Monday, June 25, 2012

Midsummer paddling on Baltic Sea

On the shore of Hailuoto

The first paddling trip this year was selected according the lighthouses still not conquered. The two northernmost lighthouses, where I had not yet been visited were Marjaniemi and Ulkokalla. When weather forecast for the Midsummer was relatively good, the destination was locked and on Thursday evening after 5 hours drive, tent was pitched on the shore in Rahja, near Kalajoki town.

Approaching Ulkokalla lighthouse island

Ulkokalla is located roughly 18 km out of the shore on the southernmost part of the Bay of Bothnia. All in all during Friday we managed to paddle to Ulkokalla lighthouse island and back to the shore, alltogether 37 km. As this was my first trip this year, I was feeling paddling in my muscles.

On Keskiniemi daymark

The next day, Saturday, was sunny as well and there were only mild wind expected. We started paddling from Marjaniemi and headed towards NE and Keskiniemi daymark. Returning back to Marjaniemi and it's lighthouse after 2 hours paddling and 12 km was quite enjoyable.

Marjaniemi lighthouse

On the way back to our nightstay on Raahe, we visited Laitakari daymark east from Hailuoto island. It was only 10 km paddling, which took 1,5 hours. The queue for the ferry was long one and we had to wait over 1 hour for boarding on the ferry to the mainland.

Laitakari daymark

There were still one daymark still to be visited, Tasku on the archipelago of Raahe. Early Sunday morning our kayaks were on the water and 8 km short paddling trip took us to Tasku and back.

Tasku daymark

Altogether 67 km paddling during Midsummer took us to 2 lighthouses and 3 daymarks. Currently I have visited already on 33 lighthouses by paddling and the objective of this year (2 new lighthouse visits) has been achieved! Great!

Break at Laitakari

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vätternrundan + Jukola

At starting line of Vätternrundan

The weekend was by far the toughest one during this year. I had had only 5 days to recover from Pirkan lenkki (217 km) cycling event when I was again at starting line of cycling event. This time at Motala, Sweden, where the start and finish are located for cycling around the Vättern-lake (Vätternrundan).

I had successfully completed the 3-day high carbohydrate diet by eating pasta, pasta and pasta... Therefore I had done everything I was able to fulfill my carbohydrate storage and was ready to start for 300 km cycling around Vättern.

The Friday evening was clear and beautiful and I had decided to start as early as possible. My starting time was 19:42 and I thought I need more or less 14 hours to finish, i.e. reaching the finish line roughly 10AM in the Saturday morning. I was wearing only short cycling shirt and short cycling trousers, but nearly everybody else had windproof jackets and long trousers...

Beautiful weather before the start

Soon after start the sun was setting and it was getting cooler and cooler. I was feeling pretty OK at the beginning, but very soon I realized my choice of clothing was not enough. When I stopped at Gränna service station after 80 km cycling I put on extra sleeves to my arms and windproof vest.
At Jönköping service station after 107 km I added extra legs to keep warm when temperature was still going down during the night. It was almost midnight and I was ahead of my initial schedule nearly one hour! But the  most difficult section started after the midnight. The next 2-3 hours at dark and cold fighting against tiredness was mentally tough. I reached Hjo service station at 177 km at 2:33AM and thought it's not getting any worse. But I was wrong!!!

Soon it started to rain and it rained until I reached finish line at 7:56AM. With rain the wind increased and temperature dropped. It was extremely cold and I was totally wet for 4-5 last hours. According the Vätternrundan pages the harsh conditions caused record number (2200) of cyclist to discontinue the race. I managed to cycle to finish but I was nearly hypothermic.

Approaching Gränna service station

All in all I was using only 11,5 hours for Vätternrundan and it felt really good. But it wasn't all for this weekend. Jukola orienteering relay was held in Vantaa next night. I had already spent one sleepless night for cycling 300 km and in the evening I was flying from Stockholm via Riga to Helsinki, where I arrived on Sunday night at 1AM. I took the taxi to the Hakunila competition center and had a chance to sleep for few hours before I had to start my leg.
I was running the 7th leg (15 km) and as expected my legs were extremely tired already at the beginning. Somehow I managed to focus and found control points easily and after 2,5 hours I was happily at the finish line. It started to rain just hour before and again I was totally wet.

At the finish there were problems with my EMIT chip, they couldn't read it and therefore I was demanded to wailing wall. Fortunately I had used the EMIT control slip and they found the punching marks from each and every control point. Otherwise our team would have been disqualified. What a relief !!!

EMIT control slip saving the disqualification of our team

This week I'm just resting and relaxing. Well, continuing my swimming exercises for the next Svensk Klassiker event at July, which is 3 km open water swimming.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pirkan lenkki 217 km

After finish line, tired but happy

This Sunday was not the sunniest day, but despite of that there were Pirkka cycling loppet scheduled for today. This was the first time I was attending the longest route, 217 km. When gathering under the startline at 7 AM, raindrops were falling and the first kilometers were cycled at rain.

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb, was starting for his 217 km as well.

After 84 km I stopped to eat a decent lunch (soup and bread) at Komi service station, which gave extra energy for the rest of the route. There were endless line of uphills and downhills on the way around Näsijärvi lake. The second rain shower was at the end of the loppet and when crossing the finish line at the time of 9 hours I got totally wet again.

For next couple of days I'll be concentrating of recovery and charging fully my energy storage...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Paddling season open

Although the temperature of water is still a bit chilly, paddling season for this year has been opened with a paddling tour to Saarikylät and paddling course for beginners.

Paddling at Saarikylät

There were 11 participants in a Saarikylät paddling tour with 2 hour canoe trip. Sun was shining, but the level of water was extremely high and the platform to start the paddling was totally under the water.

Beginners paddling course at Näsijärvi

Couple of days after leading a canoe trip I was one of the guides at beginners course. The course was fully booked with 14 participants. All in all it's sure I don't have possibilities to paddle as much as last summer, but hopefully I have some time at midsummer to do a short paddling trip to the Baltic sea.