Sunday, January 5, 2014

January Misery

It was time for the first overnighter of the year, despite the miserable conditions outside. The best thing that could be said about the weather was that it didn't rain much. Rather depressing, when everyone just wants snow and cold temperatures to get rid of the wet darkness. Still, an overnighter is an overnighter and I needed some training.

I started from home about half past five in the darkness and rode to Toni's place on bigger and smaller roads. It rained only a little.

On asphalt I averaged about 20 km/h with a semi-relaxed touring speed, about twenty percent slower than with semislick tires. The Nokian Extreme 294 studded tires do add that much rolling resistance.

After a little under 40 km and two hours, I met with Toni and we continued towards the Wilderness of Marttila. Toni rode on his new 907 fatbike.

The last section was on trails. There are a number of trails to ride in the area, but now is not the right time to ride on forest trails.

The duckboards were mostly unrideable and there was enough water in the bog that straying from them would mean wet feet.

After another one and a half hour we arrived at the Onnenperänrahka shelter. I had done around 60 km of riding, and it felt surprisingly heavy. The temperature was just above freezing and we were rather wet, so the first order of business was to make a fire going, for something hot to drink and eat.

Heating water for tea and hot chocolate and warming sandwhiches. Sandwhiches get a nice smoky flavour when heated by an open fire.

And so the evening went on, eating and drinking something hot (no beer this time) and discussing mainly outdoor plans and expeditions. Occasionally it rained a little more. We went to sleep around midnight.

I woke at eight in the morning and Toni a little later. It was still dark and we enjoyed our porridge, coffee and sandwhiches a long time.

With the sunrise at 9:35 there wasn't even a reason to hurry. The wet greyness was mostly depressing. There is a certain grim beauty in it, but after three months of it, the beauty mostly turns to misery.

The shelter.

My Fargo now turns four years. It has been, and it still, a most excellent bike for almost everything.

Sometimes after ten in the morning we got going again.

The duckboards were a little easier in daylight. Some of them were actually rideable.

Does anyone know the explanation for this phenomenon? Between firm ground and forested mire is often a completely open mire zone. There has to be a good reason for that.

The final duckboards. Toni approaches...

... and shows that the fat tires work fine on this mire.

Back on the forest roads, to be followed by slightly bigger roads.

After a little over twenty kilometers I said goodby to Toni and continued home alone. It now started to rain more and the headwind started to bother me a little. At one point I started to feel low on energy, but the miracle candy worked fine again. I got home after a little over three hours and 53 km of riding that didn't feel nearly as heavy as at the evening before.

Thanks Toni for the company. It was fun despite the misery.

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