A short trip to Finland….with sunrise at 3:30AM

With a week of vacation over (and a weekend in the Pyrenees over), I got back to the real world and my day job with a trip up to Helsinki Tuesday night for two days of meetings.  What’s perhaps most interesting about visiting southern Finland this time of year (compared to my last trip to the city in January when everything was frozen over – including the sea), is simply the amount of daylight one gets now.

I took the below image from my hotel window around 3:55AM this morning.  Sunrise was a fair bit earlier.  Well, sorta.


See, various sites list official sunrise and sunset times – but none of those times actually correlate to it getting dark.  And even when it’s ‘dark’, it’s still sorta light out, kinda a bit of a twilight light – all the way from roughly midnight till roughly 3AM or so.  Then, it gets successively brighter again and stays that way for another 21ish hours.  I love how late I can get things done.

Speaking of getting things done – my meetings wrapped up around 2PM and I had a bit of time till my flight later in the evening.  With the Suunto headquarters so close to the airport, I swung by for a quick chat with them.  Somehow that turned into getting suckered into an 8-mile trail run.

So, a group of 5 of us headed out into the woods:


Along the way I saw a Yak.  It looks like a cow from this angle unfortunately.  But it was very shaggy.


We headed along open fields like the above for a bit, before turning straight into the dense woods for a number of miles.


As we neared about 2 miles remaining we exited the woods and hit up this straight away.  It’s at slightly before this point that some fool in the group had to mention that this particular stretch is actually a Strava segment – all the way till as far as you can see the trees way in the distance (like, WAY in the distance).


A few moments later, we had slowly ramped up to a rather ‘casual’ pace of 5:45/mile (3:34/KM).


I should point out that 2 of the 5 folks are basically professional trail runners, these two being from the US and Canada and were just in town.  Apparently the opportunity to snag a Strava segment was too great…

Funny, yes, he’s checking his watch below for pace.


In case you’re wondering, we’re down to 5:30/mile now (3:25/KM).  I stopped trying to take photos of the pace at this point.  I’d see it go down to 5:20, and I’m pretty sure I saw a 5:10 (3:13) in there.  One of the other guys up front said he was holding around 4:45/mile (2:57/km).  Which, is probably why he was up front…


The problem was, this turned out to be a very long Strava segment, and the head wind was definitely not helping.  No worries, I did my part (well, at least until they upload their workouts).

Except, one little problem…there apparently is no segment there:



Bugger! I ran my ass off for nothing!

So I made it.


Problem solved.


I was ‘legit’ though in my segment creation in that I started it at the official start of the straightaway till the road crossing, even though we slowly built into it over the course of a few hundred yards or so – so I suspect my standings will fall quickly.  Basically as soon as the other two guys upload their runs to Strava.

After catching our breaths following our roughly mile long segment, we followed a nice casual path back another mile to the Suunto headquarters.


Oh, here’s said headquarters:


You’ll remember my brief visit to them back in January.

After we were done running I caught up with a number of other Suunto folks before zipping over to a local lake.


It’s here that I wanted to test one final thing on the Polar V800 in multisport mode using the firmware from two days prior, and needed some openwater swimming to do just that.


So I swam a quick circuit around the four massive swim buoys that are setup in the lake (two of which are seen above at the far end, the other two behind me to the right out of frame).  Really nice having those there.


And, got the data I was looking for as well on the swimming piece (below, not above)..


Then, it was time for a run around the lake.


It’s got a pleasant trail looping around the water’s edge, appeared to be just under a mile.  Though, there also appeared to be a second trail a bit further away from the water that would have been a bit longer.  Plus, what seemed like a gazillion other trails going elsewhere that I’m sure I could have run longer on.


At the far end I even saw my swim buoys:


Soon I was back at my starting point and after topping off the mile I wrapped this up.  It’s here that a number of triathletes were doing brick sessions (there were also a few out swimming when I was too):


From the looks of it there’s a triathlon on Saturday here.  Too bad I had to head back home!

After taking another dunk in the lake to rinse off (it’ll have to do today) I made damn good time over to the airport 11 minutes away to ditch my rental car and get to the ticket counters 46 minutes prior to departure.  Plenty of time (in the world of DCR)!


With that, I’m back home in Paris for the weekend.  Which, brings me to one final point.  I know I had planned to have my V800 review out this week, unfortunately things didn’t quite pan out and I’ve slid that to Monday (12:01AM Eastern, for those curious).  I’m doing this because I want to validate that the most recent firmware from two days ago has fixed a few issues I saw, and, because my hotel on Tues did not have Internet (seriously), which put me way behind on the Garmin Edge 1000 post, thus pushing this one.  Sorry!

On the bright side, there’s a lot of other stuff set (already written) for next week as well that should make for an interesting week.  Definitely a good week slated in the world of sports technology.

Thanks for reading!  And have a great weekend all!

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  1. Scott Paul Roberts

    Would have loved to hear the conversation where they “talked you in for a little run.” Do you remember how it went? Totally cool to run with those guys. Great job, keeping up with them!


    Interesting read! I look forward to the V800 write up.

  3. Lior

    Guess that’s what happens when you bring a Garmin watch to a run with Suunto guys.

  4. Juan

    Is Suunto planning release a new ambit or a new multisport watch this year?.

    I have just bought a sapphire ine :-(

  5. Strava is evil… I also find myself gunning for segment records…

  6. Christian Skadberg

    Also looking forward to the V800 review. Have a 5 year old 310XT ready for decommissioning. And wondering if the V800 is worthy.

  7. simon

    you’re currently 2nd on that segment…:)

  8. Bryce

    My favorite part of this post is the picture where you can see your shadow taking a picture of your current pace.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    The event you missed: Vantaa Triathlon, Sat 6/7/14. Olympic; Sprint; “Express”.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Yup, KOM gone: The Straightaway Sprint.

    • Yup, by Phil and Markus, the guys I was running with. Phil was one of the faster ones, and Markus was about 2 seconds ahead of me. All good, it’s fun times!

      (I’m generally not a Strava segment person – in fact, I think this is the first time ever I’ve gone out for a Strava segment.)

    • Anonymous Coward

      Ha, apparently that was no casual run, judging by the new top results. :)

    • Scott

      Funny that Strava pulled up some 2012 results for that segment. I guess it takes a while to work through the millions of old tracks to find matches.

    • Adam R

      Interesting that Phil’s device shows up in Strava as ‘Suunto Ambit2’. Mine only shows as ‘Suunto’. I wonder why the difference?

  11. NotNastyMan

    Among the triathletes training on/in the lake was this woman (possibly NSFW!): link to instagram.com

    She’s a “glamour model”, a reality-tv starlet and a wanna-be. And she’s competing in triathlon for charity on saturday, got any pics? 😀

    • No, the only womanly pic I have was one my camera took when I bumped it coming out of the water. But, the woman I got the random picture of looks more like Rosie O’Donnell.

      Sorry to disappoint.

  12. Timo Kontio

    How long was that swim in Kuusijärvi? in meters.

    • One of the Suunto guys said he thought it was 750m for the loop I did. My swimcap GPS method gave me exactly .50 miles (804m).

      Which, is close enough in my book. The exact track I did compared to what was measured by a boat/etc probably differs slightly.

    • Timo Kontio

      Thanks! Just curious since ! do a chunk of my open water swimming there, and also thought it was 750m. And yeah, close enough!

  13. Rob

    Out of curiosity, what watch do you currently use for triathlons? I think I remember you saying you prefer to have a dedicated device for each sport (ie – Garmin Swim for swim training, Edge XXX for biking, and Garmin 620 for running), but I was curious if you take that approach for race day too?

