I have a plan, a long, hard and crazy plan. The weather report for today is really good, but rainy for the next two days, you see where I’m going? My plan for today, is to go from Värtsilä to Imatra, a trip that is close to 210Km long.

20140614_182236Why pay for a spa, when you can stay in Värtsilä
I woke up at Joki Hotel in Värtsilä, feeling really fresh and strong. I found the breakfast in the refrigerator and started with some bread with salami, ham and cheese. Had a quick shower, packed my bag and then ate the yoghurt with some corn flakes in it. I’m ready.

When I left the room, they served me a cup of coffee and sat down with me. I really can’t explain how welcome you feel in a place like this. I was invited back and was told about nice fishing places, lavo’s that was available for private use, with a camp fire… I want to go back, mainly because the only two persons I’ve met here have been so friendly, but also because the place it self gives me a relaxing feeling.

20140615_121104I leave the place with a smile on my face, starting to cycle towards the boarder shop. My plan is to fill up my trailer with food from there, which I will use as emergency food today. It’s Sunday, so you never know when you will need it. I intend to stop at coffee shops and eat a sandwich if possible.

After about 10Km, I understood that I forgot the bread that the hotel gave me, I believe I put it on the bench outside, while preparing my bicycle.

Enjoy the moment, enjoy the day!
When you are going for a long ride like this, you can’t think of the distance at all times. You need to enjoy the trip, enjoy the nature and appreciate if anyone gives you a smile or says hello. Personally, I give myself small goals all the way, it’s 15Km until I change to a different road, it’s 20Km to this small village and suddenly it’s just 25Km until you have reached the goal for the day.

Even if I had a goal above 200Km today, I had decided that if my energy is low, I will go shorter, but I will go above 120Km.

20140615_124748There’s been quite some traffic on some of the main roads today. You need to stay focused, think about stability and keep right. It’s my understanding that Finland is just as Norway when it comes to people in the traffic.

As mentioned before, in Norway, people are nicer and more careful in the traffic north of Trondheim. In Finland it seems like if you put a line from Trondheim and straight over to Finland, the people are nicer and more careful in the traffic, north of this line as well.

Strong legs and a good mood today!
It’s a good feeling when you get about 100Km and you don’t feel tired at all, I feel like I can do Trondheim-Oslo all over again today. My speed is just fine, about an average of 22.5Km/t, which is not bad with the weight I’m pulling.

I’m fully aware of the gravel roads today, this is one of the reasons I’m doing this monster stage. I don’t want to get gravel on a day full of rain.

The gravel is quite good at the start and I keep holding a good speed. I’m focusing about keeping a good average speed today, not about top speed for shorter periods. This part is about 20-25Km with gravel.

I’m back on the paved road and my smile is still on my face, what a day!  The owner of Joki Hotel in Värtsilä gave me a compliment, she said that you should keep smiling, you have a nice friendly smile, which can take you long. I will remember that, since it was coming from such a nice person.

20140615_180153Horrible gravel road and steep climbs!
The Russian boarder is not far away now, which also means that I’m back on the gravel roads. You can see the yellow bands on the trees, this is telling me that I’m not allowed cross that area.

I follow the road and you can see the stop signs on the roads passing these bands. This is not the Russian boarder itself, it is like a 3km belt going between the countries, which only the boarder controls are allowed to be on. This is by many called «The Green Belt», the reason for this is that the area here haven’t been touched by humans.

This is an area where the bears and all the other animals feel safe and have quite a good life. The problem is that sometimes they move to close to the cities and scares people.

The gravel road here in this area is really bad, it’s not a road, it’s stones. If people would have seen me, while going down the downhills, they would have thought I was crazy. To be honest, if I break hard, I will fall.

There is quite a few climbs, and some of them are steeper than what I hoped for. With this horrible quality of the gravel, it’s not easy to get up a steep 18-20% climb. One of the motorcycles coming down, gave me the thumbs up.

20140615_17510360Km left….NOTHING! At least today it feels like nothing. My legs feel strong, I’ve been extremely good with food and drinks today. I haven’t had one single moment where I’ve felt tired.

I’m keeping a good speed. It’s quite high traffic on the road I’ve desided to ride on, for the last 60Km, but there is a road shoulder which is about 1 meter wide, which helps.

About 12Km from Imatra, I need to take an older road, since the main road is going over to a highway. There is a nice bicycle road to follow.

Ready for two day’s of restitution
Finally I’m here. 207Km today, I’m ready for some relaxing and food. It’s amazing how fresh I feel. I find a room for the night and prepare myself for 2 days of rest.

It’s only around 90Km left to the boarder. As mentioned before, I can’t cross until the 22th, which means that I will get some days off, which I think will be good for my body, and will then I will be prepared to continue.

GPS Data from today’s stage: