Something everyone should watch

The last few weeks this video has been spread around in the social media.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Euu2QRIuEPk&list=PLA-8PGEuS2POJbpiB5iRXgQCu7GEu201H

I think everyone using the road should watch this video (cyclists & drivers).

There has been too many times when I’v seen cyclist doing stupid things on the road as well as cars driving careless. It’s my job as a cyclist to respect the traffic rules as well as the drivers to respect me as a cyclist.  This is the only way how we can avoid accidents. I’v been to many “close-by” situations and I’v seen how scared the drivers have been nearly driving over me.  There are situations where drivers,  instead of just looking the mirrows, you need to turn your head and see if someone is behind you or on your side. Few ocations I’v stopped a car and given them a lecture – in a nice way-  how they should be more considerable towards cyclist. Education is what we need – both cyclist and drivers. The road is for everyone.

Last summer rides

The summer is soon turning into autum. For me that means heading to Finland, combining studies (physiotheraphy) and work, as well as planning the future training camps in Spain. I’m afraid I cannot ride as much as I would like to due the things I just mentioned, but surely I can ocationally escape to the Finnish woods and ride around the lakes of Jyväskylä. I’m also participating to the Tour de Helsinki on the 31st of August. That’s a 140km long sportive, where thousands of cyclists are racing against themselves, friends and the top ones for the money prices. It will be an exiting event, I’m happy that I can see many of my cycling friends. It will be nice also to ride in Helsinki. Although I’m from Helsinki, it’s actually the place I’v less cycled.

Here I some photos of my last rides in Spain. Next update will be from a bit greenier and rainier place.. 🙂

Great autum rides for the everyone!

Salt lake

Looks like snow, but it’s the salt like of Fuente de Pierda. From October to June you can see flamingos over here.

my bike at el chorro

Karua ja kaunista.

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Riding in desert.

me at the top of el chorro

Managed to the top of the El Bobastro Climb!! Temperatures heading close to 40 degrees!

Being grateful

When I jump on my bike and see all this, there is only one thing on my mind; how blessed I am that I can ride my bike! Of course there are moments when the rides are getting a bit too long and the tiredness steps in, the headwind makes you feel you are on stationary bike or you can see your cycling friends disappearing up the climb, but still I’m so grateful for all the rides I’ve ridden. So far I’ve always got home, no matter how strong the headwind has been or how tired I have been. And the few occasions when I’ve needed to call someone to pick me up, I have been grateful I have those people who can come and pick me up. So next time you when you are on your bike, lift you head up from the power meter and look around, feel the wind, rain or heat and enjoy! Be grateful that you can ride your bike!

Here are some photos of my last, hmm, 20 + rides..

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The happy cyclist heading to el Chorro.

I never stop admiring the beauty of this place - El Chorro, Andalucia
I never stop admiring the beauty of this place – El Chorro, Andalucia

Flat routes (where I just the other day was speeding with 45km/h!!)

The flat routes are great, yesterday I was speeding of at 45km/h!

And the climbs.. when it's hard to keep the speed over 10km/h!
And then there are the climbs.. when it’s hard to keep the speed over 10km/h!

This summer, due the heat of the day, I have done many late evening rides, where sometimes the rides have turned into  a battle between my legs and the night..

This summer, due the heat of the day, I have done many late evening rides, where sometimes the rides have turned into  a battle between my legs and the night..

This ride to the El Torcal - mountains, I lost the race. The night won, but luckily I had the moon lighting my ride back home.

This ride to the El Torcal – mountains, I lost the race. The night won, but luckily I had the moon lighting my ride back home.

Another evening ride with Rumor.

Another evening ride with Rumor.

Racing against the night.

Racing against the night.

nerja ride
From coast to the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is where the climb starts.

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Sundays are church days. Visiting the church of joy!

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Views from the top are worth of the challenging climb.

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The speed is not very fast when you climb over the Antequera mountains.

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How lucky I am that I can admire this view every day from my bike or on my runs!

Ride & Admire the things you see, enjoy the things you feel! 

