My cycling year 2017

So yet another year has passed, and it's time to reflect on the kilometers and hours spent in the saddle. As 2016 was the worst cycling-wise, I was looking for a year to get back on track. I managed to do that during the first 3 months of 2017, but struggled somewhat during the latter part of the year to really hit those hours needed to get back to where I was in 2015. I however managed to add some 30% to my total hours, but still was not able to reach my goal. And for those of you who are in here to just check the pictures, you'll find most of them by scrolling down a bit.

The year 2017 also meant a new job, and as usual, you can't plan what life throws at you. I often struggled finding the motivation or time to ride. Sometimes it felt as if I was looking for excuses not to ride, even if that wasn't always the case. Looking at the year from a fitness perspective, I actually was barely able to hold on to what I had. Despite more hours than in 2016, it felt as if my body was just not able to gain power or stamina. And at times, that was pretty depressing. Well, quite often, to be honest. One reason of course was the fact that I didn't manage to hit those critical long rides, nor did I race. It was often looking at the planned training, calculating which route you should take in order to be home as quick as possible. That really kills the fun of it in the long run.

Now I really sound if it was all bad. It really wasn't. While I still worked at Canyon during the first half of the year, I had the great chance to ride different bikes, ride them with great colleagues in Koblenz. Riding with friends in Finland was also great, those rides were not that many, but I'd say we rode more together than the in 2016.

Looking back at a year that passed, raises always the question - what's next? How do you feel about the upcoming season and how motivated are you? I started off with thinking about my goals for the year. I of course want to ride more, at least 350 hours. 350 hours is not much, but I really want to start with something that is doable and feel good about it. I hope it will be enough to start feeling good in the saddle again, a feeling that has been lost for 2 years. I have no precise FTP goals for the season, I just want to feel strong and stable on the bike again. If I can get back to where I was in 2015, I would be more than happy. But really, getting even in the surroundings of those figures would make me happy. 

Consistency. That's what I need this year. But I feel I have the motivation, the determination and the will to get back in the game. I also know it won't be easy. There will be schedule changes, and everyday-life events that just do not fit together with the planned cycling activities. 

Feeling. It's really a lot about that. The feeling you have when you're fit and happy with your performance, the feeling you have when you progress. It helps you riding through rain and cold, early mornings and in the evening after long days. As I am currently far from fit or making any progress, I need to do what I can, short-term. I thought about what it could be, and figured out that it is shaving my legs during off-season. I've never done that before, I usually shave just before the first outdoor ride. And shaved legs always give you a feeling, a feeling of being a cyclists. 

Writing this journal post, reminds me of when I first started writing this blog in March 2010. I was living in Italy, I was looking forward to ride more than ever, and I had plans for the upcoming season. I was going to do my first race, I was going to climb a mountain, and while planning, I could actually see myself achieving those things. Writing down my goals, making them public, felt like taking the first step. Sitting here now, almost 8 years later, strangely brings me back memories, and a similar feeling I had back then. I'm not fit, I need to lose some weight while gaining some muscle. In a way, I feel like a beginner again. And actually, I feel okay about it.

To all of you who actually read all the above, good job (the force is strong in you). And now for the pictures. Thanks for reading - let's make 2018 great!

 The year started well, riding outside with the Canyon Inflite AL SLX. A superb cyclocross bike.

The year started well, riding outside with the Canyon Inflite AL SLX. A superb cyclocross bike.

 In 2017, I got to know the road disc bikes. Heavier yes, but really superb braking control! Here the 2017 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX DISC 8.0.

In 2017, I got to know the road disc bikes. Heavier yes, but really superb braking control! Here the 2017 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX DISC 8.0.

 March was the date for the big bike-fair in Helsinki. 

March was the date for the big bike-fair in Helsinki. 

 My bike during spring, the 2017 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX DISC 8.0 DI2. Here outside our house in March.

