Just like last year, I want to advice you with stuff your cycling friends would probably like to see wrapped up in Xmas paper this year. Remember to check the delivery dates before ordering!
Today was like yesterday, but the the sun was finally visible! In November in Finland that means it will be colder. And cold it was. On the countryside the temperature was below zero. I was kind of prepared. I had triple shoe-covers, neoprene toe-covers by Castelli, water and wind resistant summer shoe-covers and on top neoprene shoe-covers. Still, approaching the second hour in the saddle my toes started to freeze. But I managed to do almost 3,5 hours without bigger problems.
It is an awesome feeling being back riding the road bike outdoors. Rain or shine, it beats the indoor training easily. Getting back that feeling of acceleration and the sound of rims humming on the asphalt, wow. It has been really windy lately, but neither has that affected the positive vibes on the bike. Really looking forward for the first races this year, that's the first point of really knowing about the progress made this off season. After a business trip to Stockholm earlier this week I got ill with some really heavy flu and a temperature. Still struggling with that, so no time in the saddle this week. I'll again share what's been going on lately with pictures instead of writing a novel.
Another passion I've had since a kid is aviation. So I do geeky things during my trips on the airports, for instance following planes on an app (flightradar), tune in to the air traffic control radio frequency and watch them land live.
There are loads of great things happening in the world of road cycling. Paris-Roubaix this Sunday and many great races have been ridden during the past few weeks. Also the Finnish road cycling project, Fincycling, is progressing with great speed. I'll write more about Fincycling in my next post. So stay tuned!
Have a great weekend!
It has been a busy week, therefore a week of silence. Besides a busy week, this week has finally ended the off-season 2013/2014. An off-season that was really different from my previous years. More time in the saddle and less gym. This was the first off-season with Resistentia, and may the stats speak for themselves.
I did 27 more workouts, tracked almost 1 100 km more, in total 54 hours more time in the saddle. My training was slightly less stressful. On average my rides were almost 20 minutes longer in duration. This can be partly explained with the new Felt F65X cyclocross I bought in November. Thanks to Huntteri.fi for that opportunity. I will write a review about the bike during spring. I also managed to reduce weight and increase my watt/kg ratio. For these results I have not only thank myself for, but especially Resistentia and Huntteri.fi. Resistentia for providing me with coaching and a well structured training plan and Huntteri for giving me the opportunity to get a proper cyclocross for the winter.
I also managed to stay healthy and had no influenza this year. I feel really good and confident for the upcoming season. Can't wait to hit the roads and challenge myself beating my current records.
Last weekend was the last time I was out with the cyclocross. Really spring already
On Tuesday this week I finally did a proper maintenance on my Canyon roadbike, cleaning, oiling, changing wires, handlebar tape, things you need to do before the season can start. And on Wednesday it finally happened. And wow, that difference from an aluminium cyclocross bike to a full carbon roadbike, stunning.
The forecasts promise great weather for weekend, can't wait to track some big hours in the saddle trying out all my new gadgets and nutrition etc.
Have a good one!
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.
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!
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.
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!
I'm actually thrilled about the fact that time passes by really fast right now. I have many great things to look forward this year, some of those things I can't tell you now, but many of them will be "game-changers" in some way.
So cycling in February, how has that been? I haven't been able to ride as much as I wanted (sounds like I've said that before as well), but still I've been able to make progress. I've lost some 4 kilograms of body weight and at the same time been able to increase my FTP value. My goal is to lose 4 more kilograms before the season kicks off for real.
First part of pre-season accessories also arrived from Germany. Some small things such as inner tubes and tires.
I've been quiet about coffee for a long time (I guess?). But I also bought a new Bialetti Brikka moka pan. A huge difference to a normal moka pan, and comparable with an espresso at a bar with proper crema.
Of course I've been following the Winter Olympic Games in Sotchi as well.
Sunday, besides a massive game by team Canada in men's ice hockey, I saw the sun for the first time this year (cycling outdoors). It almost feels like spring now, just hope there will be no more snow...
So it's soon March, hopefully the month when we can take out our road bikes!
After a long period without snow here in southern Finland the really cold weather is back. The temperature has stayed between -10 and -20 degrees, hence I've stayed inside doing trainer exercises all week. But today since the sun was finally shining, I decided to take a ride despite some -15 degrees celcius. It was also a perfect weather to try out my new winter cycling shoes, the Northwave Fahrenheit GTX (Gore-Tex) Winter Road Shoes.
