Sunday, May 13, 2018

Toni's ITI 1000 party

This winter a friend of mine, Toni Lund, did 1000 miles of Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI), the world's longest and toughest winter race. He pushed his bike for more than half the distance between Anchorage and Nome in Alaska. It was the ultimate test of winter endurance and survival with a fatbike and he did it in 26 days. Being a bike mechanic by profession, he hasn't had time to write about it yet, with the spring being an extremely busy period in bike shops. For those who understand Finnish, there is a radio show and TV show featuring interviews with Toni.

Finding a date for a little party featuring some riding and an overnighter that would suit everyone in our little group of riders is becoming increasingly difficult with everyone being middleaged and having many obligations, and we couldn't get everyone this time either. But three of us (me, Toni and JJ) met up in Kimito on Ascension Thursday to take a look at the best trails of Kimito.

The ride started like an explosion. Sure, Toni has spent the last five years in hard training for the ITI and I have pursued mainly other outdoor activities, but I've always been able to hold my own on actual technical trails, since my riding technique is quite good and efficient. No this time, though, since Toni has ridden these trails a lot and knew them well. Consequently, I had to give everything I had to keep up and it took some time for the lungs to warm up. (I've still not recovered fully from the influenza six weeks earlier.)

No pictures from this first area, where we spent around 45 minutes. A transport section followed, which if course was not ridden slowly.

 This poor viper (Vipera berus) was sunbathing in the unusual summer temperatures when suddenly almost run over by a bike. Fortunately nobody was hurt.

Now we arrived at the area I had looked most forward to see.


This was a large area of mostly open slick rock. I haven't seen anything even remotely similar in Southern Finland. A really interesting area.


The new green color of May leaves is spectacular. It cannot be accurately captured by the camera, but it has a freshness that will be lost in a few weeks. This is my favorite time of the year.

The last of the rocks...

... before turning back on small forest roads and trails.

The ride took 3.5 h and was the hardest ride I've done for a while. I then loaded the bike into my car, to ride closer to the laavu shelter where we would spend the night. Toni and JJ rode the 27 km there, but I had to get to work on Friday morning and cheated by taking the car.

The sun was now low enough that the wood anemones had gone to sleep.

The trail to the shelter was nice, but a bit technical in places.

And there it was: The superlaavu. With a view to the Gullkrona Bay, my kayaking waters.

Toni and JJ were still riding, but I rewarded myself with a beer.

And took a selfie.

Toni arrives...

 ... closely followed by JJ...

... and Matti on foot.

Time for food and drink.

Toni with the badge of honor. Not too many of these.

My second beer had been cooled by a bog.

Beer, food and talking.

Sunset a little before ten. A nightjar was jarring, if that is what they do, nearby.

The bringer of light.

Toni makes pancakes for dessert.

I went to sleep  little after one o'clock.

In the morning night a black grouse could be heard nearby, but otherwise not many birds. A little over six in the morning I got up with Matti. The morning was nice.

Breakfast with coffee.

Toni and JJ were still sleeping when we left a little over seven. They would later take the scenic route back.

Riding back to the car.

The wood anemones were awake.

That's it. A very nice outing.

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