Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Helsinki in December

I was planning to write a post about how miserable the weather is and how I only managed 6 km in half an hour riding on the muddy forest trails (I include the picture of my poor dirty bike anyway), but then this morning in the space of ten minutes, Espoo turned white. My ride to the gym on newly-fitted winter tyres this evening was exciting, not only because it confirmed that it is possible to travel safely at speed on snow and ice on a bicycle. Which means, at least theoretically, that I will be riding all winter for the sheer joy of it.

I am, however, unexpectedly acting as best man at a wedding in London on the next sub-24 weekend - that's loppiainen, Friday 6th January. It's a day off work, so perhaps an early start during daylight? Florian assured me that he will be riding so all that he needs is a friend to enjoy it with. See the comments below and Facebook for the details.

Merry Christmas, I looking forward to sub-24ing in 2012!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sub-24, Helsinki, December 2011. 
I was fantasizing about a snowy ride, but no. Instead, rain. 
Of course, rain is only troublesome if it makes you wet. 
Darkness, cold? 
Lights, clothes.

I'll say this now. Honestly, we were not that cold. With the right layers - it was five each - and some warm food and drink, we were just toasty. So, if you were put off by the coldness, don't worry. Come next month and you will see.

Our camping spot this time was Kattilajärvi, which looks from the map like it is on the edge of Nuuksio national park. Reachable by asphalt (80 %), not as far as Nuuksionpää but further than Pirttimäki, it seemed perfect. Searching for the grill in the dark was interesting, especially with the backdrop of the cosy camping centre across the water. Once we found the spot, gave up with the damp wood, lit the gas and started eating and drinking, all was well with the world. 

We slept right next to the grill place because finding flat camping ground in the dark is not that much fun. Perhaps the picture above gives an idea how dark it was. It also shows Florian's blue tent INSIDE the grill hut. Surely no one has ever tried that before?!

An early start back towards home still gave us the chance to get an idea what kind of place we had slept in. The first bits of ice had formed on the lake overnight, so we felt very adventurous riding home on the slippery roads as the dawn began to break.

I was home before 10 am, so this sub-24 was actually a sub-17. Thanks, Florian for waking up so early. And for bringing the gas. In the comments below, you will find an account of Florian's adventure after he left me.

So... see you next month, Friday 6th January - that's epiphany for those who know about those kind of things. The ride IS on and all we need is some company...