Monday, November 16, 2015

Vajosuo Beer Ride Episode VII

It was time for the traditional annual November beer ride to Vajosuo, the seventh year in a row. This time the concept was changed a bit. Instead of taking the cars to the Kurjenrahka area and then riding for 2-3 hours before stopping at a shelter, we decided to make it (a lot) harder. There is a marked route going from Raisio (and from Turku before that) to Yläne and we were to follow it to the Töykkälä shelter, where we would spend the night and then ride back in the morning. We estimated it would take 6-8 hours to ride from Raisio to Töykkälä, including some short breaks, since the trails mostly range from technical to very technical. This was definitely not a trip for someone with lacking riding skills or fitness.

This was also perfect shakedown cruise for my new fatbike, which I had equipped with some bikepacking bags. The frame bag and jerry can bag were home made by me.

I started riding at 11:15 and rode 15 km on asphalt to the gathering place in Raisio. We waited a while before JJ arrived, after which the real ride began.

JJ taking photos.

Me and Toni. Photo by Tommi Jansson.

The route continued with a mix of trail and smaller roads. Timewise only a small part was spent on road, though.

A little rain doesn't matter much.

The route was mostly well marked.

Five of the bikes were fatbikes and the remaining two singlespeed 29ers.

The Rehtsuo mire.

One of the more colorful peat moss (Sphagnum) species and a cloudberry leaf.

A break near Rehtsuo. Toni's high-end bike in the picture.

My new bike, a White 3Fat Pro, worked very well. I was also pleasantly surprised that my bike handling skills still were great, despite having done mostly kayaking this year.

The singlespeeders are happy and the reason is the chainline. Any negative thoughts can be countered by thinking about the beauty of a perfectly straight chainline.

On the move again. The sunset was at 16:00 and it was getting darker.

At Myllysuo we decided not to take my shortcut, but instead opted to check out the trail destroyed some four years ago. We soon found ourselves in the wrong place, but nothing a bit of bike pushing couldn't help.

And on we went. We had some discussions about different options, since the difference in speed between riders was quite large in the more technical parts, but eventually all rode together to Töykkälä.

After Vajosuo the trail had been plowed into a field, which was less nice to push through.

At 20:00 we arrived at Töykkälä after a very hard day and around 60 km for me, many of those on difficult trails. I was now starving, but also very surprised that my bike riding fitness was still on an acceptable level, despite having trained very little this year. I guess the bike commuting, even if the distance is short, has had some effect.

The first thing, even before changing into dry clothes, was to get something to eat and drink.

And so the evening went on. Drinking beer, grilling lots of meat and talking.

Me in my sleeping spot. Photo by Tommi Jansson.

I woke around 7:30 and got up shortly after that. Jarkko already had a fire going.

I took a long time with my breakfast and several cups of coffee. It took time before everybody was awake and were ready to pack their stuff.

The Töykkälä shelter is at the edge of the Kurjenrahka mire.

The time was almost 10:30 before we got going, and this meant that I at some time would have to cut the trip short and ride directly home on roads.

Bang. At Vajosuo Tommi hit a stone at a bad angle and cut open the rear tire and also got a hole in the front tire. The tubeless sealant did a fair job of sealing the front tire, but the rear tire was worse with a 4 cm long cut.

Pasi tried to sew it together.

Tommi and his unfortunate tires.

The sewing wasn't enough. The hole was still too big for the sealant and an inner tube was installed.

All this took a long time and three of us decided to take the road back home after Vajosuo. I was home in the afternoon after 43 km, of which only 6 km were on trails.

A nice and hard trip. Thanks to everyone for the company.

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