sports

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!!

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Le Tour de France 2013

So we've seen the first stage of the Tour de France 2013. Hectic chaos would probably be the best words to describe what happened yesterday. First we saw Johnny Hoogerland crash (again..) and then we heard about the Orica Greenedge bus that had created a chaos at the finish line. 

The famous Orica-Greenedge bus (photo from www.steephill.tv)

The famous Orica-Greenedge bus (photo from www.steephill.tv)

This gave organizers a headache and they had to make a decision to have the finish already at the 3 km to go line. At this point the riders were only 10 km from the original finish line and hence the teams started immediately to line up for sprint. Moments before the "new" finish at 3 km sign the bus was removed and the organizers decided to move the finish back to the original one. This lead to immediate change in pace from 100 % to less and this disorganized chaos led to a big crash.

The big crash before finish took down both Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan (picture from www.steephill.tv)

The big crash before finish took down both Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan (picture from www.steephill.tv)

When the big sprinters were away, Marcel Kittel had a pretty easy job to take the stage win. Only the Norwegian Alexander Kristoff from team Katusha gave him a decent fight.

Marcel Kittel the first to wear yellow in Tour de France 2013 (picture from www.steephill.tv)

Marcel Kittel the first to wear yellow in Tour de France 2013 (picture from www.steephill.tv)

Today will take the riders to mountains already. Hopefully everyone who crashed yesterday are able to start. The mountain stage should make the bunch a bit more relaxed. Let's at least hope so. 

I also found a great graphic that visualizes the development of the Tour de France (picture by Bikeraceinfo.com):

Enjoy the greatest sport event of the year!

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!

Pace, the motivator and the killer

I recently read a blogpost about training and the difficulties to make progress. It all comes down to finding the motivation to jump on the bike even though it sometimes would feel better to stay on the sofa, getting over those "bad leg" days. It's all easier said than done. 

When I read this blogpost The Intensity Trap , I recognized myself. Pushing and pushing, and in the end of the day I couldn't see any improvement. Even though the results from the beginning of the season have improved, I now feel that whenever I'm on the bike, my legs just don't feel as good as they used to feel. No power, no endurance, just pedaling and feeling I'm going nowhere but back home sitting on that couch. And no, it's not about overtraining. 

Living in Finland, with really short summers I even feel bad every day I'm not on the bike. This is what I want to do, this is what I can't do during 6months of the year, this is what I love to do. So what's the problem? Why do I find myself here, writing this when the sun is shining outside? I've been reading the book by Chris Carmichael, and the theories about having to only ride 6hours a week to improve your riding. It's interesting, and I'm probably going to try it out during winter on the trainer. But as for any sports, everything is really individual and there are no blueprints that would fit everyone. 

The Intensity Trap was therefore a good reading for me. It's not always going full gas, going slower is also important (even though Chris Carmichael says quite the opposite). Like any other sport, half of the stuff you do depends on your mental state. If you push too hard, you easily find yourself fatigued, after a long day at work, you don't have to push full gas if you feel you don't have the legs. But with the extremely short season here in Finland, then how do you do this?

I have no idea, but finding other people writing about similar topics, makes it a bit better. I'm not the only one finding it difficult sometimes to jump on that bike. I just have to stop feeling bad about the days I'm not on the bike, or just jump on that bike and allow myself to take it easy, whatever the feeling, getting the those miles in the legs is better than blindfully stare at those average speeds.

Closing up the gap

The goal set up in the beginning of the year (7000km) has now been reduced with some 2000km. So there is still 5000km to ride, and hopefully most of those kilometres can be done during the warm period. After some knee-problems I'm hopeful of getting on some longer rides soon, and also being able to ride one 300km ride this month. The route would look somewhat like this:

 

More about this ride later on..

July means the beginning of the Tour de France, and we've already seen two great stages! Today's team time trial was won by Team Garmin-Cervelo, which means the Norwegian world champion, Thor Hushovd took the yellow jersey! 

Team Leopard-Trek warming upThor Hushovd (cyclingnews.com)Enjoying the TTT

We also got a new road cycling national champion today, Kjell Carlström! He rode in a breakaway and was able to break free from that group in the latter part of the race, and won by over one minute! Congrats Kellu!

Kjell Carlström, Finnish national road race champ 2011

 

The weather in June has been timewise pretty good, even if I haven't been able to make those longer rides due to some long days at work and some earlier mentioned knee-problems. But these rides have shown that even though Finland is not Italy, we can still have some spectacular views here too.

 

Klaus in aero-position

Riding in the archipelago usually means taking a ferry

Cleaning the bikesClean-ClaraFirst longer ride resulted some 155kmCycling can sometimes be ugly and dirty...


+30 degrees

 

 

Enjoy the summer!