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Storforsen

Notschrei, Schwarzwald, Germany

Back on (ski)track

We are in Europe! We are home. You can’t even imagine how happy I am and how good I feel. Especially as we arrived to a completely white coloured Balck forest. It has been snowing and snowing and at the moment there is 1,5 meters of snow. For us it is like coming to paradise. We can go cross country skiing 🙂
Our flight from Doha was scheduled for Friday morning 2am. We left on time and 7 am we landed in Frankfurt. We picked up the rental car and already 10 am we were in Freiburg. After being away for 3 months I just felt so happy as I walked trough our front door.
Before getting our ski gear together we decided to go to the supermarket and one of the several bakeries and load our fridge full for the weekend. How easy just to walk across the street and go shopping. No car needed, not having to fight your way trough masses of people. Just lovely, can’t say anything more.
After a late breakfast we took our classical and skating skis + poles and drove up to our home skitrack, Notschrei. We still knew how to ski and decided to start slowly with a 10km long loop. After finishing the loop we entered the club house to wax our classical skis. We had come up with a pretty crazy idea a few days ealier. We were going to take part in a cross country skiing race the following day, Rucksacklauf.
Rucksacklauf is the hardest xco skiing race I know about. Only people who have been skiing in Black forest knows what it is to ski in this area. There is no flat parts, just climbing or downhill all the time. This makes skiing here a real physical effort and we were going to participate with no training. Insane, but the weatherforecast was looking good, with between -5–10 degrees and perfect snow conditions. Such a day you just can’t miss. Who know how many years it will take before the conditions will be so good again?

It was important to have good skis. I knew our shape would not be so good, so the skis would play a key role in making our journey a bit easier. This time We even succeeded in preparing the skis. Maybe the conditions were easy to wax, might have been so, but our wax coctail was just the right one and we had superb skis from the start til the finish.
The start for Rucksacklauf is at 7am in Schonach. A tiny little village in Black forest. It is still, dark as the start gun goes off. Every year there are about 300 participants. You can choose between 60km (finish in Hinterzarten) or 100km (finish in Belchen-Multen). Our goal was to reach Hinterzarten. We started with a slow but steady pace. A pace we wanted to keep up for the next 6-7 hours. I had played with a 7 hour finishing time in my mind, but noticed quite soon that our speed was better than expected. Still I knew that there would be a weak moment coming for both of us and naturally not at the same time. So with that in mind we continued to ski and eat + drink something regularly. My moment of weakness came after 3 hours. I forced myself to eat a dry energybar. I was chewing it like a chewing gum and tried to swollow it. After 20 minutes I noticed I was feeling more energetic again.
We arrived in Hinterzarten with big smiles on our face. It was such a great way to start our winter holiday. The track was perfect and the winter landscape was breathtaking. It was definitely worth the effort and the sore legs the next days 😉

The day after Rucksacklauf we woke up to a clear blue sky and -10 degrees. We decided to ignore our sore bodies and drove up to Notschrei and skated 20km. I wanted to ski up to Stübenwasen and see the Alps. On clear days you can see the Alps from Black forest and today we did 🙂

Black forest is one of the most beautiful places on earth, both winter and summer!

Road bike service

Having the beach access closed is a bummer, a mayor bummer. The other day I picked my board from the storage room and happily walked towards our beach access gate. What? Maintenance for a couple days. Well, ok, I will survive not paddling for some days. Now it has been a week, yes one entire week of no paddling! 

So after having done my morning swim + having breakfast with IAM Team Sports director Kjell Carlström, I had made up my mind. Today I would just walk trough the gate with my board. Ignore everyone, just have one goal in front of my eyes. The water. I did not have to get into any war mood and fight my way trough the workers down at the beach. As I showed up I was gently told I should give the board to them, even the paddle. They carried everything down to the water. I guess they would have even carried me if I would have asked. 

Today has been a good day. Not only the morning swim and breakfast with my countryman was great, I even got my road bike to a service. Thank you Cannondale team mechanic for checking my bike, adjusting gears, cranks etc. Now it is all set for another year in the dust 🙂

 

Aquathlon

I have not been training much lately. Just kayaking and paddle boarding does not really improve your fitness. I was quite keen of  doing sports and training before christmas, but a flu just pulled myself back and I never restarted to train again.

We moved to the Pearl beginning of January and having the beach just a few meters away the sea was calling me, not the roads. Good excuse, or not?

Then I registered myself for an aquathlong beginning of this week. So I had four days to train. Yes, I admit, I am sometimes a bit insane. Not really healthy thinking, but the competitor inside me woke up. I would be in a fair enough shape 4 days later. That is what I thought and decided.

