Published 16.02.2018 | Topic: Warriors
Let us introduce our everyday Warrior: Samuli. Samuli is a white-collar business executive, a father and a DJ. Last autumn he quit his job and decided to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional cross-country skier. Read Samuli's story - this guy is amazing and has a true WARRIOR spirit!
My name is Samuli Syrjänen. I am a white-collar business executive and a father transformed into a pro cross-country skier - and I am a warrior. In this blog post, I will tell about my background and about my journey of becoming what I am today - as well as my love for coffee.
My first recollection of skiing is with my late father at our family's holiday home in the countryside in my early age. Later in my early teens, we went on long ski tours into the forests and snowy fields. I have very fond memories of those picturesque perfect sunny days when skiing felt a very natural way of moving. There were always warm drinks and some fruit in our backpacks. Later I joined a local ski club and started competing in junior races but with very little success. Competing more or less died down completely when I finished school and moved out of Finland to London for work and university studies.
After completing my studies and returning to Finland, I slowly started skiing again. Things kind of kicked off and I started to compete in marathon ski races and really enjoyed doing that. At first, I had no major goals other than just taking part and making it into to the finish line. After some races, my hunger grew and I started training with a desire to perform better. That decision led to some pretty good results after some years of regular training. The last decade I have followed a training program, resulting in some 400-500 hours of training per year. There have been ups and downs. Let’s just say; combining endurance sports training with hectic work schedule and lately also fatherhood, as well as other areas of interests, is not always easy!
For several years I have dreamed of taking a year off from work and living a life of pro athlete. Realistically in the jobs I do, there was no way that I would be able to take a year off. So, last autumn, after taking the exit from my previous job, I decided to fulfill my dream of being a pro xc skier for one winter season! This thought came about after two super disappointing racing seasons where I wasn’t able to perform to my full capacity and never achieved peak shape mostly because of illnesses. I literally made this decision during a lone hike on the Hetta-Pallas trail in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in late September. After returning back to civilization, I put professional support team together consisting of a mentor, a coach, a massage therapist, a chiropractic and a ski & wax technician.
From that day I have been training with a goal to compete in Lapponia Ski race that takes place on the second week of April in West Lapland’s arctic fell scenery. Lapponia is a season ending marathon ski race consisting of three stages within one week: monday is 60km long Keimiön Kiekerö that starts from Olostunturi, wednesday is 50km long Himmelriikin Hiihto starting from Vuontispirtti, and friday is 80km long Karra Huikonen going from Hetta to Olostunturi via Pallastunturi.
The race gathers most of Finland’s top skiers and also international field of top level marathon skiers. To my knowledge this is physically the most challenging marathon ski race in the world due to its stage race nature and very demanding routes going from hilltop to hilltop through the arctic fells. Several olympic champions from Andrus Veerpalu to Iivo Niskanen have experienced that winning this race is not very easy.
I am a coffee lover. Coffee has been a big part of my life for all of my adult years. I normally drink a cup in the morning, a cup after lunch and a cup or two to boost my training sessions. I enjoy high-quality coffee and I grind my coffee from fresh beans nowadays.
Follow my journey through this site and through my Instagram account. I will be posting few more blog updates through the winter and spring leading into the Lapponia Ski race, and hopefully also live video material from the race!
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In the last blog post, we introduced you to our everyday Warrior: Samuli. Samuli is a white-collar business executive, a father and a DJ. Last autumn he quit his job and decided to fulfill his ...
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