Syöte MTB 2016 (english)

When choosing trip for 2016 season, we stuck to Finland because last year’s Imatra trip was great success. In the winter we choose for the Syöte MTB marathon race. We heard that there was good track and winner’s avarage speed is around 20km/h which means 3+ hour race for us. Almost 800km car trip didn’t scare us and we gathered thursday morning at Tallinn Harbour.


Different reasons left behind Andre and Alvaro, which lead to last minute changes in vehichles. Veho Eesti offered Citroen Jumpy yet again, but Ziil arrived in black Mercedes city 4×4, this was whole new level in our transportation. Mercedes helped us blend in with other Estonian builders and bus drivers who work abroad.

After crossing sea, the 745km car trip started. We agreed that first stop would be at half way to Syöte. Exactly 38 minutes later we made our first stop at the local gas station. Next stint was luckily much longer and we stopped at the kebab cafe where kebab costed only 20 units of local money.


In Oulu we made stop at the supermarket and everybody were absolutely sure that we don’t need to make any more shopping stops and there is plenty of food products.

Ahto concludes car trip:

Imagine a car trip in same car with Bruno, Anti, Mihkli and Leeriga? Decent life experience! Now I know how to save water showering so that the same water can be used washing a car40 % Vanakas (Vana Tallinn) is rubbish (you gotta go for 45% or even more), black people are not good in bed, every cyclist has a Merida once in a lifetime, you can’t take a dump before a race because that “lets out power” from you and so on. I started to think what the following days will be. Fun 🙂

The more north we got the more hilly the lanscape went and civilization thinned out. Before the evening we arrived at the Iso-Syöte hotelikompleksi and began acclimitazing. When we unpacked, Ziil discovered that his helmet was not in the same country with him. Luckily that was not the last fail…


After cheerful evening everybody turned to sleep. Mihkel slept in the living room near the kitchen, so he was really happy when someone decided to turn on the dish-washer before night.

In the friday we prepared our bikes for the training. Most of us decided to take a closer look at the last 30km of the track. Track was quite technical and everybody enjoyed it. Also we saw our first raindeer. Lots of roots, rocks and many kilometers of timber road above the bog. And then offcourse was the finish climb- 223m of ascent in 3km, freaking awesome! Ziil managed to puncture his tyre and Tarmo re-shaped his rear wheel using a rock. Track was like mixture of Jõelähtme Rattamaraton, Saku100 ja Tähetorni Kolmapäevakust (Estonian races).



Even the locals said that Syöte MTB was one of the hardest in Finland. Because of the finger fracture, I was bit shaken by the rocky and rooty track. Director sportif suggested to take Ibumetin so I did. 


After the training we took a really short sauna, because wise men say that sauna before the race is not good for you. After a dinner we discovered that our endless supplies of food runned out and we needed to go to the local shop. Ahto was the main chef who transformed food products into delicious meals despite his disablity. Some people also offered to help.

In the evening we made last preparations to our bikes and turned out that Ziil’s bike was not in the best shape. Bottom bracket had a 10mm glitch and rear tyre leaked heavily. Also headset was lose and suspension fork lockout trigger was jammed, but basically the bike rode well.

In the race office Kaido negotiated our 8 riders into earlier start (proper race). Dinner was real delicous pasta bolognese and womens olympic rugby was real nail-biter. We went to bed at 23.00, Mihkel pulled the plug of dish-washer.


Saturday’s breakfest was made by Bruno, it was 7-wheat porridge, Anti was critical of the amount of wheats used. For the warmup we needed to go down a hill, it felt like 2 degrees and body refused to warm up. At 9.00 was the start of a main race and half hours later the rest went on track



After quite calm start there was a raindeer who walked by, luckily he headed for tundra for females.


First climb was hard and previous day’s fear to lose to a fatbike came to reality. I rode with Lasse positions around 15.

After quarter of the race, something not so fun happened. I was chasing a local Finn and suddenly his chain came off. It looked like he then braked because he came to a full stop real fast and I couldn’t react so I crashed into him.


I went down head first and it was really hard bump. My head felt dizzy for a while and had double vision. I replied to Finn that everything is OK and grabbed my gels from a forest floor. I spitted out mouthfull of gravel and tried to ride again. After a while I recovered and shifted up to full power mode.

After the half I left Lasse and realised that the crash had a catastrophic effect to my rear brake’s pressure. It meant that I had to keep my rear brake alive by “pumping it up”.


Second half of the track went by really good and I managed to push hard, few hundred meters back I was chased by a local. In the last nasty uphill I was passed by that man on the rockgarden which happened to be at 20% climb, nice.

In overall I managed to finish at, in the team ranking we ended up fourth, which was a pitty. Max speed was 50,8 km/h. Track was well marked and I liked it a lot. In every huolto service point mehu tasted good.


First kilometer went behind a car, after turning off the asphalt tempo went up. We had to climb a Pikku-Syöte, little downhill and the a aingletrack sections which lasted “only” 15km. It was impossible to drink or eat because of the track, roots, rocks and raindeer-shit all mixed together.


To complete the full mixture there was a 500m of BMX bumptrack. Locals went by from the left and right (later turned out he was Mika Häkkinen, unluckily he had just the same name as a F1 champion). Later two more Finns went by and I didn’t let them far. On the singletracks they went fast, on the straights i went faster.

On the gravel roads I used my 30-11 transmission to leave Finns behind. From there on I went alone, time after time I saw back of a Hakkinen. Last 8km were really difficult, at some sections I needed to use feet to move on.


