cyclocross

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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Web IMG_2781.jpg

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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First ride with Felt F65X

It's always exciting to try out new things, especially when it comes to bikes. Well this time besides a new bike, it was also first time ever riding with a SRAM groupset. The reason behind buying the Felt F65X was the fact that I needed more kilometers during off season to be able to progress. A part of that was to participate in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge, that would push me to ride 500 kilometers between Christmas eve and New year's eve. I also realized I couldn't do that with my current "off season" bike, the Haro Mary SS, 29" mtb. So I had to make a choice, and that choice was the new 2014 Felt F65X. For this project, I was really lucky to get support from Huntteri a company importing Felt Bicycles in Finland. Without them this wouldn't have been possible.

The F65X comes with SRAM Apex shifters and front derailleur and Rival rear derailleur. The frame is aluminium and the fork is carbon, and the bike has Avid BB5 disc brakes. The weight with pedals is roughly 10 kg, so not the lightest out there, but for me riding in quite harsh conditions, it feels better to have an aluminium bike. 

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The bike would be put to the test immediately, it was +5 degrees, really windy and it was raining. I would also ride in the evening, in pitch dark.

The setup with studded tires, front&back-lights and ass savers "mudguard"

The setup with studded tires, front&back-lights and ass savers "mudguard"

It really was dark, and it really was raining. But fortunately I was well prepared with lights, waterproof clothing and thermal layers, so that was no problem. It took me a few kilometers to gain trust in the bike, tried to listen for any strange sounds, tried the brakes, did a couple of all out sprints and brakes and went through the gears. No strange sounds and everything was working perfect. I also had to make a stop to change to lighter gloves, apparently I had prepared really well. 

And there was light

And there was light

 

Because I've been to a bike fit with my Canyon, I had exact measures on everything, so it was easy to set up the bike to match my road bike, and really, the bike felt comfortable from the first meters and I didn't have to make any changes on the position. The F65X is not as aggressive and stiff as my Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0, but then again you can't compare them because the one is a full carbon bike.

After riding 40 km on the Felt I would say it is a really great cyclocross bike for any beginner or active cyclist. It will probably not be of interest to one competing in CX, but definitely for one that is seeking more kilometers during off season, this is the bike to have. It is comfortable, easy to ride with, and the SRAM groupset seemed to work well. Even for one who never used the "SRAM system" (I'm used to Shimano Ultegra groupset), it felt pretty comfortable and straight forward. After one ride with SRAM, I still would prefer Shimano, but on my second bike that I'm not competing with, it works 100 % fine! The disc brakes, for one who has never set them up, took a while to master to get them straight, but once you have them set up properly, they really do work great. I actually don't know, maybe I would even be ready to see disc brakes on road bikes.. Maybe. 

After only one ride it is hard to write a thorough review ( I will do that once I have more kilometers on it), but the first impression is really good.

Links:

http://www.feltbicycles.com/Finland/2014/Bikes/Cyclo-X/FX-Series/f65x.aspx

http://huntteri.fi/?lang=en&rtn=

 

Now I'm ready for bed and anxiously waiting for the next ride, and especially the Rapha Festive 500! Good Night!

 

Rapha Festive 500

For the first time ever I will participate in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge. The challenge is to ride your bike outdoors 500 km or more between Christmas eve and New year's eve. 

I will probably target on 500 km, but if the weather is good, maybe there can be more kilometers ridden, who knows. I've also decided that if I really want to improve my cycling, I need to ride more. Pretty obvious. So I've been on a shopping spree and decided to finally buy a cyclocross bike. Now I'm able to track both hours and kilometers even during late autumn, winter and early spring, not just spinning on the trainer indoors. I'm really excited to be honest. The bike I bought is a Felt F65X 2014 cyclocross bike. It's not the lightest nor the most expensive one, but damn I like how it looks and feels. I've just put the last pieces together and tomorrow I'll head out for a test ride, can't wait! I will surely write a review as I've tracked some kilometers with the bike.

Felt F65X 2014

Felt F65X 2014

So 9 days until the challenge starts and 9 days 'til Christmas. I just hope the weather will be somewhat okay. According to the weather forecasts, it should be pretty warm, somewhere around +0 degrees and no snow. Would have been nice to ride in white landscapes instead of the grey ones, but you have to take whatever weather you have. 

If you want to read more about the challenge you can do so on:

http://www.rapha.cc/festive-500-2013

http://www.strava.com/challenges/festive-500-2013

 

I'll try to shoot some videos and pictures and you can find them when they're created on:

The Invisible Hill Facebook page  

invisiblehillcycling instagram page

 

The routes will be uploaded to Strava and you will be able to track me live as well on my Endomondo page