Archive for August 2009
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Race Report: Kangasala 24h 2009

My most difficult and very hard race ever, so far. Period.

Kangasala 24h is without a doubt the most challenging 24-hour race/event in Finland. You have technically demanding course. You have physically demanding course. You have long and VERY DARK night. You have everything. The race course is literally pure hell with this years conditions. This year, this race tried to break you down in every way. Did it break me? Almost.

I knew that it would be very difficult if we would have rain. Friday evening was dry but it had rained during the last week and the route wasn't entirely dry...

I had a good start. First 4 laps went well. First lap felt pretty awful as I was just warming up. Second and third lap felt good. But the darkness and night became soon, and so started the difficulties. The air was humid and the course changed to insanely slippery. My Sigma Sport Mirage Evo lights are definitely not good enough for trail night riding. Also, I had Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires with Shimano XT wheelset. Great tires for drier conditions but not for Kangasala-wet-nightmare-roots-and-rocks. Ok, I was prepared for this. I had another Mavic Crossland wheelset with Continental Mountain King 2.2 tires, and backup bike had Michelin All Mountain tires. I chose to go with the backup bike as I have also more upright position with that bike. But not much help, I also fell with the backup bike! (Strange thing also that the front tire burped air). I changed the front wheel of my primary bike. A little better but I didn't have enough vision with the poor lights. I fell almost ten times during the night and early morning I decided to take a break and wait for the sunlight. During my break I took a small nap and guess what, it also started to rain lightly.

My last lap before the morning and the break took over three hours. Now I had both the front and rear with Mountain King tires, and was finally able to see the trail. Much better, but my bottom was really sore.

I soldiered on and was able to ride several laps with a little better speed, but still too slow because of the slippery course. In the afternoon it rained really heavily and the course was a mess after that. A little break and I still rode 3-4 laps. My bottom was so sore that I rode the last lap entirely out of the saddle!

In the end my effort was good enough for 5th place with 24 laps, one lap was approx. 9.5 km so almost 230 km. My goal was to ride at least 30 laps so this is a disappointment.

Hats off to everyone for riding in these insane conditions. The top four rode really well, awesome performances and congratulations to all of you!

A couple of good things: my primary bike worked well and I didn't give up.

Special thanks to my wife for sending supportive text messages from home. Thanks also to my dad for pitting. And thanks for all the blog readers.

I thought many times during the race that maybe I should take a longer break from 24-hour solo racing, but I figured out that I need a good set of lights and more training in wet conditions. 24-hour solo racing is torture, but this torture is suited for me. I will be back.







By Toni at 17:27 | Permalink |
Category: 2009 Race Reports

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Race Report: Nissan MTB Finlandia 2009

8th time in all, 7th in the newer course. I really like this event even if it is a "sprint race" for me. This year I had two plans. Plan A was for a good day - if I felt good I try to improve my personal record from last year. Plan B was to just stretch legs and save myself for Kangasala 24h.

I was in the race centre 25 minutes before the start. That wasn't the plan, I was a little late so no warmup. The weather was really good, partially sunny and cloudy, temps about 17-19 C. It took about 30 minutes to warm up. First lap 1:55. Didn't feel too good so it was going to be Plan B. I took the second lap easier, but still rode it in 2:10 and finish time 4:10:04. Bike worked really well. The course was longer this year, and it was really dry and super fast. If I have had a better day I would have definitely done it under 4 hours. My average heart rate for the first lap was 162 bpm and for the complete race 156 bpm. It also seems that average speed was the best so far.

My Finlandia MTB history:

1999 50 km 112th 2:44:06
2003 66 km 161st 4:25:56
2004 70 km 60th 4:58:53
2005 70 km 114th 4:31:40
2006 70 km 116th 4:34:54
2007 70 km 74th 4:30:45
2008 70 km 83rd 3:59:06
2009 78 km 72nd 4:10:04


The best thing was the next day. I felt I was really well recovered from the effort.

Next year it could be time to ride this event with a SS, or really focus for this event and try to improve my own time.

Kangasala 24h is very soon, doing final preparations tomorrow.

By Toni at 21:43 | Permalink |
Category: 2009 Race Reports

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Event Report: Eteläkärjen ajot

This report comes "a little late". The 20 Anniversary of Etelärkärjen ajot took place on 9th August. This small but one of the best motion cycling event in Finland has been my annual event from 2002 (2007 missed because of Kangasala 24h).

This year I was there with my friend Simone. Great sunny weather this time, althought pretty windy. We tried to catch the front group at the beginning but that was a little too hard for us. Maybe we rode too hard because legs didn't feel good for the rest of the ride. We had at time 2-4 other riders with us. 121.8 km in 3:52.01. A few photos taken by Simone:



Tomorrow is my another annual event, Finlandia MTB. The race course is reportedly dry and very fast, so interesting to see if I can improve my own record from last year.

By Toni at 18:28 | Permalink |
Category: 2009 Race Reports