At some point I realised that something is wrong with my rear wheel, after a stop I saw that the thru axle was loose. Quickly I secured the thru axle and moved on fast because locals were chasing me. Last 3km was 220m of ascent filled with muddy uphill sections.

I had real hard time, although I thanked god that I choosed to go for 30T chainring in front. When 500m I thought I went nuts because I heard I was cheered by a name but luckily not. Maidla’s wife and chlidren cheered me on and that gave enough power to for the finsih. M40 classification 8. place and team ranking In conclusion great event with a technical track.


Track was all-out MTB, when going on a gravel I could really rest.


Track could be divided into 3 sections – first climb, down-up punches and then the finsh climb. I counted total of 483957621 roots, maybe I got that bit wrong at some time. Rock count was 25 less than roots. Muddy parts 0. Field sections of 500m. Even a singletrack filled with of water (most dissatisfying part of a track) and natural pump track.

In the Syöte I experienced the most bling accesories ever- neon yellow zip ties. These mtached with my shoes.


In conclusion, sun was shining, raindeer was to be seen, little cramp made himself to seen. After the race there was a delicious buffet, sauna, cold beer, Synebrychof and many great emotions. What more to want from great trip in the north.


Finland suprised me with the amount of raindeers running free and of course picturesque landscape.

How did I go? Shitty, at least for my opinion! I made chart of the fails:

  • Janek alias „Ziil“, who left behind Garmin and helmet and also drinking bottles for the race 🙂
  • Anti alias „Vanameister“, who got lost on the section ridden in the previous day:) Went full power on the gravel for 1,5km before realising mistake.
  • Marion, who tries to ride with handlebar from 26” bike (possibly 480mm)
  • Taa-daa, drums…Bruno alias „Brüno“, who let by oponent 1km before the finish being at the assuming he rode on 7. or 8. place.

For the last fail I raced a 60km marathon and didn’t count the possibility that some fatbikes are going for the 120km distance. Well done for me!


Competition’s level was much higher that in Imatra. Last year there was 10 finishers in Imatra, but in Syöte race there was 60 of them in 60km race and 11 in 120 km race.


START. On the first climb Anti showed Finns how it’s done in Estonia and started pulling hard. Unfortunately that ended real quick. Track consisted with endless singletracks filled with rocks and roots. It was almost impossible to take sip.



On the 35th kilometre I decided to show local spectators high class. Pulled up my front wheel before timber trail, unfortunately I forgot that my finger is fractured and failed with my manouver and crashed. Perkelen virolaiset – coming here to boss around.


In the last service point I decided to ask for some painkiller. They gave me one Burana400 or something like that. I begged for more. Doctor’s face was like “no kyllä te virolaiset olete ihan sekaisin“. Rest of the race went bit pain-free at least.

In overall I enjoyed this trip a lot and can’t wait for the next one. Emotion and motivation is still high. Elämä on laiffi!


When everyone had returned from 60km distance we chatted about the race for hours. We voted whose fail was the most stupid one. After a sauna we went to after-race buffet which suprised us with great meals. Because we were out of food again we had to go once more to a local shop for dinner. Raino got platinum-level client card there.

Maidla returned from 120km race and bit later Talukas also. After him a local grazy Finn finished a 120km marathon with a singlespeed fatbike wearing a suit, what a looneytick We packed our bikes and started relax using blue-white stripe drinks. We cheered for Tanel Kangert at the Olympics and watched other sports.

There was a official afterparty starting at 22.00. A hour later we got there and got welcomed by a really old lady as a DJ. There weren’t many people so we decided to leave. Few of us returned hours later hoping to see more people and wild party but that didn’t happen.


On sunday Lasse made 1241 pancakes and 10am we started our journey to home. We saw quite many flocks of raindeer, luckily everyone continued un-hurt. In the Ziil car we decided to play a game “How long can you go with a 0 mile range“, luckily enough long.

ABC gas station’s buffet was decent and journey passed by in a hurry. We were baffled by local driving style on highway- almost everyone rode on the outside lane at 80km/h. Before Helsinki we realise we could make to earlier ship so we upped a gear. When reaching harbour, we saw ferry leaving a pier. That gave us 3h of free time.


We drove by Helsinki’s most tight street which was real fun to drive with a trailer. Finally we found McDonalds and enjoyed Lidl’s 2 cent ice cream. After boarding a ship, we watched XCO World Cup. After midnight we made it to Tallinn and everyone went home exhausted.

Do we recommend Syöte MTB for You? If you’re riding with rigid fork and 400mm handlebar then absolutely not. But if you’re big fan of real MTB track then You can’t miss this! This track is one of the best in nearby region ja competitions organisation is great. Only setback is distance between Tallinn and Syöte, but there is no boring car trip but boring people with you. Luckily, we haven’t got any of them in our club 🙂





1.Heikki Tukki 2:56:37

8. Mihkel Laine 3:16:02

26. Janek Leer 4:00:12


1.Marko Törmänen 3:05:40

5. Lasse Nõlvik 3:18:46

8. Tarmo Ennok 3:28:37

10. Kaido Kriisa 3:33:24

11. Taikki Tillemann 3:33:59

13. Bruno Tamm 3:40:12 (Fatbike IV koht)

15. Raino Einroos 3:52:00

17. Ergo Jair 3:53:36

29. Anti Kauk 4:12:34

38. Ahto Kruusmann 4:33:20


1.Meiju Salmela 3:46:49

15. Marion Aare 5:33:41


1.Kusti Kittilä 6:02:41

8. Janek Maidla 7:31:49

21. Raul Talumaa 8:44:43

PHOTOS ( Start2, 3, 4) (by: Tarja Kivirinta)