Tour de Helsinki

Road Cycling Year 2013

As always, I like to look back at the year that passed, it often brigs up things you've forgotten and great memories you really can remember as they were yesterday. In year 2013 I had both good and bad memories, gladly more good ones, therefore a lot different from year 2012. 

The year began with great inspiration and motivation for training. For the first time I really spent qualitative time at the gym and had a good plan on the trainer. And sure, I made some great progress throughout the winter and early spring. For the first time, I also was able to compare watt data to the previous year, thanks to Trainerroad.

Silent gym early in the morning

Silent gym early in the morning

The outdoor season begun March 23rd with taking the car to a place without snow and then cycling that short distance back and forth. In year 2013 the season begun 2 weeks later than in 2012, and it took more time for the snow to melt, hence the season really begun almost a month later. This didn't matter since I had tracked some good hours on the trainer throughout the winter. In March for the first time ever, I had symptoms of overtraining.

First ride of the year, plenty of snow around

First ride of the year, plenty of snow around

The cycling year 2013 was also the year for me to ride hard, in groups with faster riders and great company where the whole group was working in an echelon against various wind directions. I also participated in races, many new for me. 

The first race in 2013 though was the Giro d'Espoo. It was super windy but amazingly fun, once again. The second race was Pirkan Pyöräily. It was the first time I participated in this event, and I'm really glad I did. A really well organized event in Tampere brought my personal record average of 36,1 km/h. 

The weather throughout the summer was really superb, so it was great rides almost all summer around. The biggest factor for me progressing was to start with Resistentia and to finally get a proper bike fit done. I will review the service more precisely at some point, but they really helped me track some kilometers and add quality to my training on the bike.

No doubt summer is the best of the seasons

No doubt summer is the best of the seasons

The third race of the year was Royal Cycling, another new event in my calendar. And yet another superb race. Together with Sebu we worked really good for the whole group and had some sprinting capabilities left at the end as well. And this race showed me how important a teammate really is in motivating you through the downs in your race.

Royal Cycling

Royal Cycling

I also participated in Vuelta Vantaa, Eteläkärjen ajot and Myllyn pyöräily. All for the first time. Probably they will be in my calendar for 2014 as well. The greatest thing about the races this year was that I was able to participate them with my teammates, Sebu and Klaus. It really is one of the best things you can experience, race together!

Some more summer

Some more summer

I was not able to participate in the event that once again was planned to be the main event of the year, Tour de Helsinki. In many of the races I had some minor issues with my knees and my stomach, I hope this is something I can get rid of for the year 2014. Instead of the TdH, I spent a week in Italy, cycling in really beautiful landscapes and also managed to climb up Monte Amiata. Superb ride. I will recap that week for you at some point.

Evening ride in Italy

Evening ride in Italy

At the end of the year I was ill for a long period and really had to stay off the bike for 1,5 months, much more than I would have wanted to. But I was able to complete the Rapha Festive 500 challenge, a new thing for me. And gosh, that was hard for these really untrained legs! I was supported by Huntteri for this challenge, and was able to buy a new Felt F65X for this purpose. A cyclocross bike also means I will be able to track more hours on the bike on the off season, and hopefully I will feel this in summer 2014!

I really have some high hopes for the road cycling season 2014, and I'm sure I will make some great progress together with the support I have!

Some fun facts to compare year 2013 with the previous 2012.

Year 2012 2013 comparison

  • + 72 more rides
  • + 2700 more kilometers ridden
  • + 130 hours more training
  • - 15 bpm average heartrate
  • + 60 000 more calories burned

 

Thanks for reading and following, I hope you'll stick with me for another great year!

 

 

The silent cyclist

August 17th was the date for my last post. That means more than two months. Nothing has happened during that time? Actually there has been plenty of stuff happening, time has been the issue. Workload in my daily job increased somewhat drastically during late August and therefore I haven't been updating lately. Even if the site has been quiet for a while I've been thinking about how to develop the site, and come up with some ideas. Hopefully it will be more frequent and more easy reading in the future. At the same time the Facebook page will me more lively as well with neat stuff posted, even for those who are less hardcore cycling-enthusiasts. 