This week I also followed the ladies Tour of Qatar. It was so fun to see so many friends and former colleagues of mine. Many of them were surprised as I suddenly showed up in the hotel they were staying. So between ladies Tour of Qatar I managed to get in 3 times of swimming and 2 runs. I was ready for the 500m + 5km aquathlon held in Aspire zone. Wow, was it hard. I thought I would die. You go full blast for 30 minutes. 4 days of training was not enough, even for a former athlete 😉

So, I have now decided to get in some regular training again. Not just paddle boarding 😉IMG_0966

Athlete of the year in Central Ostrobothnia

On Friday evening I was elected athelete of the year in Central Ostrobothnia, Keskipohjanmaan Liikunta. The yearly event in Kokkola takes place end of January each year. Unfortunately I could not attend this gala night, but I recieved many pictures and was told it was a memorable evening.
I would like to thank all the people who have been involved and supported me on the path I chose 22 years ago. Without your support I would have never reached the level I did.
Now it is time for the younger ones to take over 🙂 I hope there will be many athletes coming from Ostrobothnia in the future. Everything is possible, you just have to believe in it.

About 10 days ago I was also elected cyclist of the year in Finland. Thanks to all theese nominations!

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Greetings from Doha

Water sports

Doing water sports is the way to excersise here in Qatar. Kayaking is fun, so is stand up paddle boarding. I took part in a fun race last Friday. I had to do 12km of paddling, which took me about 1h45 minutes. Good training indeed.
After we moved here to the Pearl and having the sea and the beach only a few meters away we are only into water sports. The weather is fantastic at the moment. Not too hot 🙂
Today I did paddle to Westbay Lagoon and all around the Pearl. Haven’t decided yet where I will paddle tomorrow, I will decide tomorrow as I start to paddle.

New Year’s eve

Happy New Year 2013!

Year 2012 is history, it is the past. The past year was full of emotions, satisfactions, success and memories. The memories remains with you your entire life. 2012 will be a year where  so many moments and memories will remain with me as the journey of life continues.

When we turn back the time exactly one year I was training hard to reach my goal for 2012, the Olympic Games in London. A cold winter in Europe forced me to get on the plane and train for two weeks on one of the Canary islands, Fuerteventura. My parents joined me for the time and supported me by having lunch and dinner ready every time I came back from my training sessions. It was exactly how it used to be when I was a junior. Having the support of your parents is the most fantastic support you can have. They supported me when I was a junior and even 23 years later they supported me to reach my last big goal, London 2012.

From Fuerteventura my journey continued to El Salvador. I took part in 2 one-day races and a stage race. I was riding in a mixed team and visiting this part of the world once again gave me memories for life. Later in the season a time trial in Belfast Ireland made my dream come true. Due to the success in the races I had qualified for the Olympics. After 12 years I was part of the Finnish Olympic team again. But before that there was more to come.

In mtn biking the season was also pretty good, even if there were some disappointments I had to deal with. Trans Germany was not as it was planned to be. I felt sick and was struggling from the first day on. On the second day I listened to my body and stopped the race. It was not easy for me to accept that I was not competitive, but London was in my mind and I did not want to risk anything. I packed my stuff and took the first train from Garmisch Partenkirchen back to Freiburg. A couple of days resting and I was back on track. One week later I won the European Championships for the third time in XCM. Winning a race in a sprint finish feels even better than winning a race with several minutes. The journey towards London could continue.

Trans Alp road was the next on my program. I teamed up with my team mate Carsten Bresser. My friend Tobias Stumpf joined us for the week to support us. We had one of the best weeks I have ever had on my road bike. The weather was fantastic, the panorama breathtaking and the atmosphere before, during and after the stages was exactly the way you want it to be. Riding over the mountains made me feel stronger and stronger for every day. Everything went as planed.

A high altitude training was on the program after Trans Alp. I spent three weeks on Plose, close to Brixen. I love this place. Plose is the place to be for high altitude training. Stefan, Dana and Milos takes care of you as your own mother. You feel like being part of the family. The training is also good. My big brother joined me for 2 weeks and we got a scooter from our good friend Giancarlo. The last month before the big day in London was the hardest one. I trained very hard and being mentally present in every training was sometimes challenging. Especially as I knew this is the last hard day before my rest day. Having my brother, my coach and my husband as support made it easier for me to go out there and push myself towards my limit.

One day I will never forget is the day I got the news, that Finland has received a ITT spot for London. I had just finished my training down in the valley of Brixen. This was only about 3 weeks before the games would start. I was crying, so happy I was. I could participate in my last Olympics in both RR and TT. 

London came and I did my best performance ever. I felt very strong and I had managed to peak my form. 20th place in the RR and 11th place in the TT was more than I had expected. Also to be part of the Olympic family once again was amazing. This is the biggest, greatest and most beautiful event you can be part of as an athlete. 

The highlight of the Olympics and the year 2012 was as I got married to my Olaf. We met in Sydney during the Olympics, we got married on London during the Olympics.

 

A short summer holiday was  what I needed after an intense two months, but I had set up new goals already. I wanted to be in the shape of my life for the XCM World Championships in October. A nasty flue stopped me and I had to accept that I was not competitive for a World Championship race. I stayed home.

Rossi Uphill, a farewell race, was organized in October. Most of my friends, my training partners, came to Freiburg to “race” with me for the last time. It was a great way to say “goodbye” to over 20 years of racing.

Our journey continues now in Doha, Qatar. Today is my first day as I am not officially a professional athlete anymore. Life will bring us a lot more challenges, but we are ready for them and are ready to face all the challenges with open arms. 

Thank you to everyone making 2012 a memorable year! 


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