Tour De France

I was lucky enough to see the stage 3 of this year’s Tour as I was speding some time close to Cambridge in the beginning of July. The 155km long stage started from Cambridge and passed through the village of Stapleford, at the outskirts of Cambridge. The whole town was going crazy! The days before the tour where full of program; we participated to the french breakfast (the best croissants I’v ever eaten!) and to a French evening with some French music, wine and cheese. After several days of rain, the actual race day was beautiful. We went to see the caravan passing few hours before the riders. We could see the rides only for less than a minute as they zoomed past. Anyways the athmosphere was great, the local pub served barbaque and we could see the rest of the stage from TV. Shame that this year there has been so many of the favorits leaving the Tour. Hope they all will recover quickly. This year I won’t be able to see La Vuelta, the years earlier I have been riding part of the stages before the riders and then stayed cheering them. It’s crazy how fast the pros ride! The first stages of Vuelta are close to my Spanish home, beautiful, challenging routes ahead for the riders this year too! 

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Preparations for Le Tour in Cambridge; French music, wine & cheese

 

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Everyone gathering together to see the Tour

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There they come!

There they come!

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Sierra Nevada Limite

On June 28th I participated to the Sierra Nevada Limite cycling sportive. I was really up for this as the last training rides had gone well and I was looking forward for some cooler temperatures and nice day riding in good company. Unfortunately we needed to change the 180km long course to shorter version (92km) as my friend wasn’t feeling good. This time it was more important to support my friend who haven’t been doing cycling for some time, than selfishly ride the long course, just because I was up for it. In the end it was a good training day for the coming Sierra Nevada Triathlon. At the finish line I changed my cycling shoes to running shoes and went for a 45min run.

Stay tuned to hear about the Tour de France stage 3 Cambridge – London & Triathlon Sierra Nevada! 🙂 

Team Elina Jouhki ready to ride!

Team Elina Jouhki ready to ride!

Climbing El Purche, a long hard climb which finishes 20% gradient

Climbing El Purche, a long hard climb which finishes 20% gradient

Climbing, climbing, climbing

Climbing, climbing, climbing

This is how our bike perfil looked like.

This is how our bike perfil looked like.

Moments on bike are best when shared with someone

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I have been struggling on my bike for the last month or so. I haven’t really been enjoying that much of the rides or sportives, as they been too much of a hard work. After a pretty intensive week on bike (5 days, 16hrs of cycling + 4hrs running) I was not feeling tired nor afraid to jump on the bike again. Why so?

I realized something when riding one of the hardest rides I know (called the Spartan); riding is so much nicer, easier and enjoyable when you can share it with someone. How nice it is to ride and chat, admire the views, stop for a tapas, take turns in front and perhaps have a sprint to the village sign (if you know that the others are stronger, then you can do your own sprints to lamp posts or random rocks, without telling to the other person that it is a race.. 😉 ).

I realized I had been struggling when I have been riding by myself or trying to chase people way fitter than me. The moments on bike, like most of the moments are much better when you are sharing them with someone.

I’m not afraid anymore to go to the Sierra Nevada mountains on Saturday to do the 180km Sierra Nevada limite sportive, as I know I will be riding it in a good company, enjoying the views, cycling and life.

Evening ride with Rumor

Riding at the mountains of Anteuquera with a MTB expert, my friend Luque.

Riding at the Antequera mountains

Lovely flowers!!

Finishing the ride at the top of Antequera. Lots of climbing – needed to ask the Virgin Socorro for help.

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Admiring the sunset over Antequera.

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Antequera.

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Here is my challenge, want to learn to ride this!

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Have a great weekend everyone! I’m off to do some riding at the Sierra Nevada mountains!

La Sufrida 2014

7.55 at el GastorHeading towards Zahara de la Sierra & the first "proper climb"

Now when it has been a week, I think I’m ready to share my painful story of La Sufrida 196km “gran fondo”.

5.15 am the alarm wakes me up. At 6 am I’m out where my cycling friends Luque and Lucas are already waiting for me. We pass by Antequera where people are getting home from the spring festival parties.  “Normal” people are either getting to bed at this time or are fast asleep here in Spain. An hour and a bit later we arrive to el Gastor, a small, white village in the hearth or Ronda mountains.  We have five minutes before the race number entry closes. We run to get the numbers, greet people on the way we know from cycling events. The atmosphere is great. The narrow streets are full of cyclists and fancy bikes.