The latter part of the summer was pretty interesting cycling-wise. Myllyn pyöräily was the first race I actually held the virtual race lead at a point. Tour de Helsinki, the main goal set up was a DNS for me, but I've spent one great week in Italy cycling and did climb up Monte Amiata that really made it up not being able to start in Helsinki.

I will write about each of the steps from the latter part of the summer, but that will be another post, it would be too much to have all written down now. So stay tuned and read the reviews and cycling stories coming up. 

 

Evening ride in Italy

Evening ride in Italy

 Keep on cycling!

Racing against feeling

Tomorrow is the last race before the main goal, Tour de Helsinki September 1st. Finally I'm able to start from my hometown Turku. Myllyn Pyöräily takes place tomorrow, a 136 km race around the Turku region and the start line is only 1 km from my door, great. Last week I participated in Eteläkärjen ajot, did not go that well due to stomach issues before the race, and still I'm struggling with the same problem. Don't know what's wrong, but fueling with a stomach like this is impossible. So we'll see how tomorrow will go. 

My number tomorrow

My number tomorrow

The start is at 10 am and I'm looking to finish within 4 hours. You are able to track me live again via Endomondo. My Endomondo page you'll find here.

I'll write you more about the two races next week.  

 

July - a great month of cycling

July was a superb month for cycling here in Finland. The weather was mostly great and I ended up spending almost 50 hours on my bike in July, including two bike races, Royal Pyöräily and Vuelta Vantaa. As usual, I rather share pictures with you than describe every ride in great detail.

The weather has been superb. Here riding with Juha in Ohensaari.

The weather has been superb. Here riding with Juha in Ohensaari.

We've just had a few days of rain. Proper clothing keeps you dry

We've just had a few days of rain. Proper clothing keeps you dry

That means washing.. and washing

That means washing.. and washing

Also ordered a new pair of shoes, Specialized S-Works Road shoes. Will write a review on them as I have some more hours on them

Also ordered a new pair of shoes, Specialized S-Works Road shoes. Will write a review on them as I have some more hours on them

One needs to take some hours off the bike as well. Coffee and Calvados is one way of doing it.

One needs to take some hours off the bike as well. Coffee and Calvados is one way of doing it.

Another way is BBQ at the sea

Another way is BBQ at the sea

After rain comes sun

After rain comes sun

Cycling to Ruissalo is easy with proper Finnish bike

Cycling to Ruissalo is easy with proper Finnish bike

Fixie-warning!

Fixie-warning!

Me and my bike

Me and my bike

Klaus with proper ride-snack!

Klaus with proper ride-snack!

We found some new hilly routes, this one in Paimio

We found some new hilly routes, this one in Paimio

11 % steep

11 % steep

Welcome to Finland

Welcome to Finland

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! 

 

My Cycling Year 2012

Another new year of cycling is here. This year will be different from the past years, hopefully better than especially last year. Year 2012 was in many ways a year of learning to listen to your body, and learning from failures.

As every year when the snow starts to melt, we take the car and drive around Turku region to scout for any dry roads to cycle on. In 2012 the day was March 11th and indeed we found a dry road in Lieto

+4 degrees and partly dry roads = season begins here

+4 degrees and partly dry roads = season begins here

We were really excited to get out after a long winter! (11.3.2012)

Some sections were still covered by ice

Some sections were still covered by ice

The spring was quite cold, and my first +100 km ride (120 km) ridden May 13th had an average temperature of +14 (min +11).  That ride was my preparation ride for the first of two cycling events in 2012, Giro d'Espoo. We also discovered some new routes to Velkua and Merimasku. We also had some great group rides during the early 2012.

The route to Merimasku even includes a small hill

The route to Merimasku even includes a small hill

The route to Velkua included a ferry

The route to Velkua included a ferry

Riding with friends is always nice

Riding with friends is always nice

Giro d'Espoo was the first performance marker for 2012. The weather was perfect and the 110km race was well organized. The race went better than expected and I finished in a breakaway with an total average of 33,5km/h. It all felt pretty easy.

