My country, Finland is celebrating its 99th independenceday today. This is a good country and I’m proud of it. Together we can still make it a better one.
Most of you probably think: “What the hell… or Who the hell is Ulla Kulju?” Well here’s the whole story told by herself:
I was paralyzed in 2002 in the age of 15 in a snowboarding accident in Ylläs, Finland. I went through surgery and the doctors fixed my broken back with titanium. I decided at a very early stage that my accident won´t stop me for chasing my dreams. 6 months after my accident I went back to the slopes with monoski. On the same year I won gold medal in Finnish Championships in Slalom. Next year I raced against able bodied females in giant slalom and slalom, I came third in Finnish Championships. During my four years of alpine skiing in the Finnish Alpine Ski Team my highest achievement was European Cup silver in Giant Slalom and European Cup Bronze in Slalom.
At 2003 and 2005 I was nominated as an athlete of the year in Finland. I was also awarded as the most positive person in Northern Finland on the year 2005.
2006 I built few showcars and was awarded with 2nd place in young builder of the year and 2nd place in Hot Wheels 2006 show with most beautiful non-american car.
2007 I started sailing with multihulls. I had a Hobie Cat 21 Formula Catamaran and with it I raced around Finland. My greatest achievements in sailing were 4th place in British Championships with Challenger trimaran, 1st place in Ruotsinsalmi race with Hobie Cat 21F and 2nd place in Throne of Gulf of Botnia with Inferno 28 boat.
2008 I started Paragliding. I was the first paralyzed female in Finland to paraglide and get the licenses for it.
2010 I graduated as an Boat Manufacturing Engineer and as a Boat Designer from the Kymenlaakso university of Applied Sciences. After graduation I worked as a Mechanical Designer for Weldmec in Porvoo, where I designed aluminium work boats and oil recovery machinery for the oil catastrophy of Gulf of Mexico. 2011 I worked as a Project Manager and Mechanical Designer for Telemerkki, in Jokela. There I designed command bridges for warships and controlpanels for hospitals, my last project in Telemerkki was the command bridge for Viking Line Grace ocean liner. 2012 to 2014 I was an entrepeneur in the tattoo industry. I had my own tattoo parlor in centrum of Helsinki. 2014 I got a Design Engineer job from Etteplan Design Center where I design elevators and elevator machinery for Kone Oy.
I have two kids, Miko (8years) and Helka (2yrs).
After my accident in 2002 my only concern was that I will never get the change of riding a motorcycle. Or that´s what I thought. on May 2014 I desided to design and build my own adapted Honda CBR-F 600 1993 for me to use even though I am in a wheelchair. I designed and fabricated stabilizers for my Honda and switched the transmission to work with buttons on the handlebar. A year later in June 2015 I got the Honda fully road legal and approved for my use in the traffic. But that wasn´t enough for me.. I wanted and desired more. I desided to chase my dream of racing with motorcycles. I rode few track days with my CBR and fell in love with the feeling of riding fast. After that racing has been my passion, it´s something I want and need to do. It´s just amazing! I got invited to UK to meet Talan Skeels-Piggings who races with motorcycles and is paralyzed from the waist down. I got an amazing opportunity to have a track day in Silverstone. It was beoynd my dreams! It was something so great and fantastic! I also got advices from Andy Ibbot and I was more sure than ever that this is something that I want to do with all my heart. With the help of Andy´s training I got my speed up and my technique right. When I got back from UK, I began to find sponsors and companies to support me financially. Hard work paid off in october 2015 when I got my Yamaha YZF-R6 racebike with the help of my main sponsor 3M Finland (for the season 2016).
This text is borrowed from her facebook.
(Photo also from her facebook-page!)
And now the latest news is that she’s been invited to participate in the handicap RR World Championchips 2017 which are held in Le Mans 19-21 of May. Good Luck Ulla!