I just got a new winter cycling cap. Woollen earflaps and all. Also, the wind has turned. Gone are the days of warm(ish) southwesterly breeze. The gusts from the north are here.
While there might have been one or two negative tweets about the weather from our riders on the road, the wind has been favourable. Until now. It is blowing from the north from now on. Usually, especially during the warm months, in the southern Finland, the wind blows from the south west. In the fall, the warmth often ends with a weather front that brings a northern wind. That seems to be happening right now again, the summer is gone. And the further north you get, the more likely it is to have a wind from the Arctic Ocean and the colder it gets.
The weather has led another to find his achilles heel. Eemeli Huhta will be heading home.
After a couple of rainy days, even the ones usually prefering to stay outdoors, seek shelter. The towns offering accomodation are sparse, so many are going to end up in the same places for the night, like Janne Villikka and Mikko Kainu. Some get there earlier, others arrive later. Sleeping only a few hours would be enough, but staying a bit longer is attractive, to dry your gear and wait for the sun to come up. Maybe eat a good hotel breakfast.
There is no mandatory or otherwise obvious route between the start and finish of the control 2. The first point is on the top of Kivesvaara (sounds bad, I hope you’re all safe out there) and the second point is in Poukio. You can either take a short detour on paved roads, east or west, or head straight on the shorter unpredictable gravel road. Janne Villikka chose the asphalt while Mikko Kainu was adventurous enough for the gravel.
The tracker isn’t updating everyones location too often. Mathias Müller is somewhere up there close to the riders furthest up north, though his dot hasn’t been updated for almost two days. There has been some other gaps with data too, so be patient.
The second day of Ruska has passed. The challenges start to ad up and riders get in to their rhythm. During the first night, most stayed on their bikes, except for the ferry ride, and last night was the first to actually find a place to sleep. Some found better spots than others, but anything goes when you’re tired enough.
Weather has been wet, even though the sun has been peeking behind the clouds.
The harsh conditions together with the terrain at the end of the route of the first control finishing to Oravivuori, has taken it’s toll on the equipment, eating the brake pads of at least two riders, Matti Jutila and Pompo Stenberg, and a gear cable of the latter.
Most seem to favor the western option passing the lake Päijänne, gaining a flatter route. A few have taken the road on the east coast too, enjoying a nice small country road with lots of small hills and the slightly bigger and to some extent famous Vaarunvuori.
Matti Ainasoja is now the lanterne rouge, after going around the Gulf of Finland via Russia, and has just passed the first point of the control 1.
Ruska isn’t an easy task, and we already have the first two who have had to throw in the towel. Antti Ahde was battling with knee pain and Esa Salonen had missed the part of the first control and was too far to turn back.
The fastest riders are on their way up north along the rather big road number four, Janne Villikkaand Mikko Kainu being the two furthest up. The next ones, led by Mikko Mäkipää, have chosen to take smaller roads and might find a slightly shorter route to the control 2. Right now the views are mostly wet darkness for both options, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings. For the next day the temperature is expected to be between 6-10 °C with a bit of headwind. The rain should stop at noon, which would provide nice views from the control 2 on the top of Kivesvaara.
This year’s edition of Ruska – The ride across Finland began yesterday at 19:40, at sunset. The start time has been the same for both of the previous editions of Ruska too, but the route changes every time, while keeping the idea of riding across the length of Finland. 18 riders will be adventuring their way across Finland, starting from Tartu in Estonia, to Hammerfest on the northern coast of Norway. The riders will choose their own route, but they do have to pass through three controls and follow a set of associated mandatory bits of route, the parcours. The start, the controls and the finish are all located along the Struve Geodetic Arc.
It was raining right though the first night, forcing some to find rubber gloves and whatnot to stay comfortable. While statistically the amount of rain is higher during the warmer summer months, the latter half of September can be damp. There will be some rain here and there, and with the cooler temperature the roads won’t dry quickly. But with luck, there can be close to optimal long distance cycling weather, as it doesn’t make you sweat and drink as much.
The first obstacle, the Gulf of Finland
As the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki is allowed, that is the most obvious route to use. There is several ferries during the day, so missing one of them isn’t a problem. There are none during the night though, so even for the fastest riders riding through the night, the morning ferries would be the target. The distance from Tartu to Tallinn with the parcours is a bit over 200 km.
As you are free to choose your route though, and it is not a race, you might want to do something different than the optimal choice too, if you are confident you’ll make it to Hammerfest in the time limit. That is what Matti Ainasoja did, opting to go around the Gulf of Finland, via Russia. This will be a longer route and doesn’t give the opportunity to rest for the couple of hours in the ferry. But he does get to ride his bike more.
Many of the riders live in Helsinki, so riding through the familiar streets obeying the event rules and during the first day of the adventure into unknown will be a strange experience for them.
The first riders have now reached the start of the control 1 in Porlammi. From there they will have to ride north to another point that marks the end of the control 1. They have two parcours to choose from to get there, one on the east side of the lake Päijänne, the other on the west side. The western side is mostly flatter than the road along the east coast, but the parcours should make sure they are about equal.
