Bikes

Hey Spring, welcome Summer

Hey Spring, welcome Summer

Well that went fast. Spring 2017 just happened, and we're already knocking on July. Having the opportunity to enjoy a rest-day on the balcony, I decided it would be a good way to spend a couple of hours, writing down my thoughts about the past couple of months. There are tons of pictures, again.

Spring is here

Spring is here

Now its not often a cyclist in Finland can update such topics in the first days of March. I am fortunate to be able to do it this year. Last year I did my first road bike ride 26th of March. Some years ago I was not able to begin the outdoor season until April. This year I got to type those words in my training calendar as early as 1st of March. I feel privileged and I have never been this excited before a season The GoExpo fair in Helsinki is also one of the first signs of springI visited the fair last weekend.

FTP Test day

FTP Test day

Today was that day, when you know you will go through some pain and desperation. It has been too long since my last FTP test, so I honestly was unsure what to expect. Something less than during summer but more than last year same time. Having had some time off the bike in October and mainly easier workouts lately, I knew this could be really painful.

Sunday on the road

Today was another spring day in Finland. After the last post where I wrote about spring, the next day we had snowfall. Anyhow, I still want to believe spring is here, even though it's only beginning of March. Today for the first time I got company by a friend, he was riding his Bianchi 1885 road bike, whereas I still had my Felt F65X cyclocross. Maybe next weekend I can take out my Canyon, but first I need to do a proper maintenance on it. Today was sunny, +8 degrees warm, so a perfect day to ride a bike even if it was close to storm with winds gusting up to 15 m/s. On today's agenda we had a couple of 15 minute intervals with a moderate workload and some strength training intervals with low cadence uphill. Enough talking, now for the ride-pics!

Bianchi season is opened!

Leg-powered

Uphill, big gear, low cadence

Out of the saddle

2 minutes done uphill, back down and repeat 8 times

Bianchi 1885

Felt F65X

3 hours 20 minutes, first really enjoyable longer ride outdoor this year, and really looking forward for next week, weather forecasts show some more sun and warm weather. Next week will also be pretty darn interesting with Tirreno-Adriatico and much more! I will also tell you some more about new things coming up. But that will be next week, now enjoy what's left of Sunday!



Spring is in the air

This week has been warm (well not warm like Italy, but warm comparing to the average temperatures in Finland this time a year). This week has also been great for cycling. On Friday it was time for yet another FTP test, this time a proper one. Having done only a few hard strength training workouts I was a bit nervous. But gladly I managed to perform pretty close to what I expected I could. Felt really strong at the latter part of the 20 minute interval and that gave me a nice boost in self-confidence on the bike.

Post FTP workout

After the FTP test, since it was Friday I rewarded myself with sort of "junkfood" and Sauna.

This morning I woke up well rested having had troubles sleeping during the week. And what a great feeling it was to wake up when the sun was shining! This winter has probably affected me more than the previous winters for some reason, and I realized it today feeling great, energized and really happy. Can't remember the time when I would have had all those 3 feelings at the same time. So the sun was shining and Kjell had planned a 2-3 hour easy outdoor ride for me today. Great!

I prepared myself some morning coffee with my Bialetti Brikka (that is by the way working flawlessly and makes a tremendous crema!). While having my espresso and porridge, I had all the time in the world to read the news, twitter feed and update myself with the latest in the cycling world.

After an easy and relaxing morning it was time to change the studded tires for normal cyclocross tires and head out. And folks, that makes a difference!

Look ma, no spikes

"Oh please, how long can it take to take that pic?"

Today's ride-snack, nuts

Nice fog on the lens

Goodbye winter!

One more, still, like the looks!

All the asphalt roads were dry, and almost 100% ready to ride with a roadie! I returned home just in time to watch the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, and what a race that was! As a hockey fan, I also watched the "Winter-classics" Talviklassikko between HIFK and Jokerit, a pretty close game, and a nice ending to the rivalry of being the best one in Helsinki.

Yum!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite sporting events of the year, Vasaloppet where almost 16 000 skiers, both elite and amateurs participate. 90 kilometers on skis and what's interesting is that you usually see tactics in this race, similar to the ones in road cycling races. I've been following this race ever since a kid, and I'm excited every year to watch it, brings back good memories. Also a couple of friends of mine will participate, so it will be interesting to follow them! Tomorrow also Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne will be ridden. So a great day of sports!

