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Story time: Experiencing life

 Winter is upon us here in Finland. Unlike last year, it seems that this time the winter is actually fairly cold and snowy. It was -8 Celsius (17.6 F) outside when I decided to ride 60 kilometers on backcountry gravel roads to see if I can find an adventure. I certainly did.

Winter bicycle

First my route took me to an old railway stop between too lakes. There the wind was very, very cold and it felt like -25 Celsius. I took some pictures and ate a banana and started heading deeper into the backcountry roads hoping it would be less windy in the forest roads.

My plan was to go for a coffee etc. in the nearby café to warm up but of course I had forgotten my wallet. I had fairly good winter cycling clothing, two bananas and some water so I decided to just continue my ride anyway.

Frozen wonderland

After riding few kilometers on a fairly busy road I started to felt the cold in my toes. The road was really slippery and I had cyclocross tires on. They are good on snow, but without studs riding on ice is very slow and annoying.

Fortunately I was able to turn to a smaller road as my Garmin notified about upcoming turn. It always feels warmer in the forest as the trees block most of the wind.

Forest road took me through an absolutely amazing winter scenery. For at least 20 kilometers it was all the same, but it was magical, beautiful and peaceful. The road itself was hard packed snow and easy to ride. I almost forgot that my toes were freezing.

Winter forest

I could see many animal tracks, rabbits and deer. In winter, forests are so silent. It's like they are sleeping. Keeping all the stories hidden. Wanted to be left alone.

Something in the horizon

After riding around 45 kilometers I noticed a bright red building in the horizon. Because of all the white snow it almost looked like an effect and not real. It was a small church.

Red church

I stopped for awhile and ate two frozen bananas. Pretty good snack. I had still around 20 kilometers to home and because of my almost frozen toes I did not feel like looking around for too long.

Worth it?

Absolutely. Winter cycling is challenging, yet very rewarding. This ride was only 60 kilometers, but I got to experience different feelings from joy to frustration, see and experience a silent forest, found a beautiful wooden church. In many ways I felt more alive than ever before during my rides.

Experiencing life is not about the place, distance or the weather. It's the will to sacrifice for the unknown.

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