Even met Alexander Stubb before the start

Even met Alexander Stubb before the start

At the start-line 

At the start-line 

Then it was time for the summer. A summer that never came it felt like. The weather was bad throughout the whole summer (a couple of nice days), usually heavy winds and a lot of rainy periods made the riding pretty demanding at times. This also affected the kilometers ridden. It was just easier to justify short rides in bad weather. An exception was the day in June when I took my bike around the archipelago. It was one of the hardest rides so far. +12 degrees and it was soaking almost the entire first 144km, not to mention I almost got lost and the heavy winds once again. 

August was the month to test my motivation. My bike broke down in early August, and when I got it back from maintenance my neck and back broke down. A couple of weeks without riding at the most important time felt wrong, but gave me motivation for this year.

A typical Finnish summer...
A typical Finnish summer...

Tour de Helsinki has always been my main goal, and was also the main goal in 2012. Not having spent much time on the bike the end result was just as could be expected. A crash and cramps made sure my time would be worse than the year before. And all of a sudden it was winter again.

As mentioned, the year 2012 was the year to learn new stuff. I learned to lose, I learned about patience, I learned to listen to my body and began going to a sports masseur. I think I became a mentally stronger rider although I didn't achieve some of the goals set up for 2012. What happened in 2012 changed also the way I will be training in 2013 and it also changed the way I will put up my goals this year. So even if 2012 was probably the hardest and worst year for me as far as results are concerned, it still gave me a lot.

I'll end wrapping up 2012 with quoting Mark Cavendish:

"There's something that can't be replicated that makes cycling so special"

Back in Business

So one week became a month, and a month became two. The race report promised, never came. The Tour de Helsinki 2012 was a hard struggle for me. As planned we began with the 32km/h group, and that should have been an easy task.

2291 cyclists at the start line

All smiles

Everything's checked?

But the race followed the trend that seemed to have followed me the whole summer. In the first 20 km I was involved in a crash. The paceline I was  in, suddenly pulled the brakes in a descent and I had to react. I tried to find a path slightly out of the line, and at the same time i had to pull the brakes too. At the same time the guy behind me didn't react fast enough and he ended up overlapping my rear wheel (if you're unfamiliar with the term overlapping, check the description on cyclingtips.com.au).

He crashed and was followed by a couple of other riders. A very unpleasant sound of carbon and steel cracking and sliding along the asphalt was followed by the crash. Because of this my chain jumped off and I had to make a stop. I was driving in the outer line so it took me a while to get to the side of the road to put the chain back. 

So as the previous year, I found myself chasing my fellow riders. A couple of ambulances along the roads, and it really felt pretty unstable, the pack was nervous. Riders had dropped in the first section of hills, and it was pretty hard to find the others. At the rear of the main 32km/h group I found one friend, and stayed there. But the effort I had made, didn't come for free. I was able to eat and drink as planned, but in the 90th km I found for the first time a cramp in my left thigh. This is nothing you want to have when you still got 50km to go... So I tried to eat what I had left and to drink more.

But it was too late, a moment later I had the same cramp feeling in my right thigh. At the same time we approached the open windy section, the last 30km would be headwinds. This combination was too much. With both thighs and the right calf muscle in cramp I had to ease the pace. The last 20km I just pedaled to get to the finish, and my time was almost 20 minutes worse than the previous year.

Post-ride must-have-snack

It was the first time ever for me to have cramp issues, and probably not the last. Tour de Helsinki 2012 was pretty much like the whole summer. It was also more or less the end of my outdoor season 2012, two months earlier than the previous year. I took a month off cycling and tried to get my back in shape again. A month later, just weeks ago I began the indoor cycling season. I'll give a heads up on that and other training stuff in the next update. This time, within a month ;)

The even more important, post ride hydration

You might have also noticed a slight change on the site. I hope it's now easier to read and hopefully easier to navigate with both browser and mobile. 

Have a good one!

The season grand finale?

