Small talk with… Jolanda Neff
22-year-old Jolanda Neff is undisputedly one of the world’s best mountain bikers. Spot caught up with the lovely lass from St. Gallen for a quick chat:
You are not only the world’s best female mountain biker, but also the youngest. What’s more, you have just been named Swiss Street Champion. Do you have any time for holidays?
Yes, it is all a question of organisation. I love spending my holidays with my best friends from school or with biking colleagues. It doesn’t matter where it is. The main thing is that the right people are there!
Before your job took you around the world, you mainly travelled in Switzerland – in a campervan with your parents and three siblings. What was that like?
It was fantastic! We travelled across Switzerland to wherever the races were taking place. The most beautiful journeys were to Wallis during the summer holidays, because the mountains there are so stunning. We always had a wonderful time together.
What does home mean to you?
For me, home is … the trails that I know inside out, my friends, my village, sunshine, my family, my hammock, our cat … simply being at home and enjoying life.
What is it about biking that fascinates you?
Nature, friends, weather, fresh air, endurance, strength, technique, tactics, atmosphere and fun.
Where is your favourite place in Switzerland to go mountain biking?
It is beautiful wherever you go! I particularly enjoy biking in Lenzerheide; in fact, anywhere in Graubünden. I also enjoy the Appenzeller Vorderland.
Which less well known Swiss routes would you recommend to a) beginners b) hobby bikers?
For beginners, the run in Lenzerheide that goes up from the Scharmoin middle station and then comes down via the ‘Flow Trail’. For hobby bikers, I’d recommend the route from Lenzerheide up to Piz Scalottas. There is a dreamy 360-degree view from the top.
As a child you joined your father during his races. Now you are making your own name in biking. What is the secret to your success?
It is quite simple: I love what I do!