At 8.00am off we go. A long downhill and then it starts; the roller coaster; up and down, up and down. After the first 20km the first proper climb starts. It’s a 15km long climb to Puerto Palomas.

I know the climb very well. So many memories cross through my mind. A birthday weekend spent here some years ago, winter riders, races and training rides, triathlon Titan.. Although I have suffered a lot here, I love this place. I never get tired of admiring the views over the village of Zahara de la Sierra. The lake is turquoise, the temperature perfect. No wind. I listen to the riders around me.People are joking and telling stories. I pass a group of Danish riders, a group of Britts, it’s great to see how every year the sportive is getting more and more participants outside of Spain. The number of woman riders is also growing. And how strong riders! I ride little while in a group where there are five women riders. None of them seems to notice we are climbing! I’m taking it steady, but seems like my body doesn’t want to wake up today. The riding is not easy.

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After the climb we have a long downhill to the village of Grazalema. I pass several men. Wow, have I finally after 6 years riding in these mountains, learned to decent? After Grazalema the winds start to blow. Headwind of course. I try to get into small groups, but they are going too fast. I need to keep in mind, I have 196km to do today. From the race numbers I can see who are doing the shorter version (124km) and who the long. Pushing against the head wind is not pleasant. This is downhill, I should be recovering here!

I stop quickly at a feed station to use the loo. It’s km 58 and my shoulder is frozen. I don’t want to move the shoulder as the pain is too much. It’s not the first time when it happens, so I continue. At the next feed station, I fill my water bottle and eat a bit. From here starts the second long climb, 15km El Boyar. I like this climb. It’s constant and on my opinion not very steep.  Beginning of the climb, the route zigzags past woods. The day is getting hot, so entering the shade of the leaves feels like entering the paradise. I can hear a river somewhere close by, the birds are singing. I pass by several cyclist who look like they are about to blow out. I try to cheer them up, but I’m not feeling super energetic myself either.

It takes me around an hour to get to the top. I didn’t know they were timing the climb and later on I got a price for being the fastest climber of my age group. What goes up, must go down. More descending and then more climbing. Half of the riding done, yippii! Well, I should feel like that, but instead I don’t feel much more than pain. At the next climb a girl rides next to me and greets me. I recognize her from last year. She is a from US. Last year I was riding most of the time with her, but was able to finish 5mins in front of her as the first woman. This year I know it won’t happen. This year I just want to finish. This year it will be hard. We chat a bit and she tells that everyone has warned her about the next climb, which is going to be horrible. I don’t want to think about the next climb. I’m focusing on this. I’m focusing to keep the pedals turning. I’m not feeling too good. The pain in my shoulder is getting more dominant and it’s spreading across the whole body.

And then it comes: THE MURO (= the wall). I’m happy I didn’t know how long the climb was. It has a perfect name, it felt like you were hitting a wall. The climb was long and steep. Before every corner I though; “it must end there”. But no,no,no.. It just went on and on. I could see cyclist zigzagging in the horizon, others walking with their bikes. A fear entered my mind; ” Do we need to pass here again? If so, I will change to the shorter version!”. I started to ask cyclist around me, if my fear was reality. What a relief it was to hear we won’t be passing there again!

At the next crossing there were a control and the routes separated; last 10kms to the finish line for the shorter version, and 90kms for me. I was already really tired. With a blank face I turned right and started another climb. “Last 4-5 hours”, it really didn’t sound good.

The few riders I met on the climb where riding like me; head down, silent, slowly pushing the pedals up and down. No-one had the power to say anything, not to joke, not to complain about the pain. The riders were just trying to move on, to get to the next feed station and perhaps finally to the finish line.

Sentenil de Bodegas, a beautiful village I have more nice memories. The Ronda 101km ultrarun passes through the village. I remember running here, lots of people cheering the runners, David supporting me on his bike. Then taking photos there at the top of the villages on our bike rides.. And now I just wanted to sit down and cry. I was so tired, going through so much pain. My back was killing me from all the climbing. Straightening up the spine felt like I would be breaking some bones.  

Finally a feedstation! Watermelon, nuts, coca cola. Give me everything, I need energy. It must have been 18 years since I have been drinking coke. I took my time at the feedstation, chatted with the people. I had no getting back on the bike again. I know what was waiting for me. More climbing.

