Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 in review

The outdoor year 2016 was for me pretty much about sea kayaking. The -Vigu sea kayak guide specialization started in March and was quite intensive, with the final being in Cornwall in September. In addition, I also did more mountain biking in the latter half of the year. On top of this, the year was quite hectic at work and a couple of times my stress level was definitely too high. Still, looking back at the outdoor year it wasn't a bad one.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nordic skating and the lack of winter

The fall 2016 was actually quite nice. Dry weather until the end of October, then a short rainy period before the weather became colder. We even had snow the second week of November, but that soon disappeared after a week of raining. The weather continued to vary with temperatures both above and below freezing, with a November that was a lot less rainy and grey than usual.I have several friends who were quite impatient (ping Toni) and just waited for a real winter with snow. I would certainly also have welcomed lots of snow for fatbiking and skiing in November, but there is an advantage to having several arrows in you quiver. The lack of snow and temperatures still mostly below freezing made for the best Nordic skating on lakes for a long time.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Surly Ice Monster Truck

A little over a year ago I wrote that I expected for Surly or Salsa to come up with something new before paying their premium price. Neither of them did that, and yet here I am with a freshly built Surly Ice Cream Truck fatbike. How did this happen? I actually have two reasons, one of which is totally subjective. After having spent the last two years mainly on developing my sea kayaking skills, and achieving some sort of goal there, I now look forward to doing more bike riding, including some more demanding bike packing outings. The White 3Fat Pro isn't really enough for that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

White 3Fat Pro One Year Review

I've now had the White 3Fat Pro fatbike, sold by XXL, for a little over a year. As I'm about the complete the build of a new fatbike soon, it feels like a good time to sum up a year with the 3Fat Pro.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vajosuo Beer Ride Episode VIII

It was again time for the traditional annual beer ride to Vajosuo, now the eighth time. While the beer never has been the main thing for most people, the focus has still been shifting more towards good food, and starting with last year even a lot more demanding riding.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tour de Kurjenrahka - Early Winter Edition

Just a few days into November the temperature suddenly dropped. After five days the ice on smaller lakes was just strong enough to open the Nordic skating season (the earliest ever for me). A little later it started to snow, though the amount of snow varied a lot locally. A bit further to the east enough to go skiing in the forest, and in Turku enough to get a wintry feel. Such an early start to the winter naturally had to be taken advantage of, and thus I went to the Vajosuo shelter on Friday evening to meet up with Toni.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A six day Vigu bikepacking course

It was time for the third part of the Vigu mountain biking specialization module. The first one was a four day introduction course in the end of July with me as an instructor, the second one was a downhill course in Åre, where I participated as a student and now the third one was six days of bikepacking in Southwestern Finland again with me as the instructor. The end of October can be a demanding time to be out riding, with shorter days, colder temperatures and a greater possibility of miserable weather. Fortunately, this fall had been exceptionally dry, though that changed a bit during the course. The trails were still mostly dry and hence good to ride on.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The NIL Sea Kayak Guide assessment weekend.

The sea kayak guide course of Vigu, which I've documented in the blog, was a quite extensive course, and I felt I improved a lot in several areas. During the course I got a lot more confident in my own kayaking technique and I feel I've moved my comfort zone a lot. When it comes to ordinary Finnish conditions, I should be able to handle just about anything that it is reasonable to go out in. The common maneuvering techniques also work well and I've been rolling without problems in surfs and breaking waves. We've trained rescues in all kinds of situations and I've done real rescues in fairly difficult waves. I've improved in reading waves and conditions and understand rockhopping conditions a lot better than before. We've trained a lot of leadership aspects and all sorts of theory too, so I'm very satisfied with the course.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Vigu Sea Kayaking Guide Course Pt. 6/6

In the middle of September it was time for the grande finale of the Vigu sea kayaking guide course, sea kayaking in Cornwall.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Vigu Downhill Mountain Biking Course

The blog has seen a bit of radio silence, not because I haven't done anything, but rather because I've done quite a lot, with Vigu courses and other things as well as work. Now my life is slightly less busy again, so I'll start with the Vigu downhill course.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Seabird Scott MV HDPE First Impressions

So, there I was again, looking for a kayak. This was not my intention. I would have been more than satisfied with the Zegul Arrow Play HV, had it been of a good enough construction. Now I returned it to the shop and will get a replacement kayak of another brand sometime next year.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sunday, August 7, 2016

An August overnighter

Another mtb riding post in midst of the kayaking posts.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A four day Vigu course in mountain biking

Mountain biking is finally back in the Vigu course repertoir after a long break. This time in the shape of a 5 studying week specialisation course, consisting of three parts: A four day crash course (pun intended), a week-long downhill course and a six day bikepacking trip. I'm serving as the instructor for the first and last parts and will participate in the downhill course as well. In addition to this the participants get some other assignments as well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Choosing a kayak

I will soon be back with some mountain biking content again, but before that some ponderings about choosing a kayak, since that is what I've been looking at once again.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bothnian Sea National Park

