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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marttila excursion n:o 5

Friday of last week was a free day off from work, so it was also a chance to do another overnighter. Thursday was also my birthday so it was nice to celebrate it with an excursion to the Wilderness of Marttila. As the title says, this was my 5th time there, and I think there is a lot more to come. The place is so blissful.

The reclamation was succesful for my previous tent, McKinley Enduro Ultralight, and I was able to change it to a slightly larger McKinley Compact Light 2 tent. The plan was of course to test it and find a nice camping spot.

A very nice evening, and a beautiful sunset in progress...

 

Approaching the wilderness...

 

 

 

The trails were wet and very soft near the bog of Orhijoenrahka, but the 907 floated really easily across them!

 

 

 

Getting closer to my destination, the lookout spot near Juomakivenrahka.

 

I was welcomed with beautiful landscapes right after the sunset.

 

 

The camping spot. The tent is easy and fast to pitch and I was quickly safe from the mosquitoes that were keeping company.

 

 

The new tent is certainly better than the previous one. Inner and outer tent, more room, separate pockets for gear.

I went to sleep somewhere in the midnight.

 

I set alarm for the early morning and sunrise. Waking up early was worth it, the morning was stunning.

 

 

 

I went for a short ride down to the bog. Landscape awesomeness!

Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos).

I rode back to my tent and slept for a couple of hours. After that the usual morning coffee and porridge.

Time to leave and head home.

 

 

One of the best overnighter so far. The only thing that didn't work properly was the front brake of my 907 but as writing this the problem has been sorted out. Next time I hope to do a little longer outing.

The slideshow of photos is here.

By Toni at 21:44 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Photographing

Monday, June 06, 2011

Another Marttila outing

Yeah wilderness! The wilderness of Marttila, the paradise next to my home. Last weekend it was time to do an overnighter there again. This time I had also a new tent, McKinley Enduro Ultralight, with me, so this was a good chance to test it. There are many good reasons to have a tent with bikepacking trips: mosquitoes, rain, virtually camp-anywhere-you-want. Tent camping gives also much better possibilities for sunset and sunrise photographing. I had this in my mind for this outing.

 

I was again late for the sunset in Marttila, but no worries, the evening was stunning.

 

 

My plan was to ride near one of the bogs and camp there. I didn't have lights this time so I ride in the twilight. Pretty exciting!

 

After rather challenging but really fun trail riding and little lenghty boardwalk bikepush I arrived at Hirvikallio, and pitched the tent.

The weather forecast had some rain showers in the menu for the night, and they should be over before the morning. And that exactly happened. Otherwise I slept reasonable well. It rained during the sunrise so no photos of that this time.

The tent is really ultralight, however, in the morning I noticed that it isn't fully waterproof. It leaks slightly from the seams. Reclamation will be done for sure...

Very nice landscapes from the top of Hirvikallio.

Marsh tea (Ledum palustre):

And more landscapes...

Enjoying the views with the morning coffee and porridge.

Time to move and head home.

Really nice overnighter. There are still more trails to be ridden, that is for the next time.

The usual slideshow link.

By Toni at 19:30 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures

Monday, May 09, 2011

A short Marttila overnighter

The winter was so great that when it was over I would have liked it to continue just a bit longer as my 907 arrived. But the spring has been really nice as well, and the plan was from the very beginning that 907 would be a year-round bike. So it was time for the first overnighter with the 907 as the weather forecast was really promising with clear skies. The plan this time was to meet Peter at the Wilderness of Marttila as he was on an epic two-day adventure from Tammisaari. We also decided to check out an another lean-to, Karhumäki, as the wilderness route includes three lean-to's at different places.

I did the preparations for the 907 (bottle cages, bags, seatpost rack) on Friday evening and I was ready to go somewhat too late, as the original plan was to be at Marttila before sunset. Not this time, but Marttila will surely be my primary bikepacking destination as it is fairly close to my home.

 

Getting closer to the Wilderness of Marttila along some nice gravel roads.

 

Peter had just arrived at the lean-to and started a campfire.

 

 

 

I grilled a packet of sausages while Peter prepared a meal with a stove. Peter's day had been long and hard, riding almost 140 km, and he was clearly very tired. But tired in a good way! I'm hoping I could do a longer two-day adventure this summer.

There was a nice sickle of moon in the sky.

The Karhumäki lean-to was more a firewood shelter and there was just enough room for me to sleep. Peter put up his tent.