Tomorrow, Tour de Helsinki 2012 is upon us. Yet another year of cycling coming to its end here in Finland. There are probably a month left of the outdoor cyling season, before the snow takes over. Sitting here looking out the window would probably indicate less than that. Rain and +12 degrees is not the condition you want to go out cycling. Adding a back ache doesn't make it much better. But nevertheless, I'll be on the starting line tomorrow at 11am finnish time. 

The weather for Helsinki tomorrow looks a bit better though. Between +15/+18 degrees with possible showers and quite windy conditions. Could be worse.

The start is at 11am and our pace should place us at the finish line at around 15:15.

We will jump into a group that will hold on to a pace of 32km/h. I hope I can just ride with that group 'till the finish.

Fueling together with VueltaThe bike is prepared, I hope the fueling is ok, and hopefully the back will last those 4+ hours on the bike tomorrow. I'll probably have to end my cycling season after this race, and get my back in shape so I can start building for the next season. My wish for tomorrow is to finish, nothing more, nothing less.

Preparing the bike. Probably even more important heading for a soaky rideI'll use the Endomondo Live tracker tomorrow, and a link to that live tracking will be posted tomorrow at around 11am via my Twitter and Facebook. If you don't have the possibility to follow either one, the link should be visible on my Endomondo page here.

 

I'll get back to you with the race report next week.

Have a good one!

Wrapping up 2011

So yet another year of cycling is left behind, definitely a good one. I reached a pleasant amount of goals set up for the year, most certainly due to the new bike bought in early spring when the snow still covered the ground. It was also an interesting year in pro-cycling, bringing new talents to the top elite.

2011, having bought the Kurt Kinetic trainer in 2010, was the first of my cycling years to begin with an indoor cycling period, and this enhanced the early season cycling a lot. Another big reason to a good start was the new bike that was several kgs lighter than my previous one. The Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0 was my first full carbon bike weighing at around 7,2kgs. I also bought a new cycling computer the Garmin Edge 500, and I have been more than pleased with it.

Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0 (Ultegra/Dura Ace)The first ride, we rode among snow and ice on April 5th. It was +4 degrees, but the sun already did it's job warming us up.

First ride of the year, all smilesAlmost a month later we saw something we never hope to see, a rider passing away during Giro. Wouter Weylandt passed away on the third stage of Giro chasing the front. He died wearing number 108, and this number will never be used again in the Giro, to the memory of Wouter Weylandt.

Team Leopard-Trek remembered Wouter on their website The Giro was then won by Alberto Contador, and he made it look really easy.

Alberto in pinkFinland had one of its best summers in years, and this ofcourse brought us many good rides in good conditions. Temperatures of around 25-30 degrees celcius and hardly any rain at all. This also helped me in achieving one of my goals, riding 300km. I couldn't have asked for a better day to do that, than the 14th of July. Almost no winds, pure sunshine and a perfect temperature. Having bought an HD camera, I was able to record many of the sections from along the ride.

300.54 km began at 6 am. The route was taken counter-clockwise

 

In July, the Tour de France was won by Cadel Evans, after many twist and turns. My own season highlight was approaching fast, Tour de Helsinki in early September. In august though, I got an influenza that lasted for 3 weeks and this took the best training time away and I had to participate without having trained for many weeks and still having a flu. Thus it went pretty okay. With no big hopes I was able to make a time almost 15 minutes better than last year. 

I also had time to chat with Kjell Carlström, who was beaten in the final sprint and took the second place overall.

Due to the warmest fall in a long time, I was still able to ride in November, and the last outdoor ride was ridden in total darkness 7th November.

wearing almost everything I had in the closet

Even though I wasn't able to reach my goal of 7000km this year, the season 2011 was a great one in many ways. Many new routes introduced and a great weather among with a new bike, new gear (cameras, hydration packs, bibs etc.) made the year a pleasant one. And hopefully the season 2012 will be even a better one with faster averages, more kilometres, better training and even more rides with friends. I hope you all have a good 2012 and still have time to check this blog every now and then. 

 

Happy ridings!