Somewhere around km 130 I started to be desperate. The head wind was getting stronger. The pain had taken over my body. My skin was hyper sensible; a little bit of rough tarmac and it felt someone was hammering needles through my skin. I started to think of quitting. I was not enjoying the riding at all, getting to the finish line wasn’t important anymore. Every pedal I took the idea of quitting was getting more and more tempting. Descending from Ronda towards the village of Montejaque I decided; at the next feedstation I will quit. It was difficult to control the bike and I needed to push hard on the downhill thanks to the head wind. I started to cry. I had my phone in my pocket, but I was too tired to pick it up. I didn’t know anymore what to do. Should I stop there, or should I try to get to the next feedstation? I didn’t know what time it was. I wanted to call David to US to ask for an advice. He knew this race and he knew me and what I’m capable. I didn’t know it myself anymore.

Maybe I should call to Luque & Lucas to pick me? They must have finished already. It was too much of an effort to pick the phone up so I continued. Just few meters more Janina. After today, you don’t need to do any more races, no more long rides. I will stop doing these stupid things! I promise you Janina! Thoughts were running through my mind.

Team Elina Jouhki – a sticker I had made myself – was staring me from the stem. A pink bracelet on my hand gave strength to move on.  “Come on Janina, there are people who are suffering so much more in this world, so stop weeping and keep the pedals turning!”

Leaving Montejaque

And so came Montejaque (without a feed station), the moon like views over the next mountains and finally the last feed station. No way I would quit over here! More coke, more nuts, more water melon. Let’s get this thing done!! 33km to go!

The last 5km climb. I tried to put some music on, but I couldn’t bend my arm back to reach the player.

Yeah, finished the climb! Now just rolling down to Gastor! Noooooo!! The roller coaster continued; up and down, up and down. Finally the last crossing, few km to the finish, yippii! 9km to El Gastor a woman “cheered me up”. What!! 9km, no way, will I ever get there.. 

It’s funny how your mind tries to full you; after that climb you get a down hill, after that corner you will see the town, the distance must be few kilometers short, the garmin always shows little less than what the real numbers are..  But these thoughts didn’t help. When I finally saw the village, the garmin showed 195km, +4700m of climbing, 9 hours.

Decending to the village I didn’t feel joy. I didn’t feel that I had accomplished something. I was totally numb. I could hear music, someone speaking to the megaphone. The village people cheering me the last meters.

There’s a compere at the finish line and he wants to interview me. I try to hold myself upright and answer as briefly as possible to his questions. Luque and Lucas come to me; How was it? How are you feeling? Do you want a drink? I step away from them; please do not touch me, I’m in too much pain. I give my bike to Luque, sit down to a chair in a bar table (I didn’t ask if it was taken, sorry!). Guys, I cannot talk. I’m in too much pain. I try to hold my tears. “Do you want to have food or shower first? Are you sure you don’t want a drink?” The boys are trying to be helpful. I can see that they have been waiting for me for a quite long time. Two hours! Damn, you are strong!

Come Janina, I will take you to the showers. I just need to follow Luque to the car he has parked close by. He drives me to the sports hall and carries my stuff in. “Luque, I will sit down for a bit”, I lie down on the cold floor of the sports hall. I know that the shower drops will be too much for me at the moment. I just want to lie here. People pass me giving me understanding looks.  Others ask if I’m alright. Lying here, I’m actually alright. Nothing hurts. I think I will stay here for a while.

Team Elina Jouhki At the finish line Done!

Staminalaiset kevätleirillä

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Huhtikuun viimeisenä viikonloppuna olin mukana jyväskyläläisen triathlonseura Staminan naisosaston kevätleirillä. Oli huikeata huomata kuinka triathlon on valloittanut niin monen naisen sydämen. Oli myös hienoa tutustua Tahkon leiri olosuhteisiin. Mitä todennäköisimmin Southern Track tulee tulevaisuudessa pitämään Suomen leirit juuri Tahkolla, kiitos upeiden pyöräreittien sekä mielenkiintoisten juoksumaastojen. Kesällä myös avovesiuinti mahdollisuudet ovat loistavat, talvella uintiin sopii Tahko Spa:n 25-metrin sisäallas. Majoitusta löytyy myös moneen makuun. Toivottavasti nähdään Tahkolla ensi keväänä leirin merkeissä!