Congratulations Tanja and the PEUCC team!
Tanja with Embassy of Finland Attaché Katri Doup
Tanja Tyvimaa completed the Peloton Events Ultimate Challenge (PEUCC) on Sunday as she rode into Sydney. We had the pleasure of meeting with Tanja when she visited Canberra on Friday and took to the opportunity to interview her about experiences on the road and the thrill of being on two wheels. The ride is a fundraiser for Movember, Orange Sky Australia and Bicycle NSW Environmental Trust, if you able to, please click here to donate to these worthy causes.
1. Hats off for embarking on this enormous challenge. So tell me more, when did you make the decision to take on the Peloton Events Ultimate Challenge?
Thank you. In November 2017 I saw one of my friends participating in the PEUCC ride and it seemed like something I would enjoy doing myself. I had just finished the Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain ride and wanted to challenge myself more. I like long rides up mountains and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. It took me a while to commit to taking part in this year's challenge, but I think I already made the decision in my heart in November 2017.
Tanja riding in the PEUCC
2. You purchased your very first road bike just two years ago and accomplished many feats since, how can others follow your path?
A big part of my path has been my friends who share my passion for cycling. I always have liked cycling but only after moving to Brisbane I found several like-minded friends, bought my first road bike, and there was nothing to stop me. I joined my friends for weekday morning rides and on weekends we did longer rides at Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast.
In Brisbane, we are lucky to have several mountains and beautiful country roads near the city. Road cycling is a very time-consuming sport so it is important to have supportive friends and fully commit to training. I spend 15 to 20 hours on my bike every week and that is just my training. In addition to training, I also spend a lot of time on eating well, keeping fit and maintaining my bike. I would say it's more of a lifestyle than just a hobby. Of course, the weather in Brisbane is very favourable to cycling as well.
This is a unique event because it is professionally supported and participants only need to focus on the ride. We have breakfast every morning before starting our ride at 6:30 a.m. We have 2 breaks - morning tea and lunch, both of which are prepared by the support team - and aim to arrive at our destination by 2pm The strict daily schedule allows plenty of time for good nutrition and recovery time. Every night we have dinner together, a briefing and the KOM/sprint winners are announced.
Tanja and the PEUCC team
The event organisers selected the charities, so I wasn't involved in the decision process. This is the fourth time this event is taking place and every year the organisers choose different charities to raise awareness for different organisations. I think it is important to support different organisations every year and think that this year's charities all play a very important role in our society.
5. You are a Finn that has now lived in Australia for three years, what have you missed most about Finland?
Before moving to Australia I lived in the US for several years so I haven't lived in Finland in a long time. In my daily life, there is nothing I really miss. There are plenty of bakeries that sell quality rye bread in Brisbane (I can't live without it) and there are plenty of shops that sell European foods for when I crave those. Of course, there are moments where I feel a bit homesick, but that is part of being an expat. One thing that took me a while to get used to is the huge distances here. Finland is very small compared to Australia, so it is much easier and faster to travel to other places. Australia is a very big country and it takes a lot longer to travel to other places from Brisbane. Just travelling to the other side of the country takes several hours by plane.
6. If you were to embark on a similar journey in Finland, which route is atop your list?
I would go to Eastern Finland. The route would include country roads from the Lappeenranta area to Kitee. The scenery is beautiful, the food is delicious and there are plenty of hills to give my legs a good workout.
Congratulations Tanja and the PEUCC team!
Author Information: Jonathon Fogarty is the Information Officer at the Embassy of Finland in Canberra.