My last year was fantastic. So unbelievable that it still seems unreal to me. At the start of the season, I could never have dreamed that I would actually get a medal at the World Championship, that I would win both the large and small crystal trophies, in other words take the overall title in both World Cups, and that I would become number 1 in the world ranking for cross-country mountain biking. That makes me very proud. In particular because I have three hard years behind me, in which I was constantly faced with setbacks, injuries, and obstacles. I had to invest a lot of work to overcome these. Being able to celebrate such successes in 2022 is very satisfying and makes me unbelievably proud. Not only of myself, but also of the entire team that supported me through this tough time.
In 2019, during a race, I had an unfortunate fall and broke both of my hands. That meant the season was over for me. In the following year, everything was overshadowed by the coronavirus and no regular competitions could take place. I hoped to be able to train again in 2021. But then while getting out of the car, I slipped on black ice and severely injured my knee. I needed an operation on my meniscus and cruciate ligament.
I looked ahead and didn't waste my energy on sorrow and doubt. I learned a lot and these experiences helped me to grow even more. At the beginning of 2022, my goal was to pick up from the point where I'd stopped prior to my injuries. I think that I managed to do that quite well.
How do you mentally prepare for competitions?
In all sports, mental strength is very important – and mountain biking is no exception. I focus on myself, my ability, and my self-confidence. Once the competition starts, I try to concentrate only on myself. At that moment, nothing else matters. I want to get as far in front as possible and give everything I have – until I'm one bike length over the finish line.
I get great pleasure from being an ardent bike rider. Biking is my passion. Of course, there are sometimes situations in which I have to motivate myself. But essentially I do it because I love it. My love for the sport is my intrinsic motivation. I'm driven by the desire to improve myself, to explore and push the limits of my body and my resilience.
I have a very varied, year-round training schedule – mostly specifically geared toward the sport, in other words on the mountain bike or the light electric mountain bike. This is supplemented with technique training, jogging, and cross-country skiing in winter.
To be honest, I don't have specific training secrets. In my opinion, there's no ideal method, nothing where I could say: “Do it like this and you'll reach the top.” Training is something very individual. What characterizes my training is perhaps the multi-sport approach. This provides me with more variety and I don't get tired of riding a bike. That always gives me new input. In winter in particular, I get away from biking a little, with good training sessions where I go jogging, hiking or cross-country skiing. When summer comes, I am then extremely motivated to get on my bike again.
Off-road riding is one of the foundations of my training. During long rides, there are always some steep climbs. The maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR helps me to stay true to my discipline and save my energy for riding downhill. Additionally the drive makes it possible for me to go on rides with my male team colleagues, who are generally faster and stronger. Thanks to maxon’s super-light and natural e-bike drive, I can fully concentrate on my training needs. Going downhill, the bike with maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR feels like a normal mountain bike.
The ride on the racing bike with maxon drive that we use for training is very similar to that of my own mountain bike that I use in competitions. It's ultra-light, which means I can also carry it uphill on occasion if necessary. It's also extremely agile, in other words maneuverable, and therefore very enjoyable to ride. That makes it unique and special to me. It's simply great fun to ride.
The maxon BIKEDRIVE AIR is for everyone who loves riding bikes. For everyone who loves mountain biking and for everyone who loves to hit the trails and go on long rides. It's perfect for everyone who wants to reach the top of a long climb still feeling fresh for the downhill ride. On the downhill, the riding sensation is great. It feels completely natural.
I'm going on holiday to recharge my batteries, so that I can start 2023 fully energized and motivated.