To finally put 2018 behind I’ll do the final wrap-up for 2018 in this post. I’ll go ahead and continue with the pictures and end this post with some stats and graphs from 2018.
Despite the fact that 2016 was the worst cycling-wise, it still was an important year. I graduated finally, years late, but graduated. It was also the first summer having a car, which meant day-trips to places on nice sunny days. I promised I wouldn't go into any details, instead I will share some pictures from along the year.
November 9, 2015, that's the date when I last posted something here. I actually took time and read that article, and realized how lost I was. And it seems my writing about it was just a way to get it out and continue on that same path.
Inhale. The cranks turn, pedals absorb the power, finally transmitting it to the wheels, turning them with an almost silent hum. A few gentle clicks and the rear derailleur smoothly moves the chain further on the cassette. Exhale. I grab the handlebars tight and pull myself out of the saddle. I feel the bike respond to my every action. Acceleration is smooth, yet effective. Every move has been exercised so many times, there is almost no energy lost to the thought. Inhale. I gasp for more air.
It's been a while since I've been talking about training and everyday activities. I also have some race-reports waiting to be written. A lot has happened and it feels like summer really flew past us faster than any previous version. My racing season is over for this year, and preparations for season 2016 have already begun. This summer was twofold in many ways. There were many ups but they seemed to be followed most often by immediate downs. We also lost a great soul this summer.
Many of us, including myself, have found our way to cycling watching Tour de France on TV. It has been possible to watch cycling live on Eurosport and national TV channels in some European countries for many many years. Today the services are widespread and it's possible to watch almost any cycling race, anywhere with a mobile device. There has been some exceptions though, including the Finnish cycling races. Fortunately the passion for cycling has brought a change to that.
Trofeo Karlsberg is one of the hardest races in the Juniors racing calendar. It's a UCI race and has the status of a nations cup stage race, meaning the teams competing consist of national teams. Representing 19 countries in total including some strong cycling nations such as Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, USA and Italy, just a few to mention. The race consisted of 3 days of racing and 4 stages in total between 5th and 7th of June 2015. Together with part of the Finnish team we started our journey towards Gersheim, Germany on June 2nd.
Last week I got a call and that changed my plans for the upcoming week. I was supposed to go to Pirkan Pyöräily and ride the 217 km long route, but instead I will head towards Germany tomorrow. More precisely, Trofeo Karlsberg together with the Finnish Junior National Road Cycling Team. We will leave Turku tomorrow evening and will arrive at our destination in Gersheim on Thursday.
Yet another weekend behind, a weekend without racing this time. It was a weekend introducing riding in shorties and the first long ride for the year. A long ride means more than 5 hours in the saddle, at least that's what I read, so first one of those this year. Some great weather and first real tan-lines for the seasons are reality.
My Facebook news feed was filled with road cycling pictures last weekend. Those pictures were taken by cyclists who had enjoyed the great weather. I too enjoyed the sun and had a pretty good week of training, some 15 hours in the saddle and plenty of sunshine. Riding outside, spending longer times in the saddle actually felt super good and the body adapted to it immediately. No fatigue whatsoever. No looking at the Garmin 810 to look for how many kilometers I had tracked or how many hours I got left until I could head home. Just pure enjoyment.
Now its not often a cyclist in Finland can update such topics in the first days of March. I am fortunate to be able to do it this year. Last year I did my first road bike ride 26th of March. Some years ago I was not able to begin the outdoor season until April. This year I got to type those words in my training calendar as early as 1st of March. I feel privileged and I have never been this excited before a season. The GoExpo fair in Helsinki is also one of the first signs of spring. I visited the fair last weekend.
It feels strange wrapping up a cycling season in February when everyone does it in December or early January. But I will do it now, mainly because my memory is really bad but also because I want to go back and look at what I did so it's easier to compare to my efforts today. Cycling year 2014 was great in many ways. And a warning to those of you who are looking for a short story, you can stop reading here.
Today was like yesterday, but the the sun was finally visible! In November in Finland that means it will be colder. And cold it was. On the countryside the temperature was below zero. I was kind of prepared. I had triple shoe-covers, neoprene toe-covers by Castelli, water and wind resistant summer shoe-covers and on top neoprene shoe-covers. Still, approaching the second hour in the saddle my toes started to freeze. But I managed to do almost 3,5 hours without bigger problems.