We met with Katharina from the Ibis-FIDLOCK Racing Team on a sunny, but freezing cold day in the Deister, Germany, where we shooted new products and talked to her about cycling in the cold season. Winter’s unpopularity is actually quite unjustified if you only know how to deal with it. Katharina has told us her tips on how to keep the motivation for biking in winter.
Katharina has been riding the Enduro for about three years. Relatively short for the level she’s already riding. What she lacks in experience she makes up for with ambition and passion. In 2019, she rode successfully with Mirjam Kuhn in the Ibis-FIDLOCK Racing Team and was able to achieve some successes. Among others, she won the Kronplatz Race as well as the Overall Alpine Enduro Series in the Duo Mix category. In the Enduro Paganella Race, she and Mirjam were the fastest women in the Duo Woman category.
When Katharina is not riding in an Enduro series in Europe or sitting in university, she prefers to ride in the Deister, a mountain range in the Calenberger Land, which is right in front of her (and our) front door. The highest point is 405 m high and there are many different trails.
But now the mountain bike season is over, the races are in the books, the popular trail areas will be opened for the skiers. This does not stop Katharina from spending many hours on her Ibis Ripmo. The motivation not to prefer the couch to the enduro bike in spite of rain, cold and mud, she takes from her personal desire to constantly learn more.
“Besides, the hours spend on a bike and in nature together with friends are the best hours of the week.”
Her equipment doesn’t differ much from that for summer trips. According to the good old wisdom ‘There is no bad weather, only bad clothing’, Katharina goes on the trails with thicker gloves, long mountain bike trousers, a rain jacket and a buff around her neck. The bike is winterproofed with a mudhugger on the fork so that the mud doesn’t splash directly into the face.
“Apart from that, everything stays the same as in summer, except that the bike needs more care because it gets dirty all the time and has to be cleaned.”
But Katharina uses the absolute survival hack on her feet: “During long trips in winter, aluminium soles are obligatory for her so that the cold bridge between cleat and foot is interrupted. Who doesn’t know this: Once your feet are cold, it’s no longer fun to be outdoors. Cold feet are also the worst for Katharina when cycling.
While photographer Björn checks the settings on his camera, Katharina walks down the trail section and treads the ground into place. It is, as it should be in winter, softened by the rain and streaked with tire tracks. One or two times you almost slip while walking, how can you still ride safely?
“Team mate Miri always says: ‘No matter what the weather really is like, you have to ride as if it were dry.’ And she’s right. If you have enough self-confidence and also ride in mud as if it were dry, you definitely have the most fun.”
If the temperatures drop around the freezing point, however, it becomes a little trickier.
“There are hard frozen ruts and icy surfaces, so biking can be dangerous without caution.”
In addition to many hours on the bike, during which Katharina always tries things out she still has difficulties with and that she wants to improve (remember her ambition!), she keeps fit in winter with regular HIIT units, trains with kettlebells or other equipment. Also balance and extensive mobility and stretch units are part of her training plan. This way she can prepare herself perfectly for the race season 2020 during the off time. And there are big things planned! (We will also be part again, info follows. ?)
Back at the car, the bike full of mud, completely frozen from watching as photographer Björn gives instructions and captures the best manoeuvres in steep curves, on jumps and root passages, we still want to know whether Katharina has a secret trail tip in the Deister. She grins:
“I think all trails in the Deister are a real secret trail tip.”
Looking around, the sun flashing through the almost bare trees, slight wafts of mist are hovering above the brown-leaved ground, which gives the forest something mystical, the answer does not surprise. Who would have thought that we have such a beautiful and varied spot for mountain biking in the north of Germany!
We were happy to sit in the warm car again, but watching Katharina definitely made us want to go out for the next ride. And now it’s clear how. See you soon at the Deister!
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