

But riding was great today. Some of the trails are really technical and tricky and some are easier. I managed to crash at one point but without damage. There are many steep hills on the route, so todays training provided some higher intensity. Average speed was not so high today, but this was a good start for mountain biking. Stats: net riding: 3:53:52, 54.34 km, 13.94 km/h, max. 44.1 km/h. Polar S710i data: 4:12:54.8, heart rate avg./max. 141/178 bpm. Total time was closer to 5.5 hours because all of the stops.

 

Lost in the woods with Simone.

 

No singletrack here...

 

Some of the singletracks of Paimio's Revenge.

 

Another view...

 

Just great, isn't it?

 

Simone smiling.

 

A granite section.

 

Simone's rig.

 

Nice scenery of Paimio.

Tomorrow I might do a short ride (2 hours) with the cyclocross or the mountain bike. Sunday and Monday its time for long road rides, as the weather forecast is much better now.

By Toni at 19:06 | Permalink |
Category: General

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Not this, please!

 

My best wish is that this weather forecast will not come true...

Todays commute was shorter, as I drove our car to service and continued from there with cyclocross bike. Same thing vice versa in the afternoon. Stats: 0:18:40, 8.40 km, 27.06 km/h, max. 53.2 km/h. And, it was -10 C in the morning! After I left the car, I had the long descent from the Paimio's Hospital for a start - descending felt INSANELY cold!! But the afternoon was all fun. I had a huge tailwind on my back so I was literally flying, it took only 8 minutes to the car service.

Commuting has felt really stiff at times but I'm sure that it is due to the fact that the distance is so short that I barely get warmed up. Sometimes it has taken even 1,5 hours in longer rides to get the right feeling.

By Toni at 22:15 | Permalink |
Category: General

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The usual Finland springtime...

We seem to have a little spring frost in the air. Today it was much colder, actually in the evening it was barely above 0 Celcius. And now the weather forecast says that it could even snow in the Easter, damn! Well, if all of the planned road rides won't happen (I won't do them if the weather turns bad) I will probably ride with the cyclocross bike or even head to the local trails with the mountain bike... we will see.

Todays commute stats: 0:49:13, 19.29 km, 23.53 km/h, max. 43.6 km/h. The afternoon part was hard, because of the heavy wind.

By Toni at 22:27 | Permalink |
Category: General

Monday, April 02, 2007

Season thoughts

Commuting today: 0:47:00, 19.19 km, 24.50 km/h, max. 43.3 km/h. Yesterdays ride felt definitely in my legs...

 

A couple of days ago I got the above in my mail. Last year I participated for the first time in the biggest motion cycling event in Finland, Pirkka Cycling. That's the reason I got the invitation to this years event. I really like the athmosphere at motion cycling events, but the problem this year is that there is only one week between Pirkka and LEVI24. If I would go to Pirkka, I would ride the longest version, 220 km. There is another option, the shorter 134 km version, but for me, it would somehow seem pointless.

There is also other events this year with same kind of problem. I don't know yet what is the date for "Eteläkärjen ajot", but I have a feeling that it is the same weekend as Kangasala 24h. And the best cycling event in Finland, Marathon Bicycling in Lapland, is week before Kangasala 24h.

The timing is not the only problem thought, financially I cannot afford to participate in all of the events. But one thing is for sure: I will return to those great motion cycling events some year because I absolutely love them!

By Toni at 22:20 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hard times

The title is, by the way, also a song by The Human League, and fits the times I'm living at the moment. So, what is going on...?

Commuting/training:

Thursday: 0:44:40, 19.21 km, 25.82 km/h.
Friday: 0:46:41, 20.65 km, 26.54 km/h.
Saturday: restday

Today was time for another endurance road ride, and the feeling today was that I needed that restday, but it was not enough. I wasn't recovered from the last week, but I wasn't mentally ok either. Well, life is sometimes like that, but I'm working hard in the hope that things get better. Todays ride was great at least in that respect that I was riding with my great riding buddy Simone. Thanks again Simone! We rode the same route as I rode a week ago but in other direction. The weather was nice, sunny, but windy, we battled a lot of nasty headwind.

4:35:28, 121.5 km, 26.5 km/h, hr. avg./max. 142/176 bpm, ascent 895 m.

Simone with Sab bike and new Vuelta CarbonPro wheels.

 

Battling the elevation and headwind.

Next week is Easter and the plan is to do long rides everyday, but the weatherman is the key...

By Toni at 22:28 | Permalink |
Category: General