Photo: Jouni Jormanainen
Two years later, I have moved back to Finland and find myself travelling to Lapland whenever possible, since that’s where I can ride my snowmobile. While my friends depart on weekend breaks to metropolitan cities, I’m off to the woods. Because I want, or actually NEED to ride. Slowly all free time begins to focus on snowy activities and even though I live far away from Lapland, I find myself longing for more. When summer arrives, I already miss snow and riding. I’m always the last of the pack on trail, since most of my riding pals are professional athletes of various forms of motorsport, and all male. But somehow, through a peculiar mix of will and persistence, I manage to hang in there and hold the pace.
One day, during a break amidst heavy riding, I get asked why I haven’t considered competing in this sport. Laughter bursts out of me, since I find the idea completely absurd. I live in the city center of Helsinki, with no access to a proper training environment, no garage and absolutely no mechanic skills. I’m nearly forty and drowning in work, family life and physically a lightyear away of an athlete. I have no background in motorsports and my schedules are a mess. I finish my coffee, pop on my helmet and head back to the trail, but a small seed of thought has been planted and I come to realize, that I can’t get rid of it.
Snowmobiling friends start to appear in to my life, more than ever before. I love hanging out with people who share the same passion, and even though I’m exhausted after every trip, the mental energy gained during those adventures keeps me going for weeks. I need more of this, says the voice inside of my head. When the year is rounding toward it’s end, I have set my mind. I’m not sure how to justify it, even for myself, but I have made a decision to start competing. Finnish championships in snowmobile sprint, to begin with. People around me react by laughing, reminding me of realities and the fact, that competing on a national level is no joke. But something has already happened and my body starts to adjust.