Wise Words is our interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!
This week’s Wise Words come to you via your current UCI Downhill World Champion, Camille Balanche.
Camille Balanche is on a roll. Since joining Dorval AM, she’s gone from strength to strength, and is your current Swiss National and World Champion, as well as being tied on points in the World Cup overall with Myriam Nicole. The future is bright for Camille Balanche.
Photos by Jey Crunch.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
Confident but smart rider, pretty chilled in training but dangerously fast in race. Hates uphills.
What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?
For sure my whole team, Dorval AM. Starting with my team manager Claude Pierré who recruited me.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
I don’t think I have any habits others than checking the tyre pressure before riding, but nothing unusual.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Have fun on your bike, but really do not just say it. Fun is fast.
Never listen to someone who says that you can’t achieve your dream.
If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?
Ooft, there is a lot but I’m missing Whistler a lot so I would go for one re-ride there. My last time was in summer 2018. Riding the whole day A-line and Dirt Merchant with friends in a big train.
What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?
Even when I started by racing enduro for 2 years and I didn’t really enjoy it, that helped me become the rider I am today. It forged my character and give me some good physical basis. I regret nothing I did before mountain biking (other sports and finishing my master degree in sport science) and I couldn’t have been more efficient since I’m into downhill, so no wasted time really.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I take a day off or I complain to Emilie Siegenthaler, my partner and best riding buddy, so far it always put me back on track.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
Riding fast on a flowy trail with friends (with a lot of natural gaps and jumps).
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Covid-19 and all the races being cancelled because of it.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
Winning the World Cup overall.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
You can keep tabs on Camille’s racing exploits on her Instagram feed here.
You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.