Janne Villikka is not visible on tracker, at least yet, but as we have eyes everywhere, we know he was first to find himself at the control 1. He was in Ruska last year too, but had to cut the ride short, so he might have some unfinished business with the challenge. Very soon after him came Mathias Müller, then Mikko Kainu, followed by Esa Salonen and others. Weather seems quite nice, though there is some small rain clouds here and there.
Krisse and Matti have been cheering the riders on at the first control and took pictures. Thanks for that.
Perjantaina 13.9.2019 auringon laskiessa alkaa Tarton vanhalta observatoriolta kolmas Ruska-pyöräily . Reitti seuraa UNESCO:n maailmanperintökohdetta, Struven ketjua, Suomen halki Tartosta Hammerfestiin. Syyskuussa tulee kuluneeksi 200 vuotta H. J. Walbeckin matkasta Tartoon tapaamaan Struvea ja ketjun jatkamisesta Suomeen.
Yhteensä Ruska-pyöräilyn reitin varrella on 11 Struven ketjun pistettä, joista 9 on maailmanperintökohteita. Suomessa vierailtavat pisteet ovat Porlammi, Oravivuori, Kivesvaara, Puokio, Alatornio ja Aavasaksa. Muuten osallistujat ajavat matkan omatoimisesti itse suunnittelemaansa reittiä. Matkaan on lähdössä 19 pyöräilijää.
Reitin pituus on noin 2000 kilometriä ja aikaa sen ajamiseen on 8 päivää, 3 tuntia ja 20 minuuttia. Kello käy koko ajan ja osallistujat saavat käyttää vain kaikille yhtäläisesti saatavilla olevia palveluja, kuten kauppoja ja hotelleja, eli kaikki itse järjestetty apu on kielletty. Osallistujat eivät myöskään saa auttaa toisiaan. Pyöräilijöitä voi seurata sekä lähes reaaliaikaisesti päivittyvällä kartalla että sosiaalisessa mediassa tunnisteella #ruska2019. Tarkemmat tiedot osoitteessa https://www.randonneurs.fi/ruska-2019/
Mikko Mäkipää 0505822386 (saatan olla pyöräilemässä, kun soitat)
Ruska alkaa perjantaina 13.9.2019 auringonlaskiessa kello 19:40 Tarton vanhalta tähtitornilta. Ruskan noin 2000 kilometrin reitti ajetaan Suomen halki Struven ketjua seuraten Tartosta Hammerfestiin. (Mikä on Struven ketju ja miksi se rakennettiin) Tavoitteena on ajaa reitti alle 8 päivässä, 3 tunnissa ja 20 minuutissa. Itse järjestetty huolto on kielletty eli vain kaikille saatavilla olevia palveluja saa käyttää tapahtuman aikana. Osallistujien kannustaminen on sallittua, mutta heidän avustaminen, myös verkossa, ei ole. Lue lisää tapahtumasivulta.
Ruska start Friday 13.9.2019 at sunset 19:40 from Tartu old observatory. Ruska’s approximately 2000 kilometer route across Finland follows Struves geodetic arc from Tartu to Hammerfest. (What is the arc and why was it built?) Goal is to ride the route in under 8 days, 3 hours and 20 minutes. Event is unsupported, meaning that only support equally available to all participants is allowed (eg. shops and hotels). Cheering the participants is allowed, but private support, even online, isn’t read more at the event page.
Transcontinental race 2019 #tcrno7 ajetaan Burgasista (Bulgaria) Brestiin (Ranska). Kontrollit ovat Bulgariassa, Serbiassa, Italiassa (osa reitistä Itävallassa) ja Ranskassa. Tapahtuma alkaa lauantaina 27.7. Mukana on neljä suomalaista.
Reitin pituus on noin 4000 km ja aikaa on 15 päivää ja 17 tuntia. Osallistujia on noin 300, joista suurin osa ajaa yksin ja noin 30 pareina. Osallistujat ajavat ilman ulkopuolista apua eli myös seuraajien internetissä antama apu on kielletty. Kannustaa saa, mutta osallistujille ei saa antaa apua tai tietoa, joka voisi vaikuttaa suoritukseen.
Seuraamisessa kiinnostavia asioita ovat esimerkiksi kalusto- ja reittivalinnat. Lisäksi seurattavaa riittää ylipäätään siitä miten eri tavoin osallistujat lähtevät ajamaan Euroopan halki ilman ulkopuolista apua.
Same old story. Another year, another Transcontinental race and another kit list. Much the same, but quite a bit new too. I recommend you also read my previous entries from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 as I will refer to them. For a few more photos from this year check this link.
Over all it is the same old frankenbike. Tunturi F500 hybrid frame from 2003 with very few original parts. In a real frankenbike fashion it now has different pair of brake pads (Swisstop stopped making old V-brake model and I had one pair left) and, again, different quick releases.
The basics are SON hub dynamo, Powertap rear hub, Campagnolo/Shimano mix of 10 speed 50/34 cranks and 12-30 cassette. Tires are new 28 mm GP 5000s.
