Åland Runt 2009

This weekend my cycling got a shot in the arm (I know, bad metaphor). Last year I rode my bike(s) only slightly more often than I updated this blog. A lot has happened since my last post, which I won't mention here. I did recover my stolen MTB, but I won't go into that story now either. The topic of this post is, and will be, Åland Runt 2009.

Last saturday, together with 32 other riders, mainly from Turun Urheiluliitto's Harrastepyöräilijät, and a support van, I embarked on a two day light tour of the Åland islands. We met up at the club 'stable' at 7.15 in the morning, loaded our overnight gear in the van and rode the short distance down to the Viking Line terminal. Onboard we had a small conference room booked where coffee and sandwiches were served, and the itinerary of the trip was presented. Later on, before reaching Mariehamn, we also had lunch in the buffet restaurant.

We divided into two groups, with the aim of keeping the average speeds moderate. I chose the 25 km/h group, where I was joined by 18 others. This left the faster, 30 km/h, group with 13 riders. We were to ride mainly the same route, with the faster bunch taking predetermined detours to meet up with the support van at about the same times as the slower group.

We spent the night in cabins at Puttes camping, right next to the ruins at Bomarsund. Both the thai food dinner in the evening and the oatmeel & sandwich breakfast the following morning was literally devoured, to the astonishment of the cafeteria staff. Even with all the food available to us in the van, we had still burned enough calories to be very hungry :)

The weather on Saturday was cloudy, with even a few drops of rain as we disembarked the ship and rolled out of Mariehamn. The sky cleared as the day wore on, ending with a beautiful sunset to crown the evening at the camp site. On Sunday we woke up to a bright morning, not a single cloud to be seen anywhere. Still, we rode almost exclusively in long bibs, as May is not to be regarded a summer month here in Finland.

The scenery afforded to us as we blasted through the Åland countryside was stunning. If you're ever in this neck of the woods and you've got your bike with you, you should definitely make a stop there. Also, on your way back, why not indulge yourself in a celebratory meal in the à la Carte on the ship? We did, and it surely was a feast!

This trip was a great opportunity for me to try out my new wheels and tires. I'm now riding on Mavic Ksyrium Elites wrapped in Schwalbe Ultremos. Before the weekend, I had only done five or six laps on the velodrome on them. Now, with almost 200 km done, I'm very happy with their preformance. I also finally got to use my FRWD on a longer ride, you can check the data from both Saturday and Sunday on traxmeet.com. On top of that, here's a short, poor quality, video to illustrate riding in a chain gang. I've yet to upload any photos, but I'm hoping to get around to doing that soon..


Stats: see the traxmeet.com links above.

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