cycling video

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!

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!

Post Giro d'Espoo 2013

Giro d'Espoo 2013 is now behind. I tried to keep this post as short as possible, but you know, sometimes that's difficult. I hope you don't fall asleep or bounce back to browsing through your facebook feed, at least not straight away. I also had a cam with me during the race so there's both video and pictures from the in-race, so you'll get a picture of how it is cycling in a bunch.

We needed to wake up quite early to get from Turku to Espoo in time. That time was 5.50am. Due to "whatever that thing in my knee was", I slept poorly, waking up every now and then to check how the knee felt. I managed to pour in some porridge and bread in me and 7.30 am the bike was in the car and we were traveling towards Espoo. Before packing the bike in, I took a short ride with the bike to feel how the knee felt while cycling. It didn't feel good at all.

7:30 am, ready to go

7:30 am, ready to go

Nervous we arrived to Espoo well before the start. We got our stuff from the organizers and went back to the car to prepare. Not only was I nervous because of my knee, but also because of the wind. I'd say it was around 10 m/s and winds gusting up to 15 m/s. Having probably many beginners in the group, these heavy wind conditions could be a dangerous thing to have. The only thought at this point was to be able to finish the race.

My number today

My number today

It was sunny though, and when we lined up for the start, I'd taken a short warm-up, and the knee felt a bit better. Hope started crawling upon me. It was again nice to see that cycling brings so many people together, and in a country like Finland where the public opinion is that you shouldn't talk to strangers, those barriers were all of a sudden removed. Had a nice talk with other cyclists and the mood was  good.

Bike ready for racing

Bike ready for racing

We, ready to race

We, ready to race

Cyclists lining up

Cyclists lining up

This picture might give you an idea of the wind...

This picture might give you an idea of the wind...

10 minutes before start

10 minutes before start

And then we rolled. The start was somewhat hectic as usual, but all in all the first kilometers went pretty okay. But the wind. I already felt we were in for a  pretty tough 3 hours in the saddle today.  

Passing the start/finish gate

Passing the start/finish gate

First unfortunate to have a puncture in the first 10km

First unfortunate to have a puncture in the first 10km

111 km is not that long a race, and in just a couple of hours we were well on our way to approach the finish. Passing 70 km we had some rain, but for me that was only a nice "refreshing" shower. The knee had functioned pretty ok, but I could feel the legs were already a bit tired. As usual, even if I had started in the front of the group I again found myself at the back of the group. And every 2-5km there were some gaps I had to close down when the cyclists in front of me were not able to follow the pace anymore. A bit frustrating situation. The idea is to ride in two lines, but in the very beginning people who for some reason think the will finish earlier at the front of the group will pass you who follow this principle of riding in two lines. They pass you on both left and right, making it sometimes pretty dangerous. And at some point, these cyclists find out the pace is too high and the fall behind. And this is where the "close down the gaps" begin.

Here's a visualization of a gap taking shape

Here's a visualization of a gap taking shape

The heavy wind made it extra difficult, especially when the wind was blowing from the side. Cycling in 50+km/h in some sections and suddenly getting a blast of wind from the side easily throws you 1-2 meters sideways. Fortunately I managed to hold on and avoided crashing. There was 3 small crashes in the bunch during the whole race. Those were all in uphill sections and caused by stupidity. The big picture though was pretty clean riding.

This is what causes problems, never do like this when you can not be sure there are no cars coming. And anyhow when you're riding in a pacegroup, you win nothing by taking the left lane.

This is what causes problems, never do like this when you can not be sure there are no cars coming. And anyhow when you're riding in a pacegroup, you win nothing by taking the left lane.

First almost crash

First almost crash

The problems seemed to build up towards the end

The problems seemed to build up towards the end

Same section just moments later

Same section just moments later

I knew there was a big hill at the 100km mark. Legs were slightly tired but I felt the effect of having that number on my back. When we got to the bottom of that climb I got out of the saddle and from the back of the bunch I got to the front, and kept on attacking. I was joined by a couple of other cyclists and together we kept a pretty good pace. The last 10 km are mostly downhill, only 3 hills to pass. I did the job in those climbs, otherwise the other guys kept the pace high. I was really enjoying cycling! My legs felt really good, I was able to follow all sprints easily and felt strong. I also tried to cheer the others to try to hang in. In the last km I still felt strong, and took the lead. Shouted out to the others to follow and made an increase in pace. Unfortunately the others were not able to follow, but still they had almost the same final time as I did. Breakaway groups are the best thing in cycling, and having a strong group is so motivating. There are no words to explain that.   

At the bottom of the hill where I made the attack. The front of the pacegroup is already at the top of the hill.

At the bottom of the hill where I made the attack. The front of the pacegroup is already at the top of the hill.

At the top of the same hill I've passed the front and was chasing down a breakaway

At the top of the same hill I've passed the front and was chasing down a breakaway

A moment later there was another hill, and I managed to pass the breakaway and started chasing the next group that would then be the breakaway that kept 'til the end

A moment later there was another hill, and I managed to pass the breakaway and started chasing the next group that would then be the breakaway that kept 'til the end

This guy, I assume his number was 625, was super strong and made a huge effort!

This guy, I assume his number was 625, was super strong and made a huge effort!

I arrived to finish with a time that was 4 minutes "worse" than last year. I was not disappointed, quite the opposite. The last 10 km was super strong riding, the time was worse because the group could not keep the pace quite as high as last year due to the heavy winds. 

Crossing the finish line

Crossing the finish line

At the finish we chatted with the "breakaway" guys and everyone was all smiles, me included. I also received a big thank you from a guy that was riding in the same start group. He had been riding behind me almost all the way, and thanked me for a steady and safe riding, that made his journey much more pleasant. It's always really nice to get this kind of feedback, and made me even more pleased with my race. It usually is hectic with braking and sprinting in a big group, but you can always minimize this by looking over the shoulder of the guy in front of you. By doing this you know what is happening and this minimizes sudden braking and situations usually does not come as surprises when you know what's happening in the group a couple of rows in front of you.  

At the finish, I also had some time to chat with Alexander Stubb. A great person who also enjoys cycling a lot. Always cheerful and happy to talk with you even if he would be busy (even if I had a Samsung to take this picture with, and not a Nokia).  

At the finish with Alexander Stubb. He had beaten my time, again.

At the finish with Alexander Stubb. He had beaten my time, again.

I waited at the finish for my friend to arrive, and during that time the muscles had cooled down and I could feel the pain in my knee, back and hip. I had probably unconsciously been careful with my knee while cycling, and hence probably did not ride in the best possible position. But that didn't matter at that point, I had finished, I didn't crash and it had once again been a superb race!

Klaus arriving

Klaus arriving

Recovery snack

Recovery snack

And here's a 20 minute video from the last 10 km and the breakaway (available in HD):

So if you ever doubt taking part in any cycling event, read this post again and just do it!

 

Hope you managed to stay awake all the way 'til the end.  

 

Have a good one!