sport

i used to have a heavy metal name

I managed to get into a pretty good shape with the 316 hours of walking up and down in the mountains. Legs feel great and overall stamina benefited also. So after coming back and resting a few days I saddled my mountain bike and took a for a 3 hour ride and felt really good through the ride. I had only about 400km on the clock before the walk, but I felt confident enough to enter the Elion MTB marathon Cup. There had already been four stages and in the end of the week another one was scheduled to take place in Elva. I had never participated on that  track, but I knew it wasn’t very technical, but really fast. So before Saturday I had few more rides and then stood ready at the starting line with 1000+ other bikers waiting for the start. As I hadn’t participated much last year and this start was also the first I had the number 1045 and had to start from the last group. Meaning that there would be a lot of people actually slower than me, who would hinder my ride and I would have to walk some ridable ascents. On previous years I have managed to squeeze myself into the 700 group.

dustmonkey

So the race was really very fast from the beginning and I even fell back a bit not wanting to make a too fast start, which could punish me in the end. But soon enough I started to gain places again and felt really good. Even on gravel and forest roads I manged to push hard enough to make my average near 30km/h. And as I had thought I soon had to walk two ascents – one because of the other people walking and the other with very soft gravel, where I chose a bad line. Some very long and fast downhill sections where speed went up and over 50km/h. I managed to gain a lot of places when others felt comfortable riding in on line although there was another decent enough line next to it. Maybe they were holding back also. And so it went – constantly pushing quite hard, because others were doing the same. Got to rest in some lines for a while, but towed some myself too. Unfortunately an even-paced group didn’t form, where everyone would work. Tried to eat some Snickers too, but those proved to be too difficult to gulp down. Gels next time. Placed 694 in the intermediate finish. Last 10km were somewhat difficult ’cause I could feel a nasty cramp forming in my right thigh. The last few kilometers proved quite interesting ’cause there were the only decent single of the race and some harder sandy ascents and descent as well. Didn’t have it in me any more to ride those ascents though. The very last kilometer was speeding again despite the cramp outlook and managed to get over the finish line without problems. Felt good. Placed 637. Hopefully it will get me into a better group for the next race in three weeks.

Distance: 68km

Time: 2:55’21 (Caspar Austa – the winner 2:01 something)

Heartrate: 173/186

Average/max speed: 23,4/56,9

Here’s the program about it

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left hand sigarette

I’ve driven past the Aravete go-cart tracks and ski-tracks multiple times and noticed a small path marked with tape indicating a MTB singletrack. It was until today I managed to get there and check it out. The markings were old and confusing, but after some scouting I managed to put the most interesting parts together. Still plenty of possibilities for different variations though. Got only 10km on the clock, but rather technical. There have been some competitions, but as it seems not recently, which is too bad.


a minute to pray, a second to die

Went for a spin on Sunday to get out, get some air, check how much snow there is in the forest and also to try out my new tarp/poncho I recently got. The cycling round ended up being 65km in 3hours with a longer brake in the middle. Weather was fine although headwinds and sidewinds still ain’t my favourites. When I got off the tarmac the going was different. There’s still plenty of rotten snow lying around in places where the sun isn’t warming enough and also ice. Both not very comfortable to ride on without spikes or wider tyres. Those occasional spots that get more sun are almost dry. Open spaces facing south are excellent. The water is quite high and also hiding under snow so I got my feet quite wet. Fortunately the sneakers dry up pretty fast. So I had to portage my bike through some water and managed to get knee-deep. It was cold, but as said dried quickly.When I reached the Loobu river and saw the high water it got me thinking about the possibility of a packraft again. That thing would  be so great considering the amount of water we have had for some years. Unfortunately they cost nearly 10k in old money.  Still that would be about a year’s worth of beer money 😀 Back on tarmac it was easy again although getting tired and with very little to drink. Gotta get the other bottle holder quickly.

Like said the other goal was to test the tarp. More reason for that because I bought a pair of trekking poles the previous day.

The tarp/ponco is SilPoncho by Integral Designs and weighs 280gr without the guylines. With those it would be something over 300gr, but still a lot lighter than the army version (680gr). 300gr itself might not be much, but I have reduced the weight of an item by HALF.  The Silponcho also doubles as a raincoat, exactly like the army one does, but it’s longer and possibly wider also. The pro for a poncho is also that it protects your bag also, so you don’t need a pack cover.

