Archive for August 2007
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Event Report: Myllyn Pyöräily / Skandinaviamylly 240 km

I did a final last minute decision to participate in Myllyn Pyöräily, as the weather forecast looked pretty good. Only a risk of some rain showers.

On Saturday morning I was just in time in Raisio to enter the event. My preparation for the longest version, the 240 km Skandinaviamylly, wasn't ideal but the drink and food service was good in 2005 so I thought that this wouldn't be a problem. Also, my plan was to stop in almost every service point because the enter fee is really high, 65 euros (normally 45 euros), when you register so late. But, I should have read the participant's guide carefully because things had changed after the 2005 event...

I decided to ride with the lead group and see how fast it would go, and stop to the second service point, as the first was only 36,5 km (Lieto as.) in the course. After 1.5 hours in a strong crosswind I let the lead group go away because my heart rate was pretty high. I had some energy/cereal bars and gels with me but I had already eaten some of them. No problem, I was thinking, because the next service point was in the 86 km mark in Pöytyä, and there should be something to eat. I was riding alone for awhile but then I was joined by another lonely rider, probably from Estonia. We rode together to the second service point. The suprise was that there were only water and really watery sports drink available...

I had two gels and one energy bars left so maybe finally there would be something in the third service point. I joined a small group of riders in the second service point and rode with them to the third point, Paattinen / 118 km. Well, there was a hot oatmeal, sports drink and coffee. Better than nothing, but the oatmeal wasn't such a good idea. When I contined riding with two others, I felt like I was hitting a wall or something. I was simply going nowhere. In Vahto I was also riding against freaking headwind, so this was a horrible combination. Fortunately the course turned to right after about 5 or some kilometres, and there was the fourth service point in Rusko / 132 km. Again, only water and watery sports drink, but I didn't expect anything else because the fifth point was in Nousiainen / 146 km, and in 2005 it was a good service point. I was riding alone again, and met the really strong, freaking headwind. I stopped in Nousiainen, but what?! Only water and that thin sports drink! You are killing me!

The Nousiainen - Lemu section was the windiest and I was close to bonk. I had one gel, ate it, and thought I should do just fine to reach the sixth service point in Naantali / 172 km. I was joined also with one rider and talked with him. Really nice fellow, thanks to him. We stopped in the sixth point - only one energy bar and the same drinks. Better than nothing but so far, the overall food service was clearly really bad.

In the ever classic Naantali - Merimasku section I joined a small group of riders and rode with them to seventh service point in Askainen / 204 km. Finally, there was bread, some salt cucumber and a banana. A good thing was also that the wind was behind my back. In the last service point in Masku / 225 km there were only the same drinks and would you believe, ice cream! I ate it but it didn't too good in my stomach. It didn't slow down me too much and the last 40 kms were probably the easiest of the event.

In the finish everyone got the medal and was photographed. There was also pea soup and dry bread to eat.

Statistics of my performance: riding time 8:14:08.5, distance 240.8 km, average speed 29.2 km/h, heart rate avg./max. 136/176 bpm, ascent 1055 m. I was looking for over 30 km/h average speed but I'm satisfied with this as I rode a lot myself and not so much behind a wheel or group.

Compared to the 2005 event and Pirkka Cycling in 2006, not to mention the absolutely brilliant Marathon Bicycling in 2006, this was the worst motion cycling event I have ever participated. The Finnish version of the participant's guide does have detailed information about the service points, but the Swedish and English doesn't! The foreign riders must be shocked, because it only reads in the guide that "participants will be provided with a comprehensive food- and drink service"!!! If I was a foreign rider in this event I would feel really cheated.

Overall my opionion is that a motion cycling event should have a decent food- and drink service for what the participants are paying for. These events are not races, there are a lot of people who just want to have a good day in the saddle and enjoy the event. This years Myllyn Pyöräily was not like that. The question is, why the organizers of the event decided to do things this way, this year...?

MUCH LATE EDIT: For Finnish speakers, some writing, here and the answer of the organizer, in Turun Sanomat.

By Toni at 18:37 | Permalink |
Edited on: Monday, September 03, 2007 19:37
Category: 2007 Race Reports

Paimio's Revenge II

Apparently I'm too busy, here's finally some updates...

Paimio's Revenge II on 18th of August was great. 11 riders took part, the weather was great, no injuries and mechanicals. Photos in the gallery, click this.

By Toni at 16:05 | Permalink |
Category: General

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rest of the season

So, I have only raced two 24-hour solo races and one local 10 km road time trial this season, and no motion cycling event so far. The season is not over yet and next I'm looking for Myllyn Pyöräily Skandinaviamylly 235 km road cycling event, on 25th of August. Logistically this is easy and economic as it is fairly close to home. The last time I did this was in 2005 and it was really rainy. Hopefully the weather is nice this time.

On 23rd of September there is Finlandia MTB (70 km) in Messilä. I've done this event in 1999 and 2003-2006. The course will be a little different from previous years so it will be interesting. This is a kind of sprint event for me but I still want do well there. A good way to prepare for it would be to do the Pirkka MTB Marathon on 9th of September and of course do some hard training rides on other weekends. But I'm not so sure about this so we will see what happens.

After Finlandia there is Tawast MTB Marathon in Hämeenlinna on 30th of September. The course is really nice and it would be a nice way to end the season.

Tomorrow I will finally commute by bike and after work I will head to trails of Paimio's Revenge and do some trail work. The weather forecast looks good so it will be all fun on Saturday!

