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.

I started riding the 16 km towards the starting place much too late and rode fast enough to get the leg muscles burning even before the actual ride had started. I was just a few minutes late, though.

A little after noon on Saturday six of us started riding the trails, first towards Kullaanvuori. Hannu rode without any gear and returned home in the evening. There was some ups and downs and the trails were rather wet.

Mostly singletrack...

... but also some road sections tying the trails to each other.

Revelate Designs Mountain Beer Bag.

This time I was the only one without a fatbike, instead riding my 29+ Salsa Mukluk. The others had fatbikes, with the exception of Hannu who had no gear and rode an FS 29er.

We made good speed.

The Rehtsuo mire.

We had a short sandwhich break at Rehtsuo and then continued into the vanishing light.

The sunset was at 15:30, so it soon got totally dark, which isn't a problem with the led lights of today.

Around six o'clock in the evening we arrived at the Vajosuo shelter after 6.5 h and 51 km on my part. Despite the in places very technical trails, the riding had been quite fluid.

I brought one liter of beer, which was quite sufficient. I also did the unthinkable and took vegetarian food only (we have several new products in Finland which do a good job of replacing meat in many foods).

There was still no shortage of meat, though.

It rained for most of the evening and was quite windy as well, but nothing could disturb the mood.

I went to sleep around midnight in my bivy bag. Because of the weather forecast with rain, I had also rigged a tarp, since I find it slightly irritating to have it rain on my face when sleeping. Jarkko also took advantage of the same tarp with his bigy bag. I wasn't particularly warm in my 600 g summer sleeping bag during the night, but managed to sleep to 7:30 in the morning. It was clearly colder, with a temperature of several degrees below freezing and a stronger wind. There was also some white stuff on the ground.

I was the first one up, closely followed by Jarkko, and the first thing to do was naturally to see that we had a fire.

The second thing was coffee.

After having packed everything we started riding, a little before ten o'clock. I started hearing strange sounds from my freewheel right from the beginning.

We first went to get water from secret stash...

... before getting back on the real trails.

There is a certain grim aesthetics of a late fall mire.

Me. Picture by Jarkko.


Another small road section between the Vajosuo and the Kangenmiekka trails.

The trails are too easy if you're not doing any bike pushing.

A short break to get rid of one layer of clothing.

Lack of snow clearance.

More Kangenmiekka trails.

After Kangenmiekka we continued towards and past Vahto on a maze of small roads and short trail sections, a route I couldn't possibly find again where it not for the GPS track.

My freewheel gradually got worse, but I could still ride with some care. The trails varied a lot in quality.

I turned home after the airport and had about 10 km left. The freewheel could now take only a very limited amount of power and the slightest uphill had to be kickbiked. It broke down completely a few hundred meters from home. I don't trust the Salsa hubs any longer. The previous freewheel body lasted longer, but not long enough. This freewheel body lasted only four months, and probably couldn't take any moisture or water that froze to ice.

I was home again after five hours and 45 km of riding. This was the best Vajosuo beer ride route ever. Thanks to everyone for the company.

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