Last sunday the 5th September 2010 was time for the annual Tour de Helsinki cycling event. The race began at 11am with some 1733 riders at the start line.
Together with two friends we headed out for this event early in the morning from Turku. We first headed for the hotel which was located close to the start-line, to change into our cycling gear. The weather was a bit chilly, some +13 degrees and almost overcast. Fortunately there was only a gentle breeze.
At the start line the riders could choose to join different groups. We decided to join the group that would keep up a pace of 28km/h. Unfortunately one of our group-members had a small temperature so he decided to follow a slower group. Early on we realized the pace in our group was too slow and later on we joined the 29km/h group. We had an easy time following this group, and decided to breakaway at the latter part of the race.
This happened when there was approximately 20km to go. Together with 10 other riders we formed a breakaway-group at the last hilly section of the race. These climbs were HC category climbs, but really didn't feel bad at all. They were neither long or steep so it was easy to accelerate. Together with my friend we kept up the pace in the early stage of the breakaway, some 35km/h for some kilometres. Only a few km later the group only had 4 riders.
Unfortunately my friend didn't have the legs that day to keep up the pace in the hills and a second later the breakaway held only three riders. We held together almost all the way with an average speed of 36km/h. For me this was a really good speed, especially after having already 120km behind. The pace-keeping was shared among us three approx. 45%-35%-20%, with me keeping the pace 35% of the time and mostly in the small uphill sections.
Along these 18km we saw lots of riders who couldn't keep up the pace and probably lost a lot of time in the last kilometers. When we had approx 2km to go this one rider with the most energy tried to break away from our group of 3 riders. He managed to make a gap of 80 meters for a kilometer or so, but during the last kilometer i managed to hang in and reduce the gap.
4hours and 42 minutes after the start I crossed the finish-line and it felt really good. The last kilometers went really fast and there was a big crowd cheering along the roads, which helped to keep up the pace. A couple of minutes later my friend arrived.
I am quite sure we will participate next year too, a bit wiser and probably cutting 15minutes or more from the time this year.
This is the data from the last 20km (left-click to open full-size picture)
Link to the route on strands.com