pyöräily

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!

Vuelta Vantaa 2013

It was the first time ever for me to ride the Vuelta Vantaa, a 100 km race last Sunday. Due to the short distance I was expecting a bit higher average speeds than usual. 

Once again, it was an early wakeup and we managed to start in time. The morning was somewhat chilly and rainy. On the road just hours before start we found the temperature to be + 13. 

Proper breakfast

Proper breakfast

We were among the first to arrive and get our numbers. The weather was getting better as well, perfect. Sebu arrived almost at the same time, and our team of three for today was there. We got our bikes together and soon were ready to start.  

Cyclists preparing

Cyclists preparing

And my bike, once again, ready to go

And my bike, once again, ready to go

During the 100 km race I would have two 7 dl bottles of high5 electrolyte drink and one Maxim energy bar together with 3 small energy gels. It was a bit windy, and the first section would be headwinds. 

And so we were rolling. 4 kilometers into the race there was a gap between the main group and us, and we ended up missing the main group after all. The group we rode in was pretty unstable. Apparently many riders with almost no experience made the ride pretty nervous and dangerous as well. Fortunately both Sebu and I managed to stay out of trouble. 

The 100 km route consisted of two 50 km laps. The roads were in pretty good shape, which is not usual here in Finland. A 50 km lap is really not that long, so quickly we found ourselves having already 80 km behind us. I felt confident and went to the front to keep up the pace for some kilometers. Then just 10 km before finish, Sebu took the lead. Together with him we kept the pace high and hence kept ourselves out of trouble. We finished nr 2 and 3 from our group.  

Sebu at the finish, all smiles

Sebu at the finish, all smiles

A big thank goes to the Kaupin Kanuunat duo from Tampere. Especially the guy who was responsible for the pace keeping during the race. Our time was 2 hours 46 minutes, an average of 36,2 km/h.

Kaupin Kanuunat duo

Kaupin Kanuunat duo

The last race for Sebu's Focus, next race will be done with a brand new Girs G Star S

The last race for Sebu's Focus, next race will be done with a brand new Girs G Star S

Klaus had fallen to a slower group and also had a puncture at the end. But still did a good job!

Klaus after finishing

Klaus after finishing

Getting home was once again great, this time due to the fact that the Tour de France would have its final in the evening. And what a stage that was!!

Cycling is a lifestyle

Cycling is a lifestyle

I also received something new this week, I'll write more about that next week! 'Til then, have a good one!!

Web 20130726_101513_20130728210335992.jpg

 

Post Giro d'Espoo

So it has been more than a week since the first cycling event this season. I have been much off the bike after that, but I hope to get on wheels already tomorrow! The Giro d'Espoo was held for the first time ever, and I have to say I'm pretty pleased with how the event was organized. The weather was perfect, sunshine, +23 and almost no wind. And of course the wind is not that important when riding in big groups of several hundred riders. 

We started our way towards Espoo at 7am, and did the last fueling with some bananas and white breadWe arrived to the starting area at around 9am, and only half an hour later the place was crowded with cyclists.

After receiving our race numbers and timechips we started preparing our bikesPreparations..All set upI also had the opportunity to get a gps device from the organizers and thus it was possible to follow me live during the race. It is still possible to watch the race and the gps tracks online at http://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/20120527gde/. Among the other cyclists with this device was the race winner Kimmo Kananen and our Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland, Alexander Stubb. I actually had the opportunity to have a word with him, and because I had a Nokia Lumia, he was also pleased to have a picture with me.

