The SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team with World Champion Nino Schurter and owner Thomas Frischknecht just recently welcomed race talent Jenny Rissveds to the team. The 19 year old Swedish was already racing on SCOTT bikes and with the support of former SCOTT-Swisspower team least year. Now, as an official team member, we seized the chance to pop Jenny some questions about her history, her future plans and about her passion for mountain biking.
Jenny, tell us what made you jump on your first bike.
First when my mum and dad tried to teach me how to ride my bike, I wasn’t that interested. When I was four years old I decided to learn how to ride by myself. I went out onto the gravel path in our garden and started to practice. I didn’t give up until I made it and at the end of that autumn day, I knew how to ride a bike.
When did you first compete in an MTB race? What was that like?
I was seven years old and competed on a kid’s bike with three gears. The course was about three kilometers combining asphalt, gravel and trails. I felt comfortable on the part with asphalt and gravel. As soon as I had to ride in the forest I jumped off my bike and ran through that section. I remember the last forest part so clearly, with about 300m to the finish line, I jumped off the bike and a girl on a real mountain bike passed me. I didn’t know I was in the lead before she passed me. I realized that when I crossed the finish line as number two. This girl ended up becoming my worst competitor for a couple of years.Jenny shows her all-round talent in cross-country and eliminator.
Jenny on her SCOTT Scale 700 RC.
When people think about Sweden, mountain biking doesn`t necessarily come to mind. How would you describe mountain biking where you come from?
We have a long tradition of cross country skiing here in Sweden and probably that is what people associate most with this country.Mountain biking has become a big interest among the people in Sweden during the last couple of years. In Falun, where I live, there is a lot of hand built trails where you can go for a ride just for fun or for a hard training session. Every time on these trails I meet a lot of nice people, it doesnít matter what the weather is like or what season it is. The terrain is very hilly and there are a lot of rocky sections where you can get great technical training.
What does your perfect bike afternoon look like?
A nice summer day and I'm out on my bike to ride some of my favorite trails. Just ride for the fun of it and try to let the rear wheel drift in some of the corners. Or a cold dark autumn evening when I put on my headlamp and ride into the forest. The feeling when you only see what is right in front of you and everything else is dark is a feeling I like. It feels like everything happens so much faster and you must be ready to swing or jump over a possible obstacle.
Jenny Rissveds rides the SCOTT Scale 700 RC with a 27.5" geometry.
In 2013, you didn`t only win the XCE European Championships, but also two World Cups. What is your main attraction to XCE and what are the secrets to charging in these kinds of races?
I did my first XCE race at the WC Houffalize stop in 2012 just because it was something new and exciting. I wanted to see how far I could go. I finished in 3rd position and about one month later I won the XCE World Cup in La Bresse. After that season I realized what it takes to win an XCE race. You have to be a kind of ìall-rounderî. You have to be fast, strong, explosive and you need technical skills. You need a workable tactic for each heat, while at the same time being prepared for anything that might happen.
Already on SCOTT at this years` WC Vallnord.
Swedes are well known for partying- after her Cross Country Eliminator (XCE) gold medal race at the 2013 European Championships.
What has been the biggest surprise for you racing in 2013?
Firstly, Iíd like to mention the European championships. It was an unforgettable weekend in Bern for me. I did the team relay on day 1. On day 2 I did the XCE and on day 3 I did the XCO. I won the XCE race and ended up second at the XCO. It was three really tough days and I didnít expect these results. One more surprising thing was to win the national title in downhill. My season had ended and I wanted to do the Swedish Championships in downhill just for fun. I went to a bike park one week before the race to get the feeling of riding a downhill bike. It felt pretty good, but I did not have any thoughts of winning. After the qualifying run I realized that I had a chance to win, and to my surprise I did.
Even though being a real all-rounder, XCO is probably the most important category: What is your goal for the XCO discipline next year?
Next year I want to be on the podium in a couple of World Cup races and win at least one. Another goal is to land on the podium at the World Championships.
"It`s a great opportunity for me to ride in a team with guys like Nino Schurter."
Now everybody is already looking towards the Rio: Who are your main contenders in Sweden and how do your chances look for competing in 2016?
At the moment me and Alexandra Engen are the only riders in Sweden at a level to ride in the Olympics. If we both get good results in the future World Cups there will be a good chance for the both of us, as every nation can send two riders. Of course, if a third Swedish girl starts riding on our level there can be an issue with competition over Olympic spots, but at the moment it is only an advantage to have another rider pushing me to get better.
You are the only women on the SCOTT-Odlo team, not afraid being alone?
So far, i`m not afraid of it, haha. After one season to get to know the guys on the team I feel comfortable with the situation. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn from Nino Schurter and improve myself in a team with riders at this level. As long as it`s not a problem for the guys to have a girl on their team, I don`t think it will be a problem for me either.