The night was cold - the temperature dropped below zero. I was using McKinley Yukon 3-season sleeping bag that has a limit comfort at +1°C. It is enough for these kind of nights but I couldn't pack a pair of wool socks to my drybag, so I didn't sleep too well. However, the sounds of exotic birds in the early morning were awesome!

My water bottle was partly frozen in the morning.

 

Peter in his tent. I don't own a tent or a tarp yet but it's in my plans for the future.

 

 

The usual morning procedures.

Apparently I was too busy on Friday evening while packing, as I didn't have my cutlery (spoon/fork/knife) with me. Fortunately Peter had a pair of tire levers and I was able to eat my porridge. :) Thanks Peter!

The Karhumäki shelter.

A view from Karhumäki.

The trails are absolutely awesome in Marttila. Lots of rocks, some roots, tight twists and turns. The 907 is really a blast to ride here! It is truly a year-round bike.

 

Peter filtering drinking water. Truly an unsupported adventure!

More rock awesomeness.

The pond at Palainen.

We were running out of time. Still plenty of trails to be ridden in the future.

Heading home.

A slideshow of photos is here.

A nice overnighter. Thanks Peter for the company. Already looking forward for the next outing!

By Toni at 18:08 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Fatbike

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Super full moon overnighter

Well, the nature provided an outstanding stage for a local overnighter here in Paimio. A super full moon and partly clear skies. It even snowed before the Saturday evening. The night temperature was forecasted around -5°C. So I had a plan: take a lot of photos of the super full moon with the new camera and to find the lean-to of Hevonpää this time, the same thing I tried a month ago.

I left home around 22PM. I followed the 'script' like the last time...

 

 

 

I continued riding but only for a short distance as more awesomeness was just around the corner...

 

 

 

 

My timing for photographing these was just right. Shortly after this more clouds filled the sky and I continued towards Hevonpää.

This time I found the right fork in the road.

 

The start of the small forest road was promising...

..but quite soon started the thick snowdrifts. Not suprising, I was expecting this. Someone had been here with snowshoes. I followed the tracks as I supposed that they would lead to the lean-to.

But they didn't. Instead I had to do really hard work, the route of the tracks followed some really tough terrain. In many places I was climbing like a mountain goat. Still quite fun though...

I checked my position with GPS. I wasn't far away from the lean-to but the clock was closer to 1AM so I decided to camp to a snowdrift.

I slept fairly well. In the morning, about 6AM, I opened my eyes. It was cloudy so I decided to sleep more, as there wasn't spectacular sunrise to be seen.

Closer to 8AM I woke again and started the usual breakfast antics.

Time to move again...

Pretty soon the snowshoe tracks lead to a small road.

And heading to home in a glorious sunshine...

This was a very nice overnighter, the best part was undoubtly the start with the super full moon. I will probably do an overnighter to the lean-to of Hevonpää when all the snow has melted as it much easier to find the place and the trails are rideable.

More photos can be seen in this slideshow.

By Toni at 15:44 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Photographing

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Ice Journey 2011 - Brief write-up

We did it.

This winter started well, but January was fairly warm and it seemed that our dream will not happen. Well, the cold weather came back in February and suddenly we were on the ice of Baltic Sea.

My friend Peter has already an excellent story how it happened. I will write a long story later, as I have returned to busy everyday life and I had already other plans before the trip.

All in all, this trip really proved to be an adventure of the lifetime. These kind of opportunities are really rare. Things didn't go as we planned but it resulted in even more epic and challenging adventure than we imagined. We had to push ourselves really hard, we had to improvise, we had to make the right decisions. But everything went well and proved that we had prepared for this in the right way.

Big thanks to Peter for doing great work for getting information about the routes and figuring out all the maps, and everything else. There is no doubt that we have a same kind of passion for adventures!

And very very big thanks to my wife for her support and understanding for a crazy man! You are always my inspiration because what you have went through!

Here are some of the photos taken during the trip, and a slideshow, more to come when I write the full story. Enjoy!

By Toni at 8:25 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Freezing overnighter

The weather has been record cold for this winter in this week, nightly lows has been -25°C to -29°C and daily highs -10 to -15°C. This weekend looked very good for an extreme overnighter with a full moon. I was too tired on Friday evening and didn't have enough time to prepare properly. So I decided to have a go on Saturday night. The destination was the lean-to of Hevonpää in Paimio, a place where I haven't been before, and not too far away.