My bike during spring, the 2017 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX DISC 8.0 DI2. Here outside our house in March.

 2017 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX DISC 8.0 DI2

2017 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX DISC 8.0 DI2

 As always, the group rides are the best. Here one of the first ones in early April. Chilly!

As always, the group rides are the best. Here one of the first ones in early April. Chilly!

 Then I had the chance to ride in Koblenz, Germany. Here my ride, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Aero (2016).

Then I had the chance to ride in Koblenz, Germany. Here my ride, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Aero (2016).

 Amazing scenery around the Koblenz area.

Amazing scenery around the Koblenz area.

 Riding with other international Canyon colleagues.

Riding with other international Canyon colleagues.

 Me riding towards the sunset in Koblenz.

Me riding towards the sunset in Koblenz.

 VIRB Picture
 VIRB Picture
 The last fair as a Canyon employee in Fiskars.

The last fair as a Canyon employee in Fiskars.

 Summer, honestly, awesome.

Summer, honestly, awesome.

 Light evenings are perfect for riding your bike.

Light evenings are perfect for riding your bike.

 In May 2017, we lost a president, a great leader.

In May 2017, we lost a president, a great leader.

 In May we experienced the first "warm" days.

In May we experienced the first "warm" days.

 Riding in archipelago makes you smile.

Riding in archipelago makes you smile.

 Despite a cold and rainy summer, we had some nice days to ride our bikes. Here a picture from June.

Despite a cold and rainy summer, we had some nice days to ride our bikes. Here a picture from June.

 VIRB Picture
 One of the most beautiful routes in Turku is the route around Kakskerta. Just before midsummer, the side of the road is filled with colorful lupines. 

One of the most beautiful routes in Turku is the route around Kakskerta. Just before midsummer, the side of the road is filled with colorful lupines. 

 I really like my bike, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 DI2 2016.

I really like my bike, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 DI2 2016.

 A nice feature during summer, is having this small ferry (pikkuföri) carrying me home across river Aura. 

A nice feature during summer, is having this small ferry (pikkuföri) carrying me home across river Aura. 

 We also managed to squeeze in a couple of pre-work rides. A great way to start the day!

We also managed to squeeze in a couple of pre-work rides. A great way to start the day!

 My bike and Hovimäki, or Brinkkalan kartano to you who are more familiar with that name.

My bike and Hovimäki, or Brinkkalan kartano to you who are more familiar with that name.

 July-colors

July-colors

 Sunshine and tan-lines, great!

Sunshine and tan-lines, great!

 In july we took a weekend-trip to Vasa, and I had the chance to smash a great 90 km ride in superb weather.

In july we took a weekend-trip to Vasa, and I had the chance to smash a great 90 km ride in superb weather.

 Crossing the Replot-bridge in Vasa.

Crossing the Replot-bridge in Vasa.

 Despite many sunny pictures, it really was a pretty cold and wet summer.

Despite many sunny pictures, it really was a pretty cold and wet summer.

 A chilly morning ride in August.

A chilly morning ride in August.

 Doing some hard intervals in heavy rain in August.

Doing some hard intervals in heavy rain in August.

 In August, we also got a new fellow cyclist, riding a Canyon of course.

In August, we also got a new fellow cyclist, riding a Canyon of course.

 In August, the Challenge Turku invited a huge amount of triathletes to Turku.

In August, the Challenge Turku invited a huge amount of triathletes to Turku.

 Riding with now former colleague, but a dear good friend in September.

Riding with now former colleague, but a dear good friend in September.

 We ended the outdoor season in late September.

We ended the outdoor season in late September.

 Riding through Mathildedal during the season finale. 

Riding through Mathildedal during the season finale. 

So that was my cycling year 2017. Hope you survived all the way down here. I will not make any promises about posting frequencies this year. My main target is to track hours and hopefully that will inspire me to write about those hours.

Thanks to all of you, hope to see you out on the roads and on Zwift.