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WOOCS 2.2.5

Downhill racing champion Salli Saimovaara on what it takes to win

Salli Saimovaara in her element: making that sweet adrenalin spread in her body – by Marko Niemelä


We recently hit the bike park with Finnish mountain biker and downhill racer Salli Saimovaara. We talked about her sport, training routines, ambitions, adrenaline and – obviously – injury prevention & contact wear protection.

Salli is a daredevil who proclaims to have lost her self-protection instinct at a very young age — a trait which has served her well in her chosen sports. Her lifelong love for sports with breakneck speed led her to downhill and enduro racing. She loves the adrenaline rush that the sport gives her and the ability to overcome obstacles:

“Downhill racing is about being on your limits and pushing yourself to overcome your fears. It’s a very hard sport which requires strength, fitness and excellent reactivity. I can’t resist the feeling of being in the moment while your adrenaline is spreading. You can jump huge jumps or try to clear steep sections or just hang out and have fun with your mates. When I’m riding I won’t think about anything else. It keeps me sane.”

Salli Saimovaara by Marko Niemelä

This year Salli even won the Finnish Championships in Downhill Racing – a goal she has been chasing for a while that has demanded not only a good training routine but also a good mindset:

“Winning is always great and rewarding, I can’t lie. Winning has demanded that I feel confident and fast on my bike during this year. I’m very proud that I’ve learned so much but also tolerated failures and tried again and again.”

Her training routine includes various biking disciplines from bike park training to regular mountain biking and even riding easy tracks simply to keep up fitness level. As in every sport, technique training is also part of her schedule as well as regular visits to the gym to strengthen those arms, legs and core. To keep her body and mind guessing, Salli likes to mix things up with new workouts like her current obsession: bouldering.

In case you are wondering what downhill racing and enduro racing look like, check out this video explaining the difference between mountain bike racing disciplines cross country, downhill and enduro. It will also help you appreciate the fitness level athletes like Salli need to have.



Salli is one of many athletes out there that who is not active in our origin sport roller derby or ramp skating but still values the freedom of movement and low-profile protection STEAKS gives her as an athlete.

“STEAKS feels great, because I don’t feel it. Many protection pants are thick and unpleasant to wear, but STEAKS are light and seamless. The SMACKANAWA VEST stays in place and feels great. Many riders have old injuries and sometimes you might need extra protection, so it’s luxurious that you can order custom gear. And of course, I want my gear to look cool and STEAKS solve this problem easily. STEAKS doesn’t look like protection gear so you can use it (Smackanawa Vest) as a top after riding.”

Salli's STEAKS contact Wear recommendation

STEAKS Shinners STEAKS Shinners
$ 51,87 (incl. VAT)
  • EUR: € 39.90
  • AUD: $ 62.80
  • GBP: £35.22
Full Crash Shorts Full Crash Shorts
$ 194,87 (incl. VAT)
  • EUR: € 149.90
  • AUD: $ 235.93
  • GBP: £132.32
Smackanawa Vest Smackanawa Vest
$ 142,87 (incl. VAT)
  • EUR: € 109.90
  • AUD: $ 172.97
  • GBP: £97.01

Products Salli recommends for mountain bikers and downhill racers are the Full Crash Shorts for those hits to the thigh, hip bone and tailbone; the Smackanawa Vest to protect the sternum and collarbone. Both products are tight enough to wear as under armour with bike shorts or pants and a racing jersey. While we were out shooting with Salli she also tried out our newest product — the STEAKS Shinners. Her verdict:“I can recommend that product especially for flat pedal riders. Every rider knows how it feels when a flat pedal hits your shin…

Downhill season in Northern Europe and America officially ended in September and starts back up again in April. Until then, you will be able to find Salli in the gym and on trails while the bike parks in Finland turn into ski resorts until spring. You can also follow Salli’s season preparations on her Instagram account: @sallitron

Find STEAKS Contact Wear products suitable for mountain biking, downhill and enduro racing in our downhill biking category

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