espresso

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!

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!

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! 

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)

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....