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Swiss national team Dh: interview with Carina Cappellari, their coach

During one of the training periods that the Swiss national team did in Piana di Vigezzo I got to know their coach, that's who Carina Cappellari is

Hi Carina, tell us your story related to MTB, where does this passion come from?

I started cycling when I was 7 years old. First in XC, then at the age of 18 I switched to downhill. After a few years I participated in the World Cup and was able to represent Switzerland in 6 competitions. At the time, the thing I liked most about riding a bike was competitions, over time things have changed and now two wheels have more of a social value, they are used to meet friends, plan tours and enjoy a coffee break. When I was racing I never had much time for a cycling holiday or a nice trip, because I was working and studying at the same time. So the adrenaline of racing is good, but now the joy of driving and getting to know new places takes over. 🙂

How did you come to coach the Swiss DH and enduro team?

The person who had the job before me decided to quit and I applied for that position. So from October 2022 I started working for Swiss Cycling.

Does your role involve planning the training sessions of individual athletes or is it more of an organizational nature?

For now it's more of an organizational role, I coordinate the events and support them, making my experience available

What are the characteristics that a Dher must have to be competitive on an international level?

It's hard to say because it's different for every athlete. For me it was always important to have a good mentality before the start. So I tried to be happy and just wished I was in the starting gate.

There is the belief that downhill skiers are a bunch of crazy people, in your opinion how much has the importance of training to be competitive changed?

Very. Downhill racers are professional athletes and I like to compare them to alpine skiers. In Switzerland, ski racers are heroes and do a similar thing to mountain bike racers. And as everyone knows, these folks are very fit and need to be at the top level both mentally and physically. the sport is much younger so the development is not at the same stage but it is definitely going in the same direction.

Enduro has also changed from its origins, compared to downhill, in your opinion, what are the differences in the working surfaces?

It's very difficult to actually define an enduro athlete. On the one hand they have to run stages of between 5 and maybe 20 minutes, but on the other hand they pedal over 1500 meters in altitude with a full face helmet. So an athlete definitely needs some aerobic base to get through the day. From there you can develop more specific areas to run stages faster. But secondly, if you have the technical qualities to be fast in the special stages but you're too tired it's difficult to be successful.

How many workouts do your athletes do in a week?

This depends on their situations. A professional athlete like Cami trains several times a day, but a person who has a normal job can maybe train up to 6 times a week since in those situations recovery is a difficult part to manage when you work.

The attention towards the women's bike world is growing, some professional road teams are inserting contracts designed for girls, which also include maternity protection, how do you see the growth of the women's world?

I think we all know that the gap is there and that things need to change. I also think that some sports are not “organized” enough. So if all female athletes and organizations handled the situation together as a group, it might be more effective. However, it seems to me that at the moment people are focused more on themselves than on the group.

What do you think of the arrival of the Discovery Channel group in the off-road world, what changes could there be in your opinion?

Change can be a possibility and I like some of the ideas and adjustments. However, I think that at the moment not all situations have been followed yet

Thanks for your availability Carina, I think we'll see you again in Val Vigezzo

Count on it! Thank you for the opportunity.

Written by

[email protected] Mountain bike travel editor and expert. Chiropractor and personal trainer, for years following some of the strongest national interpreters of enduro mtb.


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