Post-race thoughts

A week later, Tour de Helsinki 2011 already feels like a distant memory. I was glad to be able to participate, despite still having a flu at that moment. And I knew there was little for me to achieve, since I'd been ill for almost two weeks and hence, had no possibilities to train for the race. The weather couldn't have been much better, +20, sunshine and almost no wind.

We started at the back of the group 30km/h and planned to just ride easy with that group to the finish line. Soon though, me and my friend, we felt a need to make a stop, which we did at approx. 10km, just before the "free-ride" started. This was a big mistake. When we got back on our bikes, we found ourselves at the back of the 29km/h bunch, which meant we had fallen probably 300-400 riders from our original group.

At the start

At this point, the leadout car had left the front, and all the groups were speeding up, which meant we had to speed up even more to get back to where our friends were. I started looking at my Garmin, and could immediately see and feel my untrained body. I was riding almost 40km/h with some 190bpm. It took me half an hour (~15km), many short steep climbs and some longer (Velskola) to finally find my friend in the 30km/h group. And i felt sick. My stomach was turning upside down, and I had a hard time trying to establish my pulse to a somewhat normal level. All the way chasing, I had to ask people whether i was still in the 29 group, and believe me, it felt good when I heard some guys telling me I was in the 30km/h group, or what remained of it. 

Chatting with other riders at Velskola (picture taken by heiha63)

It took me maybe 10 minutes to recover from the great effort I'd just made, and I was happy I could continue, after feeling really sick just a moment before. So we rolled with the 30km/h group all the way to 95km, where the group leaders made a stop, and some of the group continued, us included. I could sense the pace was increasing and there was certainly more tension in that group. I knew I would be glad just to ride with these guys 'til the finish line, that was just 30 km away.

Kuninkaanmäki was the last "big" climb before finish, at approx. 120km. No one seemed to be willing to attack, and I was happy. But as the group was in that climb, I could definitely feel it slow down. I felt good, so I kept up my own pace, and in a fraction of a second, found myself riding in the front of that group. Some riders had apparently made an increase in speed and were riding away from us. I knew I couldn't make any greater efforts, I just stayed where I was, with the group. One guy tried to get back to the riders that had at this point made a significant gap, maybe 100m. I looked down at my garmin, and at this point I felt, "what the heck, I can't let that guy suffer alone". So I pedaled beside him and told him to stay behind me and I would close the gap, that  would make it easier for us to ride the last kilometres. So I started pedaling, and after a minute or so, I had managed to close the gap, and got a big thank you from the other guys. 

So we rode further, and there was maybe 10km to go, when I was riding at the back of our group, now maybe 20 guys, and I realized there was an attack at the front (Cervelo guy). I looked down at my garmin, it was almost like shouting at me to hang onto that attack. So there I found myself, chasing a breakaway and a few moments later found myself in a two-man breakaway riding like hell. I don't know what happened, I was so sure I could resist any attack, and just stay calm and take it easy,because I was ill, and was far from top condition. It seemed, the garmin knew me better.

I could feel the lactic acid get into my legs, my heart was beating like hell. I left my place, and passed along the pacekeeping to the Cervelo guy and looked over my shoulder. I could see the group chasing us. And again, it was my turn to split the wind and keep up the pace. I asked the Cervelo guy how he was feeling. "It hurts!". I answered him that we cannot let that group catch us, let's keep it up! My legs were feeling like logs, and the lactic acid was doing the job it did the best. My garmin device seemed to have stuck on 135km and I started feeling desperation. But as we passed riders that had fallen from faster groups, I asked two guys to join us, because they seemed to be in quite good shape. They were happy to join us, and at this point I knew we would make it. We were now 4 guys riding, and it was easy. And the last kilometres went really fast, and a moment later, we were at the Velodrome at the finish line. We chatted with the group, and shook hands, and it felt really great. I had just made my time almost 15 minutes better (from the previous year), even a bit untrained and having a flu. This again, was a great example of how sporting brings people toghether, it was really awesome to be in that breakaway group, we were all really exhausted, suffering, but we made it.