The goal of this overnighter was to see if I can still be comfortable even with the very cold conditions. Forecasts predicted -28°C for the night. My Marmot Never Summer sleeping bag is rated for -18°C, with the survival rating being at -37°C. Not really enough but I have a very warm wool sweater and old down jacket. Also, I decided to take two pairs of wool socks and two new Vaude pocket warmers. I knew that without them my foot would be too cold and that would make my night pretty miserable.

I left home late, somewhere 11PM, temperature at -24°C. The start was awesome and stunning.

The two batteries of my camera were fully charged, but the first one died after these shots! Not a suprise, as Olympus uTough-8000 has a full metal frame.

I rode very slowly, trying to not to sweat, that was the key for sleeping well in the night. Things went as planned for the first 40 minutes, althought the gears of my bike didn't work properly. My plan was to get to the lean-to in an hour, and I estimated that this way my foot would not get too cold. Wrong. My toes started to hurt slightly after the first 30-40 minutes, but I moved them and the situation was still in my control. The Moose Mitts pogies and Orso two-finger gloves were almost not enough, but they were ok.

I was getting closer to my destination, the only problem now was to find it. I had looked the maps at home and figured that the lean-to should be easy to find, as the instructions says that the route should be marked with yellow strips. I rode two of the small side roads of the 110-road. On the later one, I found a couple of yellow strips but nothing else.

After this photo also my second battery died. Things didn't look too good. My toes were pretty cold. Then I found some ski tracks nearby. I decided to hike and see if they lead to the lean-to. They didn't. I had also early signs of bonking and ate some frozen chocolate raisins. I had also sandwiches but they were, of course, pretty frozen.

The clock was probably close to 2AM in the night. I could have camped to snowdrift, but it didn't feel as a good idea. I decided to abort my trip and head to home. As a plan B I could camp to a place very close to my home where there is some kind of shelter, depending how I feel. But I was running out of time, the night would be too short. And the conditions felt even colder.

I was home at 3.30AM. This was a right decision, look what had happened to the pocket warmers!

Completely frozen. The temperature was -28°C at home! I don't know what kind of liquid it is inside of the warmers, and haven't found the information on the net, but the freezing point is fairly high. In the future I have to keep them in my jersey pockets.

Interesting overnighter! I'm a little disappointed in not finding the lean-to, but I'm not giving up. If the opportunity comes, I will try this again.

Peter managed to do a lot more succesful overnighter on skis on Friday/Saturday night, check out his report, awesome stuff!

By Toni at 13:02 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Gear, Photographing

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Winter S24O at Marttila

We were at the Wilderness of Marttila on May 2010 with Peter, and I thought that it would be nice to visit there also in winter. The trails are not rideable as there is so much snow, but the area is awesome and should provide some stunning visual stuff. And we weren't disappointed.

The weekend weather forecast also looked good, nighttime temps around -4°C. My goal was also to do more some gear testing, with the new stove and cookset, and see how comfortable one can be during an overnighter.

Peter rode from Turku to Paimio where we met, and continued to Marttila.
 
Getting closer to hike-a-bike section to the lean-to. This part was rideable!
Into the bike pushing.
 
Peaceful bliss.
The lean-to.
We started a fire and grilled sandwhiches.
Into the night, and I slept fairly well, althought there is still room for improvement. In the morning we made coffee and porridge. I forgot my fuel canister home but Peter borrowed his. My stove worked well.
Morning twilight.
On the move again.
Peter is a tall guy at 6"3 but this shows how much snow there was.
Nice landscapes.
The hike-a-bike was easier with our nightly marks.
Pushing almost over.
These small roads were actually a little challenging to ride and would have been spot-on for a fatbike.
A very nice morning.
Just before home took some photos of my fully packed adventure bike.
Almost home.
A really nice overnighter! Thanks for Peter for the company. A slideshow with more photos is here. And there is of course Peter's report, check it out, there are again some stunning photos.
By Toni at 5:48 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures

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

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Overnighter at Linnavuori

It has been a while since my last overnighter (mid-August) but this weekend I finally had time for it and the weather was also better. The plan was to go to Linnavuori in Piikkiö with Peter. This is a place where I haven't been before, there is a lean-to and it's fairly close to home (takes about 45 minutes to ride there), so time-wise this was to be nice and easier overnighter.

Heading to Linnavuori with Peter:

My original plan was to ride from home via some the local singletracks but I was running a little late so I ride directly to Piikkiö. This wasn't really a disappointment because we were met with really great singletrack at Linnavuori, lots of rocks and roots.

