Triathlon is admittedly a relatively little know sport in Finland but I am proud of my role as one of the few professional triathletes representing our country at the top level of the sport. I am even more proud to call Salo my home training grounds and can honestly say I would not be a professional if I didn’t live in Salo. Salo Training Grounds
The sport of long distance triathlon is not for kids… I began racing when I was about 25 and realistically only started at the professional level when I was 29. For me, family is a big part of my life and my wife and I have three wonderful children. Mixing sport and family life is not an easy one but when done properly, we all benefit from the lifestyle. Living in Salo has made it possible to do this delicate blend of being a father, husband and professional athlete.
Salo has offered me a near perfect place to train where I can be close to home but have top-notch facilities nearby. Swimming pools, roads, trails and running tracks are all within minutes of my home. There is a great video here showing the Salo sport center:
Salo Swim Hall
A quick 10 minute bike ride and I am at the Salo swimming hall where I am always greeted by a smile and kind word from the staff there who knows me well by now. I swim during the morning or early afternoon hours and it is rare if I don’t have my own lane, which makes it so much easier for me to complete my workouts as planned. It is also quite common for me to combine a swim training with some fun with my kids in the pool. I imagine the lifeguards probably think our family is crazy being at the pool for 2 hours a few times a week, but I am there anyways for training and kids never want to leave the pool they love it so much.
Riding the road less-traveled
Quiet, well-maintained roads start right from my door and I can ride endless different loops around the Salo area or go further in all directions. Drivers are very kind in the area and rarely do I feel at risk on the roads. In my experience living in many other parts of the world, I can tell you this is a rare thing to feel safe when you are riding on open roads with traffic. While the winter months I generally do all my training indoors, when the weather gets nice in April or May, the roads around Salo give me an endless playground. The only thing missing are some mountains, but I guess I can’t win everything. Just a few kms from my home is the Teijo National Park that a beautiful set of roads traverse. http://www.nationalparks.fi/teijo
Running around Salo gives great options as I can literally come out my driveway and choose between asphalt bike paths that are lighted through town, never-ending dirt roads through the country side, or small trails weaving their way through the woods. I can even go indoors in the winter to the running track to do technique training or some short sprints. And of course there is the outdoor running track if I need to do some intervals or speed training.
Company for training
While I joke that Salo is a town for ball sports like volleyball, basketball and football, there is also a growing selection of endurance sports groups like orienteering, athletics, cycling and even a triathlon club. While I generally do most of my training by myself due to the tight schedules I have and the very specific type of training I need to do, there are great options to join the VeloSalo cycling and triathlon group for bike rides, swims and other organized activities. It is never hard to find company if I need it. In addition to VeloSalo, there are a great set of clubs for orienteering, swimming, and athletics.
VeloSalo Triathlon and Cycling club
Angelniemi Ankkuri Orienteering
Salon Uimarit - Swimming club
Salon Vilpas - Athletics club