cycling in rain

Rapha Festive 500, almost there

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.

At my restplace in the forest, I found a boat. Strange place for a boat one could say.

At my restplace in the forest, I found a boat. Strange place for a boat one could say.

Felt F65X

Felt F65X

Amazing light, no more darkness!

Amazing light, no more darkness!

For the first time, may I present, my shadow!

For the first time, may I present, my shadow!

Second stop at 40 km

Second stop at 40 km

Neat little river

Neat little river

Never tired of having sunshine

Never tired of having sunshine

More nice light and river

More nice light and river

Still like the looks of the bike

Still like the looks of the bike

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My new favorite ride-snack, salted and roasted Cashew nuts!

My new favorite ride-snack, salted and roasted Cashew nuts!

Almost smiling

Almost smiling

Moments later I spotted cyclists in the distance

Moments later I spotted cyclists in the distance

Rode with them for some 5 km, unfortunately there was one puncture during this time. Great co-operation here! Not to mention the motivation boost you get when you meet fellow cyclists.

Rode with them for some 5 km, unfortunately there was one puncture during this time. Great co-operation here! Not to mention the motivation boost you get when you meet fellow cyclists.

Then it was time for sunset

Then it was time for sunset

Last signs of light

Last signs of light

Arriving home, food awaited!

Arriving home, food awaited!

I never get tired eating good food

I never get tired eating good food

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!

Freezing weather today

Freezing weather today

No more sunshine, icy rain and wind

No more sunshine, icy rain and wind

These saved my hands today

These saved my hands today

They really are warm

They really are warm

Day 4

Day 5

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!

raphaalmost.png

 

Let's keep our fingers crossed

Rapha Festive 500 First Half

It's been a couple of long days in the rain. As said earlier, I was able to begin my Rapha Festive 500 a couple of days late, hence I've been spending more time in the rain than what feels good...

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The weather has been as the forecast promised, rain, rain, wind, chilly and some more wind. After 3 days in the saddle now, every day has been rainy, especially yesterday's 100 km ride, rain from beginning 'til end. And winds have been around 8-10 m/s on average. So really some pretty hard and long days in the saddle for my legs that really aren't i shape. Having said that, I'll let you browse through pictures instead of me complaining about the weather and sore legs.

Warm-up ride

On Wednesday night after arriving home I took a short warm-up ride before the "real" rides.

Cycling in darkness

Cycling in darkness

Lights on

Lights on

Stylish

Stylish

Foggy

Foggy

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 1

On Thursday I tracked some 85 km. It was windy and grey.

Ready?

Ready?

Is that the sun?

Is that the sun?

Kirjalansalmi

Kirjalansalmi

View from the office

View from the office

View from bottom

View from bottom

Short stop

Short stop

End of the road

End of the road

Finnish landscape

Finnish landscape

Mud

Mud

All smiles..

All smiles..

No asphalt around

No asphalt around

Second stop

Second stop

At the sea

At the sea

Ridesnack

Ridesnack

And coffee of course

And coffee of course

Black gold

Black gold

It has been a really stormy winter so far

It has been a really stormy winter so far

More sand

More sand

Misty roads

Misty roads

Find the Felt

Find the Felt

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 2

The second day was all about rain and wind. + 5 degrees, 8 m/s and rain from the beginning until the end. 100 km tracked, I was pleased with that. Actually, once you've been riding for 3 hours in constant rain, you can laugh about it! Some of the pictures are not that great quality, I blame the weather.

Grey again

Grey again

Ridesnack for today

Ridesnack for today

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Wet roads

Wet roads

Finnish archipelago

Finnish archipelago

Felt waiting to get moving again

Felt waiting to get moving again

View from the office, more rain

View from the office, more rain

Naantali sun

Naantali sun

 

 

Rapha Festive 500 - Day 3

Today was a shorter day in the saddle, only 74 km. The weather was slightly better than yesterday, 10 m/s + 5 and rain only the last 1,5 hours. After this ride I've also tracked 57 % of the Rapha Festive 500 total. Great!

Today's fuel

Today's fuel

Finnish forest

Finnish forest

Forest Felt

Forest Felt

Exit

Exit

More Finnish landscapes, grey and wet

More Finnish landscapes, grey and wet

Only some 200 + kilometers to go, and no rain tomorrow (they say..). 

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas?

Note: This is a long post, but has loads of pictures so should be easy reading.

One of the best mornings of the week is Sunday. It's the morning when you have time to read the morning newspapers, drink you favorite coffee and have a proper breakfast. But it definitely does not look like Christmas. It's raining outside and the fact that Christmas Eve is on Tuesday feels kind of distant. But that's the way it is this year. Yesterday was another rainy ride outside, just 60 kilometers, but believe me it felt as 90. Yesterday was also the darkest day of the year, when the day here in Turku was 5 hours and 44 minutes long, with the sun setting just after 3 PM.

Grey countryside

Grey countryside

Greyscale continues

Greyscale continues

At a distance, the bike looks clean

At a distance, the bike looks clean

The office

The office

It was also the last ride for me before the Rapha Festive 500 challenge, where I need to be doing more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) a day, since I will be away on Christmas Eve. Will be some really hard days in the saddle, at least looking at the forecast now with rain, heavy winds and some degrees above zero. 

Inspirational?

