At the Lake Garda festival Specialized were running "Ride with the pros" tours this year. Two young, smiling Swiss girls would take whoever came along up into the mountains above the festival and show them some trails. It didn't go down too well with all the men who signed up. As soon as the descents started, the girls would open the gas and smoke most of the guys. They left more than a few bruised egos over the three days of the festival. Those two girls were Anita and Caro Gehrig.
Coming from Flims in Switzerland, the twin sisters have raced everything from World Cup downhill and 4X, through to big mountain enduro. They have done seasons in Europe and Whistler, and will spend most of this summer living together in their converted van, while they tour round racing and riding. More than that, they don't seem to stop smiling, laughing and joking - you don't meet many people who seem to have as much fun as these two do on their bikes. We caught up with them at the Pogno round of Italy's Superenduro series to have a chat (Anita is the blonde one, Caro is the brunette).The BasicsName:
Anita and Caro GehrigAge:
25How long have you been riding:
Our first contact with downhill was in 2003 at the World Champs in Lugano, Switzerland. Our brother was selected to race the junior XC race. Watching the DH, we were fascinated about the speed and action. We definitely wanted to try it, but it took several years until we could afford our first bike, so we started riding in 2007. Best results:
1. Specialized Enduro Series Winterberg 2012
2. IXS Swiss Downhill Cup, Morgins, 2012
1. Dakine Trailfox, Flims 2011
2. Maxiavalanche Andorra, 2010
5. Super Enduro, Pogno, 2012
5. Maxiavalanche Flims, 2011
3. Swiss Nationals 4X, 2011Career highlight:
Neither of us could mention just one highlight - it’s the whole thing. Travelling, getting to know new people and beautiful places. Standing on the podium is the cream on top.The Details
So you race mountain bikes, how did it start?
When we were in Whistler for our first time in 2008, the boys told us we were fast and should race. So we started racing and it was fun. At the beginning, I guess, we were just fearless, which took us both down with serious injuries.
Why do you race?
We always liked the competition. When you race you can improve faster and push your limits even higher.
What made you choose DH/enduro instead of XC?
We were not into riding uphill and liked the adrenaline and speed of the downhill. At the moment we are focusing more on enduro races, it gives you the opportunity to ride more, even though you have to climb to the trailhead, just the downhill counts, which is our best discipline. “You gotta earn your turn.” We're doing a few of the Italian Superenduro series this year, as it's a really fun series and they seem to love their enduro in Italy.
Scariest moment on a bike?
As we are twins we break the same bones - so we both have had broken femurs. The moment before a big impact scares you the most, you just know it's going to hurt big time.
Favorite place to ride?
Definitely Whistler. It's the most versatile place for mountain bikes, it’s like Disney World for outdoor sports. Flims is also great, it’s good to be back home and ride with friends.
What influences you in racing, who do you look up to?
People who live their dream and follow it through the lows and highs.
Are you inspired by any pro women DH racers, which ones?
Rachel Atherton, because she’s so fast and has a good style too.
As women, how does it feel in a sport that's predominantly male?
We don't know that much about reparing bikes, so we’re glad that there are so many helpful men around to do it. So thanks a lot to all those who helped! In exchange we cook for them, it’s the easiest way, do what you can do best. Still, it would be great to see more girls get into gravity mountain biking. It would help to grow the scene.
Do you do any other sports? Cross training?
We live in a big ski area, so in winter we spend a lot of time on snowboards or skis. For the endurance training, we also do a bit of cross country skiing, for strength the gym and yoga. In our area there is too much snow during the winter to ride, so we have no choice and the cross trainer also plays a role, preferably accompanied by a good movie...More Personal Stuff
Girly or Tomboy?
More tomboy than girly…
Dresses or Jeans?
Scars and bruises don't look glamorous with dresses, so we go for jeans.
Favorite riding clothes?
Zimtstern, our favourite brand from Switzerland.
Tea or Coffee?
We love coffee, both of us used to be baristas, we can prepare cappuccinos with a heart or even a flower.
A bit is fine, it depends on the occasion.
Pink or Black?
Pink grips and a black handlebar, maybe?!
In 5 years…?
Still riding bikes that’s for sure. As we are both into hospitality we might have our own business and run a bike hotel or something.www.twinsmtbracing.com
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