Where do you call home?
Born and raised in Flumserberg, Switzerland. I grew up on a small farm in the mountains of Swiss Alps. Is your favourite terrain to ride in your back yard?
Yes. I like to ride at home. I can ride from my house to my favourite trails but I cannot ride all year round because of the snow. I’ve been all over the world and rode some amazing trails so there’s good stuff everywhere. What I like in general is high alpine single track with nice views and deep history. Riding has a different meaning to everyone. For some it’s a release from everyday stress or good soul food. For others it’s a way to spend quality time with friends. What does riding mean for you?
In the farm I grew up we had no car. The original motivation was to ride my bike to commute and explore. From there I started to explore trails. It was not my original motivation to start XC racing but it was the way it turned out. My dream was to tour the world on a bike. In another way my dream has come true because I get to travel the world riding for a living. You had a strong riding segment in Anthill’s recent production Strength In Numbers. Do you have plans to film for any other projects in 2012?
Yes, I have a project that I’m working on in the US. More to follow later. When you started your riding career, you were focussed on XC followed by DH racing. You then switched to Megavalanche (i.e. big decants, long distance DH) and Enduro. Any particular reason for the shift in focus?
In my younger years I was busy doing a carpenter apprentice, going to school, paragliding and skiing. I started mountain biking because I needed a bike to get between each location. I then began training for endurance and started XC racing. Another reason I started biking was because I wanted to do my part for the environment so I sold my moped in exchange for a bike. I over trained for XC and became unhealthy…I went too far with my training and it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. DH was more fun so I started to focus on racing DH. A few years later, I tried my first Megalavanche and won the race. Somehow the mix and between technical riding, endurance and atmosphere was a nice fit for me. You are racing the Enduro at the iXS Dirtmasters festival. This is the second year for the Enduro at this event and they maxed out entries at 400 and needed to turn people away. Enduro racing is arguable the fastest growing segment in mountain biking. As someone who competes in Enduro racing, where do you want to see the sport go in the future?
For me it’s hard to tell what Enduro is because it is still developing and trying to find rules and regulations. Riders and organizers need to continue working together to find a racing format that works well for the sport in order to progress. We understand you are highly engaged with your sponsors on the development side of the business. How important is it to be involved with product development and why?
I started to ride because I liked riding. Now I’m in the industry with lots of experience so it’s a logical step to work with the companies that support me. You have been involved in the mountain biking business for 14 years. What keeps you motivated to continue riding and promoting the sport?
The first thing is that I still love biking. The second thing is that I’m still healthy. Lastly, there is still progression for me. I still have ideas and have lots to do. When I stop having ideas it’s time to do something else. Do you have any special projects that we can look forward to in the future?
One of my childhood dreams is to ride in Mongolia so I’m want to make this dream come true and then find a new dream. Thanks Rene, good luck this year!
Photos by Nic Genovese
and Sterling Lorence
Interviewed by Ryan Berrecloth