Sunday, March 16, 2014

Return winter!

The beginning of March was very springlike. Daytime temperatures were as high as +10°C and sun was shining at last. But the spring never comes here that easily, and usually there is always some kind of backlash. In the middle of last week, news headlines were about the weather to turn wintry even in Southern Finland. First snow on Saturday, and then colder temperatures for the next week. Naturally I was getting excited, and thought that this would be brilliant timing for probably the last chance of winter overnighter.

And exactly that happened! The usual suspects were on the move again, this time I was joined by Peter and Juha (JJ). The destination was this time the Wilderness of Marttila. We have been so many times at the Onnenperänrahka shelter that we planned to try the lean-to of Lotikonkellari and start earlier in the afternoon so that we could ride some trails when there is still light.

On the forest road to the Wilderness:

The snow was fairly wet and soft, and it was tough going.

Soon I met Juha and Peter. We decided to ride first to the Lotikonkellari to check out the state of firewood.

The route is really beautiful, along the Juomakivenrahka mire.

The trails were great.

As we reached Lotikonkellari, the sun was setting.

We took a short break there.

The mood was fantastic! Late winter feeling with the sun, and strong wind.

No doubt that this is the best shelter location at Marttila!

After sunset, we decided to ride to Palainen and then possibly to Hirvikallio.

We decided to skip Hirvikallio and ride back to Lotikonkellari, as we were getting hungry.

On our way, as I was riding at the front, I crashed heavily on a small bridge over a ditch. The ditch was mainly on ice, so I didn't get wet, but I hit myself very hard. My right hand was in pain but otherwise I was ok. The right crankarm of my bike was bent and the rear wheel disengaged. Juha helped to put the wheel back on the bike. The crankarm was so bent that I couldn't ride the bike, so I pushed it to the shelter. We were quite close anyway.

Juha and Peter started to make firewood and start the campfire. The wind was very strong now.

Finally food!

It was a great evening...

...with the full moon.

But the night was not good. Right after I got in to sleeping bag and tried to sleep, my right arm started to really hurt. I changed my position several times during the night but it didn't help. In the morning the arm was really painful.

Morning chores followed.

Peter helped me to pack my gear, and carried my bike down to the trail.

In the evening, we were able to bent back the crankarm slightly, so I could ride to the cars of Peter and Juha. Meanwhile, the guys rode via the other route.

Riding didn't hurt too badly. Soon Peter and Juha arrived.

On the car trip back home, we saw a swarm of swans on a river.

Despite the crash, this was excellent overnighter after a poor winter. My arm is still in pain but it looks like nothing is broken. And my 9:ZERO:7 will be repaired next week with new crankarms.

Thanks Peter and Juha for the company. Check out Peter's report here, and Juha's photos here.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rov150 Celebration Brovernighter

After Rovaniemi 150 race I thought it would be nice to celebrate the almost-win with my awesome friends, Peter, Matti, Jarkko and Tommi, who encouraged me so much. A correct way to celebrate would be of course to go for an overnighter, or Brovernighter™, with good food and beer. The natural choice of destination would be the National Park of Kurjenrahka. There are a number of shelters, and this time we would go to Töykkälä.

The absence of winter has continued most of February, and there are already some early signs of spring. The good thing was that the conditions and weather was dry.

I started my adventure from home (slightly late after packing) and rode along the familiar route. First stop at the Askala water power plant.

After 40 km of riding, I met Peter and Jarkko at the Vajosuo parking place. Tommi would come directly to Töykkälä without bike this time.

It felt almost exotic to ride on the trails without snow and barely any ice at this time of the year.

Tommi was already at the shelter with his dog, Pekko, starting campfire. Unfortunately Matti couldn't make it as he had to go for work in a short notice.

Food, beers and chatting followed.

It was a great late evening.

The night was warm and comfortable in my sleeping bag.

Morning. Tommi and Pekko.

Even the winter came back!


The morning was great with the snowfall and no hurry.

On the move.

It was pure joy to ride with my 9:ZERO:7.

Photo courtesy of Peter.

We took full advantage of our visit at Kurjenrahka and went to the Bird Watch Tower of Vajosuo too.

Our fatbikes.

Peter had his car at the Vajosuo parking place, where we said goodbyes. I continued with Jarkko for a short distance and then headed home.

A fog descended.

Back at Askala.

Absolutely great overnighter with about 92 km of riding. Thanks to my friends for participating! We don't have these opportunities too often.

Check out Peter's report with more great photos here.
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