Inspirational?

Rear view

Rear view

How about a smile?

How about a smile?

The darkest day of the year

The darkest day of the year

These were the last ride pictures before Christmas, and next ones will be from the Rapha Festive 500. Because it's not at all like Christmas, I had to make it feel like Christmas, so I bought myself a Christmas tree. I think I found a pretty nice one, and no, I didn't steal it. And no, I do not have a star on top of it.

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I also bought some new coffee beans, Arabica blends. It is roasted by one of my favorite roastery, Kaffa Roastery. The Go'Kväll (Good evenin') and Tauko (Break) both have a great aroma and surely have a great taste as well. The Tauko (Break), will be travelling with me on my Rapha Festive 500 challenge as well. Figured out the name fits perfect and coffee is a must have for a cold ride.

Kaffa GoKväll and Tauko

Kaffa GoKväll and Tauko

So before I take a short break, I want to wish you all a really great Christmas. Remember to eat loads of good food and enjoy just relaxing with your family, friends and close ones.

Enjoy!

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Rapha Festive 500 countdown

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. 

2 x Galaxy S3 phones takes care of back-up tracking

2 x Galaxy S3 phones takes care of back-up tracking

Main device will be my Garmin Edge 500

Main device will be my Garmin Edge 500

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 will also record some video with this, GoPro Hero 3

I will also record some video with this, GoPro Hero 3

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.

Drive safe!

Cycling in Rain - Save your Ass

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. 

Ass Savers were delivered in an envelope, neat envelope

Ass Savers were delivered in an envelope, neat envelope

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.

Ass Saver attached

Ass Saver attached

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. 

It really does work

It really does work

The proof, the ass saver really does collect a big amount of that wet sand. So how about the back?

Result of 40km in wet conditions

Result of 40km in wet conditions

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!

Totally protected from below

Totally protected from below

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! 

 

 

 

 

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! 

 

Road cycling season so far

The weather for road cycling has been superb this year. At least most of the time. I've been spending some 130 hours on the bike this year, and that's a early season record. I aim at having that figure somewhere around 250 hours. We'll see how close I'll get. Instead of writing a lot, I'll share some pictures with you both on and off the saddle.

Early season preparations setting up the bike, should be done with espresso

Early season preparations setting up the bike, should be done with espresso

Early season team-ride

Early season team-ride

During a business-trip to Stockholm I visited Bianchi Café & Cycles, my favorite café, many times. You should really pay a visit here if you're in Stockholm! Click the picture to read more about the place!

During a business-trip to Stockholm I visited Bianchi Café & Cycles, my favorite café, many times. You should really pay a visit here if you're in Stockholm! Click the picture to read more about the place!

Waiting for the flight home

Waiting for the flight home

Taking a small brake on a long Sunday-ride

Taking a small brake on a long Sunday-ride

Giving it all is sometimes pretty exhausting...

Giving it all is sometimes pretty exhausting...

Rainy rides are not that bad when you are properly equipped

Rainy rides are not that bad when you are properly equipped

Attack!

Attack!

Easy evening ride in Ruissalo

Easy evening ride in Ruissalo

Green times in Attu

Green times in Attu

Pedalare pedalare!

Pedalare pedalare!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. 'Til next time, have a good one! 

Ready to race?

In the last posts before the break I wrote about my training progress and I was actually very pleased by the way my body responded to the gym and trainer exercise. This is how the progress W/Kg was developing from January to March:

W/Kg progress, blue line is the expected result and the red one is the actual progress

W/Kg progress, blue line is the expected result and the red one is the actual progress

Due to the fact I don't have a Cycle Power Meter on my bike (these calculations were made by the indoor training software) it is quite hard to keep track on this development. That has led to the feeling I am making zero progress. I've now ridden 1000km outdoors (total of slightly above 2000km) this year, which is almost the same as last year at this time. So with the training I've made during winter and the fact that I've ridden slightly more, that should result in me being in better shape. Is that so?

During March I felt the overtraining creeping (read more about overtraining on Trainingpeaks). So I had to take a break in training. Probably that led to a drop in the "good feeling" about training and resulted in actual performance loss as well. It was a pity taking some time off, but that was a must. Together with high expectations that is probably the reason why I feel I am underperforming. 

That's why I will be doing some serious change in my training, I'll let you know more about that later.

This week will bring the first race of the year, Giro d'Espoo. It was a great event last year, 111km of superb riding in great weather (you can read about last year's event here). The weather now looks quite the opposite, +15 degrees and rain. I also heard the roads are in quite bad shape at some sections, so it can become a quite dangerous ride. So maybe I'm not able to beat last year's time, but anyhow, just finishing will probably feel great.

The route will be the same as last year, as mentioned 111km mostly rolling hills. For all you attending, click here to see all the sections which are in bad shape. I really hope there won't be any big crashes, would be really disappointing to have the bike destroyed and a bone broken with the whole season in front of us.

During the spring we have had some rainy rides, which hopefully will help us now. I also bought some new waterproof clothing, that I'll review at a later stage, they've been working great.

Dirt all over

Dirt all over

You should always clean your bike immediately after a soaky ride!

You should always clean your bike immediately after a soaky ride!

Rain creates happy cyclists!

Rain creates happy cyclists!

Hope you stayed awake reading this!

Enjoy the spring!