At the lean-to, Peter preparing the fire:

 

I took a while to get the fire started but after that we grilled sausages and sandwiches. I had sandwiches with cheese and bacon. Delicious!

 

A views from the lean-to:

 

Peter in the morning:

 

Matti K came to visit with his cyclocross bike and started the fire for us. Thanks Matti!

 

In the morning we went to the top of Linnavuori. The climb was really steep and not rideable:

 

The sunrise...

 

 

The views from the top of Linnavuori were absolutely spectacular!

 

 

Then we rode around the trails of Linnavuori. Really nice singletrack there...

A few more photos here. Check out also Peter's great report!

What a fantastic overnighter! I was suprised that this place is so awesome. I will surely do many overnighters and little adventures to this place in the future. Thanks to Peter for a great companion!

By Toni at 10:33 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer overnighter at Huso

After postponing this overnighter in the early part of the week due to rainy weather, it was finally time for it on Wednesday evening. And it was beautiful evening. Packing my new frame and gas tank bags were a nice suprise. They don't look that big but there is plenty of room. I managed to pack one thermos bottle, one 1 litre water bottle, arm and knee warmers, a couple of sandwiches, Lumicycle LED4 battery and Olympus uTough 8000 camera. The new air sleeping pad, summer sleeping bag and pillow were nicely fitted to rear rack. Purposefully I didn't take my hydration pack with me.

When the sun set I was ready:

I rode first via my trail-commute-route that I haven't ridden for a long time:

It was dark but riding went really well with the powerful LED lights:

Closer to the hut of Huso:

The hut at night:

Sleeping place. The new pad and bag are great, but it's not so good idea to sleep on the ground of the hut as it came pretty cold in the night.

The hut in the morning:

On my way back to home in the next morning:

Some really nice trails:

 

A really nice adventure after the long break, but I'm already looking for more of these!

By Toni at 0:40 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Gear

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Overnighter at Marttila

Distance: 62.18 km
Time: 3:42:21

I received an email from Peter (Yeti) last week that he was going to Marttila this Saturday. There is The Route of Marttila's Wilderness and it is reported to be a great place. I decided to join as it fit my weekend plans well, Marttila is rather close to my home and the weather was looking absolutely perfect - suddenly we have summer, daytime temps about +25 C° and nighttime +15°C. The evening was windy but still very warm. We met near my home about 20:30 and we still had enough time to ride before the sunset and darkness.

Peter on a gravel road with his Fargo:

 

On the highway of Halikko-Marttila:

Nearing the start place of the Wilderness Route:

 

The start place:

 

A good thing that I had my Lumicycle LED4 lights with me:

Took these two videos with free hand so not great quality:

At the lean-to:

 

Peter set up a campfire. We toasted our sandwiches in the fire. Delicious!

 

A night scene:

 

My sleeping place. The night was warm, my sleeping bag was more than enough but didn't feel too hot. During the night we had a little rain shower and we moved into the lean-to. I slept suprisingly well.

The sunrise:

Peter's sack lunch system...

...and mine: 

 

A trail view:

 

The lean-to:

 

A lot of great landscapes:

Also a lot of duckboards:

And Peter riding very well them (but I walked most of them):

The most of the trails were technically pretty demanding, maybe just a little too much at some places, althought there was also a very nice easier trail section.

A rock section:

More landscapes:

Our bikes:

Heading back to home:

Overall an awesome adventure! In the morning we kind of run out of time and we rode maybe 40% of the trails, so I have to come back some other time to ride more. Really great have this kind of wilderness so close to my home! Big thanks to Peter, check out also his report that will be online sooner or later!

By Toni at 12:23 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First overnighter

 

Before this winter is over I wanted to do an overnighter to test my gear and myself. Weather forecast looked perfect this weekend, with clear skies and night temperature around -10C. So I headed out late Friday evening.

But this overnighter was going to be more than just a test. I decided to go to Huso in Paimio, as it is fairly close (less than 20 km) from my home and there is a hut which provides some extra shelter. My goal in the future is of course to camp under sky but my sleeping gear is not enough for that yet. Also, I haven't been in that place before so it's should be a nice first time for me. And then, I wanted to take a lot of photos with a possibly beautiful sunrise.

Bike packed and ready to go:

 

The Lumicycle LED4 lights are really good:

In Huso, and next to the hut:

 

Next I was faced with a very hard bike push to the hut. I took this short video to show what was going on. Epic:

 

A night to remember:

 

Finally there! It was fairly easy to navigate to the hut because the trail was marked with ribbons and more importantly REFLECTORS!