 

By Toni at 20:15 | Permalink |
Category: General

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kangasala 24h - Aftermath

The first thing, and it's a good one, is that I'm recovering really well from the effort. The suspension seatpost and two pairs of bib shorts with chamois cream worked really well and I wasn't so hammered as after LEVI24. On the other hand, this wasn't 100% full 24-hour effort from me.

Obviously I'm not satisfied with my performance, but I'm already looking for next year. I will certainly do both LEVI24 and Kangasala 24h. My problem this year was really the lack of summer vacation. I've been working hard at work and my training has been too much compromised. I've been tired and not able to recover. This won't be the case next year as I have a full summer vacation.

Also, this was the last time I will participate in a 24-hour solo race wih too little training, and I will certainly have more tires and everything else with me.

Yesterday I spent the evening with the primary bike. Seems at the moment that disc brakes works again, but only riding and time will tell. I changed also the tires, now it has Continental Vertical UST tires and is ready for Paimio's Revenge. Yes, a mountain bike group ride will take place next Saturday, starting 10:00 from Paimio's sports field. Everyone interested is welcome! Just hoping that the weather is nice, last year it rained.

I have added a lot of photos from LEVI24 and Kangasala 24h, check out the gallery!

By Toni at 19:46 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Kangasala 24h Race Report

Oh man... really different 24-hour race this time. I was in trouble.

As me and my support crew, wife and father, prepared our pit the weather started to change: thunder! Fortunately it didn't rain and I had time to preride some of the race course. Only little changes to last year's course.

But, when the start was getting near it started to rain lightly. It was just a little shower but it was enough to do the damage to the race course. There is A LOT of roots on this course, and I knew that it will be a nightmare if it rains. I had tires for dry conditions, actually the same tires I used in the last year's race, Michelin Comp S Light Tubeless. Bad choice, and there was more to come problems with tires...

This year the solo category was also really competitive. The winners of the Tahko MTB 120 km, Tiimo Tõnisson (Porter Racing) and 180 km, Kari Veikkolainen (Sekopolla) were there and also last year's winner Niko Tuhkanen. A total of 10 racers in the solo category, this was great, and it's great to see that 24-hour solo racing is growing in Finland.

The start was fast. I tried to start fast also, but I had to slow down after first lap as I nearly fell several times due to slippery trail conditions. After 3-4 laps I was probably in 6th place. After lap 6 (night riding going on) I noticed that I have a puncture with the rear tire. Damn. The same tire that punctured in Finlandia 2006 but I repaired it for this race. So I put an inner tube - a lot longer pit stop. During the next lap, if I remember correctly, I crashed in the very technical root section. I was lucky again as I didn't injure myself. Decided to be more cautious for the remainder of the night riding. The root sections were deadly slippery the whole night as the air was really humid.

Lap 13. The rear tire punctured again! I was a good way on the course and didn't have a spare inner tube. Had to walk/run back to pit. Decided to ride the lap with the backup bike. After this lap I took the rear tire from the backup bike and put it to the primary bike. The problems with tires cost me two laps. Also, for some strange reason, the front disc brake didn't work 100% but worked for the most of the time.

I wasn't the only one having problems. Niko Tuhkanen had some serious problems with his body and was forced to stop in the late morning. I felt tired and exhausted in the morning but tried to keep on. My form was clearly not as good as last year and generally I was also too tired. This wasn't really a suprise for me as I didn't do enough long training rides before this race, and it took almost three weeks to recover from LEVI24.

I felt a little better during the daytime but shortly after that the heat was also a little too much for me. I was in 5th place and I didn't have enough energy to chase the rider in 4th place who was several laps ahead of me. I decided to secure my placing, took a couple of very long pit stops and rode two 38 minute laps. Didn't sit a lot on those laps as it hurt my bottom so much.

Some photos, more later...

 

 

 

By Toni at 20:53 | Permalink |
Category: 2007 Race Reports

Friday, August 10, 2007

Kangasala 24h - Go time!

A little bit chaos at the moment. Almost all things ready. I'm excited. Let's do it!

A brief race report on late Saturday evening if I'm alive, full report on Sunday evening.

By Toni at 12:15 | Permalink |
Category: General

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bring the heat!

FINALLY it's really warm out there, and it seems that it will stay like this for the next weekend and Kangasala 24h!

Last week was busy and a little scary, because I had some unexpected problems fixing the primary bike. I got the part for the front brake, but I was able to damage one of the screw holes of the front fork that holds the caliper. This happened when I was centering the caliper and I wasn't using the torque wrench. Stupid mistake. But, after thinking for some time and googling on the internet I found out that the thread can be fixed. It is called HeliCoil thread. There are special HeliCoil thread repair kits available, but another chance is to go to a workshop where they do mechanizing. Fortunately there is a good one in Salo, called Virtasen Moottori. I went there on Friday afternoon and it was done in a couple of minutes.

Also on Friday I received the return version of suspension seatpost. I changed the faulty one to USE XCR Sumo which should be much better.

On Sunday I did a 3h18min ride on the trails of Paimio's Hiekkahelmi. The bike feels really good now. The front break works really well and the suspension seatpost feels really helpful. Here are some photos of the ride.

 

 

 

 

This week it's time do the final preparations for Kangasala 24h.

By Toni at 21:00 | Permalink |
Category: General

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Catch my drift?

 

Lots of things going on, hopefully tomorrow is time to write...

By Toni at 23:20 | Permalink |
Category: General