cykling

Cyclists against unsafe city planning

Turku, the city where I live in is not known for great city planning for cyclists. It's far from safe to get around the city center with your bike. Recently the Turku municipal property corporation board voted down a proposition that would have made entering the city center both easier and safer for cyclists. The local cycling association, Turun polkupyöräilijät (Åbo cyclister) organized a demonstrative cycling event through the city center. They managed to gather around 200 cyclists (which is pretty good for a small city like Turku) for this demonstration. Unfortunately I was not able to participate, but I was there with my camera. Below you can browse through them, and if you like to have them in full size, just contact me and we'll arrange that. Enjoy!

Early Spring in pictures

Before reaching the 2000km (1250miles) mark of this year we've experienced everything from snow, icy rain to sunshine. Sunday March the 11th was the day that brought us back on the roads, with a pleasant sunny weather and some +6 degrees celcius. Yet there was plenty of snow around, which made the little breeze quite chilly. 

Bike all set up for the outdoor season


Proper clothing is important in any weather condition


All smiles


Setting up the Garmin device for outdoor use


Plenty of snow, but the roads were almost all dryAlmost all the roads...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunbathing in +6 degrees (C)


It was a pretty dirty job..


A week later, icy rain and + 3 degrees was pretty nasty

April was quite cold here in Finland, but fortunately we had at least a couple of good sunny days to ride our bikes.

Taking the ferry to Attu in late april


Run out of energy bars, so I had to use these finnish Karelian pies instead. Unfortunately my stomach didn't like them during exercise, I felt really bad and had to fight against throwing up later during the ride. But they're really tasty in any other occasion!


First ride without arm warmers was ridden in late April


A fallen off chain.....and just seconds later back on the bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icy rides in March are already forgotten


Even the donkeys are out, enjoying the spring!

I hope you enjoyed the pics, I'll be back with more stuff again soon. The Giro d'Italia is about to start in just a couple of days and there are also other stuff on the agenda!

 

 

Ci Vediamo!

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!

 

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!

Cycling Sunday

Today has been a real Cycling Sunday with an easy bikeride in some 16 degrees and sunshine, and also today Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the oldest of the Classics will end the Spring-classics before Giro d'italia next month.

Some pictures from the first rides this year:

 

 

And a short video from today's ride: