I started planning a season of enduro racing for the upcoming winter, but before long, another exciting opportunity presented itself. A Finnish team was preparing for the Cain’s Quest 2020, the toughest snowmobile endurance race in the world, and the all-woman team, which was to be the first in the history of the race, had a spot open. The race was held in Labrador, Canada, and required the racers to navigate their way through the Labrador wilderness in pairs, riding more than 3000 kilometers in less than a week’s time. I had to laugh at myself for even thinking about it – being so new to the sport, how could I put myself at the starting line with some of the toughest racers in the world?
I knew myself well enough to know I couldn’t say no to such an opportunity. I would dedicate a year of my life to prepare for the race that demanded extreme endurance, determination, navigation and mechanical skills, problem-solving abilities, and most of all, mental toughness to put up with the pain and sleep deprivation that crept into the body after a few days of hardcore racing. My partner Henna Riekkoniemi and I worked hard for our goal, and when the time came, we were ready – racing felt great! We, however, stumbled upon several mechanical issues and were forced to scratch after 2000 kilometers due to an engine failure. The true nature of this extreme race is shown in the statistics: only 13 teams of the 48 who started the race made it to the finish line. The disappointment was huge, but we knew we could stand proud. If anything, not meeting our goals left a question hanging in the air – maybe one more race?
In 2021 it was time for the first full season of racing in Finland. I raced through the complete series of the Finnish championships in snowmobile sprints and gained the top spot on the podium in the ladies’ class at the end of it. The rapid-paced sprints, where the track is only about 5 kilometers long, left me looking forward to the enduro races with longer distances to cover and enjoy, but the Covid-19 situation cut the season short.