sunnuntai 27. kesäkuuta 2010

Nationals and MTB Marathon Euro Champs

For some this was a race weekend. Road nationals taking place this weekend in most countries and European MTB marathon championships was today as well.

Canadian nationals race is starting in an hour or so and of course there are masters aged non-pros racing as well.

Finnish nationals took place in Sulkava on long loop with two hills. There's no reports out yet whether the hills were hard and many enough to decide the race, or was it just the dominant TWD team, with a dozen riders and both Finnish ProTour pros in their team, that decided the race. Jussi took the win in two man sprint or "sprint" against Kjell and the photos look pretty cool with lots of spectators by the road. It was a five man breakaway with four from TWD and Helminen from CCH. Must have sucked for Matti to try to do something in that group. He's strong but not that strong. And Tero seemed to have a good race as well finishing 7. Not bad for a guy with a full time job and a family...and who was complaining about not feeling great just a week or so ago. I'll try to find some photos that I would be allowed to post here.

But the big news of the weekend came from Veneto MTB marathon european champs. Men and women did their race today men's race being quite long 129 km. Finland had two riders racing, Pia Sundstedt in women's and Jukka Vastaranta in men's race. Pia has a solid track record in these races but her crash couple of weeks ago must have slowed down her training a bit. Jukka has been riding strong in Spanish cup MTB races and at least in his pre-race blog post seemed pretty confident about top 10 placing. The race course had only 35 km or so of trail and the rest was gravel and asphalt and no hills over 5 minutes long. In men's race Ralph Näf took the lead with ~30-40 km to go and the chase group was not able to close the gap. Jukka rode a really strong race in tough bunch and crossed the finish line in 4. spot. Maybe his own estimate of being in best form ever is not that far from reality. In women's race Pia took bronze behind Esther Süss and Gunn Rita Dahle top three finishing with one minute intervals. Good job.

Speaking of. Hopefully the rain will stop so I can go for a ride. And I finally ordered new MTB shoes. Hopefully I'll get them before next weekend's Morden Back 40. I still need new tires, Schwalbe Racing Ralph might be good or then budget option Fast Fred in 2.25". Screw big knobs here in MB, it's either hard pack or tire clogging mud so the tread doesn't really matter.

lauantai 26. kesäkuuta 2010

HTFU - Thanks Dave

Bit of a reminder to myself and possibly others as well. Harden the f**k up!

Just noticed that Dave's blog has 4. most visitors from Finland. Those guys back there know how to HTFU and still think it's business as usual. No wonder I stayed away from MTB scene back in the day.

tiistai 15. kesäkuuta 2010

Swamp Donkey Or A Falcon?

OK...I'm late with this and there might not be room on internet for more of this topic but here goes.

I used to not like XC racing all that much back in the old country. Rocks and roots were my least favorite things. So the solution was very easy, I didn't do XC races. I accidentally registered for Finnish nationals back in 2002 and finished the crapfest just to confirm that I didn't like that stuff. I used to do some DH and quite a bit of XC as a teen, but my idea of fun was bit different than your average Finnish XC race. I got back to this stuff in 2007 because, as some of you may know, if you want to do more than half a dozen of races (or something along those lines) here in Manitoba, you need to do every single bicycle related race/event all over the different sub-genres of this sport. 2007 provincials course was fun though with good amount of climbing and all the non-XC stuff that I knew from back home. So was fun for a while. I even got my own bike and let Daniel keep his rigid winter rig.

It was time to get a reality check though. Last Sunday at Falcon Lake sucked more than...well I can't really use the proper comparison here, but it sucked a lot. The rocky parts of the course were worse than any other XC race I had done before. Oh yeah, in addition to rocky sections, the sections in between were 50/50 swamp and somewhat ridable stuff. There were no sections long enough for me to ride hard enough to feel like racing. It was ridiculous, too bad the organizers couldn't make the decision to run at least some parts of the course on double tracks and gravel trails. Or maybe they did...maybe the course was even worse before the added 1km of logging road.

Maybe 4 km in was the moment when I realized that the race was over. I should have realized it even before we started, but I'm not that smart. I just thought that how bad could it be, I've done worse, it's not a bid deal and come on...the race posting said that it would be up and down so I should be just fine. was flat and worse than I pictured.

