Timo Kananoja3

Elise Kulmala the mother of MTB pussies

Coverphoto: Timo Kananoja

She is a wholehearted downhill rider, she has been for 6 years now. This is the first season so far that she has survived without bigger crashes. That is the main reason why she wants to help girls to start mountain biking safely with the right guidance and good equipment.

Rider: Salli Saimovaara, photo: Timo Kananoja

Elise and her friend Salla got an idea few years ago about arranging an event in the Sappee Bike Park for women riders only, the Pussy Camp. It was sold out even they didn’t do any marketing for it. 40 ladies showed up, eager to learn how to ride enduro and downhill. Last weekend the third Pussy Camp was arranged and it has got bigger every year. This year about 100 ladies participated to the event: complete first timers, beginners and experienced riders.

Photo: Pekka Raiski

Elise herself bought an enduro bike as her first mountain bike and headed to the trails. After few rides she found the downhill scene and “there was no going back”. She needed to learn lots of stuff by making mistakes. This is why she want to make it safer and easier to women to start mountain biking and what is more efficiency way to do unforgettable first impression than 100 girls riding together. Elise and Salla wants to lower the threshold that everybody could do such a “manly sport”. Elise emphasizes that it is important to invest into the safety gears, it has saved her life.

Photo: Timo Kananoja

When Elise started downhill biking with the lads it was her and only handful of other girls in Finland. Now a days there could be tens of ladies riding in the bike parks in a one day, “mountain biking among women has grown in Finland within last three years explosively, everybody can do it”. In the other hand Pussy Camp has reached it limits, but Elisa and Salla wants to support juniors in the near future and maybe Pussy Camp will have sister event a Kitty Camp. Let’s see. “It is important to teach youngsters from the very beginning to ride safely and have their minds focused on it. How to ride difficult places and know when, how to brake properly and how to minimalize risks.” For example pump tracks which have become very popular in Finland are fun and effortless places to get first touch into biking.

Many professional were teaching and lecturing on the camp, including Leo from Pole. Riku Laakso, Pole ambassador flying with Leo.

Here is Elise and Elise few weeks ago.

Elise is a professional photographer and she is use to manage photoshoots but the Pussy Camp is something new and bigger. Even thought it is always a huge work to arrange a camp Elise pointed out how rewarding it is to see motivated women, enjoying themselves with big smiles on their faces. “Everybody is here together, learning and nobody is left behind. The possibilities with these ladies are limitless!” The emotions comes across strongly from the photos, especially from the one where Heini Ilmarinen won a new bicycle. Till the next year!

Photo: Pekka Raiski