I also had suffered many punctures lately and made a thorough check on the tires. And it struck me how bad that gravel they shovel on the icy roads really are for tires. They're sharp as glass and really cut through those tires, had several smaller pieces that had made some small damage already, and one that had cut through and caused the punctures.
I repaired the tire, changed the inner tube and headed out. I wore several layers of warm clothing, breathable and windproof. That's a must do if you are riding in temperatures below -10 degrees.
After 10 kilometers I had to stop because my feet were freezing. Fortunately I had a pair of neoprene shoe covers with me, so I just put those on and continued. I would estimate that the Northwave Fahrenheit GTX Winter Road Shoes will be able to handle some -5 degrees but if the temperature goes below that, you probably want to add another layer on top of that. I'll review the shoes when I have more hours on them.
After one and a half hour I made a short stop to take some photos. At this point it was - 15 degrees and a sign of cold weather could be seen as a layer of ice on my collar.
Even if it was cold, I didn't freeze. But I guess my body still reacted to the freezing weather. I had a pretty high average heart-rate even if i didn't put much effort into pedaling. The sun was setting just before I got home. Have to admit it was pretty nice to watch.
I had one bottle of warm water with me when I left home, but after 20 minutes it was already so cold I didn't want to drink it, and after one hour it was all frozen. When I got home the bottle looked like this:
It seems we won't see much of the sun during next week, and the temperatures will continue to stay below - 10 degrees. Good thing I went out today and enjoyed the weather.
Enjoy your weekend!
Having days 1-3 done, with almost 300 km ridden, I headed towards day 4 and 5. I started feeling myself a bit tired already, but wasn't prepared for what awaited me early on from day 4...
Rapha Festive 500 - Day 4
The day began with mixed feelings. The weather was good, the sun was shining for the first (and apparently last time) during this challenge, but I was tired and could have slept for a couple of more hours. But because the day is so short in Finland, I needed to get going. Immediately as I started I felt pain in my knees, both of them. I hoped it would just go over after a few kilometers, but it didn't. It was quite nasty, both knees felt as there would be a needle inside, and that needle picked the knee from inside with each pedal-stroke. Some 10 km in the ride I started thinking about abandoning, and made a stop at 20 km to give the knees a rest. After the short pause, I started pedaling, and it felt bad, maybe not as bad as moments before, but still bad. I decided to go on, the sun was shining and if my knees would collapse, I would call a taxi. Well I made those 107 kilometers, after many ups and downs.
Rapha Festive 500 - Day 5
I was afraid I wouldn't be able to continue today due to my knees. They still hurt but I decided to go for it. Putting on my legwarmers i realized what could have caused the knee-pain. I've been riding with both knee- and leg-warmers and this causes high pressure on the knee and forces the kneecap tighter to the knee. That would also explain why the whole knee is kind of tender to the touch as well. So today I rode without the knee-warmers. The ones I use are the Castelli Nanoflex warmers. The knees did hurt, pretty bad at times, but I managed to finish today's 65 km ride as planned. It was really chilly and windy, the coldest day so far, almost froze my feet. Luckily I had a pair of SealSkinz Winter Handle Bar Mittens with me. Perfect gloves!
So one day to go, only 40 kilometers planned, but with my knees being sore, hard to even walk with, I won't party until I've really ridden all 500 kilometers. But if I make it, I just might celebrate the new year's eve with one for this one!
Let's keep our fingers crossed
It's not many days until Christmas, and same goes for the Rapha Festive 500 challenge. As mentioned earlier I'll be tracking live with Endomondo. To ensure my kilometers will be tracked I will use two phones tracking, one to Endomondo and the other to Strava. So if my Garmin Edge 500 for some reason fails I'll have a backup.
I've been closely monitoring the weather as well. It seems I will be riding in some heavy winds, with temperatures slightly above zero and rain mixed with snow and ice. Not the conditions you'd like to have, but then again, with perfect weather conditions this wouldn't be a challenge right? I have added a small weather widget to the left hand side of the page. That will tell you what the weather condition is at the moment here in Turku.
I will also be doing some video from my rides. Hopefully I'll receive my helmet mount for the GoPro Hero 3 before Christmas, I was lucky to be able to borrow the camera from a friend (thanks Antti!), since mine was stolen in Italy.
I hope you all are ready for the holidays, looking at Twitter and Facebook, it seems many of you are enjoying your last day at work today before heading for Christmas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now I'm ready for bed and anxiously waiting for the next ride, and especially the Rapha Festive 500! Good Night!
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.
