Monday, October 11, 2010

Today was not a climbing day

Today clearly wasn't destined to be a climbing day. I had wanted to go up to Reventeenvuori but throat infections took down two potential partners. Bummer. Tony got a couple hours climbing leave from his paternity leave (and very cute, tiny, pink and scrumpled the reason for his paternity leave is too!) and we went to Backnäs, but it started raining as soon as we hit the crag. Bummer.

The drizzle stopped long enough for Tony to do a bit of work on his chosen project, but my desired line is less steep and was quickly sopping. Bummer.

Well, if nothing else the rain gave me reason to wear the new jacket I recently received from Marmot for testing for UKC. It's this season's "Alpinist", Marmot's top-of-the-line Goretex shell, and a thing of great, orangey, engineering beauty it is too. But more of that once the weather gets really lousy I expect. The weather stayed grey, damp and breezy so we sacked it in and went home.

Of course on getting home, the forecast predictions came true - the sky clearer and the sun came out. Just a few hours too late. Bummer. Never mind, a bit a of mountain biking would save the day and let me see all the colourful trees.

The trails are all really dry after the long, hot summer which is great, although I of course still found a bog to get stuck in. It wouldn't really be a mountain biking trip without doing so.

The woods around here can be a bit spooky. There are a number of abandoned houses that old, grown-over and much ignored paths take you to. Abandoned buildings are quite normal in the Finnish countryside. Many older buildings were never great quality to begin with - the country was very poor until the post-war industrialisation of the economy - and being wood are often left to just rot away. In the British countryside you rarely see abandoned buildings, particularly not houses, land and property is too valuable and even old houses in lousy condition are renovated by the middle classes fleeing urbanity. In Finland the opposite, the drift to the cities, is still not over. Just beyond that house I saw a group of white tailed deer browsing on the edges of what once would have been the yard.

The light on birches was lovely although my little camera doesn't really do it justice.

The flags are all up; for the birthday of one of the national romantic poets (or writers, or artists) but I can't remember which one. They were all very important for inventing a national consciousness and culture - in effect creating Finnish nationalism - in the 19th century, just as Sir Walter Scott invented the idea of Scottish nationalism in the Regency era. So, please, take my flag and autumn colours photo as the postmodern gesture as I intended. ;-)

My Kona is starting to break-up. First it was a pedal (see below); fair enough - they take a real smacking. Today, the cage on front dérailleur snapped. The chainset it already a bit bashed up and bent from too much log and rock hopping. Probably the whole drivetrain is needing replacing.

It's done quite a few kilometres over the last five years, and most of those have been off road - often on quite technical ground - so I can't complain. When I get that dream job, whatever that is!, then maybe I'll just replace the whole thing.

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