coffee

Ups and downs the past few weeks

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. 

Fixing the bike before first outdoor ride is really important!

Changing all wires on the bike (yea, no electronic shifting here.. yet)

Clean Canyon

Also stacked up with some nutrition, I've changed from Maxim to SIS this year

First longer ride ahead, including Garmin Virb Elite

Klaus arriving

Crossing Aura river

A coffee break on a windy and chilly ride

Nutrition and hydration is important as well

Nutrition and hydration is important as well

One of the best road cycling books ever, Domestique by Charly Wegelius

Turku evening

We also have some cobbles

Stairway to water

Garmin Virb Elite mounted to the handlebar

It seems even uphills can be fun

Selfie...

Canyon having a break

Spring!

Not all sunshine

Soaking

"Seated" uphill training

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.

Planes landing on 19L

Back in Turku

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!

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!

February coming to an end

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.

Eat less, eat frequently, eat properly

Last week I received my Rapha Festive 500 badge. A neat little thing that reminds me of 500 really wet kilometers. Read about my Rapha Festive 500 journey, first half, almost there, completed. Of course Rapha style it arrived in a fashionable envelope.

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. 

The Brikka valve makes the difference

Proper crema

Of course I've been following the Winter Olympic Games in Sotchi as well.

USA-FIN Bronze medal game (Ice Hockey, men)

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...

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol and post-ride coffee

So it's soon March, hopefully the month when we can take out our road bikes!

 

Exciting!

Stepping up off-season training

After a slow start for the road cycling season 2014, I've slowly managed to make progress in my off-season training. The days at work seem to be way too long and it often feels impossible to find energy for training. Afterwards, once you make that decision to hit that workout, you will thank yourself for doing it.

I often motivate myself by going back in time, thinking about those races and special moments when I just couldn't hold on to that wheel in front of me, or when a breakaway attempt wasn't strong enough and just drained my energy, that feeling when I failed. If there is something I hate in cycling, that's failure, especially failure because I just wasn't good enough. I couldn't execute my plan as I wanted because I wasn't in good enough shape. I have experienced several failures and I remember most of them really well, remember exactly how I felt when those seconds hit me, when I wasn't strong enough to perform as I wanted.

These moments I remember so well, will help me move forward. To hit those intervals on the trainer, to go out cycling even if it's freezing and dark or to head for the gym early in the morning. I want to be better. I want to progress, I want to be better than last year, last month or even last week. I want to outperform myself, surprise myself. And most of all, I do not want to give up, at least not without giving it my best. Limits are created by your mind, giving up before giving it your all is not an option. If you then however fail, that's ten times better than a "what if". 

Doing intervals while watching ice hockey, easier said than done!

During the weekend I had a great, almost 3 hour outdoor workout, mostly just easy pedaling. Made some minor adjustments on my position on the bike, and darn those changes were good. The position now feels perfect and no pressure on the knees anymore. Below some pictures from the weekend:

Cashew - Tea break

Sunday morning

Sunday morning coffee

Orange juice in the making

A Finnish breakfast?

Sunday evening

It's already Wednesday tomorrow, almost weekend that is. Try to hang in there, not more than 5-6 weeks left of the winter!

A day without coffee ?

I'm sitting in the train on my way home and I feel I need to share this with you. As most of you know, besides cycling I'm passionate about coffee, and today was a day I really understood how addicted I am.

I had a pretty stressful morning and therefore hadn't time to prepare coffee at home. I was going to jump on the train and have my coffee on the train instead (that is Finnish coffee, actually not to even be mentioned together with real Italian one, but that gets you kinda going as we'll if there's nothing else). We'll there had been a switch between trains and because this was done in a hurry, they'd forgotten the coffee maker, so no coffee on the train. Wow, I started feeling desperation..

Two hours later I arrived to Helsinki, it was 11 AM and I was really craving for coffee. Headed for the office and in a hurry went out for lunch, because there was a meeting at 12. Returning from lunch I decided to have a coffee at the office instead. Returning to the office I found out the coffee machine was out of coffee. It was 12 o clock and still no coffee. At 13:45 it happened, there was coffee and I was able to pour down that black magical drink down my throat. Actually had two cups in a row. If I ever wondered, am I really addicted, I probably got my answer today. Until 13:45 I was unable to think clearly on anything else than the fact I didn't have coffee yet.

When I get home I will grind some great coffee from beans roasted in sicilian style. I bought these beans a month ago in a small Italian shop in Helsinki. Ionia is a coffee roastery founded in 1960 with roots in Sicily. Really a nice blend, strong yet smooth taste with great crema. I can recommend this one.

Great blend

Great blend

Dark roast

Dark roast

Great crema!

Great crema!

 

 Enjoy your addictions!

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!

Wrapping up the week

It's really strange to say, it's December. When did that happen? The good thing is that one of the dark rainy months has already passed and only a few to go before the outdoor season starts again (well a few..). As usual, I think pictures are nicer to browse on a Sunday evening, therefore I'll bombard you with them instead of words. I'm also planning to do something I've never done before, a real adventure. I'll tell you more about that next week, or before christmas ;)

After a long day you need to fill up your energy levels

After a long day you need to fill up your energy levels

There is no day without coffee

There is no day without coffee

Besides coffee, beer and cycling kind of goes together. Great source of vitamins. Wine should neither be forgotten.

Besides coffee, beer and cycling kind of goes together. Great source of vitamins. Wine should neither be forgotten.

First hard FTP test done this indoor season. This is when you really feel you are alive, that burning in your lungs and legs. The work for season 2014 has begun!

First hard FTP test done this indoor season. This is when you really feel you are alive, that burning in your lungs and legs. The work for season 2014 has begun!

Post workout nutrition. You should really try the Sierra Nevada Torpedo as well, superb IPA! Visit Sierra Nevada Brewery at  http://www.sierranevada.com/

Post workout nutrition. You should really try the Sierra Nevada Torpedo as well, superb IPA! Visit Sierra Nevada Brewery at http://www.sierranevada.com/

The Christmas tree has arrived and was lit up this weekend

The Christmas tree has arrived and was lit up this weekend

First signs of freezing water on the Aura river

First signs of freezing water on the Aura river

Sunday mornings, morning paper and proper breakfast. Life.

Sunday mornings, morning paper and proper breakfast. Life.

I hope you all had a great weekend. I'll upload some more stats about training, upcoming events and site updates during the upcoming month. Stay tuned!

A picture I took early Friday morning, I need to admit, there can be nice mornings in November as well..

Project4.jpg

 

Have a great week!

 

 

Weekend behind, weekend ahead

These weeks pass by so darn fast. Probably the worst thing about that is to try to balance work and training. And when work involves travelling, it's hard to get the proper scheduled workouts done. It's possible, I know, Alexander Stubb has proven it. Well anyway, I thought I'd share some pics from last week

Visited johan & nyström coffee shop in Kanavaranta 7, Helsinki. Such a nice place, good coffee and superb atmosphere. If you are around, you should pay a visit! 

johan & nyström

johan & nyström

Johan & Nyström

Johan & Nyström

Nice assortment of tea

Nice assortment of tea

Great croissants and good coffee

Great croissants and good coffee

Nice chalk-drawings around the place

Nice chalk-drawings around the place

The best drug in the world

The best drug in the world

Pelago Bicycles

Pelago Bicycles

Waiting for this already, Friday sauna probably the best thing to do after a week at work

Waiting for this already, Friday sauna probably the best thing to do after a week at work

I'm confident I'll be back to my training schedule next week, really looking forward to that. 

Links:

johan & nyström

Pelago Bicycles

 

Cheers!

 

 

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! 

 

Royal Cycling

Tomorrow is the third race of the year for me, Royal Cycling (Royal Pyöräily) in Lahti, Finland. It will be a 132 km long route with around 300 riders starting. Youll find the route here. The route is somewhat hilly, and really looking forward for the hills at the end. A fast 2,8 km long uphill section just 10 km before finish. Whatever group I'll ride in, that's a place to make a breakaway in. So hopefully I'll have fresh legs tomorrow.

Elevation graphics

Elevation graphics

As usual, you're able to track my ride on Endomondo. The live tracking link should appear on my Endomondo page here or alternative you can actually follow it straight from my site here on The Invisible Hill under main menu, Races/Live tracking here.

We will start at 6 am, so once again a really early wakeup. Hopefully I'm able to get some proper sleep. 

Today was once again a great day of road cycling. A proper breakfast, coffee, and out for a short ride with a couple of short sprint-intervals just to get the legs going.