At the finish

Klaus arriving a few minutes later

 

At the finish, we also had a time to talk to Kjell Carlström. Unfortunately he had been forced to attack all day, and in the final sprint he just didn't have the legs to take the win. A great second place anyway for Kjell!

Kjell Carlström

 

 So what did we learn? First of all, Tour de Helsinki should take place in July or August, for the sake of weather and to avoid the worst influenza period. Secondly, you shouldn't participate in only one race, because if you're ill and you can't participate, it really sucks. And maybe I learned something about myself as well. Or maybe not.

 

Here you can find the Garmin data from TdH

 

I'll keep you more updated about other stuff soon!

 

Ciao!

 

Pre-race Antibiotics

One week from now, September the 4th will again be the main goal for this cycling season. Tour de Helsinki, a 140km "race" that gathers some 2000 cyclists. The training so far has been quite alright, but this week, just 12 days before the race, I got a temperature which then developed into infection in both ears and throat. I was prescribed antibiotics on Thursday 10 days prior to the race, and now 7 days before the race, the temperature is gone as well as the sore throat, but the infection seems to be stubborn when it comes to my ears. The doctor told me on Thursday, that I'm not able to race in 10 days... 

Instead of electrolytes, I'll be having these

This struck me. So I've been training the whole summer for a race and now all of a sudden someone tells me I can't participate? Well my first thought was that everything was over, I could sell my bike and start playing Playstation instead. But a few hours later, my despair turned into hopefullnes. Maybe I could participate anyway. Maybe I'll get well soon and even have some time to recover. Ofcourse I know it's impossible to reach the same results, but doing even a decent job would be fair enough for me at this point. 

I also started thinking about next year, why do one participate in only one race during the summer, especially one this late, when the influenzas are harassing the population, the probability of getting sick is pretty high. Well there is no answer, maybe next year I will, maybe not, but something to think about, especially if after all I couldn't participate in Tour de Helsinki this year. I'll probably get back to the topic Tour de Helsinki during the "race-week". 

Staying at home, I also had time to make something out of the manymany hours of video I've been shooting during the past month. And there's more to come next week. Here's what I made today, hope you enjoy it! (if possible, watch it in HD)

 

Ciao!

 

Tours and summers passing by

So, almost a month passed by, we saw the Tour de France get a new winner, I did cycle 300km and now, it seems like autumn is approaching Finland. 

My last post was about cycling 300km, and sure I did manage, and yes I did make a short movie about it (you'll find the vid further down). It was tough, not tough in a way that my body couldn't handle it, it was mentally really tough. Going alone for 11 hours and the last 100km just felt I would never get home. My garmin seemed to be stuck on 200km. But later on, when I got back on well known roads in the last 60km I felt I could really speed up a little, and actually had same kind a pace I usually have riding on these roads. The same evening my back hurt a little, but the only thing that lasted longer than one evening, was the red stripes in my face (who could ever think the sun would follow my left cheek all the way...), and sure my workmates were there to remind me I had probably forgot the sunscreen.. All in all, a great ride, great weather and a great achievement. But honestly, I wouldn't do it again, not alone. But now I at least know I'm able to survive Vätternrundan. You'll find the training data HERE.

This took me through the 300kmAnd this is what I rodeKemiönsaari at 50km

Strömma Kanal at 70 kmDuring the ride I had to make 3 stops, just to strech the legs and get some energy (beside those energy bars..)

Enjoying pulla and coffee at Tammisaari ( at 115km)Pizzaroll and coffee in Fagervik (at 145km)

Fagervik at 145km
Pasta in Virkkala (at 175km)

And the short video from the different sections of the ride:

 

July of course was also the time to watch the Tour, and it actually was pretty exciting this year, and I was glad to see Cadel Evans take the overall win. He had been fighting so many years to finally get there!

Enjoying the Tour

Besides this, I cycled another 1000km in July, making the total for this year some 3000km. I'm almost halfway to the goal, which at this point is far away, but I'm still sure I'm gonna make it. In one month we'll also be attending a cycling event, Tour de Helsinki. I'll give a heads up and some more photos from our rides in July in the next update, soon. 

 

A dopo!

Tour de Helsinki

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