    • BartW

      i have the same question. Switching would increase T1 and T2 times so i don’t think that’s an option. But how to move your hart rate view from watch to eq Edge and back (when bike is over)? ANT could do this i think, but the upcoming V800 together with the V650?

    • I tend to be a single-device per sport person. Likely simply because I have them all. On the swim I’d wear the FR910XT though, and depending on how I felt I may take it with me on the bike. Since Garmin splices all the sports up anyway afterwards as long as I get the chunks I’m happy.

      It doesn’t increase my times since the Edge sits on my bike (ready to go), and the watch I just leave in my shoes. So I just grab it and put it on while I’m running (somewhere in the first kilometer/mile).

      And since it’s ANT+, they’ll both work together at the same time with the HR strap. For BLE, it will work with the V800/V650, because they’ve done some work on rebroadcasting.

  14. Johannes

    Wow! Really cool to see pictures of so familiar places in your blog. By the way I’m racing in that lake tomorrow. Vantaa triathlon is the first big triathlon event of the season in Finland. The sport has become very popular here. Most of the bigger events are sold out. The most popular one: Finntriathlon, in Joroinen sold out in days back in September last year when they opened the registration.

  15. Jason

    Funny that you were at Suunto, running with Suunto people, yet you were wearing a Garmin running watch, and then later a Polar watch while you were there.

    “Hey guys, I know that your products are some of the best on the market, but Ima just test out these other products while I’m here.”

    • Yup. I’ve only got so many hours in the day. So, gotta use those hours to get the tests in on the products for upcoming reviews.

    • Maybe he did have a Suunto product on him too, just not allowed to show it yet…

  16. Swam in that lake myself a few years back after some training for Yukola the big all night Orienteering relay that have in Finland 15,000 people running round the woods.

  17. Tom

    What an awesome mini-training day you were able to “squeeze” in. Looks like a great place to train. Thanks.

  18. cmv

    Hi Ray, I remember some time ago you wanted to bring some devices deep diving somewhere in Belgium… it seems that now you have a second option in Italy, not far from Venice. It’s called Y-40 (cause it’s 40m deep)

    • Very nice. Thanks for the heads up there! Didn’t know about that one. Yup, still trying to find time to get to the Belgium one.

  19. edu

    Tell us things about Ambit 3…colour screen, bluetooth,…come on Ray!!!

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      You say it! At the moment movescount will shut up some hours the next days (advance notice) … reasons? Well, maybe Ambit3 … and the stopping of all updates/upgrades of Ambit2 (like one year ago happened with the Ambit1?!?).
      I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      Hello Ray … just read that Suunto will release their new Ambit3 at OutDoor in Friedrichshafen (10th of July 2014) …
      No answering regarding A3 may be an answer ? 😉
      My posting is just for those people who are planning to buy an Ambit2 … if Suunto will do the same behaviour like regarding A1 they should think about waiting for A3 at least…

  20. Gary

    No side trip to check out Omegawave being that you were so close?

    • I visited them last time I was there: link to dcrainmaker.com

      ..and subsequently haven’t heard from them since.

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      Well, Ray … nothing of answering regarding Ambit3 can also be an answer 😉 There are news that obviously Suunto will announce their new Ambit3 in the midth of next month (WatchUSeek =>OutDoor in Friedrichshafen/Germany) 😉
      PS not so interesting for me (a former Ambit1er – still angry about Suunto behaviour regarding us) but for people who are thinking about buying the Ambit2 😉

  21. JoggwithoutAmbit

    Ambit3 peak etc … well, Ray, we are waiting… Guess, you will inform us in the middle of next month 😉

    • JoggwithoutAmbit

      Well – we were right with out promising I guess 😉

  22. Mat

    It seems that you can buy it already and it will ship out on September 1st. :)
    Suunto Ambit3 Peak Black HR (mukana sykevyö) | Varuste.net

    Thinking about dishing the Fenix 2 for this one.