The first weekend of July it was time for the local paddling club's trip to the southern part of the Bothnian Sea National Park, this time with me as the main guide and Tarja as assistant guide. We had been on an overnighter two weeks earlier to check out the area and to make sure we would have tent spots for two night for a larger group of people. As it turned out, in addition to Tarja we got only two participants, Esko and Jukka, both fairly experienced kayakers. Maybe the start of the vacations have people doing other things or maybe the trip was too demanding... The weather forecast was rather dynamic and we could not plan the route with certainty even on Friday.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Zegul Arrow Play Six Months Review - Caveat Emptor

Executive summary

The Zegul Arrow Play HV is a very fun kayak that works as intended. The build quality of it is a pure catastrophy and mine is falling to pieces already. I wouldn't recommend anyone to buy one until Tahe Marine gets its act together.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Vigu Sea Kayaking Guide Course Pt. 4/6

Two weeks ago it was time for the fourth part of the sea kayaking guide course, six days at the Archipelago Sea. It was a very welcome respite from the rather intense and stressful pace at work. For this course we had Niclas Perander, a very skilled kayaker and kayak builder, as our instructor.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Another canoe overnigher with the kids

Due to the workload at my day job, my backlog of unsorted pictures is growing bigger. I just got through the pictures of a short overnighter two weeks ago, the last weekend of May. Some impressions of that overnighter follows...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A perfect May kayaking trip

For some reason the period from April to Midsummer is always busy. This year is no exception, I'm much too busy at work and to some extent even outside work. It's a shame, since I think this is the most interesting period of the year in the nature.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Another April kayaking overnighter.

The spring is a wonderful time of the year. No reason then not go on an overnighter, if possible. Below are some impressions from a kayaking overnighter 23-24 April.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Early spring kayaking video

I wanted to see if I could put together a video of some sort from a paddling trip. Nothing fancy, just a short video with glimpses and impressions. Making videos is an interest of mine, but I haven't really found much time for it lately. Videos are a natural extension to photography, but still quite different and a lot more demanding if good results are to be achieved.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Vigu Sea Kayaking Guide Course Pt. 2/6

It was time for the second part of the Sea Kayaking Guide course offered by the Wilderness and Nature Guide education of Axxell (Vigu) and held by Benjamin Donner from Aavameri

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Early spring kayaking

The winter is definitely over, and according to the temperatures the thermic spring has started. We're still at least a week away from the early spring flowers, though, and the night temperatures are still often below freezing and we even had some light snowfall yesterday. But spring is definitely coming and with daylight savings in place the evenings are now light again. It was hence time for the first kayaking overnighter of the year.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The last remnants of winter

Toni asked for company for a little overnighter and I joined him, as did JJ. The plan was to take the cars to the Vajosuo parking place and then just ride to the shelter close by, be there for the night and ride a few hours in the morning before going back home in time for lunch. I didn't have high expectations for the riding, since the limbo between winter and spring generally is a poor time for riding a mountain bike or fatbike. I was wrong. This turned out to be a truly great outing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Vigu Sea Kayaking Guide Pt. 1/6

The Wilderness and Nature Guide education of Axxell offers two long specializations (10 studying weeks), Winter Fells and Sea Kayaking, in addition to a number of shorter specializations. It had been a long wait, but finally the fifth Vigu Sea Kayaking Guide course started.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Finally a ski overnigher

There have been limited opportunities to ski on natural snow in Turku during this winter, but I had hope for a better winter during this week when the kids have a vacation from school. Southern Osthrobotnia seemed to have more winter and I took the skis and overnighter gear with me when we went to visit the kids' grandparents. I did also take the fatbike with me in case there would be less snow than anticipated.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A short February overnighter with the kids.

The winter has been a roller coaster this far. We've had great winter weather interrupted by rain and too warm temperatures. Hence every opportunity has to be seized and this Friday was no exception. The weather forecast showed wintry weather with a night temperature around -10C and snowfall turning to slush and possibly even rain on Saturday afternoon. Since the kids have only been out a few nights wintertime, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a tent overnighter with them.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A real fatbike overnighter

It feels like I've almost manically been pursuing outdoor activities since the winter temperatures arrived just before New Year. I guess two miserable winters in a row causes that. I've been riding my fatbike, I was on a chilly overnighter (-22C) in Paimio and I did a good amount of Nordic skating before the snow came. When it became clear that the snow prevented skating this weekend, the plans to go on an overnighter came naturally. At first I was quite sure that the mires of Kurjenrahka would be rideable, with the mire being frozen solid and the amount of snow suitable, but the snowfall continued and my preference then turned to skis. However, JJ still wanted to do it by bike and on Saturday afternoon, just after sunset at 16:00, we met at the Rantapiha parking to see what actually would be possible to ride.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Nordic skating season is upon us

The weather took a turn for the better during Christmas and got colder. No snow, but the forest trails soon froze, making for excellent fatbiking. The continuing low temperatures combined with no snow also made way for something not often easily possible: skating on lakes and the sea, so called Nordic skating. During a cold winter the skating season continues further out on the sea, but the ice closer to land gets too much snow. The closest lake (a little over 1 km away), Littoistenjärvi, is a shallow lake which is one of the first to get ice and hence the first skating trip took place on December 30th, just two days before my kayaking season ended.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Zegul Arrow Play first impressions

While I've been quite satisfied with the Aquarius Sea Lion, in some situations it has occurred to me that a little more stability would not be a bad thing. I would even be ready to trade a little speed for it.