 

Have a good one, enjoy your weekend folks!

Cyclists against unsafe city planning

Turku, the city where I live in is not known for great city planning for cyclists. It's far from safe to get around the city center with your bike. Recently the Turku municipal property corporation board voted down a proposition that would have made entering the city center both easier and safer for cyclists. The local cycling association, Turun polkupyöräilijät (Åbo cyclister) organized a demonstrative cycling event through the city center. They managed to gather around 200 cyclists (which is pretty good for a small city like Turku) for this demonstration. Unfortunately I was not able to participate, but I was there with my camera. Below you can browse through them, and if you like to have them in full size, just contact me and we'll arrange that. Enjoy!

First ride with Felt F65X

It's always exciting to try out new things, especially when it comes to bikes. Well this time besides a new bike, it was also first time ever riding with a SRAM groupset. The reason behind buying the Felt F65X was the fact that I needed more kilometers during off season to be able to progress. A part of that was to participate in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge, that would push me to ride 500 kilometers between Christmas eve and New year's eve. I also realized I couldn't do that with my current "off season" bike, the Haro Mary SS, 29" mtb. So I had to make a choice, and that choice was the new 2014 Felt F65X. For this project, I was really lucky to get support from Huntteri a company importing Felt Bicycles in Finland. Without them this wouldn't have been possible.

The F65X comes with SRAM Apex shifters and front derailleur and Rival rear derailleur. The frame is aluminium and the fork is carbon, and the bike has Avid BB5 disc brakes. The weight with pedals is roughly 10 kg, so not the lightest out there, but for me riding in quite harsh conditions, it feels better to have an aluminium bike. 

Web Felt3.jpg

The bike would be put to the test immediately, it was +5 degrees, really windy and it was raining. I would also ride in the evening, in pitch dark.

 The setup with studded tires, front&back-lights and ass savers "mudguard"

The setup with studded tires, front&back-lights and ass savers "mudguard"

It really was dark, and it really was raining. But fortunately I was well prepared with lights, waterproof clothing and thermal layers, so that was no problem. It took me a few kilometers to gain trust in the bike, tried to listen for any strange sounds, tried the brakes, did a couple of all out sprints and brakes and went through the gears. No strange sounds and everything was working perfect. I also had to make a stop to change to lighter gloves, apparently I had prepared really well. 

 And there was light

And there was light

 

Because I've been to a bike fit with my Canyon, I had exact measures on everything, so it was easy to set up the bike to match my road bike, and really, the bike felt comfortable from the first meters and I didn't have to make any changes on the position. The F65X is not as aggressive and stiff as my Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0, but then again you can't compare them because the one is a full carbon bike.

After riding 40 km on the Felt I would say it is a really great cyclocross bike for any beginner or active cyclist. It will probably not be of interest to one competing in CX, but definitely for one that is seeking more kilometers during off season, this is the bike to have. It is comfortable, easy to ride with, and the SRAM groupset seemed to work well. Even for one who never used the "SRAM system" (I'm used to Shimano Ultegra groupset), it felt pretty comfortable and straight forward. After one ride with SRAM, I still would prefer Shimano, but on my second bike that I'm not competing with, it works 100 % fine! The disc brakes, for one who has never set them up, took a while to master to get them straight, but once you have them set up properly, they really do work great. I actually don't know, maybe I would even be ready to see disc brakes on road bikes.. Maybe. 

After only one ride it is hard to write a thorough review ( I will do that once I have more kilometers on it), but the first impression is really good.

Links:

http://www.feltbicycles.com/Finland/2014/Bikes/Cyclo-X/FX-Series/f65x.aspx

http://huntteri.fi/?lang=en&rtn=

 

Now I'm ready for bed and anxiously waiting for the next ride, and especially the Rapha Festive 500! Good Night!

 

Rapha Festive 500

For the first time ever I will participate in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge. The challenge is to ride your bike outdoors 500 km or more between Christmas eve and New year's eve. 

I will probably target on 500 km, but if the weather is good, maybe there can be more kilometers ridden, who knows. I've also decided that if I really want to improve my cycling, I need to ride more. Pretty obvious. So I've been on a shopping spree and decided to finally buy a cyclocross bike. Now I'm able to track both hours and kilometers even during late autumn, winter and early spring, not just spinning on the trainer indoors. I'm really excited to be honest. The bike I bought is a Felt F65X 2014 cyclocross bike. It's not the lightest nor the most expensive one, but damn I like how it looks and feels. I've just put the last pieces together and tomorrow I'll head out for a test ride, can't wait! I will surely write a review as I've tracked some kilometers with the bike.