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:
I'll try to shoot some videos and pictures and you can find them when they're created on:
A great weekend behind, and to be honest I felt it this morning. Some good kilometers in snow and great food and loads of it. Sunday began with watching Biathlon and eating a proper breakfast with porridge, fruits and freshly pressed orange juice.
Kaisa Mäkäräinen made a pretty decent job in Sunday's competition, still need to work on the shooting, but I'm confident about Sochi and at least one medal. Next up was preparing dinner and heading out for another snowy ride. Today would be a good day of food and cycling. Before heading out I was to prepare the piggy for the oven.
The pig would stay in the oven for 4 hours, meanwhile, I would head out. It was -6 degrees Celsius and I actually could still use the Castelli Nanoflex warmers, pretty good gear I'd say! On top of the Castelli fawesome Gilet I would also have a Craft winterjacket.
Still digesting the good rides and the perfect pork!
The trainer season has officially begun. I really can feel my lungs are not 100 % in shape (more likely 45%), not to talk about my legs, but so far so good. 2 easy workouts behind, and I'm starting to believe I can start training seriously in some weeks. Frustrating to be forced to take it really easy, but there are no shortcuts here.
Before riding indoors, you need to clean your bike, so that's what I did on Friday. The Park Tools CM5 Cyclone Chain Cleaner is a really neat gadget to clean your chain. Just add some degreaser and you're good to go.
For you who are wondering about the trainer I use and how I motivate myself to ride indoors, stay tuned, I'll share some tips on that next week!
Enjoy what's left of the weekend!
I need to share this with you. Took a short 40 km Sunday ride with my bike and for the first time I used the Ass Saver. It was not raining (at least not much), but the roads were completely wet. As you know, with road bikes that means wet ass and wet back. But not anymore!
So what's an Ass Saver? Ass Savers were invented by five Swedes, actually from Gothenburg, the wettest city in Sweden they say. We've seen the product even in the pro tour peloton, not bad!
Just some weeks ago I decided to try this out as well. It's only 8€:s and if I buy three I get free shipping. So I bought three and gave two to my cycling friends to try them out.
I opened the envelope and found two black ass savers and one blue ass saver, just as ordered. My first thought? Wow, are these really going to keep you dry? A small piece of recycled plastics? Prove me wrong I thought.
Upp till bevis, as a swede would say. So I took the plastic ass saver, clipped it neatly onto my saddle (needed to cut it a bit shorter from the "saddle side", and it was easy, there were instructions to do this, just follow the marks.), and took the bike out to soaky roads.
During the ride I every now and then needed to get out of the saddle and look back whether the ass saver was still in place, and it was, firmly there. My ass felt dry, my back felt dry, the roads were really wet. I even steered into some puddles to really test this little piece of plastics.
So how did I feel when I got back home? Dry. That's partly because I use Castelli Nanoflex arm and legwarmers and a Castelli Fawesome gilet. But my bibs are not water resistant in any way. Was my ass dry? Yes.
The proof, the ass saver really does collect a big amount of that wet sand. So how about the back?
Just a few signs of what passed the ass saver. And really, my bibs were totally dry! Another cool thing for Specialized saddle users as me. When it's raining or the roads are wet, some saddles have that small section that will make it easier for you to sit in the saddle, but when its soaky that little hole will soak you from below. Ass saver not only saves your ass and back, but also those parts you really want to keep dry!
So do I recommend this to cyclists? Yes, to each and everyone. Save that 8 € from somewhere else. This is the most well spent 8 € in my life, especially being used to expensive cycling stuff. The Ass Savers are revolutionary in many ways, they actually deliver more than what they promise (to keep your ass dry)!
So no longer wet behinds, get your Ass Saver from http://ass-savers.com/
Tack så mycket Ass Savers, ni räddade min höstsäsong!
Enjoy your rides!
I hope August will be as good as July. I will participate in 2 races, Eteläkärjen ajot next Sunday and Myllyn pyöräily the following. These will be the last ones preparing for my main goal this year, Tour de Helsinki 1st of September. I will let you know more about those later.
Enjoy what's left of summer!
So we live in Techy times, and cycling is really not being left outside of the technological advances. Just last week the new Recon Jet technical cycling sunglasses, or wearable computer as the Recon Instruments folks call it, were launched. So what is the Recon Jet and what is the price? What is the technology they rely on?
Recon Jet looks somewhat like a mixture of a pair of Oakley sunglasses and a pair of Google glasses. At the moment they're priced at $499. And the total weight is around 60 grams, so really not much. So here's how they look:
The Recon Jet works together with any ANT+ device, such as your Garmin device. Which again can be displayed on the lens. Sounds like straight from any Batman or James Bond.