Pre-ride espresso

Pre-ride espresso

And what could be better after that, than watching a great mountain stage of Tour de France and have some proper food and coffee. Superb effort by Team Sky and Chris Froome, not to mention Richie Porte. Huge. I just hope Contador, Valverde or someone else could make it a good fight for Team Sky. If the domination is like today, it might be a boring last 2 weeks of the tour.  

Rice, chicken and green beans, my fuel-up-for-a-race-nutrition, always

Rice, chicken and green beans, my fuel-up-for-a-race-nutrition, always

So I'll keep you updated tomorrow on the facebook page with pictures from along the day. The weather should be great, hopefully my legs are great too.

No summer without wild strawberries, a must-stop when you see these on a easy ride. 

No summer without wild strawberries, a must-stop when you see these on a easy ride. 

Until next time, enjoy the summer, ride your bikes!

A superb day of road cycling

Some days are better than others, and today was one of those days you'll remember even on the coldest and darkest winter days. It was simply superb. 

Today's schedule was to ride some easy 4 - 5 hours and then get back home to watch the end of stage 2 of the Tour de France. Around 11 am I took the bike out, +23 degrees and sunshine, light winds. Perfect. 

Smooth

Smooth

I also decided to take a new route section today, took one wrong turn before I found the actual route. And luckily so, it was really beautiful. Idyllic yards, beautiful landscapes and winding roads.  

Ponies ahead!

Ponies ahead!

Nice scenery

Nice scenery

Idyllic neighborhoods  

Idyllic neighborhoods  

Tour de France colors

Tour de France colors

Dear Lord, please make the summer last forever

Dear Lord, please make the summer last forever

Decided to make a stop for a couple of minutes. Just to listen to the birds, the summer breeze and to smell the great tang of summer

Decided to make a stop for a couple of minutes. Just to listen to the birds, the summer breeze and to smell the great tang of summer

It's sometimes nice to vary the ride snacks. Raisins are great nutrition for your rides with plenty of fructose and energy.

It's sometimes nice to vary the ride snacks. Raisins are great nutrition for your rides with plenty of fructose and energy.

For those who want to have the nutrition facts for raisins, here you have it:

Nutritional value of raisins (100g) 

  • 299 calories
  • 0.5 g fat
  • 79 g carbohydrates
  • 59 g sugar
  • 4 g dietary fiber
  • 3 g protein 

The ride was filled with euphoria. Many great thoughts and ideas as well as just plain enjoyment of the fact that I was riding my bike on a day like this. I will certainly memorize this day, and go back to this day whenever I have a bad one.

 Four and a half hours later I arrived home, just in time for the action on the second stage of the Tour de France 2013. And what a stage that was. I prepared some recovery food and coffee and enjoyed the stage. Superb. Many great strong attacks and no crashes. And once again a demonstration about how strong will and determination can take you far. In the last kilometers there was a small breakaway, and as usual before the finish the group started looking at each other because no one wanted to do the dirty job. Jan Bakelants got rid of that group and barely finished before the main group with Peter Sagan in second. Huge effort by Bakelants, and surely a day he'll never forget. 

Post ride Tdf with Italian coffee #awesomeness

Post ride Tdf with Italian coffee #awesomeness

Have a good one! 

Pirkan Pyöräily 2013

A week later, Pirkan Pyöräily is a great memory. It all started with waking up at 3:50 am. Porridge, bananas some bread and coffee was my fuel for the morning. I was eager to start driving towards Tampere. 

4:15 am, heading towards Tampere

4:15 am, heading towards Tampere

The weather was perfect, and a couple of hours later I arrived in Tampere and the area where the start for Pirkan Pyöräily would be. In half an hour I had everything prepared for start. 

Bike set up and ready to go

Bike set up and ready to go

My number

My number

Alexander Stubb was also on the starting line. He started in the first group with other "triathlon cyclists". He was interviewed, and told he would take a run after finishing the 134km course to prepare for the Iron Man competition.

Alexander Stubb before start

Alexander Stubb before start

In Pirkan Pyöräily, every 1-2 minutes there is one smaller group of 20 cyclist heading out to the course. This makes the ride much safer as you thereby avoid huge groups of several hundred riders. We also were to keep our pace as fast as possibly by ourselves, so I was to take part in the pace-keeping as well.