 Felt F65X 2014

Felt F65X 2014

So 9 days until the challenge starts and 9 days 'til Christmas. I just hope the weather will be somewhat okay. According to the weather forecasts, it should be pretty warm, somewhere around +0 degrees and no snow. Would have been nice to ride in white landscapes instead of the grey ones, but you have to take whatever weather you have. 

If you want to read more about the challenge you can do so on:

http://www.rapha.cc/festive-500-2013

http://www.strava.com/challenges/festive-500-2013

 

I'll try to shoot some videos and pictures and you can find them when they're created on:

The Invisible Hill Facebook page  

invisiblehillcycling instagram page

 

The routes will be uploaded to Strava and you will be able to track me live as well on my Endomondo page

 

 

Winter Cycling Season Opened

The first snow has landed in Turku, and I guess it's here to stay. So it was time to gear up my 29er and head out. -1 degrees and light snowfall, almost perfect conditions for a short ride outdoors and a welcomed change for riding the trainer indoors. 

 Pre-ride coffee

Pre-ride coffee

 Today's ride

Today's ride

 Roadblocks are for cars

Roadblocks are for cars

 Silent roads

Silent roads

 Got home just before it was really dark

Got home just before it was really dark

To be honest, that was really fun. Maybe winter is not that bad after all!? Now some hot mulled wine and something good to eat.

 

Enjoy your Saturday!

Winter Wonderland

As the snow has invaded Finland (we now have some 20 cm of it) it is time to let out some air from the tires and prepare for a flight over the handlebars. 

My Haro Mary SS

A colorful fixie in the snow

The first snowstorm a week ago

A proper Espresso Doppio keeps you warm and focused

Despite the off season in cycling, winter is the season for spectator sports. Since I'm a huge fan of ice hockey and  during the last few years also a fan of Biathlon, winter means spending time in front of the TV. I also enjoy watching cross country skiing, that during the last couple of years has adopted some characteristics from the world of road cycling. Today I will spend in total 5 hours in front of the TV, watching speed skating, biathlon, floorball and ice hockey. I woke up early today to go to the gym and took a short ride in the snow, so no, I don't feel guilty of spending so much time inside.

Biathlon, coffee, gingerbread and ice hockey

Pekka Koskela won both distances today in speed skating, Kaisa Mäkäräinen took a third place in Biathlon, Finland is currently playing against Switzerland  in floorball world champs and later on HIFK will play away against Ilves in Tampere.  The thermometer is on -8 °C, so I'm more than happy to stay inside. 

Enjoy folks!

Leaving June, inviting summer?

A month has passed again, and it seems the weather hasn't changed a lot since last update. Rain and chilly weather has been the dominant condition and that can be seen in my ridden kilometres as well. But that will change soon, hopefully. A month is a long time, so I won't bore you with long stories, instead I'll try to recap the month in pictures. Hope you find them interesting!

This is how the summer has unfortunately looked a lot like this year

Many years I've wanted to ride the saariston rengastie, and this summer I finally did it. The total route was 180km, but I made a stop for a couple of days to our summerplace south of Nauvo.I took the route counter clockwise and the first ferry was after 80km in KustaviUnfortunately the weather was rainy and chilly (+12 C ), and I was wearing summerclothing so I ended up freezing quite a lot during the stops. Fortunately I had a jacket and a gilet to wear.Before leaving, I made a small note for myself to know the distances between the ferries and their schedules144km since leaving from Turku, I reached my destination. Felt pretty good after all rain and freezing!And there waited the thing that kept me going, Sauna!Fortunately the next couple of days were pretty good!Heading homeAnd fortunately the sun was also visiting Finland!On the ferry between Nauvo and the mainlandClear skiesI also had the opportunity to try out the new ultegra Di2 groupset. It was really a neat thing to be able to change gears smoothly during climbs and putting effort on the pedals. Also it adjusts pretty accurate even if you have the chain crossed.

Electronical shifting is the future, pretty sure about itThe groupset was attached to a Trek Madone 5.9One of the 4-5 sunny riding days this month. Makes you smile!Midsummerweather was perfect, here a steamship taking people out to the archipelago from TurkuCycling home the next morning, 5 amHope you enjoyed the pictures, I'll be back with more stuff next week, and some updates coming up on the site as well.

