Your gaze travels down the mountain, taking in the long descent. Wet, muddy conditions, slippery stones and gnarled roots. Long, long ascents and high-speed downhill sections – mountain biking is always fun. No matter what the terrain or the weather – the new GORE BIKE WEAR® POWER TRAIL LADY line for ambitious and determined mountain bikers combines feminine, fashion-inspired designs with optimal comfort and functional features for a wide range of uses.
No one knows this better than Nathalie Schneitter, pro mountain biker and member of the ROSE VAUJANY fueled by ultraSPORTS team. As junior world champion, European champion and no.1 Swiss rider, Nathalie is used to fast-changing weather conditions and technical trails – they form part of her daily routine. Whether racing or training, she places high demands on her functional apparel. When it comes to bike clothing, Nathalie relies on GORE BIKE WEAR®. As a brand ambassador, she’s also involved in developing new products and rigorously testing prototypes during training.
We asked Nathalie about her goals for 2016, for tips for women mountain bikers to push their boundaries and why she wears the current GORE BIKE WEAR® POWER TRAIL LADY collection both on and off the bike.
Nathalie, what does the 2016 race season look like for you? What are your goals this year?
I’ve just got back from a training camp on Gran Canaria. In a few days, I fly to Alicante for the first multi-stage MTB race of the season – I’m really looking forward to it. 2016 is another year packed with major challenges. The world cup, multi-stage races, championship races. Despite all the big goals and the fact that it’s an Olympic year, it’s important not to forget what keeps me motivated – the joy of riding. I find it’s only when I’m happy and positive and enjoying my riding that I have a clear head. And this is exactly where I need to be in order to ride again as one of the fastest women in the world…
Nathalie, you’ve been one of the top women mountain bikers for years. Why do you love off-road riding so much? Have you got any tips and suggestions for women looking to improve their mountain biking skills?
What I love most about mountain biking is the mix of physical exercise, strength and endurance on the climbs and the adrenaline kick you get on the descents. It requires more than just courage. You really need to know yourself well, to enjoy overcoming your limits and pushing your own boundaries. A novice rider wouldn’t really know where to start on a really steep, technical trail. But the important thing is that you keep setting new goals and slowly pushing your own limits. Riding with and following riders who are faster and technically more proficient really helps. I still do this with the men on my team. Every day, I’m working to improve, and to push my boundaries.
Having the right bike wear is becoming increasingly important. Especially in sports like mountain biking. What do you need for long-distance rides and changing weather conditions?
When you’re training and racing, getting cold is a really bad idea. If your body is cold, it won’t perform well. This is why I always make sure that the most important parts of my body are insulated and protected from the wind and the rain. I feel that there are four main areas that have to be kept warm – your feet, your hands, your ears and your bottom. Mountain biking often means going for it in wet, muddy conditions. However, there are a few simple ways to cope with this. I train constantly to prepare for MTB races. This also provides lots of opportunities to test products from my sponsor GORE BIKE WEAR®. Currently, I’m using apparel from the new POWER TRAIL Lady line – I was involved in its development. I wear it for both training and racing – and even when I’m not on the bike.
What’s special about the new POWER TRAIL LADY line?
It has everything that women mountain bikers want and is also extremely versatile. Each product fulfills a particular function and combines to make a full outfit – that looks good and functions well.
The first style that springs to mind is the POWER TRAIL LADY Hoody which has a striking camouflage print. It’s a really great mix of style and function. The innovative WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell fabric is particularly soft and thin, yet is windproof, breathable and water-resistant – and the hood protects your head from the cold. The POWER TRAIL LADY Shorts are ideal for women riders, as they have a wide, elastic waistband which can be adapted via velcro tabs to prevent slipping or chafing. This makes them very comfortable.
So pro riders are also wearing comfortable bike wear then? That’s new.
To be honest, if it wasn’t for the POWER TRAIL LADY collection, I’m not sure what I’d wear when I’m not riding – there’s a couple of pieces I just wear all the time. For example, when I’m stand up paddling, shopping or relaxing at home in Switzerland during regeneration periods. They’re sporty, functional and fashionable clothes that I can also use as a professional athlete – and vice versa. What more could a girl want?
Take the POWER TRAIL LADY Jacket for example. It’s my absolute favourite piece in the entire collection. Thanks to the WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell fabric and close-fit, extendable high collar with magnetic closure, it provides reliable protection from windchill and icy gusts.
Generally, I mainly only wear the long-sleeved POWER TRAIL LADY Jersey – which I also happen to have on right at this very moment. It’s soft, super lightweight and has what it takes to be a real favourite both on and off the bike. I like its thin, comfortable fabric, which has an attractive melange-look and provides optimal moisture management. It also has a nice relaxed fit. I’m really happy to have GORE BIKE WEAR® as an innovative partner at my side – it’s great to be able to channel both my professional experience and personal taste into a women’s bike wear collection.
Thank you for answering our questions, Nathalie. We wish you every success with qualifying for the Olympics.
Check out Nathalie’s favorites from the GORE BIKE WEAR® POWER TRAIL LADY collection: