Sunday, August 31, 2008
I decided this week that I won't participate in Myllyn Pyöräily for a number of reasons. Last Sunday I rode Nissan MTB Finlandia and missed also the first baby swimming. I didn't want to miss another one, so there is one very important reason. Also, I had not pre-registered for the event so I would have to pay a higher entry fee. In current situation I thought that 65€ is too much and I prefer to put that money to the new set of mtb shoes (more about that later...) The long 240 km Scandinaviamylly would have been good endurance training but now it's really better to just ride trails with mountain bike. And I did just that yesterday evening, thought only for 2 hours.
I noticed during the ride that I have a lot more confidence in my riding and that is really important for Kangasala 24h. My original plan was to do a long mountain bike ride this weekend but it didn't materialize this time. My last chance is next Saturday and I'm targeting for a 7-8 hour ride. After that there is still enough time to recover for Kangasala.
One thing that I have been very satisfied with is my bike commuting. I have done almost every commute by bike and my objective is to keep it that way. Despite the short distance it has been good training with higher intensity.
I have to also confess that sometimes I surf too much in the internet, and I could maybe write more to this blog. But, by surfing the net you can make interesting findings, like yesterday. On Ben Saunders site, who is a ground-breaking polar adventurer, I found a link to blog post of Hywel Davis who did a double ironman triathlon in 21.5 hours! Now, a 24-hour mtb solo race is really tough but that is probably even tougher. Really really inspiring stuff...
Friday, August 29, 2008
Race Report: Nissan MTB Finlandia
Here is finally the report of my seventh Finlandia MTB. This year the event was named Nissan MTB Finlandia and it is part of the Nissan MTB Cup.
Earlier event date could have ment drier race course, but this summer has been pretty rainy. The weather was good for the week prior to the event and Sunday was forecasted to be sunny... well, the weather was cloudy and it seemed that a rain is not out of the queston...
The main 70 km race was scheduled to start 12 AM. Nice change to previous years as then the race started 11 AM. I had a little over an hour to prepare before the start, so everything looked great. This year the race started also on top of the Messilä Camping area, so it ment that there wasn't an uphill to break the field. The start was fast, but as usual, for the most of the first lap I was slowed down by the other riders.
It took about 20-30 minutes to find my rhythm and feel better. My engine is usually slow to start and it was pretty much the same also this time. The new wheelset felt really awesome and I could ride the uphills harder and faster. An hour into the race I felt pretty good and I was thinking that this seems to be a good day... but oohlala! At 1h20min it started to rain! Actually I wasn't suprised, but it ment that this race was going to be brutal again. The rain wasn't fortunately heavy but it made the race course slippery. There is also one horribe clay section at Tiirismaa which will be muddy. On the first lap it wasn't too bad but the there was still the second lap coming and there were over 500 riders riding it...
The time for the first lap was about 1h50min. I thought that maybe today I was finally going to ride under 4 hours. But at times the rain was harder so this was going to be a tough task. I rode the first lap pretty hard and I had to really force myself during the second lap. I had energy drink (sports drink with maltodextrin) in my hydration pack and ate gels, about 1 per hour. Also, my bike worked great. On the second lap the clay section at Tiirismaa was really muddy I had to walk, like many others. After that I put everything I got to the last uphills. In the finish I looked my HRM and the time was 3:59:10! Finally under 4 hours!
Obviously I'm happy with my performance. I haven't trained the way I had wanted to this summer, so in that respect the result is great. I have a reason to believe that some year I can ride this event even somewhere closer to 3h30mins.
At home it took several days to clean all my gear, with my busy evening work shift schedule. But it's worth it, at least once in a year!
Monday, August 25, 2008
83rd place with a time of 3:59:06, which is my best time so far in Finlandia MTB. Full report later, maybe next night as I'm going to work, evening shift.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
After Paimio's Revenge, the real revenge was provided by nature in the late evening and night. A really powerful thunderstorm that broke my ADSL internet connection. My devices were not damaged as they were off of the grid.
Tonight I did a short 1 hour test ride with the new wheelset. I was a little tired (woke 4:50, work starts 6:00) but that didn't hinder test riding - and the weather was absolutely perfect. It rained very much during the thunderstorm but the trails of the early parts of the Revenge course were amazingly dry. The bike feels now REALLY RESPONSIVE! The change is really dramatic and now I'm really looking for Finlandia. It also looks like the trail conditions in Finlandia will be much better compared to last years mudfest.
Some photos of the trails. The root sections are great training for Kangasala 24h.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
A new wheelset for the primary bike, Shimano Deore XT WH-M775. Compared to the other wheelset, Mavic Crossland, they are 431 g lighter with quick release levers! That is pretty much and it is very interesting to see how much that will affect riding during Finlandia and Kangasala 24h. And they look really great and fits my bike like a glove...
Group Ride Report: Paimio's Revenge III
What a great day! The day started gloomy and stayed that way (with only one rain shower...)