Pirkan Pyöräily at the start

Pirkan Pyöräily at the start

My group started at 8:07 and we decided to keep up a pace of 34km/h. Soon we passed a couple of groups who started minutes earlier. From the first kilometers I felt this would be fun. And it was. The weather was perfect, almost no wind, perfect for a good pace-keeping. In the video below (by jraipala) you can see my group with me as pace-keeper passing a group of riders:

After 50km I felt a really nasty pain in my hip, and a couple of times I actually thought about giving up. Glad I didn't. As the kilometers passed I still felt pretty strong. I several times helped other riders to get back to our group. This was because I myself went to the back of the group each time I took a snack. People were thanking for the help, and everyone was really, despite being tired, all smiles. Some 20km before finish I worked for 1,5km at the front of our group, and went again to the back of the group because I felt I needed a longer cool-down. At that time the group for some reason fell apart. Me, being at the back reacted too late to this. Having my heartbeat steady just a bit, I made an effort to close the gap of 150m. My heart was pounding and I felt my legs and lungs burning. 30 meters away from the group I had to give up. Ridiculous. But that was 30 meters too much to close down to ensure I still could ride 20 km to the finish.

The last 15 km we rode together with 2 other cyclists and got an average speed of 36,1 km/h. I was really surprised by the time, being almost half an hour faster than I initially had expected. Had a talk with the other guys from the group, and once again we were all smiles. Superb cycling event for anyone, even beginners!

My hip was aching like hell, but the euphoria of a superb ride just made me laugh about it. After spending almost an hour talking to others I jumped in the car and headed for Turku. And that feeling when you open a cold beer, 12 hours, 400km (by car) + 134 km later, and collapse in the sofa, no words!

Hope you had energy to read through the whole post. Next week I'll get back to you with more updates about what's happening training-wise!  

Relax!

Relax!

Sunday, so where's the sun?

Looking out the window, it still doesn't look like we would be a month from getting out with our bikes. Actually that doesn't worry me too much. Training indoors on my trainer is not half as bad as the previous years, so make it a month and a half and I'm not worried at all ;) A week has gone again and this week included some progress at the gym, added on some weights as the power training phase approaches. Otherwise I've been eating and making some nice workouts on the trainer. Next week will end the last base training plan, and Sunday will include a FTP progress test before stepping into the first power build phase. Really looking forward to do that test. Meanwhile I'll enjoy the rest of the day watching Biathlon and rocking on that trainer.

Celebrating Runeberg

Celebrating Runeberg

Laskiaispulla, Italian coffee and Ice Hockey

Laskiaispulla, Italian coffee and Ice Hockey

I realized I didn't eat junk-food in a looong time, so I needed to try it out. Good? Yes.

I realized I didn't eat junk-food in a looong time, so I needed to try it out. Good? Yes.

Saturday night snack and TV

Saturday night snack and TV

I realized this site is starting to look like a food blog.. Really looking forward to hammer those pedals again!

I realized this site is starting to look like a food blog.. Really looking forward to hammer those pedals again!

Oh, it's snowing again.. Enjoy your Sunday!

Web 20110708_007.jpg

Weekend ahead, wrapping up January

The first month of the year is behind. It was a good training period and I had some good results as well. Without yesterday's minor back injury at the gym, the month has improved my aerobic fitness as well as strength and power. It's the result of both slight reduction in weight as well as increased power output.

A snapshot from my W/Kg progress (without revealing any numbers ;) )

A snapshot from my W/Kg progress (without revealing any numbers ;) )

The next real progress test will be in just a couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to that. A bit concerned about yesterday's minor injury, but hopefully it's just a minor strain. Will try a ride today to check how it responds to training.

Mornings with the morning paper, coffee, NHL and news

Mornings with the morning paper, coffee, NHL and news

The awesome thing about stepping into February is that it is probably the single last month of pure indoor training! However, contrary to last year I'll probable be training indoors until April/May to sustain and increase the power abilities.

In the cycling world we've seen the Pro Tour kick off. Tour Down Under was won by the 23 year old Dutch Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). We also saw Andre Greipel take 3 stages with huge sprint efforts, Team Sky working hard for Geraint Thomas and a huge effort by Finnish FDJ rider Jussi Veikkanen hitting the top 10 with 10th place! The next big race will be the Tour of Qatar that'll kick off on Sunday. It's the first big race for the new Swiss Team IAM Cycling, and the first test for Kjell Carlström as a directeur sportif! 

Keeps you going

Keeps you going

I also found a great site for all you interested in the Pro Tour Cycling scene! The site is www.procyclingstats.com and in there you'll find everything from stats, riders, routes and races. This is the database we've been waiting for, check it out!