 

Inside the hut:

The sun is rising:

 

The hut in the morning:

 

Another photo of my adventure bike:

This is a fantastic place:

 

My visit has been marked:

 

What I wanted to see:

 

The radio mast of Huso:

 

The road to back home:

 

Overall this overnighter was more extreme than I imagined. The bike pushing to the hut was really hard but very fun. The night was cold, about -10C. I didn't sleep too well, the first two hours was reasonable but after that I was feeling a little too cold. My McKinley Yukon sleeping bag is definitely not enough for these kind of conditions (limit comfort +1C). Fortunately I had a fishing overall in my backpack. It would have been slightly better with the extreme sleeping pad but I didn't take it with me as I ran out of storage place in my bike. In the morning I drank morning coffee from Retki thermos and it was still warm, and a couple of sandwiches. There is a lot to improve with my adventure gear, and preparation is always very imporatant, even for this kind of "mini adventure".

As I'm writing this I'm not tired at all! But the tiredness surely comes at some point. But what a night!

By Toni at 10:04 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Gear

Sunday, February 14, 2010

One day in winter paradise

Distance: 109 km
Time: 6h15 min (total time almost 8h including all the stops)
Heart rate: 134 bpm avg./165 bpm max.
Elevation: 980 m

As the ÅÅ24ÖÖ ride (an iceroad ride from Turku to Åland Island) wasn't going to happen this year because of the too thin ice conditions, I planned a longer winter ride in the Paimio-Kemiö area, and asked Yeti to come with me. The route includes a cross of Halinkonlahti between Lappdal and Rajalahti, if the ice seems safe enough. The route is partially familiar to me but this time the goal was to avoid big roads and ride on the small roads as much as possible.

We started a little over 8 o'clock from Paimio. It was -18C when I left home, really cold, and also humid! Fortunately the pogies just arrived for this ride.

I was using CamelBak H.A.W.G hydradtion pack with insulated winter hose but it freezed very soon (I forgot to blow the water out from the hose). On Yöntiläntie, near Hajala, I tried to take first photos with my new camera (battery fully charged) but the camera reported that battery is empty! I put the camera in my jacket's back pocket and hoped that it would help. And yes, for the rest of the ride the camera worked flawlessly.

Yeti and his Salsa Fargo.

 

In Kokkila, there is a ferry to Angelniemi. Fortunately there was also a hole in the ice swimming club open with a warm dressing room. There I was able to melt my frozen drinking system.

But the drinking system freezed again later. Yeti gave me one of his bottles, big thanks to him.

The Kokkila ferry.

On the Kemiö island there were some really awesome forest roads, like these.

Also one hike-a-bike section.

In Lappdal, there were marks from other people on the ice, and also other people on the ice. We decided to cross the bay.

The rest of the ride back to Paimio included a lot more fantastic small roads, but riding felt really hard. This was probably the hardest winter ride I have ever done. At times, it felt brutal, but yes, this is paradise! Back home it was -8C. I took a sauna and ate a big plate of spaghetti with meat sauce. Now I feel great, maybe a little tired.

Thanks again to Yeti for the great ride, there is great report on his blog, check it out.

By Toni at 17:28 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Training

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New look

As you can see, I have updated the look of my blog. The old all-gray background felt really boring and Twitter/Facebook gadgets were messy. As a "new" partner there is also the logo of my favourite local bike shop Pyöristi. There is also a new version (1.5.1) of the blog software that I use, Thingamablog. The banner photo will be changed too, as soon as a new photo will be taken.

Over the past two weeks there has been conflicting local news about the possible iceroads in the archipelago of Turku, as one news said it could be possible. But the latest news in Turun Sanomat says that there won't be any iceroads this winter, as the ice is too thin and there is too much insulating snow above ice. As an alternative I have been planning for a substitute ice adventure from Paimio to Kemiö, but it has snowed even more so that is not so likely either. One option would be to ride the normal Archipelago looproad like in the summer time. Some kind of long winter ride or even small adventure would be very nice as my bike commuting has lately been pretty monotonous.

I have been also waiting for the bike pogies from Trail's Edge Outdoors. I received an email yesterday that they have been finally shipped to me. It takes probably 1-2 weeks. I'm really looking forward for them as my hands were really suffering during commutes last week with -20C temperatures.

Sometimes I'm dreaming about a very long (2-3 weeks) bike adventures, but look at this, really unbeliavable!

By Toni at 22:08 | Permalink |
Category: Adventures, Commuting, Gear, General