Rode Maratona dles Dolomites yesterday. 138km total and over 4km uphill. My first ever bicycle race. The longest bicycle ride by a wide margin, like 100km+. Went directly to one of the most well known Gran Fondos with 9000 fellow riders. Beautiful scenery. Excellent weather.
Overall I would say it was a major learning experience and introduction to the culture of road cycling. I had no clue what to expect. Was pretty nervous before the start wondering what to wear, what to eat and so on. The choice of a long sleeve running shirt under the cycling jersey turned out to be pretty good. You want long sleeves in the first morning descents. Gloves were ok for the first hour or so. I had just one caffeine gel with me which I took maybe 2/3 up Giau pass but could have had a few more. I feared mechanical issues and was really scared when after just 15 minutes of riding the saddle gave a popping sound and went all loose. Luckily the seat post was ok and it was just misplaced. I ended up stopping 5 times to fix the saddle position, another 5 times to drink and eat and one more stop for a toilet visit. That said, based on Garmin data it all added just max 15 minutes.
I finished in 7.42 and overall position 2171. It was by no means an easy Sunday ride. It was a hard full day workout in the saddle with heart beat going 150 all over uphills. In the big picture however not as damaging to your body compared to running a full marathon on the road. Still I would not recommend Maratona for casual riders or amateurs with no endurance sports background and proper preparation. I respect now pro cyclist more than ever who can do this kind of rides during major tours on daily basis. My position changed roughly between 2.000 and 2.500, the best splits being uphills at around 1.700. I was passing riders in uphills and passed from left and right in downhills. I just don’t understand why anybody at the level I was riding would risk it all to go like 100 km/h in a downhill where I capped it at maybe 50 (data shows I peaked somewhere at 65 km/h). I think I saw 3 or 4 accidents. In two cases there was an ambulance at the site.
Right after the ride I was thinking this was it. Bucket list stuff crossed out. But after a couple of beers and the next day feeling just some pain in the neck and back stiffness I am thinking could this be done again. With some proper preparation and weather permitting I could shoot for a time starting with 6.
My dad passed away three weeks ago. After the initial shock and emotional rollercoaster I feel now both thankful and peaceful. I could not have asked for a better dad who lived to see so many things over his almost 72 years of run here. He witnessed my life through all the turbulents years and saw his grandchildren grow up. We all learned so much from him.
Obituarities in Helsingin Sanomat and Asianajoliitto summarize his career accomplishments as an attorney, professor and Supreme Court justice in Finland. Those are the things he was publicly known for.
For me he was still first and foremost a dad with whom I had an open and candid relationship until the end. We talked on weekly basis. There wasn’t a topic we wouldn’t have chatted about. The best ones were lengthy conversations over dinner or a bottle of wine about sports, law, society and politics. We disagreed from time to time and our political views differed but the next morning it was all forgotten.
I picked up from him the love for all kind of sports and outdoor lifestyle. We went together trekking, running and fishing. Just two weeks before his time was up we had a great overnight fishing trip in Kirkkonummi where he caught a Baltic Sea white fish and prepared it for our dinner. This post’s headline picture was taken on that moment.
He influenced my life in numerous ways. I entered and by chance passed the law school entry exam mainly because he happened to be a professor there at that time and the exam books were lying on our shelves. I had to prove him I can get there too. Eventually I went on to do other stuff, build new tech and other businesses. He had an open mind and was curious and supportive in whatever I did in my life checking always “how’s the business?” and “how’s the kids?”. But the most often he still opened with “have you been running lately?”
My dad used to say you learn to write only by writing. (And you learn to run only by running.) Even if he published only legal scolarship and judgments he did write about much more. So here’s his recap (in Finnish) of our road trip across the US back in 2010: Isä ja poika Ameriikan raitilla keväällä 2010. That was kind of a trip of the lifetime we talked about time and again whenever we got back together…
What makes this kinda big deal is I don’t have any records of going sub 3 minutes for over 5 long years! The last one is from April 2014. This time I really built it up. It all started after I tried 1k with no training more than one month ago at Otaniemi track and pulled 3.11. Some training, 5k on track in 17.38, and another trial at Otaniemi 3.02 about a week ago. I felt three mins was clearly under reach. A few repeats and a focused effort brought it home today at Kirkkonummi track. Based on how fast the first 600m went I could shave off still a few secs with some more training. Or alternatively shoot for a sub 4.30 in 1500m?
Drove up to Riihimäki and the legendary Riutta trail the other day. This is the place where I developed my “light” stride back in the day… Snow is gone and the trail in good shape. Managed to pull four laps in very much the same time frame I was doing already 25 years ago. Roughly 11.20 per lap, plus minus five seconds. The first time I’m there with TomTom to confirm about 2400m distance and 50 meters ascent per round. In four laps that makes 200m total uphill. It does feel a bit tougher though because the uphills, while short, are pretty steep.
Nice sightseeing run over Temescal Ridge and down Palisades this morning. The plan was to run just 1hr to catch up with Zou but it went total over 15K and 500m ascent so a pretty heavy set. Palisades drive felt like going forever. The trails were soft after rain yesterday but views magnificent.