Ruska - Ride across Finland 2018

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  • Interested in an event going across Finland, unsupported? Ruska the ride across Finland will happen for the second year in 2018.

    Here's the info page and newsletter subscribtion. That page will also be updated when there's more to tell. Here's the similar page about 2017 with more info, and here's some pictures of that.

    I'm not the organiser of this event, just spreading the word. I do know the organiser and I will most likely be there riding, again.

    I rode the inaugural version of the event this last September. It was pretty small but well organised, very small entry fee. I think there was 18 starters, 13 finishers. A few checkpoints, otherwise free route. The rules are basically the same as in the Transcontinental Race, but this is not actually a race. There's a time limit and everyone finishing before that are listed as finishers, though the finishers also get a consecutive number, in the order they finish, that shows how many finishers there has been before him/her, including previous years.

    The checkpoint locations will vary every year, while the distance is about 2000km or a bit less and the time is a about eight days. Lots of nice small quiet roads through forests, fields and fells, there's thousands of lakes too. Riding across Lapland in the north is rather extraordinary for a road ride, as it's pretty remote and wild, you'll see more reindeers than people. Some will ride it as quickly as they can, I rode the first edition in under hundred hours, while some take it as a tour. Nevertheless, that distance in eight days with possibly challenging weather is not easy. A great adventure and would be good training for future ultra events too, as this teaches you to plan your day and daily distances, with not too many possibilities to eat or sleep indoors at. But there is enough.

    The name of the event, Ruska, means autumn foliage.

    #ruska2017 and #ruska2018 on Twitter and instagram.

    That little thing there on the left is indeed a reindeer.

  • Mikko the organiser asked for my gps-track from last year's Ruska, so I put that in Srava. So if you're interested.

    That's missing the first about 10km/20 minutes, because my garmin couldn't find satellites.

    And the info page has more info now.

  • Looks like the fastest rider, Esa on his tt-bike, has just finished, though the tracker shows a 4 hours old location for him. The tracker is based on an app in their phones, doesn't always work perfectly, but it's free.

    Last night was below freezing around where most of the riders were. Should be about 10C at noon.­uska2018/

    A few have scratched yesterday, like Walto the fixed gear rider, as he got sick, TCR veteran Janne as he got problems with his achilles and new winter shoes, and a couple of other strong riders with knee pain and such.

    Around where they are now, it's a rather special part of Europe. Really beautiful. Somewhat challenging, at what ever pace, as there's not much services and the weather can be anything at this time of a year.

  • like Walto the fixed gear rider, as he got sick

    Shame, his insta was fun to follow. The landscapes look beautiful in a barren way. A few finishers now it appears.

  • Did Ruska happen this year @Samuli? For some reason I thought of it today. Hope you are well.

  • Yeah it did with a similar amount of participants as before. I wrote dailyish dotwatcher writeups again, though in Finnish. The situation with covid was pretty calm for the summer and through september, though crossing the border to Norway, where the finish was, in Vardø, could have been a problem but wasn't.
    There's already some info on the checkpoints for next year too.

  • I would love to do this one day sounds amazing

  • Me too, though I'd probably be past the cutoff point. It looks like about the chillest Ultra you could do [literally] and Samuli has always made it sound an interesting one.

  • It is quite an experience for sure, the north is really special and the event is great for trying out what you're capable of.

    I loved how modest modest the finish was for the first year when I rode this. It was at a medieval chapel in northern Norway, right next to the Russian border and the sea. There was no one and it was 60 km from the closest town. Got there at night and slept there in my bivy, at the gate of the old cemetery. Quite a party for being the first finisher. Kind of like the Tour Divide finish. This year the finish was in a town, but the vibe of it being about the ride and about your own experience is the same. And after that the finishers will gather somewhere close by.

