2012 iXS Dirt Masters: Rene Wildhaber Interview

May 18, 2012
by Nic Genovese  
Where do you call home?
Born and raised in Flumserberg, Switzerland. I grew up on a small farm in the mountains of Swiss Alps.

Rene Wildhaber Interview

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.

Photo Sterling Lorence

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.

Rene Wildhaber Interview

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.

Rene Wildhaber Interview

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.

Rene Wildhaber Interview

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.

Rene Wildhaber Interview

Thanks Rene, good luck this year!

Photos by Nic Genovese and Sterling Lorence
Interviewed by Ryan Berrecloth


24 Comments

  • + 6
 I want to live somewhere that requires an mtb to commute. I ride single track on the way to work now but it is kinda out of the way.
  • + 3
 well, in switzerland a mtb is required to commute
  • + 4
 Mongolia?? I know it might be awesome, but no one knows the treasures that lie in South America, single track trails, 5000mts above sea level, through active volcanoes and wildlife beyond any of your dreams.. You can even ride the whole year, no snow issues..
  • - 8
flag dirtjumpin (May 18, 2012 at 13:40) (Below Threshold)
 Just throwing it out there, but Mongolia is in Asia, not South America. But you maybe right about South America
  • + 4
 I think he knows...
  • + 4
 Rene has already been in South America...now he wants to go to Mongolia. Do you have a point or only advertising south america?
  • + 2
 Obviously Mongolia is in Asia.. U misunderstood.. I stated this comment just because I'm a daily PinkBike user like many of u, and I rarely read articles of Journeys in South America, not that there are not any articles, but I think that if more people see or even hear of it's beauty, u would fall in love with it.. As I say, imagine no weather issues (No snow, but when Rain comes it does torn down), the AMAZING views, comfortable life (Not Expensive) and in Quito, Ecuador u have a Lift access to Volcano Pichincha at 15728ft high, full of tracks down to the capital Quito..
  • + 6
 I know what you mean. I grew up in Peru and started riding there...anyway it would be awsome if you or your mates would make a foto report of those trails and culture, I'm sure people here would love it!And it's better than advertising the region with sort of off topic comments;-)
  • + 2
 everybody can write blog on pinbike and send it ot pinkbike editor . . . Big Grin
  • + 6
 My dream is to go for a ride with him (Rene), Shandro, and Ross Schnell. Let's make this happen!
  • + 4
 If you ride with Rene and you get a flat; before you get off your bike Rene will already be diving in his back pack to start the repair. Super nice guy...so professional.
  • + 1
 Met him (and Shandro) when they where filming in Nepal, all the comments above is totally correct. Rene is something special, supernice, extreme skills. When we tried to build a dual slalom course both him and Shandro was diggin for hours in the heat to help us out. No primadonna stuff going on with those guys. Cool that Enduro is getting some wind now, lots of crazy skilled riders doing that. More interesting, imho, than just another whip on a smooth as silk bikepark track.
  • + 1
 I was ripping down aline yesterday making great time without a soul behind me. Literally 10 seconds later I have 5 dudes on my tail. After the big triple I pull over and Rene and his crew pass me. I tried, but just couldn't keep up, they were just so damn fast, whipping off everything. Dream achieved.
  • + 1
 Yeah, thursday was the first time for me to get to speak a few words with him during the Enduro Challenge in Winterberg, he is as easy-going as portrayed in several videos... and has a super-smooth riding style!
  • + 3
 it would be cool when pb could interwiev with jerome clementz..im a right ?
  • + 2
 you are quite right
  • + 3
 wow what a guy
  • + 1
 Why hadn't I heard his name until like last year, when trek started doing all those advertisements with him?
  • + 3
 'cause in Canada media cares more about airtime than riding time :-)...though it's starting to change.
  • + 1
 Even in Canada Wildhaber is well-known - at least among the circles of people where if you say "deathmarch ride" their ears perk up
  • + 0
 Rene is a legend! You should see him riding in Bolivia in this video with Joe Schwartz!
vimeo.com/5175300
  • + 1
 Amazing Rider, he sounds like a pretty cool guy
  • + 1
 Cool
  • + 1
 Idol

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