How does it work? Check out the video on Vimeo:
George Hincapie is also involved, at least marketing-wise as he has been testing the product before launch. It seems to have convinced him
Want to win a pair of Recon Jet glasses? Read how to win here
The Technical Specifications:
ONBOARD SENSOR FRAMEWORK
• 3D accelerometer
• 3D gyroscope
• 3D magnetometer
• Altimeter & barometer application
Ambient temperature sensor
Optical touch sensor for UI control
Works in all weather conditions, and with gloves on
1 GHz Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9
• 1GB DDR2 SDRAM
• 8GB flash
Wide screen 16:9 WQVGA display
Virtual image appears as 30" HD display at 7'
Power-saving sleep mode
High contrast and brightness for readability in high ambient lighting
Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Smart)
• Apple MFi Bluetooth support
• MEMS GPS/INS Kalman filtering fusion algorithm
• Support for connectivity of up to 8 ANT+ peripherals
• Device charging/power
• Data transfer
EMBEDDED AUDIO & VIDEO
• HD camera
• Integrated speaker and microphone
Read more about the Recon Jet and Recon Instruments:
Just a couple of weeks ago I talked to some friends about how few punctures I've had during the last couple of years, zero in fact. Well once again, one should never talk about those things, during last week I had three punctures. Luckily I've kept a reserve of tires and tubes, but still, it is somewhat frustrating to day after day have to make a stop because of a puncture. And before, driving into bumps and sand was no problem, but now, each time there is even a headwind, I look down at the tires and check if I have a puncture or not. And this again also proves that carrying replacement kit with you all the time is crucial.
First puncture was caused by worn out tires, and the second and third was caused probably by too old spare-tubes. Apparently you should renew your reserves every year or so. Mine were three years old and it seems they get "old" during that time.
The weather has been perfect, at the moment I'm sitting in the train from Helsinki to Turku and waiting to get out on the bike. It's +30 degrees and almost no wind. Makes me think of Italy almost. Talking about Italy, I have a cycling trip coming up in September. I'll write more about that later, but it'll be superb, really looking forward to it!
Enjoy the weather!
As we get closer to the new outdoor season, it's time to go trough the old clothing and update the cycling wardrobe. Time to open up the wallet once again, but saving on clothing will cost you on the road. Freezing, numb toes together with sweaty yet cold torso will make you regret you sorted the price list view from low to high and didn't bother to scroll down. Today I received the first pre-season shipment..
And to once again show you something else than food:
Just a couple of days and it's weekend again!
It is the time of the year when all the cycling teams bring out their new cyclists to the front with their new equipment, bikes, jerseys, rims, you name it. Most of the pro tour teams have released their new cycling kits, but today was one interesting launch by the Swiss Professional Continental team, Team IAM Cycling. I've been following this team closely because of Kjell Carlström is one of the team directeur sportif, and I'm lucky to know this really nice guy from Finland. Spoke with him just yesterday about the upcoming training camp on Mallorca and the season start. Loads of really interesting stuff. Maybe I could make a small interview with him in the future to introduce you to the team IAM Cycling and what's happening behind the scenes. Below are some pictures from today's official launch. All the pictures are taken by Guillaume Boillot and you'll find his blog on http://guillaumeboillot.blogspot.fr with more really nice pictures!
The cyclists for Team IAM Cycling are:
- Marcel Aregger
- Marco Bandiera
- Matthias Brandle
- Rémi Cusin
- Stefan Denifl
- Martin Elmiger
- Jonathan Fumeaux
- Kristoff Goddaert
- Heinrich Haussler
- Sébastien Hinault
- Reto Hollenstein
- Kevyn Ista
- Dominic Klemme
- Permin Lang
- Gustav Larsson
- Thomas Löfkvist
- Matteo Pelucchi
- Alexandr Pliuschin
- Sébastien Reichenbach
- Aleksejs Saramotins
- Patrick Schelling
- Johann Tschopp
- Marcel Wyss
Many of you will recognize world class riders on this list, and it will be really interesting to see how the team will do among the pro tour teams in the hard early season races (Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Milan-San Remo, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Tour of Oman and Tour of Qatar).
Read more about Team IAM Cycling:
- Website: http://www.iamcycling.ch
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/IAMcycling
- Twitter: @IAMcyclingFans
As some of you may have noticed, many of the stuff is still in French, but I'm sure there will be more content in English as well in the future.
And last but not least a short interview with Heinrich Haussler about joining the Team IAM Cycling. He truly is one of the great riders in the peloton.