Sunday, May 18, 2014

Turku All Night Long

Sometime earlier this year we decided to finally do a May through-the-night ride that we had occasionally talked about for few years. May is a good time for this, since the night is short, the trails generally quite dry and there are still only very few mosquitoes out. Turku All Night Long was thus born. The idea was to ride for around twelve hours, starting in the evening, on the trails in and around Turku. Our group of five shrank to three when the date came closer. Coincidentally, the remaining three riders also intend to ride 240 km at TahkoMTB this summer, which should prove a quite demanding challenge for us. The only athete among us is Toni.

We met at 20:00 on the Saturday evening. Matti H was supposed to join us, but being on the brink of overtraining and doing a physically demanding education he had to stay home and rest. He took this photo. From the left: I, Greenman and Toni.

We chatted with Matti for a while and got going around 20:20. The weather was warm with a temperature of around 15C and there was no wind.

Heart's delight (Viola tricolor).

The original plan, at least among the rest of us, was to have Matti H do most of the route choices. He knows all the short trails in the area and can also bind everything together. Without him, we soon found ourselves in a place with no trails eastwards, so we rode a few kilometers on road to get to another larger forest area.

In the Troll forest of Piikkiƶ.

Late spring light.

Toni took a fall.


The sunset was at 22:12.

Salted peanuts for the electrolytes.

It was getting darker.

At eleven in the evening we arrived at Vaarniemi, where we took some photos. Until this moment I had ridden without lights.

We rode the Vaarniemi trails before going to Katariinanlaakso, where we took a short break.

Next in turn was the Luolavuori trails, after which we were to ride through the town, with some detours in some small forests. At this point the freewheel of Greenman's bike partly broke and it would cause intermittent problems for the rest of the ride.

Crossing the Aura river.

We were approached by a fixie hipster, who had some problems with his tires, but we couldn't help him since he had some strange valve stem on the bike.

We continued through the city towards Raisio, with some occasional detours in smaller forests. A little over two in the morning we arrived at the ABC Raisio gas station which always is open. A cup of coffee and a sandwhich tasted great at this point. We were now past the darkest time of the night, which wasn't totally dark anyway. After this break we rode the great trails of Kullaanvuori and took some photos at the highest point.

More nice trails followed, as well as a short road section.

Haunisten allas.

The Pomponrahka mire. The sun rose at 4:45 and by four in the morning lights were no longer needed. The temperature was now around 5C.

The sun rises over the forest.

Easy riding.

Greenman didn't see much though his glasses.

Nice views by the Aura river.

The Krampluk worked very well in this kind of riding. Only in the most technical and rocky descents a suspension fork would have been nice, since it demanded care not to snakebite the front tire in those circumstances. Toni also rode with 29+ tires and wheels, though he had the narrower Bontrager Duster rims. Greenman was on a fully suspended Salsa 29er.


Cowslip (Primula veris).

Road riding again.

Breakfast at Lake Littoinen.

We rode the trails around the lake, before Toni had to head home. I continued for one and a half hour with Greenman, riding the Lauste trails until twelve hours had passed since we started.

This was a great ride. I think it was good training for Tahko, even though TahkoMTB 240 needs more speed and takes at least 18 hours for me. I returned home after twelve and a half hours and 102 km. Thanks to Toni and Greenman for the company. It was an excellent late spring night.

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