The trekking poles are Fizan Compact, weighing 316gr/pair, which is almost as light as you can go. They seem sturdy enough, but have jet to prove themselves.

Also there are tent pegs, which I currently have 7 but need at least one more for the tarp.  And possibly4-6 for the bivy bag. Made of aluminium, weighing 15gr each.

Final item in my shelter system is the BPL Vapr bivy bag. I had to replace my old one, ’cause it had kilometers of seams and the y all leaked. Also a huge zipper that counts for a door even when it’s closed. I had a very wet night last year and decided to trash it. Weight 204 gr. It has amesh opening so you won’t completely bag yourself and it also provides protection from bugs. Waterproof floor and breathable topside. I tried it once last week when temperatures went down to zero gerees and had some moisture frozen between the bivy and sleepingbag in the feet area. Still have to test how it keeps out the water coming from the outside.

Last summer I used the poncho for about 2 nights, but really needed for one. As it goes the night I really could have needed the protection from rain I just covered myself with it and spent few miserable hours until my sleepingbag could keep me warm anymore.But for walking in the rain I used the poncho quite a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if the case is similar this summer.

So about erecting this thing. Didn’t went as smoothly, ’cause I haven’t practiced it much. And won’t be using anything between myself and the sky if the weather permits. Wind doesn’t bother me and for privacy I just find the suitable spot. What most tarp users love about using one is that a tarp is as versatile as your imagination goes. There are so many ways you can set it up and so many places you can use it. Pitch it high or low, between trees on on open field; one side opened or one corner rised. It doesn’t need even ground like tents, ventilates like hell and so on. Also it doubles up as raingear as mentioned before. Here I have only two dofferent setups – somewhat high and very low. Although the low one is a hassle to get into it still has enough room for me for sleeping and my backpack. When it rains with no wind I can use a different pitch and still be dry.

Of course there are cons when using the tarp. When a hurricane comes then it probably won’t hold. Bugs could be a problem. Rain and strong winds. Rabbits and rattlesnakes invading you boots and female elves sneaking into your sleepingbag.

But I think that this system will keep my satisfied for the month I plan to use it as my primary accomodation WHEN it rains. ‘Cause which hiker or anyone at all in their right mind would climb into a tent when the sky is clear and temepratures are above freezing.



chop off my fingers

Skiing has been great this year. Conditions and track are very good and I’ve managed to gather reasonable distance among other activities. Could ski more of course but the last week had very low temperatures and I opted against it. Today it was -15C, but it didn’t feel so cold so to Nõmme I went. I have done most of the skiing there this year. Not too crowded and the track is good although a little bit worn out already. Could use a little fresh snow. Somehow I thought that my spring/autumn biking gloves were enough and stormed off to feel my right hand slowly freezing after a kilometre or so. And it went very painful. So I pushed through the pain ’till the end of the 5km lap to warm up in the car. I’ve red a lot about winter camping and gear and clothing and it true what they say: “Warm, not re-warm”. Sitting in there was very-very painful. And it was only my fingers fortunately. It took about 5 minutes for the pain to stop, but my index finger still feels kinda numb even after an hour. So I decided to retreat after this one lap. Better safe than sorry. So stay warm

honey, i broke the rubber

I’ve been cycling over a year now – that’s about 2000km combined on mountain and road bike and I’ve never had a flat tyre. Yesterday I got one about 10 minutes before reaching home. Had to walk for 3km or so. Could have been worse ’cause i took quite a detour ending with over 50km on the clock. Consider myself lucky. Went home and started to change the inner tube. Got it on, started to inflate and heard a noise indicating that this one too had a puncture. I’ve been carrying the spare one along for about a year folded very tightly – guess that didn’t do any good.

nollapiste

Kalevipoja MTB marathon. Mainly on gravel, with two long and boring stretches on a ditch bank with peat holes and some headwind sections also. Had some dude sitting in my wind a whole lot of time – not very willing to do some work. Had some difficulties in the middle section as I gave to much on the first 30km, but managed to recover in the end. 71 km with 3:45 is not very bad, but could have done much-much better. Hope to get back training again starting today.

