|Ladies and gents, the art of warming up whatever is left at the bottom of bottles after a cold ride. It never gets old. Except that it doesn't really work these days. |
Un tissue projeté en Italie? Si vous le dîtes… and I love how they write where everything was done except for where it was actually made. It's like my bike, it has "designed in the UK" written on the frame but you have to look really closely to see the "made in Vietnam".
|The main problem these days is that when it's not raining/snowing, it's actually quite lovely and warm(ish) up until the sun hides behind clouds and then temperatures drop like crazy! On Saturday it was one of those kinds of days - lovely sunshine to the point where even the 50km/h gusts of wind were tolerable but those clouds just kept on being threatening. |
|Last Sunday we were promised sunshine and temperatures up to 11C so I decided to have one last ride wearing shorts. Granted, those weren't my summer shorts but rather shorts that are made for colder weather (gotta love cycling gear manufacturers, they will make stuff for every eventuality). The starting time was far from my previous 7am starts - 8:39am. |
To be honest, it might be pretty out there, but riding in current conditions is not quite as satisfying as when it's a nice 15-20C and very sunny. Heck, the number of rides I've gone on these last few weeks is amazingly low while the number of runs and long walks is increasing.
I can confirm that if you take chocolate as in-ride food when it's 3C outside then it will taste like it's just come out of the fridge. But after an hour I'll eat chocolate even if it tastes gross and the water in the water bottles is freezing.
And hey, it's amazing just how the length of days is decreasing! Remember those days when the sun was up long before 6am?
|What adventures on Sunday morning? The rain stayed away and there was even quite a bit of sunshine, alas there was also quite a bit of wind… oh, and my front tyre had a case of looking like it's a bit deflated while rolling but at full pressure when I stopped to check (at least there were pretty flowers nearby to make up for the effort). |
|Saturday morning I broke out the "winter" thermal tights (they're described as "winter/tough conditions" on the Wiggle website, that means mid-September in Helsinki...) and I was quite glad I did. I also got reminded that I have yet to acquire proper overshoes because frozen toes are no fun after an hour or two. |
Actually it wasn't all that cold in town but once I hit the back roads on my way to Nuuksio there was quite a bit of fog (I tried to capture the valley full of fog in the second photo, not sure it really came out, maybe on the original Instagram one it's easier to see) and that stuff is nasty. At least proper sun came out when I was heading back. And the few hills on that Nuuksio road kept me entertained… and by that I mean that I had nice choice words towards all cycling gods out there on that one hill that has a metre or two at 15%, I definitely will not be going to to the top of the Ventoux any time soon.
Overall, 2 hours 50 minutes well spent!
And speaking of cycling, want to see another example of how little respect is shown by organisers to women's cycling? There is only one HC race on the women's calendar, you'd think that it would be the biggest and best organised race because, well, HC race, that means that UCI deemed as the most important one on the calendar! Well, no. The safety issues around the race (stray cars disrupting the race, stray photographers getting in the way of riders and causing them to crash, etc.) have pushed teams to withdraw from the race (imagine the money lost for these team that already function on shoestring budgets!) and that's just both sad and disgusting. You can read a really good account of how things happened here. Imagine something like this happening at the Tour de France... when will women's cycling be respected as much as men's?
|I'm on a roll. I was going to go for a run this morning but just didn't feel like it in the end, so I've been actively procrastinating all morning long. And for once that does not mean that I almost finished a 300 page book in a day. |
As I'm slowly working backwards on my photos, here is April 30th and that period when I still had not switched from CX tyres to road tyres. The memories! And that high-vis jacket. It had been my best friend on so many commutes!
|On prend les mêmes et on recommence. Earlier start on Sunday morning, a bit of a cloudy start but no rain and almost no wind up until halfway on the way back. |
The ravitaillement (can I really call it "ravitaillement" if I carried it all in my jersey?) was in the middle of the Helsinki - Porvoo cycling "highway" but at 8am on Sunday morning it was empty. On the way back though there were plenty of people there. On the way back I think I passed the route of a race that was happening because there were peeps in high-vis jackets holding stop signs and a couple other cyclists had stopped by the road and were waiting for something. I guess I could have asked but by then I already had over 3 hours in the legs and just wanted to get home.
