Veronika WidmannIt seems that often a large percentage of successful gravity racers got their start racing XC, building pedaling stamina and grit in the process. FS Funn team racer Vero Widmann began her career on this track, riding in the Dolomites at a young age. She now routinely scores fast times on the World Cup circuit. A registered nurse, Vero embodies what it means to be a hard worker while having fun along the way.
I'm Vero, I come from Italy and I'm racing the downhill World Cup.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I live next to a city called Bozen in South Tyrol, northern Italy. It's in the middle of the Alps and a paradise for riding bikes.
Who do you ride for?
I'm riding for FS Funn Factory racing.
How did you get into racing?
It all started when I was very young, about 4 years old. I just loved to ride around our garden. At that time when people asked me what I want to become when I was older I told them simply a "bike racer"... I started racing cross-country at age 12 and did that for my first few years. But when I started university, I felt like doing something different but definitely still on bikes. I got into downhill and because I've always been a competitive girl, I went straight into racing. Three years later I was in the start gate for my very first World Cup in Lourdes.
What are your strengths?
I smashed Joe Breeden in an arm-wrestle last year and the year before. Does that mean I am a strong girl? Haha hmmm.. Probably rocky, technical sections as I grew up riding in the Dolomites.
What are your weaknesses?
Sometimes I lack confidence when I'm riding, especially in World Cup races. I think that stops me doing my best, confidence is just so important in this sport.
What’s been your worst crash over the years?
'Touch wood', I have been so lucky with some huge crashes in the past. One of my worst was probably at the finish line in Lourdes 2016. I was covered in cuts and bruises with a swollen ankle for months. Fortunately no broken bones.
Where’s your favorite place to ride?
It has to be Val di Sole, Italy. I got my first podium there in the World Cup this year.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Probably not all that interesting. I usually do some gymnastics and strength exercises to start the day and then help at my brother's vineyard. Riding bikes usually falls into the day's plan of course. And then I'll go for a swim in the lake (in the summer) and hang out with friends.
What bike are you riding right now?
I love the setup this year! I'm riding a YT Tues built up with Funn components, TRP brakes, Fox suspension and rolling on Maxxis rubber.
Who or what inspires you?
It inspires me when people make it even when odds are against them. It shows how important it is to never give up on what you love.
What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
I'm a very outdoorsy person. I love climbing the mountains around my home (Dolomites) with my dog 'Löwe', snowboarding in the winter, swimming in lakes in the summer, doing anything really. I just don't like wasting the day.
What’s your favorite non-bike website?
Does Instagram count...? If not, does Facebook?
What’s your favorite motto or saying?
Better late than never!
What annoys you?
Well, straight away I know when I mess up a race run. That's up there on the 'annoyometer'. It's also pretty annoying when airport doors are too thin to fit your bike box through.
What makes you happy?
Knowing for the rest of the week I'm going to be riding bikes every day.
Who’s your favorite rider?
Rachel Atherton was my idol when I started riding and she still is.
Where do you think the future of downhill racing is headed?
I'm still reasonably new to downhill but in the time so far it's definitely grown. There are also a lot of changes going on right now it seems to make the sport more elitist... I just hope it doesn't effect the progression of the sport by cutting people out.
If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
I finished my studies as a registered nurse. I would probably be working in a hospital rather than being the patient from time to time. At the moment I'm enjoying life as a racer and I hope to keep it that way.
What does the future hold for Veronika Widmann?
Hopefully to carry on like this... Keep riding bikes, improving, having a good time and keep loving where it takes me.