pants of steel

did some biking on sunday. Turned out to be a very long day – about 9:40 on the bike covering about 180 km. Not without some rest of course. Had to check the map quite often, negotiate a river with barely a bridge over it, heel kick some dogs and play hide-and-seek with military. I managed to follow the route quite as i had planned though making some wrong choices due to bad navigating. Made some notes for the future rides and cherished the nature. Kõrvemaa is definitely a place worth exploring wether on foot or by bike. Bring a friend or not, some food, water and a camera and chill for a weekend..

stella

the mtb season has kicked off for me too and i’ve taken part in two competitions already – Mulgi and Rõuge, both part of the Elion Cup. Finished both with average results. The first one – Mulgi was more difficult as i had a hammer after 40km, but it got better in the end. The second one i liked more – much faster and more interesting, although i got some minor cramps in the last 5 or so km. Both races were about 60km long and it took about average 3:30 to reach the finish line. The long term goal is to get the time near the 3h mark. Next race might be tomorrow in Paluküla, next weekend there’s a road bike race and week after that the third race of Elion Cup. The bad thing is that there are triathlon and bike events at same dates so i’ll have to choose where to participate.And i’ve got two weeks before leaving for Corsica. 😀


swimming in April

The fourth Võhandu marathon. Based on the rather pleasant experience from last year i didn’t take much thinking from me and also from Silver to participate again and so we were among the first teams to register. That didn’t save us from that first setback – waiting to book a boat or actually a canoe about two weeks before the race – not likely to happen. Finally got one from Otepää, from a very-very-very talkative guy. the location caused us some unnecessary logistical problems, but nothing a little among of gasoline couldn’t resolve. No test run this year ’cause you gotta be realistic – an hour wont do much difference if you basically get into the boat once a year for only this event.
The weather wasn’t promising. In fact i drove past the lake the evening before and it was covered with ice. It melted for the morning though. during the first two hours we got everything except thunderstorm and a twister. sunshine, hail, sleet, headwinds – you name it.
As usual the first 20km are a drag – slow and boring. Also we found out that our boat has a leak in the nose so pretty soon i had cold and wet feet. we also had a bizarre idea to switch place – regular would be me sitting in the back and Silver in front. Let me tell you – after the switch it was as goofy as it can be. I’ve probably never felt so unbalanced and uncomfortable in my life – it just wasn’t right and Silver felt the same.
So there wasn’t much happening during the first 30 km. After Paidra the current picked up the pace and it got more interesting. Like last year the constant bends where you have to slow down and the accelerate weren’t much fun, but we knew that already and didn’t think much about it. One team in a canoe went overboard right in front of us so quickly that i even didn’t see it happen. Then we reached Leevi
After the dam in Leevi the current is much faster and there are many old watermills on the river with old dams that create potential spots for mid-spring swimming lesson. The first spot is a 90 degree turn to the left. It has trees reaching as far as 1/3 of the river width so you have to make a big arc around it. The problem is that there are branches on the other side also and a steep sandstone wall on the outer bank. So if you take a really big acr you might get slammed into the wall and the arc is too small you’ll get stuck into the trees on your left with your nose and the current will drag your boat god-knows into what. That all didn’t happen to us. Instead we hit the branches on the left and although i’m packig a solid 95kg the branch was stronger and we were in the very cold, very wet water fighting with the current and trying to hold on to our boar which very quickly filled with water. I don’t know how long were in the water – maybe a few minutes. Silver didn’t have his bag secured to him so it went downstream and he had to run for the rescue while i was holding on the canoe – both safely on the shore though. We got the boat out and after a lot of swearing and dirty words we considered continuing, but discovered that the boat had suffered damage serious enough to make it impossible to go on. Fortunately we got help with the boat and delivered it back to it’s owner. It took considerably more time for the dry clothes to arrive – fortunately i had my fleece packed waterproof so i didn’t have to wear those wet ones for 2 hours when we waited for the pickup.
Meanwhile witnessed an accident when a raft crashed into a metal construction and teared a hole into its side. Owner wasn’t very happy.
It’s a shame that we couldn’t end the race in the finish, but there’s always next year.