 

Have a good one!

 

Spring in pictures

The Giro d'Italia is turning towards the end and my first cycling event this year, Giro d'Espoo is only one week away. The spring is once again turning into summer, and in a couple of weeks we are stepping into June, the first real summer-month, at least up here. Every season we try to find new routes to ride here in Turku, and we've found a couple of really nice routes that we've never ridden before. At some point I'll provide you with more detailed workout data on these pages, so you can have a closer look at the routes, but more about that later on. 

Naantali in early MayFishing here seemed to be popularOne new route we found took us to the inner archipelago (click to open in googlemaps)Here we also found a JupiterAnd a great steep but short hill!Bikes need to be taken care of as well, so we took the bikes to the countryside for a wash

A clean Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0And a great example of finnish design, Tunturi PopThe spring hasn't been that warm, hence we've mostly ridden shorter rides (40-90km), but before the Giro d'Espoo, I wanted to make at least one a bit longer ride (120km). So a sunny sunday I took my bike for yet another new route towards the archipelago.

The ferry to Velkua (click to open in Googlemaps)Sunbathing on the ferryTired of looking at my bike? I'm not......neither were the cows!Finnish archipelagoI'm also happy to see our cycling community grow. What used to be just 3 guys, has now turned into a mixed pack of around 10 riders, and even if it is nice to ride alone pushing yourself to the limits, group rides are a great way to enjoy cycling and friends. Today's busy schedules made it pretty hard to find someone to ride with, but this year with more riders, we've already enjoyed a few rides together.

Slipstreaming, or almost slipstreamingEnjoying the weatherRuissalo in Turku offers a really neat scenery for all outdoor activities (click to open in googlemaps)I hope you enjoyed the pictures, I'll be posting more, but for your sake I'll try to keep the posts short and interesting. 

 

Enjoy what's left of spring!

 


Season 2012 taking shape

So we've seen the pro-tour begin, and the first big event Tour Down Under finish with a great start for the new team, Green Edge. The former Team Sky rider Simon Gerrans took the overall win but we also saw great sprints by the german sprinter André Greipel.

Simon Gerrans (overall winner) – Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sprint ) – Jan Bakelants (most aggressive) – Rohan Dennis(KOM). Photo Cor Vos (cyclingtips.com.au)

I also enrolled to what will be the first cycling event for me in 2012, Giro d'Espoo that will take place the 27th of May 2012. A 111km long race along roads in the capital region will hopefully be ridden in good weather conditions. Check out the map here.

Click to read more about the race

I spent my new year in Stockholm and during some hanging-around we went to this awesome cycling café, Bianchi Café & Cycles. The coffee was really good and they even had the stuff I love, Cornetto con Crema. Having good coffee and being surrounded by bikes and likeminded people must be pretty close to heaven for any cyclist. I recommend you all to go there if you ever go to Stockholm. 

 

Both MTBs and Roadbikes were represented

Cornetto, Coffee and Bikes = Heaven

You could easily spend loads of money here, all bikes were for sale (new)

Probably the most beautiful bike I've ever seen, Bianchi Oltre Nero (~10 000€), click to read more about the bikeEven if you wouldn't be a Bianchi guy, this place is really worth a visit. At the same time I'm sorry that we don't have anything similar here in Finland.

 

Spring is here any day now... right?!

Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0

During the winter I played with the idea about buying a new bike, and a couple of weeks ago i finally made the decision to buy the new Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0. It's a full carbon bike with Ultegra components and Dura Ace rims. It actually comes with Mavic Ksyrium Equipe rims, but i decided i wanted a set of ligher ones. I haven't been able to ride the bike yet, but fitting the bike on the trainer gave some great first feelings. The framesize (52) fits a lot better than the Bianchi 55 that i had. The Canyon is also almost 3kg lighter than the Bianchi, weighing about 7kg.

 

 

Team Edition Madone 6.9 SSL

This will be the bike that the new Pro-Tour team Team Leopard-Trek will ride in 2011

 

Picture from trekbikes.com

And here's how the official Team kit will look like. Quite simple, and it seems there will be a lot of black, blue and white this year.

 

Picture from cycling.tv

More pictures from Cyclingnews.com

cyclingnews.com

 

Check more of Team Leopard-Trek on their website

leopardtrek.lu