Despite being in a hurry Alexander had time to chat with usIt amazes me how a busy person, having a family with kids, being a minister and travelling a lot, has time to do all this and have time for training too. And not just being average, he is really good at what he does. Last year he finished as 33rd out of 40 cyclists in the national time trial championships (46,2km), and the day after he pulled out a great time in Tour de Helsinki (140km) with an average speed of 42km/h. In Giro d'Espoo, he was one of the pacekeepers in the 35km/h group. A great personality and truly one who inspires us others! Check out his webpage: http://www.alexstubb.com/

Almost 1500 cyclists lined up for the startWe joined the group that kept a pace of 32km/h, and besides a couple of close calls among other cyclists who seemed to be too eager to get to the finish line, the ride was really pleasant. The weather was perfect and the pace was just a perfect early season pace. The route was mostly in good shape, and in the latter part there were some really nice hills as well. The pacekeepers who led the groups turned aside when there was about 10km to go(this was just before the hilly section). There were several breakaways and I ended up in one of them. As I was unfamiliar with the route, I did not push too hard in the end, but still we managed to keep up a good speed with a couple of other riders. I did the pacekeeping in the climbs and the others kept the pace high during downhills and flats. 

Garmin data from my ride

 

Post-ride snack

There was plenty of people taking pictures from along the road, and here are some links to their sites:

 

 

Fortunately there was a cyclist with a cam in our group, and he put up a pretty neat video from the race:

Giro d'Espoo 2012 from Juha Halikka on Vimeo.

 

It seemed as he was riding behind me somewhere in the middle of the race (4:27 in the video)

 

And the official results you can find here.

 

All in all the race was nice, and I'm sure I'll participate next year again! Pirkan pyöräily is the next event, 10th of June. I'm still not sure if I'm able to pull it, but I'll keep you updated about the event later this week. 

 

Waiting for the summer!

Giro d'Espoo (link to live tracking)

So tomorrow is the day for my first cycling event in 2012, Giro d'Espoo. It will be held for the first time ever, and I hope it will be a good one. The weather seems to be perfect, some 23 degrees and calm winds. The start will be at 11 am, and the route will pass Kirkkonummi, Veikkola and Espoo. You can see the whole 111km route here. As it seems now, I'll be joining the group that will keep an average of 32km/h. The route is mainly flat and hilly, with just a few "climbs". Giro d'Espoo will also be tracked live online, via Traxmeet. I will be one of 10 riders wearing a gps device, so if you want you can follow me live during the race on http://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/20120527gde/.

Bike ready...

As it is only early season, and there are several races to come, one in just a couple of weeks, I have no greater goals set up for the race tomorrow. I just hope I'm in a shape good enough to enjoy riding in good mood along with almost 1500 other cyclists. 

Garmin ready...

So tune in to the live tracking tomorrow if you have time, and I'll be back with photos and stories from the race later next week. 

I'm ready...

Enjoy what's left of the weekend!

Spring in pictures

The Giro d'Italia is turning towards the end and my first cycling event this year, Giro d'Espoo is only one week away. The spring is once again turning into summer, and in a couple of weeks we are stepping into June, the first real summer-month, at least up here. Every season we try to find new routes to ride here in Turku, and we've found a couple of really nice routes that we've never ridden before. At some point I'll provide you with more detailed workout data on these pages, so you can have a closer look at the routes, but more about that later on. 

Naantali in early MayFishing here seemed to be popularOne new route we found took us to the inner archipelago (click to open in googlemaps)Here we also found a JupiterAnd a great steep but short hill!Bikes need to be taken care of as well, so we took the bikes to the countryside for a wash

A clean Canyon Ultimate CF 8.0And a great example of finnish design, Tunturi PopThe spring hasn't been that warm, hence we've mostly ridden shorter rides (40-90km), but before the Giro d'Espoo, I wanted to make at least one a bit longer ride (120km). So a sunny sunday I took my bike for yet another new route towards the archipelago.

The ferry to Velkua (click to open in Googlemaps)Sunbathing on the ferryTired of looking at my bike? I'm not......neither were the cows!Finnish archipelagoI'm also happy to see our cycling community grow. What used to be just 3 guys, has now turned into a mixed pack of around 10 riders, and even if it is nice to ride alone pushing yourself to the limits, group rides are a great way to enjoy cycling and friends. Today's busy schedules made it pretty hard to find someone to ride with, but this year with more riders, we've already enjoyed a few rides together.