Lights are B&M IQ-X and Sinewave beacon. Also Lupine Piko as backup for downhills and gravely sections. Once again GoPro for downhills and other sections where I prefer not to stop or slow down for photos or videos.
Tail lights are 2 B&M Seculas and for blinding people also a Niterider solas.
There were quite a bit of changes from last year in terms of bags. Carradice saddlebag, Missgrape top tube bag and Apidura food pouch are old, but all the other are different. The frame really can’t fit any proper frame bag so I switched back to Deuter’s that leaves full access to water bottles. Or so I thought. Their model had changed since the last one and the (permanent) attachment strap happens to be at exactly same position with Missgrape top tube pack’s. Good enough, but looks a bit silly. I switched Alpkit accessory bag to Apidura’s fork bag as I happen to have plenty of space for everything this year. This bag rubs my feet a little less while pedaling and doesn’t add extra bulk. The new Apidura handlebar bag limits usage of handlebar a bit, but I kind of got used to using the aerobars and handlebars while climbing last year. It is mostly for food as the side pockets are easy to access on the go.
The dashboard had changed a bit with higher mounts for the aerobars. This time I have the remotes in place where they are, relatively, easy to access from aero position and while climbing with hands on the aero pads.
Symmetry is slightly better than last year.
I did quite a few changes to wirings. I remade all the connectors, wired lights in parallel and did quick release for the dynamo. Now I can use 0, 1 or 2 headlights and 0, 1 or 2 tail lights without doing any changes to wiring even though I lose a bit of the maximum light brightness. Both lights also have full length cables so that they can be easily attached directly to dynamo in case there are problems with the connectors.
Equipment on me has mostly been replenished since last year. New shoes as the old ones broke at Silk road. The new Fiziks don’t have any grip in the sole so I need to be extra careful when getting on the bike, but otherwise they are fine. Assos stopped making red gloves so I had to get white gloves even though I don’t think I fill finish with white gloves. Short sleeve merino jersey with PBP print this year so I had to pack arm warmers for the first time since 2015.
I’m using Polar Vantage M with optical heart rate monitor this time. Hence I don’t have a HR strap and Vantage’s battery life appears to be suitable for the purpose.
The Restrap tech bag happened to be exactly the right size for my charging equipment. Easy haptic feedback that I remembered to pack it and easy access as I will take them with me to nearly every significant stop. 3 micro-usb cables, usb-c cab, Lupine usb accessories and Vantage cable. 2 2x usb chargers so I can charge 4+ devices at once.
Also spare batteries and Powertap opener are in tech bag for easy access as I will eventually need them.
In the Apidura handlebar bag I have handsfree for listening to music and its pouch that can also be used for cleaning glasses and camera lenses. On the other side are cables and extra batteries that are needed while on the bike. Sinewave usb support cable and also a bit longer micro-usb and usb-c cables. The larger compartment fits my ”civil” clothes.
The top tube bag has a spork and working glove, but most of it is used either for food or as a trashcan.
In the Deuter frame bag are the most likely needed extra clothes. Full finger gloves, toe warmers, merino buff and knee warmers.
More rarely needed spare clothes are in the Carradice bag. Long sleeve windstopper jersey, spare bibs and a pair of socks.
Also in the Carradice bag are some hygiene products and toilet paper. Also some plaster. This year I also did the ultimate weight save and cut my toothbrush.
Shampoo will again be used as a full body wash and for cleaning my clothes.
Still going through the Carradice main compartment. There are the required tools and spare parts. Much the same as last year. 2 spare tubes and tube repair kit. Multitool with added chain links and hollowtech tool. Btw. the Topeak chain tool’s ends also work as a presta valve core opening/closing tool. Just in case you didn’t know.
A new cleat, derailleur hanger, cable ties, spokes (are in the bag’s wooden support), nipples, tape and spare cables. For some crazy reason Mucoff doesn’t sell those tiny chain oil tubes, but does give them away for free.
My spare outer tire is this time under the saddlebag.
Some electrical spares are also in the Carradice bag and hopefully this pouch never needs to be opened. Spare Garmin, small power bank, spare phone and spare Lupine usb accessories.
In the left pocket of Carradice are chamois cream, sun screen, hand disinfectant and camera stand.
In the right pocket of Carradice are reflective vest, packable backpack and Petzl Tikka 2 xp headlight. Same as always.
In the Apidura pouch under the saddlebag is the sleeping gear. A small strip of 4x bubble wrap and a emergency blanket.
I participated Transcontinental race #tcrno6 and Silk road mountain race #srmrno1 this summer. This post is about logistics and practical issues while solo traveling with a bicycle for a, relatively, long time. My earlier similar post from 2015 (Tcr and PBP) can be found here.
It took a while to figure out all the logistics needed to participate both races that were just a few days off. I’ve had a ”handicap” of flying only once per year (one take-off, one landing) since 2008. Quite a few people have asked me to write about the details so here is how it all played out.