Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Perspective Team Update: Timo's World

- By: Timo Puiras

So what have I been doing all summer? (Why anyone would care is beyond me, but apparently there might be an audience for this kind of thing). There are three main activities that are essential for obtaining a fulfilling summer. These are physical labour, pole walking and pesapallo. Not only are these activities crucial parts of my training regime, but also they are the foundation of a gratifying existence. 

I identified physical labour as the first essential part of my summer because I did more of this than anything else.  I found employment working for Renato Rigato of Rigato Contracting Inc. This is a small contracting firm that does work in the forestry industry near Thunder Bay.  During the summer I did everything from playing plumber to installing road signs.  Predominately, however, we built bridges for the bush roads, which are numerous in these parts.  Bridge building is an excellent way to develop a number of aspects that are vital to cross country skiing.  One example of this, and my favourite part of building the bridge, is hammering six-inch spikes into the three by six inch planks to build the deck of the bridge.  When one has mastered the technique of using a big hammer, this is the best way to develop ski specific muscles in oneís arm.  If anyone else is interested in using physical labour to develop ski specific muscles, it is not necessary to do something as romantic as building bridges.  You could always just dig a hole, or saw and chop wood, or a number of other things.  You are only limited by your own imagination.

The second and more conventional ski specific training I identify as an essential part of my summer is pole walking (or ski walking or ski striding or whatever the regional dialect in your part of the world isÖ).  After a day at work (work days were anywhere from 8 to 18 hours), I would most commonly go and do a pole walk from three to four hours at varying intensities.  One might think that pole walking for four hours could become quite boring, and this can be true on occasion.  This is why Iíve found that mixing some sort of other activity into the pole walk can be much more rewarding.  Fishing is one of my most preferred extra activities that I partake in after a long pole walk.  Below is a picture of a couple of the smaller fish Riku M. and I caught after a three-hour pole walk on a bush road just north of Thunder Bay.

One might think that after long days at work and several hours of pole walking, I would need to find some speed into my system.  Thus the third essential part of my summer; pesapallo.  Pesapallo, or Finnish baseball practices develop that greased lighting quick speed that is sometimes needed during a ski race.  Unlike American baseball (and Iím not knocking American baseball here.  In fact, I enjoy nothing more than watching Saturday afternoon Blue Jays Baseball) pesapallo is a very fast sport with lots of running.  Furthermore, swinging the bat real fast develops the speed in the arms that is crucial in double poling.  To learn more about Finnish baseball please visit

So that is what I did this summer.  Hopefully this article made it lucid that with these three components building the footing, physical labour, pole walking and pesapallo not only develops a complete cross country skier, but also a complete human being.

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