Slipstreaming, or almost slipstreamingEnjoying the weatherRuissalo in Turku offers a really neat scenery for all outdoor activities (click to open in googlemaps)I hope you enjoyed the pictures, I'll be posting more, but for your sake I'll try to keep the posts short and interesting. 

 

Enjoy what's left of spring!

 


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!

 

Pre-race Antibiotics

One week from now, September the 4th will again be the main goal for this cycling season. Tour de Helsinki, a 140km "race" that gathers some 2000 cyclists. The training so far has been quite alright, but this week, just 12 days before the race, I got a temperature which then developed into infection in both ears and throat. I was prescribed antibiotics on Thursday 10 days prior to the race, and now 7 days before the race, the temperature is gone as well as the sore throat, but the infection seems to be stubborn when it comes to my ears. The doctor told me on Thursday, that I'm not able to race in 10 days... 

Instead of electrolytes, I'll be having these

This struck me. So I've been training the whole summer for a race and now all of a sudden someone tells me I can't participate? Well my first thought was that everything was over, I could sell my bike and start playing Playstation instead. But a few hours later, my despair turned into hopefullnes. Maybe I could participate anyway. Maybe I'll get well soon and even have some time to recover. Ofcourse I know it's impossible to reach the same results, but doing even a decent job would be fair enough for me at this point. 

I also started thinking about next year, why do one participate in only one race during the summer, especially one this late, when the influenzas are harassing the population, the probability of getting sick is pretty high. Well there is no answer, maybe next year I will, maybe not, but something to think about, especially if after all I couldn't participate in Tour de Helsinki this year. I'll probably get back to the topic Tour de Helsinki during the "race-week". 

Staying at home, I also had time to make something out of the manymany hours of video I've been shooting during the past month. And there's more to come next week. Here's what I made today, hope you enjoy it! (if possible, watch it in HD)

 

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:

 

Tour de Helsinki

Last sunday the 5th September 2010 was time for the annual Tour de Helsinki cycling event. The race began at 11am with some 1733 riders at the start line.

Together with two friends we headed out for this event early in the morning from Turku. We first headed for the hotel which was located close to the start-line, to change into our cycling gear. The weather was a bit chilly, some +13 degrees and almost overcast. Fortunately there was only a gentle breeze.

At the start line the riders could choose to join different groups. We decided to join the group that would keep up a pace of 28km/h. Unfortunately one of our group-members had a small temperature so he decided to follow a slower group. Early on we realized the pace in our group was too slow and later on we joined the 29km/h group. We had an easy time following this group, and decided to breakaway at the latter part of the race.

This happened when there was approximately 20km to go. Together with 10 other riders we formed a breakaway-group at the last hilly section of the race. These climbs were HC category climbs, but really didn't feel bad at all. They were neither long or steep so it was easy to accelerate. Together with my friend we kept up the pace in the early stage of the breakaway, some 35km/h for some kilometres. Only a few km later the group only had 4 riders.

Unfortunately my friend didn't have the legs that day to keep up the pace in the hills and a second later the breakaway held only three riders. We held together almost all the way with an average speed of 36km/h. For me this was a really good speed, especially after having already 120km behind. The pace-keeping was shared among us three approx. 45%-35%-20%, with me keeping the pace 35% of the time and mostly in the small uphill sections.

Along these 18km we saw lots of riders who couldn't keep up the pace and probably lost a lot of time in the last kilometers. When we had approx 2km to go this one rider with the most energy tried to break away from our group of 3 riders. He managed to make a gap of 80 meters for a kilometer or so, but during the last kilometer i managed to hang in and reduce the gap. 

4hours and 42 minutes after the start I crossed the finish-line and it felt really good. The last kilometers went really fast and there was a big crowd cheering along the roads, which helped to keep up the pace. A couple of minutes later my friend arrived. 

I am quite sure we will participate next year too, a bit wiser and probably cutting 15minutes or more from the time this year.


 This is the data from the last 20km (left-click to open full-size picture)

 

Link to the route on strands.com