Jolanda Neff

Mountain biking

Jolanda Neff

Highlights

  • Two-time UCI Mountain Bike World Cup winner (2014–2015)
  • Two-time European Champion (2015–2016)
  • Sixth place at the Rio Olympic Games (2016)
  • Three-time U23 World Champion (2012-2014)

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Date of birth: Jan. 5, 1993
From: Thal, Switzerland
Current hometown: Thal, Switzerland

Jolanda was introduced to cycling at a very young age, thanks to her father who was a professional cyclist. Her favorite thing about mountain biking is the fun. “If you’re not having fun on your mountain bike, you will not be fast”, she says. “You can’t take the fun out of mountain biking. That’s just amazing.” Mountain biking was not her only hobby as a kid — Jolanda is also a former ballet dancer.

Q&A WITH JOLANDA

How and when did you become interested in mountain biking?
My dad was a professional road racer so my siblings and I probably rode bikes before we could walk properly. I did my first race at age 6 and loved it immediately! 

What keeps you going and motivated in your training? 
The great pleasure that mountain biking gives me, challenging trails, fun times with my friends, the amazing nature, views and experiencing the weather at all conditions, feeling my body moving – all this makes me feel happy.  

Do you prefer to track your power or your heart rate? 
I always monitor my heart rate and at times my power as well. I only really use the power for specific intervals. On all the other rides the heart rate is all I need and it gives me great feedback. It shows how I’ve recovered, how hard I’m working plus includes the effects of the different weather on my body, so I always get to see the whole response of my body to the given conditions.  

Do you follow your training progress yourself or do you leave it more to your coach? 
My dad is my coach and we are working together very closely. So of course, I follow my progress and want to know everything that’s going on, but on top of that I can always rely on the great expertise of my dad which creates the perfect mixture.  

What’s the most challenging aspect of your sport?
Not to train too much and too hard. It’s excellent if you can monitor your heart rate all the time which gives you an immediate and accurate feedback on your recovering level. As a pro athlete you tend to train as hard as you can, but at times rest is needed and it can be helpful to have your Polar telling you that it would be this time now – because you’re probably not going to tell it to yourself by yourself. So – better listen to Polar. It listens to your heart ;) 

What do you like to do when you’re not training? 
Drinking coffee and having a relaxed time with my family and friends.