From: Hyeres, France
Have you always loved being outdoors?
Yes, I can’t stand being inside too long!
How did you get into mountain biking?
Started racing BMX at the age of 6, then I found out about Downhill on TV when I was about 14, and told my mum I wanted to do that. I’ve never looked back since!
When did you decide to commit to biking full time?
I won the European Descent Junior Championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999 but it was when I became the World Junior Champion in 1999 that I decided to go into it full-time.
Did you find it pretty hard to break into a male-dominated sport?
No it’s really been alright for me. We lady riders get our share of the glory too!
Do you consider yourself to be an adrenaline junkie?
Sometimes! I love speed so much!! I find everything a new challenge…
Can you give us a run down of your average day?
I’ll wake up, have a nice breakfast, go for a ride and do some training, have lunch, do some more riding in afternoon, then enjoy a nice massage or do some yoga to chill out and stretch my muscles.
And if you could have the perfect day, what would it include?
Every day is already a perfect day!
What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
I love this time of year. Our riding season is during the summer, so I mostly travel around the world for different races – it’s a hard life!
What’s your favourite place to ride?
It’s a tough call – Italy and Canada are definitely my favourite riding spots.
Do you still get nervous before a big contest?
Yes! After so many years of racing I have learnt how to deal with stress but being a bit nervous is what makes a good race!
What is the atmosphere like behind the scenes?
We’re all really busy, working on setting up our bikes, doing training, and that kind of thing. But we do all get on and it is really fun!
What are your suitcase essentials when you’re on the road?
Racing gear, Weleda products, hairbrush, yoga mat, clothes, incense sticks, books and my teddy!
How do you relax when you get the chance?
I do a lot of yoga, or I love to read and make scrapbooks.
What have been your biggest career setbacks?
I lacerated my liver in July 2004. That was a really tough time for me and it definitely changed my perspective on things.
What have your greatest achievements been so far?
Definitely being crowned 2006 and 2007 World Champion. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Is the 2008 title up next?
Well, I’ve still got the last two World Cup races to go! After that, I’ll be enjoying a bit of holiday time before getting back into training for next season.