Ten riders plus me took part. The trails were suprisingly dry - not that they were completely dry but not really wet. Riding time for the Revenge course was 3:04:19, hr. avg/max 153/186 bpm for me (total riding time 3:52:34 and 62.34 km). Great to see new riders taking part in this group ride. Thanks again to everyone!
Also great to see riders with different bikes. There were at least four hardtails, two of them were singlespeeds and one of the ss was 29er. Also a full suspension 29er, the rest were full suspension bikes.
More photos in the gallery.
The plan is to organize Paimio's Revenge IV next year, and the course could see some significant additions...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Paimio's Revenge III
It is tomorrow: a group mtb ride called Paimio's Revenge III, start from Paimio's sports park at 10 AM. Today it rained most of the day, and Sunday's weather is forecast to be much of the same. So, it means epic riding! It is always a little bit (or much) harder when the conditions are tough...
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Event Report: Eteläkärjen ajot
I woke on Sunday morning at 5.30, and hearing it was raining. I was thinking that "not again", and feared it could be another bad day in the saddle. But the day turned to be a great one...
I picked up friends Simone and Aarne and then it was just a 100 km car drive to Tammisaari. There were a couple of heavy rain showers during the trip, and it rained also in Tammisaari...
The event centre.
Eteläkärjen ajot roughly translates Southend Tour. The distance is about 120 km and the course is absolutely beautiful. The course is also hilly as there is 915 metres of climbing. There are not so many particpants in this event but all things in the event (fee only 20€) makes it one of the best motion cycling event in Finland.
The rain stopped before the start, but the roads were really wet. We decided to ride our own pace, but there was a small group with suitable speed so we joined it. We did the most of the work with Simone and I rode even very little behind his wheel because of the wet roads. For the first hour I didn't feel super good but good enough that this wouldn't be necessarily a bad day. First service point at 1.5 hour, with juice, salt cucumber and bread. After that there were the tough hills of Mustio. Suddenly I felt really good and powered up the hills really well, pulling away from our group. After the hills I waited for our group, but stayed in the front. The roads were also drier after Mustio.
One of the highlights of the event is the passage of Fiskars, it is really beautiful place. There was also the second service point, similar to the first one.
After Fiskars the wind was a little hard but I felt still really good and rode alone in front for awhile. The last part is called Prästkulla loop and the third service point is also there. I rode more with our group, but powered away again in the last 10 km.
Stats of the day: 3.59.32, 122.1 km, avg. speed 30.6 km/h, heart rate avg./max. 146/178 bpm.
In the finish there was the ever great food service with lasagne, salad, bread and juice. Every year there is also a raffle and that was the biggest suprise for me. I won the main prize, a roof mounted bike carrier!!
All in all, a great day in the saddle and a great event as every year. This event will always stay in my calendar.
Friday, August 08, 2008
A busy month
June and July were silent months as far as my cycling goes, but August is really the opposite. Really busy month ahead:
August 10 Eteläkärjen ajot
August 17 Paimio's Revenge III
August 24 Nissan MTB Finlandia
August 31 Myllyn Pyöräily
September 12-13 Kangasala 24h
For Myllyn Pyöräily I have an idea to ride from home to start place and after the event back home. That would mean about 90 kms more riding. With Scandinavia Mylly it means 310 kms road riding and that could be a little too much before Kangasala 24h. On the other hand I have never ridden over 300 km with road bike so it is a little tempting. Other option would be to ride Jättimylly 119 km.
It has been raining really heavily this morning and I wouldn't necessarily do a training ride in these conditions. Legs feels a little tired from yesterday's effort, so today is a rest day. A light spin maybe on Saturday.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The weather forecast didn't look too good for this afternoon and evening, but decided to try to do a long mtb ride as the holiday week is soon over. Rode first 2 hours alone and then with a local singlespeed freak Jan, who also runs Pyöristi bike store.
And yes, the rains started 3 PM, but it wasn't too heavy. Found some new trails (to me), and rode also the more technical part of Revenge course. After that I rode with Jan the easier part of Revenge. Some notes: the rain isn't reallly a problem when it's not too heavy and you have good gear. Continental Vertical Pro UST is pretty good tire for wet and slippery conditions. And Deore XT groupset works really well.
4.5 hours and 77.42 kms. Pretty satisfied with that as I rode also 2 hours on Tuesday evening.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
It was raining on Sunday, most of the day, but decided to do a mtb ride in the evening. Headed to trails of Paimio's Hiekkahelmi (the route of Paimio's Revenge). Those trails provides really good technical riding exercise, especially when the conditions are wet and slippery. Only a 2 hour ride but felt pretty good. Some poor quality pictures:
And it seems that more riding in the bad conditions is to be expected this week, as the weather looks to be volatile over the week. Overall, the weather has been really poor and rainy this summer.
In the gear department, I'm waiting for a new wheelset (Shimano Deore XT M775) and visited the great new bike shop in Paimio, Pyöristi Ay, for trueing my other wheelset. Keep up the good work Jan!