What’s your “story” – what makes you unique?
I’m Regina Marunde, I’m 45 and living in Berlin. I’ve been a professional mountain bike racer for 15 years . I started racing as professional in 1991 because I got on the national team. Before cycling, I was a runner and a triathlete. I’ve been on both triathlon and mtb national teams so I had to decide between the two. Then I decided that mountain biking was more fun and that was the start of my profession as a mtb rider. In 1996, I started in the Olympics, the highest point in my career. I was also in the World Cup series until 2004. I was in the top ten and then I wanted to be a finalist at the 2004 Olympics, but I crashed before and broke many bones. It was too late to qualify even though it had been a really good season for me.
How do you stay focused?
I think I’m really focused in doing things. Competitive sports have always been on my mind. When I was a kid I used to organize some running events. And looking back at this time, I was really focused on this. Nobody pushed me, it was just me. As for cycling, it was just the right time to start. Good time to get a contract, and it was also a good team and a lot of fun! I am motivated by more than one thing – by my fizik products and its material, with my bike, with nature, and when I ride in nature and beautiful trails. I get my motivation to go on and push myself. I am motivated also when I ride with my friends or in a nice group. I want to stay focused. I don’t want to be the last one. It’s something that’s in my nature, to go further and to be better each and every time I ride.
How would you describe your live/work balance? How has cycling positively impacted your overall life?
I’m working as an osteopath at my home office and also as a bike fitter. I’m teaching technical training on mountain biking and working also on nutrition and so I can bring this all together: a healthy life, sports, and to give others my knowledge. It’s a good combination for me to do both. But I don’t lose my mtb focus while helping others. When I can’t ride you don’t want to meet me because cycling is my life.
In a largely Male dominated sport, how important is it for you to feel feminine?
I don’t think it’s really important to be feminine when I’m cycling. Everybody can see that I’m a woman. It doesn’t matter if there are girls and boys riding together. But I like to have some feminine stuff like clothes, and that’s enough for me. When I’m riding there are no difference between men and women.
Do you think women cyclists get the recognition they deserve, or are they still playing second base to male cyclists?
When you look in the newspapers, when there are interviews about races and all this stuff, there’s more on the men’s side of the story than on the women’s. It’s getting better in the last few years but the men are always in the focus and the women stay behind. It’s kind of frustrating because women are training in the same way the men do. The contracts for the woman are not as high as those for men either. So everything we can do to push woman out in front is good.
How important are specifically designed products for Women to your sport?
It’s an individual decision what you like and what you want to ride so you can’t say this is a women-specific bike and this one is for men, some women like this color and some men like this one: you couldn’t divide it like that. It must be a good function for an individual person and especially what I see as a bike fitter, you can’t always push a woman to ride a women’s bike sometimes because sometimes the proportions just don’t work. And sometimes maybe a male rider can sit on a women’s bike also and his legs and his torso fit good with this bike. So it’s more an individual fitting standpoint you have to look at it from.
Have you done a bike fit? If so, what have been the benefits of it for your riding position, your fun on the bike, sitting problems? If not, why?
During a bike fitting you have to ask what the person wants – if is it for a racer, is it for a recreational rider, or if it is for a city bike. Then when you know this, you can fit the bike. When I’m doing a bike fit, I also watch the person and look at their muscles, at osteopathic and orthopedic situation and then I fit the bike for the person, and not on the other way around. Maybe it’s necessary to train some specific muscle groups because when you do not have the right power in your upper vertebrae you can’t hold the position on the bike and you’ll feel pain. You also have to look at the saddle position and when you train your muscles more, you can change your position and seat in a more aggressive way. That’s why bike fitting is absolutely necessary. For me, most of my clients are sitting better than me because I don’t watch myself. It’s more of a feeling but it fits and feels right how I sit on my bike.
Is comfort more important for you or is the weight of the bike more important for you?
Being race-oriented, I think that having light equipment is really important. When I use my city bike I look more for comfort. But for the trails I definitely focus upon the technical aspects of my equipment.
What was your best experience in your mountain bike or cycling life?
One of my best experiences in mtb was the Olympics, because it was a really special event that I will never forget. On the other hand, I also appreciate the special trails with friends in Italy or other places such as South Africa or Colorado Springs – so many amazing trails to remember.
If you could employ ONE healthy nutrition tip on the world, it would be to:
Nutrition tip. I think it’s becoming more and more apparent to everybody that we don’t need that many carbohydrates. It was written down a couple of years ago because everybody said “ah you need tons of noodles when you go out for cycling or running”. It’s necessary to eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, drink a lot of water or tea. Not too much noodles or bread.
Describe specific women who have been influential to you and how they impacted your life.
There have been two women that influenced me: Regina Stiefl and Susi Buchwiese. They are two sisters that were really famous in Germany when I started riding. I was focused on these two girls, I wanted to be like them. They explained to me a lot of technical tips on how to ride trails. I learned a lot from them.
What do you think of the brand fi’zi:k?
The brand fi’zi:k is a company really focused on ergonomics. The products are also really good looking. It is good for our women’s team because we like to use these products.
Chatting with Regina Marunde
What’s your “story” – what makes you unique?