She’s out there
What is the next best thing to riding bikes? Sharing the joy of mountain biking with others. Karen Eller, a biker for more than 30 years, founded the Contessa team based in Germany and Austria 12 years ago. Since then, the team has been helping to grow the community of riders. In this episode, the team meets up in the Dolomites for some riding and to look back on how Karen formed the team into what it is today.
“When I’m in my everyday life sometimes I have no energy but when I jump on the bike, I don’t have the feeling I got older.” – Words by Karen Eller
For nearly 20 years, Karen Eller has been a steadfast SCOTT athlete and ambassador of the sport.
How Did You Get Into Biking?
“I was into ski racing. In summer, we trained on road bikes. I loved the mountains and road biking was so boring to me. When I first heard about these bikes you could ride up mountains and have fun on the downhills I jumped on my first mountain bike. Since I loved racing, it was clear that I would start mountain bike racing as well. Transalp Challenge, TransRockies, and BC Bike Race were some of my successful races.”
Many of us are very different.. mothers, mountain guides, dentists.. but we share mountain biking.
Why Did You Start The Contessa Team?
“After coming on as an athlete in 2001, I told SCOTT about the idea to have a women’s-only mountain bike team focusing on those who share the passion for the sport and love riding with others. This was driven by seeing so many women riding in the Pacific Northwest, and I wanted to see that in Europe, too.
The Contessa Team started in Germany in 2003 and has since spread to other countries having their own specific teams.”
What Is The Goal Of The Contessa Team?
“The focus is not racing, even though some of the girls in the team are successful. It’s without the pressure; the focus is fun. We try to get more girls on the bike, test the SCOTT collection and take women out riding.”
What Is Important About Mountain Biking For You?
“Physical feeling good, having lots of fun with my sport, feeling flow, get challenged, physically and mentally. Enjoy nature and being outdoors, and for me, mountain biking is really biking in the mountains and enjoying the freedom you can find within them.“
“Come and join us, it’s much more fun to ride with others, learn from one another, face new challenges and get tips. Mountain biking is perfect to get physically and mentally fit, enjoy nature, be outdoors and simply find joy.”
WATCH: SHE’S OUT THERE
We followed our athletes to show the diversity of women out there who inspire us every day through their own interpretation of our NO SHORTCUTS way of life.
The concept of NO SHORTCUTS, as an approach to giving it your all, can be applied to any manner of things. It can be taking time for your friends and sharing some good mountain bike rides with them. It can be finding your balance on your road bike, inside yourself or within a team. It’s daring to step out of your comfort zone and running to the top of a mountain. It’s getting out on your skis regardless of the weather conditions to just do what you love. It’s living with authenticity and doing things for the right reasons. This series is about you and me. It’s about passionate women who are out there doing what they believe in, whether there’s someone watching or not.
Pictures: Maria Mia Knoll | Gaudenz Danuser
Guide: Luca Bortolotti | rideaway.it
Location: Valsugana, Trentino | @visitvalsugana #livelovevalsugana
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.