Looking back at my cycling year 2014

It feels strange wrapping up a cycling season in February when everyone does it in December or early January. But I will do it now, mainly because my memory is really bad but also because I want to go back and look at what I did so it's easier to compare to my efforts today. Cycling year 2014 was great in many ways. And a warning to those of you who are looking for a short story, you can stop reading here.

Improving performance

I wrote a lot about weight-loss and improving my W/Kg ratio. I did FTP tests I tried to eat smarter. Looking at it today it all feels like a good try. I lost weight, yes. I improved my FTP, well a bit. I tracked more hours than I had done the year before since I now had my Felt F65X cyclocross bike. I had high hopes from the upcoming season.

Before the first race in May I had lost weight and improved my FTP and tracked more hours. But the race was all but what I had expected from it. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. I hit the wall having ridden only 70 km, something I'd never experienced before. I made a lot of mistakes and I burned all I had immediately. I still remember exactly how s*itty that all felt. I was ready to give up, but fortunately Kjell told me the reasons behind what had happened when I was unable to analyze the race myself. Weeks later I found myself on the starting line for Pirkan Pyöräily. That was one of the best days on the bike and I felt super strong all the way. Unfortunately that was the racing I did during the whole season. In August I again had problems with my back and neck keeping me off the saddle for a while and I had to skip races.

Training in Italy

For the first time, I did two training trips to Italy during the summer. The first of them in July to Ancona, a city where I stayed for a year for studies in 2009-2010. I still get goosebumps thinking about preparing my bike in the same flat I lived in years ago and heading out on roads I knew well in the country I love.

 All set up in Ancona

All set up in Ancona

 Parking outside for a coffee in Senigallia, Italy

Parking outside for a coffee in Senigallia, Italy

That week was super. I enjoyed every bit of it. Well not the day I got lost several times in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a deep forest with signs warning me for wolves and other creatures, watching dark clouds gather above me, hearing the thunder roar in the distance just before the rain begun dropping the temperature from +30 degrees to + 15 having 100 km behind and 80 km to go and a mountain to climb not knowing if I would make it home before dark. Well not knowing where home was at that point was probably worse. But besides that, it was a superb week and my legs both got tanned and fit during that week. Also my tummy enjoyed the coffee and the food, as usual.

 Heading for the mountains still unaware of what was waiting for me

Heading for the mountains still unaware of what was waiting for me

 Climbing soaked but determined to make it home before dark

Climbing soaked but determined to make it home before dark

 On top of the mountain + 15 degrees

On top of the mountain + 15 degrees

 Ancona in the background

Ancona in the background

 Sirolo, heading for Monte Conero and the Adriatic sea

Sirolo, heading for Monte Conero and the Adriatic sea

The second trip was together with a group where we spent some great days in the saddle rain or shine. Plenty of hours and awesome landscapes. Also hitting the Monte Amiata and nailing a time I didn't expect was really rewarding. Italy on a bike is probably as close to heaven you get on earth.

 Radicofani, Italy

Radicofani, Italy

 Not all days were warm and sunny, but ride we did, every day.

Not all days were warm and sunny, but ride we did, every day.

 Epic day pushing the surroundings of Monte Amiata

Epic day pushing the surroundings of Monte Amiata

 Epic views

Epic views

 Pushing up Monte Amiata

Pushing up Monte Amiata

 Further pushing up Monte Amiata

Further pushing up Monte Amiata

 Final 100 m all out

Final 100 m all out

 All smiles on top

All smiles on top

Fincycling

One of the most rewarding things in 2014 was the Fincycling project. No, Fincycling is probably one of the greatest thing ever happened to me in cycling, and not just cycling, but in life. The people I got to meet and know during the year were so amazing. Going into 2014 I could never have imagined anything like this. It has been such a privilege to work together with this passionate group of both ex-cyclists and cyclists from national, Scandinavian and world top elite, and most of all, with like-minded people sharing a passion.

 Official launch ahead!

Official launch ahead!

Also watching young talented cyclist develop with the help of professionals has been amazing. Fincycling has taught me that anything is possible when you have the passion and love for the thing you do. Fincycling is all about that. And I can't be happier watching Fincycling grow all the time and to see the work that is done constantly in the background, all for a brighter future in Finnish cycling.

 Charly talking to the guys before the race

Charly talking to the guys before the race

 Juho, Juha and Kati

Juho, Juha and Kati

 Charly looking after young talented riders

Charly looking after young talented riders

 Signed Team SKY jersey auctioned to support Fincycling cyclists

Signed Team SKY jersey auctioned to support Fincycling cyclists

I could go on for hours or days, but one of the greatest experiences was to sit next to Charly Wegelius in the Fincycling team car during a race together with the Fincycling heart Marko Vauhkonen. Listening, chatting, watching and learning. Simply amazing. And I will not complete this journal entry before I have thanked especially Kjell Carlström, Marko Vauhkonen, Juho Suikkari, Harri Salminen and Kati Õunap.

Year 2014 in numbers

We all know competing is the key to development. Well I didn't do a lot of that last year, but I managed to add some precious hours in the saddle. I spent almost 100 hours more in the saddle gaining over 2 000 km more than in year 2013. My trips to Italy also gave me 17 more kilometers of climbing. You can see the full year 2013/2014 comparison below. And yet again, I want to thank Resistentia and Kjell for all the coaching and assistance during the year!

 Green fields are positive results

Green fields are positive results

So well done reader, if you are reading this you got all the way to the finish, with or without reading, you made it. A big thanks goes out to you as well, thanks for visiting my site in 2014 and hopefully you enjoy the ride in 2015 as well!

Per Vincere!