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Friday, May 23, 2014

Turku All Night Long

My friends Peter, Matti and Jarkko has had an idea for some years about riding the best trails in Turku area, in the night. This spring the idea materialized and we set a date for it, on 17-18 of May. Originally our group consisted five riders, but two of them, Matti and Tommi, had to cancel their participation. Matti's absence, due to overtraining issues, was a disappointment, as his knowledge of the trails is best of us, and riding with him is never boring.

'Turku All Night Long' ride would serve also as a good training session for the forthcoming Tahko MTB 240 km race.

We decided to meet and start from Kaarina at 20:00. I started from my home at 18:55.



I just rode via the fastest route to Kaarina. After chatting with Matti for a while we started riding. The weather was great and it was a beautiful evening.




The Troll forest of Piikkiö was a great place, first time for me.




This little tree knocked me down. Nothing serious this time.


Some amazing trails in Kaarina in the twilight.



Stunning moment at Vaarniemi.


At times, the trails were really rocky and rooty.


The Lumicycle Explorer lights were excellent again.


Katariinanlaakso.


As we rode through Luolavuori, Jarkko's freewheel partially broke, but he was still able to ride.


Aura river in the night.



We rode through the small forests of Suikkila and Mälikkälä as we headed to Raisio. At this point we started to feel slightly tired and we took a short break at the ABC station with coffee and sandwiches.

Next was the trails to Kullaanvuori. This section was very nice.

At Kullaanvuori.




Riding through the night has a special feeling to it, and the first moments of the morning are magical.



Pomponrahka mire.




Sunrise, somewhere near Runosmäki.


The trails near Runosmäki were nostalgic for me, as it was my playground when I was a child.

Heading to Halinen.


After Halinen it was the valley of Aura river. What a stunning place, and the morning light was just perfect!





Then to lake Littoinen, for a small breakfast.




The trails around the lake didn't feel too great, as they were more for a hybrid of goat and moose, at least when you are tired. After Littoinen I headed home and thanked Peter and Jarkko for a great ride.

Admittedly, I was tired, but it still felt good as I pushed home on the familiar commute roads.

Almost home.



It was 8.30 when I arrived home, so the gross time was about 13,5 hours. According to Strava, I rode 141.6 km in 9 hours 53 minutes and 16 seconds.

This was a very rare occassion and it's hard to imagine that I would do this kind of thing alone. Thanks Peter and Jarkko again, let's hope this won't be the last time for this kind of ride. Maybe next time in winter, in the depth of polar night? :)

Check out Peter's report with great photos here, and Jarkko's in Finnish here.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring overnighter

There's no doubt that winter is my favourite season nowadays, but all other seasons are great too. We have had warm and sunny spring here in SW Finland, and I really wanted to do an overnighter before the mosquito season starts. Interestingly, the weather started to change to much cooler in the end of April. I decided to go to my local paradise, the Wilderness of Marttila, on May 1st and 2nd.

Stellar weather as I started riding from home late evening.




The usual route goes through beautiful countryside.



As planned, I made it in time for the sunset as I reached the Juomakivenrahka  mire (roughly translates 'Drinkstonemoss').






It was a great sunset and moment there. As I took photos, I heard the sound of wings above me. Two cranes landed on the mire!


I continued to the Lotikko shelter, the same one where I was with Peter and JJ the last time.



At the shelter I set up my sleeping system...


...and drank a tea.


Morning.



The trail continues from the shelter to Palainen. First hike-a-bike section:



After that, an easy ride on the trail to the forest road:




Temperature was around +4°C. Some clouds gave little sleet showers.


As I got closer to home, the clouds were very ominous.



At home, I was welcomed with a severe snow shower. A perfect end!





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