Mountain bike pros and their sixth sense for the weather

26. 08. 2021

Week after week, the six riders sit on their mountain bikes for hours on end. The Maloja Pushbikers MTB team’s motivation levels are high this season. But 2021 has been pretty tough so far weather-wise, including for the pros during training and at each World Cup station in Albstadt, Nove Mesto, Leogang and Les Gets. Let’s take a look behind the scenes.

Week after week, the six riders sit on their mountain bikes for hours on end. The Maloja Pushbikers MTB team’s motivation levels are high this season. But 2021 has been pretty tough so far weather-wise, including for the pros during training and at each World Cup station in Albstadt, Nove Mesto, Leogang and Les Gets. Let’s take a look behind the scenes.

You don’t actually expect snow in Germany in the middle of May, even if it’s just a few snowflakes,” recalls Pushbiker Barbara Benko about the bitter-cold World Cup opener in Albstadt. She cuts right to the chase about why the right clothing can basically contribute to World Cup success: “If I’m too cold, my body pretty much stops working for me, because it’s too busy fighting against the cold instead of helping me perform.”

In terms of the pitfalls in mountain bike racing, Barbara explains: “We always have to consider exactly which outfit we’re choosing for the race. The difference with professional road racing is namely that you can reach into the support car and grab a rain jacket. We have to wear the same thing from start to finish, so our decision before starting has to match the weather.”

“In Leogang, it was swelteringly hot on one of the days,” says Pushbiker Jan Vastl, referring to the temperatures in Austria at the racing weekend. He reveals that “it might sound funny at first to some people, but for me, light socks are just as important as a light jersey in that kind of weather. It bothers me if my socks are too thick.”

Barbara states which product she would always invest in: “Buy yourself a good rain jacket! At the World Cup in Nove Mesto this year, it suddenly poured it down when we were warming up. I had my mobile phone with me and I was actually sure it would get wet. When I took off the jacket before the start and took out my mobile phone, I could hardly believe it. It was completely dry! And me as well.”

Barbara adds: “A good pair of shorts with an anatomically fitted pad are also really important for me – they’re the main point of contact with the bike.”

If you sit on a bike for hours on end, you’ll naturally see a whole lot of other cyclists: “I often find that people on bikes wear sizes too big for them, especially clothes that are actually made to be close-fitting,” Jan explains. He recommends that “especially with jerseys, racers should occasionally consider whether they should buy a size smaller.”

From rain jackets, to bib shorts, to socks, the Maloja Pushbikers often come up with ideas that we at Maloja turn into innovative products.

Working closely together with athletes is very important to us, as they embody the Maloja brand and continue to provide us with valuable feedback. They test our products during training and in competitions in the toughest of conditions, and often come to us with ideas that we incorporate during product development.


Winter biking

“For the winter biking pants, can we place the wind blocker further up the thigh and let it go down to under the knee? That would be perfect,” Jan said recently. Development on warm thighs when biking in winter at Maloja has already started.

Is biking any fun in winter? Jan Vastl has a clear answer: “If the temperature doesn’t drop below -5 degrees, I’m happing sitting on my bike. Until that point, you can easily protect yourself against airflows and the cold with good clothing.”

Jan and Barbara agree that the same thing that applies to jogging applies to biking at colder temperatures: you should shiver a little when setting off. The “onion” look we know from hikers isn’t a necessity, according to Barbara: “Functional underwear and a layer of clothing on top is often enough. Then, when going downhill, I put on a jacket.”

In addition, overshoes are just as important as a good pair of gloves. “If it’s cold, I always have a second pair of gloves with me. Your hands actually get cold very quickly,” Jan says. “And if all else fails,” he says mischievously, “then I stop by a paper recycling bin, whip out a newspaper and use it to protect against the wind and cold. It keeps you warm in a pinch.”



We wish all our athletes huge success at the last station in the World Cup racing calendar in Lenzerheide (4 to 5 September 2021).