    Here are daily overviews of last years event, in english, if you want to see read more:­/­/­ee/­r/­e/­/­en/­ht/

  • There's a newsletter you can sign up to here:­ross-finland-2020/

    This is what's been said so far:

    Ruska 2021 will be ridden 10.-18.9.2021. Theme of the 2021 route is geology.
    Start: Olkiluoto
    CP1: Björköby CP2: Rokua CP3: Ревда Finish: Saariselkä Map and
    preliminary parkours can be found at­dXlS3YUTMY9ylojxETHBDgcam4djyyf_&usp=sha­ring

  • Are you riding this year @Samuli?

  • No, not this year.

  • Sounded like this year had some tough conditions to deal with, just going off Goolge translate of home page.

  • For sure, though nothing too extreme, I don't think anyone found snow. Several days of cold rain can be more difficult though. Usually the amount of rain in millimeters isn't that high this time of the year but it is raining often and everything stays wet in these temperatures. The route seemed tough too, some of the checkpoints required a good hike. As always there's not much serbices in the northern half of the route and this time some chose even less beaten paths, on muddy gravel with a rivercrossing, with hundreds of kilometers without any shops or restaurants or hotels. Even some who've done the ride several times scratched. There would've been an opportunity to ridethrough the Pöyrisjärvi wilderness area too to shorten the route maybe a bit but it would have taken more time, following the tracks of the reindeer herders over the fells, swamps and soft sand, but no-one was quite that crazy this time. It would've been inviting to go there just for that and you could come up with lots of options like this for your own route in Ruska. Though it is challenging as it is and there's also the rule that it gets harder the more times you've done it, like at some point you will be asked to do it with paper maps and then without even those.

  • the rule that it gets harder the more times you've done it

    Didn't know this! A real rule?

  • Doesn't seem to be in the manual yet as there's no need yet but this was in an earlier email

    Here are details I promised about Ruska rule updates for future
    editions of the event. Exact way the new rules are to be dealt with
    remains to be seen. Hence there is no need to think too much about how
    they will be implemented. This is just an outline of what to expect.

    Anyways. First the bad news. You can only finish Ruska 10 times.
    Whether there will be alternative ways for you to spend your September
    remains to be seen in the 2030's when first riders may hit the limit.

    Then the good news. It won't be that easy. There will be a few new
    rules that apply when you have finished 6-9 times.

    For 7th and 8th any digital means to determine your location are
    forbidden. Simply put, you are not allowed to use GPS or other
    location systems. You can still use maps and cue sheets or whatever
    you have prepared for yourself.

    For 9th also maps and cue sheets are forbidden.

    For 10th the map of the region will be completely burned into your
    retinas. In addition to not having maps or cue sheets you will be
    given an extra point, on a fair and relatively straight route, you
    have to cross on the way to next control.

    Here are some answers to FAQ I assume you may want to have answered.

    Q: Why? In order to not make it much harder cycling-wise, but still
    keeping it interesting and challenging for everyone. Also it will be
    interesting for everyone to follow the different approaches people
    will choose to face the extra challenges.

    Q: But thats really hard! It should be. As always you can scratch at
    any time and ride to finish using any help you wish. Some years will
    definitely have a route that nearly none can finish 10th time except
    with pure luck.

    Q: What if I see a map? Well. There are few ways to avoid, for
    example, seeing roadside city maps. Using permanent maps on roadside
    is just fine, but you may not for example (9th/10th) browse a map book
    at a gas station or ask a local show you the map.

    Q: What about tracking and controls? Tracking works without revealing
    the location to you so that isn't an issue. Participants will likely
    get a "official" paper and digital map that they can use to navigate
    the mandatory parkours. Between controls you are on your own. There is
    still 3-5 years to figure out how exactly this part will be

    Q: What about safety? You can still have your phone, or whatever you
    prefer to have with you, and use them in case of emergency.

    Q: Why the extra points for 10th? There might be participants who
    would prepare for later Ruska editions by riding the route
    beforehands. Locals will, as always, have an edge over others, but
    having a random route should keep it hard enough everyone.

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Ruska - Ride across Finland 2018

Posted by Avatar for Samuli @Samuli