We talk to Rebekka Markert about becoming a rider

Markert about becoming a rider

What’s your story?

I’m 34 years old and working as a graphic designer in my own business: Rebekka Markert Design, a small advertising agency based in Freiburg, my hometown. Freiburg is located in the south west of Germany on the edge of the Black Forest which is Germany’s mountain bike paradise and residence of several mountain bike champions (Moritz Milatz, Adelheid Morath, Alexandra Engen, Hanna Klein). I got into cycling quite late back in 2008 through my ex-boyfriend who was working for Bianchi and ex-pro triathlete. He gave me my first road bike. Before that I only had a bike to get to work or to the club on. My first races were in the morning with other cyclists on the way to work through Munich! I used to smoke and worked a lot but sport was always a part of my life but more to allow me to ‘switch off’. During that time sport became more and more important and I started running and training on the road more. I got my first mountain bike in late 2009, just before I moved to Freiburg. By pure chance I found myself in a road training camp in Mallorca early in 2010 and Matthias Ball, the camp guide and two-time European masters champion, said I was talented and should try racing. One of my clients – Benny Jörges from BQ-Cycles in Freiburg – provided me with a training plan and in May 2010, just a few weeks after turning 30, I competed in my first mountain bike marathon. I managed to get on the podium which was unbelievable and I thouhgt, “This must be my sport!” Since 2013, I have been training more and working less but my work is still a big and important part of my life and I try to balance both things.

How much of your time do you spend training?

Last month, I spent around 14-15 hours per week. Sometimes it’s more, in race weeks it’s less. A month ago I trained 20 hours per week on the bike, this is pretty much as difficult as it gets. As I have to balance training with work. For me I have the perfect job, because I can go outside when the weather is good and go for a ride—when it’s bad I stay at home and work. (I work at home so I don’t have to waste time on travelling to the work place, coming back and preparing something to eat, change clothes etc.).

Describe some women who have influenced you and how they impacted your life.

I would say that there are currently three women, like Emily Betty and Jolanda Neff, who I like a lot. Emily is the Canadian cross-country mountain bike champion and UCI World Cup racer; she’s so feminine – she does her nails, looks perfect at the start, has make-up on and wears a necklace. I like her style. She’s pretty and looks like a girl. Why should we look like men in this sport? To me that doesn’t make sense.

In a largely male dominated sport, how important is it for you to feel feminine?

For me, it’s very important to feel feminine in this sport because there are so many woman out there who look like men. I like to have my race- colored painted nails and look pretty on the start line. I like it when everything matches: my nails, my bike, my clothes. I like to show that I’m a woman and that I can be strong in technical sections; that I can race for hours, even in the cold or rain; and that I’m tough like the guys – even with make up on.

What do you think of the brand fi’zi:k?

I like fi’zi:k a lot because of its design language. As I’ve said, I work as a graphic designer and I have a degree in product design, so for me the visual identity is very important; things like, how you communicate your products. fi’zi:k’s design is very clear, and very direct and pure. Sometimes ‘less is more’ as black and white simply looks elegant and classy. I like the products and their saddles in particular. For me, it’s really important to have a comfortable saddle when I go biking for five to six hours. I also like the quality of the products.

What does fi’zi:k mean to you?

For me it’s the body ergonomic, the shape and material surfaces.