Post race I didn't hear too many positive comments, I had to wait till Tuesday to hear Tristan rave about the best XC race he has ever done. All I can say is that he has some serious issues and should seek help. But what can you do, he doesn't seem to understand that riding without a powermeter is like not riding at all. The time and effort put into riding just gets sucked into a big black hole and become nothingness. I will offer my consultation just to make him understand that the soul of cycling lies within the tiny numbers on the tiny LCD display. 6 hours in Ingolf is not an epic ride, downloading your record 60 min power onto your computer is epic.

But seriously. Good for the guys who had fun doing the race. If someone really had awesome time running through the bog, I have nothing against that. I've had awesome time on my bike and it's great if someone else had awesome time on Sunday, I guess it's their turn.

At least the junior member of Team Hoot support team was super pumped about the mud and outdoors in general. I guess it was better than being stuck in the city.

Otherwise the training is going good. I backed off a little bit trying to get longer rides in this and next week before switching back to L5 stuff. My trip to Finland is all but certain because we haven't booked the flights yet, but if I'll get there in August, I'll do some racing. If we won't get the flights, cycling is the least of my worries.

Ja suomilukijoille. Kuvitelkaa mielessänne tekninen enduropätkä ja sitten kuvitelkaa sitä samaa pätkää kilometrikaupalla. Teknisten pätkien väliin sitten polveen asti upottavaa suota ja mutaa. Nyt alkaa mielikuva olemaan aika lähellä sitä, mitä sunnuntain kisa piti sisällään. Kiva että joillain oli hauskaa.

sunnuntai 6. kesäkuuta 2010

Plans Fell Through

So no Canadian nationals for me. Or I'm 95% certain that this won't happen. The technical guide was published on May 31st and under eligibility it reads that "Master age riders must race in their age category". 2600 km driving in one weekend, plus few hotel nights and other related expenses for 120 km masters 30-39 thanks. Apparently my UCI class will be master if I'm over 30 and don't hold a pro license. I asked for clarification, but haven't heard anything back and the race is in three weeks. It seems odd to me, but this wouldn't be the only backwards thing in Canadian cycling.

I would have probably had my arse handed over to me anyway, but that would be good every now and then. I've been gaining power quite nicely over past weeks, actually my power shot up after Bikes on Broadway, but that doesn't mean that I could finish the nationals road race. I've had 0 contact to real racing since 2005 or 2006 and being relatively fast locally gives no indication of my actual form. I've heard rumors of guys pushing +400 average watts in finnish races in a breakaway for an hour. Knowing the race course, that must be in the range of 450-500 watts while pedaling. That's lots of W in my humble opinion. By numbers I'm quite a bit stronger than 4 years ago, but I guess the rest of the world has been training as well.

Next weekend will be the Falcon Down MTB race at Falcon Lake. It appears to be the fourth race of the Manitoba XC cup, so while I thought that I missed just the Brandon race, I might have missed another race as well. Need to check. Falcon Lake is bit closer to home so no need to drive for half a day. This might be the only race where full suspension would help, but in anticipation of Back 40 I swapped the parts to my hardtail. But my 1x9 hardtail climbs much better than the tank fully so should be good times. I'll miss the Tuesday night Stony Mountain crit though because I'll be in Chicago this week. After few crash fests and recent lame riding, I don't think that I'll miss that much, but I kinda like the hill on that crit course even if it's not quite enough to break the group.

More Stuff for Sale

Another item for sale: 2008 Giant Anthem frame with Fox RP2 shock, seatpost collar and headset. 3.5" travel
Size: L or 20"
Color: Black and aluminum

Not used too much. For sure less than 2000 km on this frame.

Asking $450

Pair of Campagnolo Victory Strada tubular rims. Mint condition, never ridden. I have them laced onto Chorus hubs, but haven't actually tightened the spokes. Both rims are 32h.

Asking $60 for the pair.

Old steel road frame. Spray painted fast black. 56 cm. Cast drop outs and appears to be pretty decent quality.

Asking $40

If you want 1" threaded headset and Shimano BB with this frame, the price would be $60

Michelin Pro 3 Race tire. 700 x 23 mm. Black.

Asking $50 each. $95 for the pair.

Local pick up and cash payment. Paypal only if item(s) need to be shipped.