If you have a sibling, you know that they're probably the hardest competition you can have. So what if they competed in the same sport with you? For a living?? We asked the MTB Racing Twins Anita and Caro Gehrig from Flims in Switzerland
Interview by Anna Langer
Racing Twins.... Who is the faster one?
Caro: According to the racing results it's Anita... She manages really well in bringing down her race runs consistently, I’m working on it and getting there! From time to time I manage to beat her.
How did you get into MTB in the first place? Whose idea was it?
Anita: Our family has always been into mountain biking, we just had a late start as we were really into horseback riding before. But when we watched our first downhill race at the World Champs in Lugano in 2003, we were totally fascinated and knew that we want to ride DH one day.
It took several years until we could effort our first bike and I even had to lend Caro half of the sum needed for the bike, as she was still in education. We always shared lives so it was out of question to start mountain biking with anyone else than my sister.
How did it progress from a mere hobby/passion to become your full time job?
A: Well, I guess passion takes a big part in that, it just became a bigger and bigger part of our lives. The competitive part made us faster and better riders, and the step up to Enduro also happened just at the right time and brought huge success from the first year on. Having a brand like Specialized as our main sponsor is a big motivation too.
Do you race against each other a lot?
C: All the time, unless some one is injured. We set our racing schedule together and enjoy to share our passion.
What's that like? Do you enjoy it?
C: For us it’s just great! Of course there is always a sister battle between us, but I guess that started already in childhood... In general we see it as a big benefit as we never have to be worried about riding/practicing or travelling alone. We clearly have different strengths and weaknesses, Anita is technically stronger and often shows me how to ride a steep gnarly section smooth but on the other hand I’m more courageous, when she's peeing her pants it's my turn to bring it on! I think we can push each other really well and in the end that is what makes you faster.
A: It becomes an even bigger benefit when it comes to mass start races, of course we fight against each other but also totally help each other in taking the lead over the others.
Can you be happy for the other if she wins and you don't?
C: We are always stoked for the other, but of course I want to be faster than Anita. The best thing is to have a double win, like we had in Are/ Sweden at the Maxiavalanche, big time!
What are your favourite trails around your home town Flims?
C: Flims has such good trails, it’s hard to name one favourite. The trail from Nagens down to Flims is pretty stunning; breathtaking views in the mountains, rocks, roots, greasy wood sections, all in one and never really time to hang on. Pure fun!! To round up a nice biking day we take the trail from Mutta down to the lake of Cauma to have a swim in the refreshing lake with turquoise water.
And your favourites in the world?
A: Whistler, Canada! They’ve got such a variety of trails, just stunning. It’s not only the world famous bikepark, once you have a trail bike with you a new world opens up, as there is such a vast network of trails. We'll finally go back there this summer, after 3 years of waiting.
Anywhere you're dying to go to and ride?
C: We’d love to go to South America as we have never been there before. The search for trails is endless, we still haven’t even seen a third of the trails in the Grison area, where we live...
Do you stay naturally fit from living in the mountains or do you train?
C: A certain grade of fitness is for sure just because of the mountain lifestyle. But to be competitive in our sport it is barely enough. During wintertime we spend a lot of time with different sports such as snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, gym, yoga and ski touring. Every other sport can help you to get better in your specific sport, I guess. We also enjoy to ride different bikes in our training, to have it mixed up keeps it fun.
A: Even tough I enjoy our sport so much, by the end of the race season I’m glad to have some time for other things and sports. Caro had the opportunity to spend two months in New Zealand last winter, while I stayed at home. I’d love to go somewhere warm this coming winter, too. But I’m quite glad we have a long winterbreak off the bike as it keeps me hungry for the upcoming season.
What's your least favourite thing about biking?
C: Injuries and endless days in the car driving to a race, the way back is sometimes even worse as the exciting part is already over.
And anything else you'd like to get off your chests?
Life isn’t about avoiding risks, it’s about calculations and going all in with the things you love. Girls go out and ride your bikes! And thanks to everyone who makes us to the two happy girls we are!
Anita and Caro ride for Specialized, Zimtstern, Mavic, Flims, Red Bull, X-Bionic, POC, Oakley and Dakine. Follow their adventures on twinsmtbracing.com