Click to open PCS website

Click to open PCS website

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Keep on riding ;) (source:  Ville-noire )

Keep on riding ;) (source: Ville-noire)

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!

A day in an amateur cyclist's life

Some of you might wonder how serious I am about cycling. As stated in the About me section, this is nothing serious. The more you ride, the more serious it gets, even though I wouldn't classify my cycling as particularly serious, in comparison with many other amateur cyclists. I do train yes, I talk about season and off season, yes, If you ask some of my friends they'd probably think I spend too much time with the bike, yes. Cycling is kind of a lifestyle and immediately when you want to progress in an endurance sport, it takes time. So even if I'm not too serious about it (because I have a budget), I like to make the most out of it. So how does a day in an not-too-serious cyclist's life look like?

A proper breakfast, something you often wouldn't have time to have. But critical, especially if you have a day in the saddle

A cyclist is nothing without coffee

This is when you know it's off season

So instead of going out for a ride you head for the local gym

Did I mention coffee already? Italian coffee

After workout (not pint) shake

Never forget about food. A snack every now and then keeps you going. And yes I do eat  a lot of pasta (especially during summer), but I didn't want to make pasta just to show you a picture of pasta.

So this is how today looked like. Of course I switch between gym and indoor cycling from day to day, but today was a gym day. To finance a pretty expensive hobby, one of course needs to go to work as well. Not to mention I still have some stuff undone before I graduate (cycling isn't helping studies either). But no one's (me), interested in work or study related stuff, so no excel sheets or academic papers here.

And to show the difference between an amateur like me and a professional, take a look at the video below, and you'll understand...

Enjoy!

Great days are made of cycling

Today I took the first pedal strokes in a couple of weeks. It felt almost like the first outdoor ride after the loooong winter indoor training season. Today was sunny, warm, a great day for cycling. Even though the ride was not longer than a couple of hours, I felt I was back doing the thing I really want to do. Great days are made of cycling and good espresso. Thank God and Italy for both!

It's all in this picture.. (picture taken from kerdni.tumblr.com)

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?!

Tasty Tuesday

Instead of working and studying we decided to do some coffee tasting in the city of Turku. There are quite a few coffee places, but only a few with proper espresso. Most of the places serve the filtered normal coffee or espresso that's not espresso. So we decided to check out some of the places that actually offer some real espresso.

La Caffetiera is a nice small cafeteria that also offers lunch. The place is located at Kupittaa, Turku. It's nice and cosy, but it is only open between 10.30-15.00, which is a pity because they have some nice espresso that would be nice to grab before lectures. The coffee they use is Caffè Manuel which has a nice soft taste, that would probably also be quite gentle as a doppio. I would probably rate it with 8.0/10.0 points. Also the staff is really nice.

 

The second place that also has a really nice atmosphere is Cafè Art located close to the aura river. During summer they also have tables outside, which is great because of the location. The barista at Cafè Art is also one of the best in Finland. They use their own blends in the coffee. The taste is somewhat bitter (especially the last sip), but nonetheless it is pretty good. Probably around 7.0/10.0. If you want to have Cappuccino, you will surely get a nice piece of art made by the barista. 

 

 

The third place we visited was Cafè Sirius located at the main library in Turku. The place is owned by real Italians and is pretty awesome. The place might not look like an original Italian cafeteria, but the food is good and the coffee is really nice too. The coffee used here is Caffè Mokambo, and is probably the best coffee in of the ones we tried, getting 8.5/10.0. It is a bit stronger than the Caffè Manuel, but not as bitter as the one served in Cafè Art. Leaves a nice taste afterwards. 

 

 

The last place we visited was Tintå located close to the aura river. It is a really cosy place with neat wine lists and good food, probably one of the most popular places in Turku at the moment. They also serve good coffee, even though it is not as good as the other ones mentioned. They use Cafè Moak, which is good, but is a little too thin to the taste. It might be because of the fact that they seemed to use capsules in the machine. The overall rating would be around 7.0/10.0. 

 

And of course there are more places to get good coffee from in Turku, but I still haven't been to a place that would offer as good coffee as the cafeterias in Italy have. Maybe its about the fact that you are in Italy that makes it. But then again, maybe the experience is a big part of your espresso...

 

Cafè Roma, Ancona, Italy

 

And of course, what would a tasty tuesday be without checking out a local bike store and some rims....