Enduro racing with MTB Centre Finland

September 06 2011

You might be forgiven for associating Finland purely with expansive views of snow capped hills, a tranquill winter wonderland better known for cross country skiing than mountain biking. As Europe's most sparsely populated country, the outdoor lifestyle is certainly a large part of many people's lives and with mountain biking being popular since the early 90's, even the winter isn't enough to stop people like Jami Koukku getting out on the trails...



Mountain biking and the reinvention of enduro has kept Finland ahead of the curve with this ‘new’ style of racing. Tatu Suonpää from MTB Centre Finland is constantly teasing us with tales from the trails and quick to send over videos from the weekend's racing. MTB Centre's team rider Elise Kulmala takes the shots and Tapio Kymäläinen writes the words...

Tatu MTB Centre Finland Orange Bikes

Tatu from MTB Centre Finland, fast on a bike and colourful in kit...

You stand on your bike next to the huge ski jumping tower on top of Ski
resort Vuokatti in the middle of Finland. Views are immaculate with
 numerous lakes and forests that seem endless. The guy wearing a bright 
yellow waist coat next to you says GO! You click the plastic piece on 
your finger to the start post and push your pedals as hard as you can.
 Just a short sprint of ten meters, and then a sharp turn to the left into the 
steeper descent. One more pedal stroke and the bike accelerates so fast 
that there's no need to pedal anymore. You have just started one of 
the smoothest special stages of the Finnish MTB Enduro series!

Orange Bikes MTB Centre Finland Enduro

Concentration is all in the eyes...

For Finns mtb enduro is not a new thing. The first National races under 
that name were in the beginning of the 90's. It was totally different 
from what we know as Enduro these days. The role model was motorbike 
enduro. Special stages were not focused on downhill, but were very 
very technical. The painful transfer to modernise Enduro started in 2009, and
 now for the season 2011 Finland has an awesome National Championship 
series consisting of five races.



Each race has four special stages 
with lengths varying between 2-5 minutes. Each SS is usually ridden 
twice during the race. Our terrain provides good grounds for making a
 wide variety of different special stages. Lots of Finland is not 
blessed with high mountains, but due to the skiing hype in the 80's
 even the tiniest hill has a t-bar lift, and smoother skiing slopes 
offer good alternatives to rocky and rooty forest ground. On some special stages
 you can reach speeds of over 60km/h, but incorporating some small uphills and 
tight corners.

Orange Bikes Patriot MTB Centre Finland

Flying the Patriot, choose your weapon...

Everyman's rights in the Finnish law system includes the right to ride your bike everywhere, private ownership of the forest land doesn't forbid everyone going here and riding their mountain bikes. This also means that bike parks have been purely focusing on tracks for downhill bikes. Due to the evolution of the Enduro scene this has changed and bike parks cater more for those who love good flowy single track. The first race this year had almost 130 participants which doesn't beat the numbers of the 90's but is a record for the past 10 years and makes Enduro Finland's fastest growing MTB sport today! If you are interested to see more, visit www.mtb-enduro.net

Tapio Kymäläinen

Assistant vice president of EBA (Extreme Bike Association)


Thanks to Tatu at MTB Centre Finland for representing Orange Bikes and team rider Elise Kulmala for the shots. Thanks to Jami Koukku for keeping us up to date with videos, and Tapio for the words above. Finland looks like a great scene and a superb riding destination, hopefully we'll get to make a trip there soon...


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