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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Retrospective

It's the end of the year today, so it's time to review it and maybe think about the next year. Although this blog is about my outdoor and cycling related endeavours, it's always hard to look back in the year when there is so much else going on. All in all, the year 2013 was very interesting and a little strange too.

The year started with a nice, little overnighter with Peter.

Although the New Year's weather was awful with rain, the winter continued in January in a good way. Me and Peter had an excellent two-night trip to the Kurjenrahka for the coldest period of the winter.

February. Rovaniemi 150. My first winter endurance race and it was absolutely fantastic experience, and definitely the highlight of the year.

March was surely the best winter month in South-Western Finland. A nice overnighter at Marttila was executed again with the usual suspect, Peter.

Also, there was a great display of Northern Lights on March 17.

The winter continued to April and had a perfect ending with my Archipelago Winter Tour.

May. A short spring.

The highlight of the summer was the trip to Rovaniemi and the overnighter there with Mark.

September saw finally an overnighter with Korpijaakko.

Another S24O in October with Peter...

...and the 'sufferfest', Mammoth March Impossible, which wasn't a sufferfest this time.

No signs of winter in November, but that wasn't a big issue, because there was the arrival of new 9:ZERO:7 fatbike.

And November is always good, because there is the Vajosuo Beer Ride.

The first snow finally arrived on 6th-7th December, just in time for the Global Fatbike Day.

But it didn't last long. The snow melted very fast and what followed is the worst December in recent memory. Christmas saw rain every day.

Otherwise the outdoor year was indeed great.

So, what about the 2014? The weather forecasts are not showing much hope for the first two weeks. Actually, the forecasts looks ridiculous, with plenty of rain and constant overcast sky. The weather nerds are discussing about a very likely SSW and as a result, polar vortex split or a complete disintegration of polar vortex in the best case scenario. There is still some hope.

Anyway, I'm going to Rovaniemi 150 and that is the master plan. Other than that, no big plans.

Thanks to my family for support, and thanks also to all readers. Happy New Year 2014!

And additional thanks for my awesome sponsors and partners: 9:ZERO:7, 45NRTH, Lumicycle, Porcelain Rocket, Alpkit and Pyöristi.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Global Fatbike Day 2013 and Winter Outlook 2013-2014

The very first Global Fatbike Day was last year, but I missed it because 1st December happened to be also 'Little Christmas' with my family. This year, the date was 7th December, hence no conflict with the Little Christmas. This year, MTB-Turku organized a GFBD group ride as the number of fatbikes in Turku area has increased significantly. My plan was to join in and do a long training ride in preparation for the Rovaniemi 150 race.

The weather has been miserable here in South-Western Finland, but the first snow finally arrived on Friday/Saturday, just in time for the Fatbike Day!

My route to Turku followed the nice scenery of Piikkiö and Hepojoki.

I was slightly late so I joined the group at Katariinanlaakso. After a tricky duckboard section and some bushwhacking, we found our way to Vaarniemi shelter for a break for sausages.

Before heading to next part of my training ride, I rode with Peter and Jarmo Järvinen (the other Finnish guy from last year's Rovaniemi 150).

Riding in the darkness to Kimito Island, but the darkness is not an issue with the brilliant Lumicycle Explorers!

Riding felt pretty good and I really loved the slight snowfall on my way to Kimito. The distance for the day was 117.34 km.

But as I'm writing this, it's rather painful to see the current weather forecasts.

The main reason for the mild weather is Arctic Oscillation that has been very positive, and the correlation with Southern Finland is pretty clear. At the same time however, Lapland has very good winter conditions. For example, about 100 cm of snow and close to -40°C temperatures in Kilpisjärvi!

Also, the AO forecast doesn't look good.

The only hope is that these forecasts will fail somehow. Otherwise, two rather depressing weeks are in store here.

What about the late December and rest of the winter, January-March? After a run of very good winters in 2009-2010, 2010-2011, the latter part of 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, I'm afraid of mild, slushy winter. But as always, it will be interesting to see how the winter will pan out.


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