Well, that was pretty much my early morning yesterday. Not so early though, had a bit of trouble waking up, I guess I stayed up too late following the Junior Track World Champs… but seeing those kiddies rock on their bikes kind of motivated me when I hit a few tough sections. I also gambled a bit and took a long sleeved jersey instead of a rain coat and, while there was no full on rain, there was wind and droplets making everything wet in minutes, something more windproof and waterproof would have been most welcome.
|Yes, our old buddy Greg Lemond did say that it never gets easier, you just go faster… but clearly he wasn't thinking about me and my skills going uphill on a bike! It sure never gets easier but I also never get faster. At least on flat I'm doing pretty good when I put my mind to it. Small consolations. |
Actually it's quite funny, that problem I have with hills (and with wind, but here we're only talking about hills). I like to keep my Garmin on the current loop with it auto-looping ever 5 kilometres and with it showing me the distance in the loop, average speed on the current loop and time on current loop, it's much easier on my psyche than having the total time and distance showing (which is actually my default screen, I made the current loop one my third)… but it always makes me go, "awww… man, not again!" quite a few times because I'll be having one great loop and then about 500m from reaching the auto-loop 5 kilometres there is a small hill that appears and bam! average loop speed shot! It happened about four times today. If there is a hill at the start or in the middle, there is still a chance for me to catch up a bit but not when it's at the end. And speaking of ends, the hardest part of today was probably 3 hours and 45 minutes into my ride - when I got back to largely populated areas, it's all stop&go, that's prime stuff for cramps, let me tell you that. At the end I didn't even clip in my right show anymore, I knew it would come off in ten metres because there are stop lights and crosswalks everywhere.
Oh, and just in case you're wondering what are those "hills" I'm talking about… they're so impressive that I managed to have a total elevation gain of… wait for it… 590 metres. That's right, that's not like the Gineste twice, if you start going back up the hill about 2/3 of the way down the second time. But I still maintain those hurt, as I said before I make Cavendish look like a great climber.
So, as this is posted I will probably be back somewhere on the bike… but it's probably not going to involve four hours in the saddle.
|Oh man, sometimes you have to have bad rides to fully enjoy the good ones and yesterday was a baaaaad ride. But Saturday's was much better. But at least the weather yesterday was amazing. |
Seriously though, it was one of those rides where the chamois just felt wrong, I kept on having trouble clipping in my pedal foot (and that made me start doubting myself and no good thing ever comes from that), I got lost on the way back to the point where "lost" doesn't even begin to describe it… even with a GPS the back streets of Kontula are confusing and I still do not understand where I took a wrong turn to even end up in Kontula.
But I got 4 hours in. But as I needed two bidons for the ride and I think I broke some kind of bike fashion rule with having two different teams on there… then again it's not like any branding is consistent on my gear, I'm pretty sure I don't have two pieces of anything that's from the same brand/team.
Oh and I got to rock the white limited edition jersey that I had originally written to Team Exergy about, it is a glorious piece. I mean, on a good day I make someone like Cavendish look like a good baroudeur and a great mountain goat but still, just wearing that jersey made me feel badass.
|I've been in a very kind of imperfect state of mind lately, especially yesterday, and I really want to blame it on the fact that I promised to help out with this thing on the 1st of July and it's been less than easy peasy and fun… and I don't like having these kinds of set plans months in advance. Or it's allergies kicking my butt again and making me feel like shit. There is that white fluff that comes off trees, it's everywhere these days, and, of course, my body thinks it's the worst thing ever! I'll be honest, one has to love the south's lack of allergen-full trees because they're everywhere here. |
So we'll blame it on that and not the fact that I might have my version of book hangover - you know, those few hours after you finish a really good book and you kind of keep on thinking about it and you're somewhere between kind of sad that it ended and trying to rewrite bits of it in your head because they would have been better this way or that way.
There really is no point to this besides my wanting to wallow in my misery and share it with the world.
While I'm complaining, let me say that I am done with 500px because of the people on there and their annoying tendency to leave comments on everything just asking for peeps to check out their work (hint: it does not work, I just block everyone who leaves such a comment)… and so I'm back on Flickr. The thing is, with the new Flickr system, there are supposed to be ads, but as I have ad-blockers all over the place I do not know if they're intrusive or not. We'll just say they're not… and I have slowly been going through everything and uploading things here and there. The 365 Day photos are slowly going up, there are about 40 of the latest ones here, the two latest photos from Sunday and yesterday being…