3-Time Champ of the IditaFAT
I recently got a chance to interview Helene Schmid of Roth Racing as she was preparing for the Fat Bike Nationals.
STICKBOY: I think the first IditaFAT was the first time I met you. Right? If not, let’s just lie and say yes for this interview. Hahaha.
HELENE: I'm not sure :-) I think we may have met when we came up to ride with Brian Hill from EPIC?? Were those rides before the first IditaFat??? Who can remember that far back??? :-)
STICKBOY: It’s exciting that you came back after year two to defend your title. A little bit of a growing pain that year as race director. Sorry for making you run a marathon to get to your bike. Promise to never do that again. Hahaha.
HELENE: That was my least favorite part of that race!!! :-) I HATE running :-)
STICKBOY: Being the three time champ you get the number 1 this year. We are getting ready to decorate it. How excited are you for that?
HELENE: I cannot tell you how excited I am for this!!! Last year was so exciting to see my decorated number 2, I don't think I've ever been given a number 1 race number, that's usually given to the guys, so I am SUPER STOKED to see and race with my cool number this year!!!! My number 2 race number is still hanging up in our garage at home :-)
STICKBOY: You’ve been doing this whole bike thing for a while. Why do you think it has stuck with you for so long?
HELENE: I really enjoy all of the options with biking....road, CX, single speed, hard tails, full suspensions, enduro, fat bikes, etc. I love getting to choose what bike
and terrain to ride each day (although I usually pick off road something :-)))).
STICKBOY: When did you start fat biking?
HELENE: I think I started fat biking about 5 - 6 years ago??? I feel like I've always had a fat bike! Once we moved up here from Brooklyn, we started seeing these fat bikes, and I wanted one immediately!!!
STICKBOY: What advice would you offer to someone just starting off in cycling?
HELENE: BE PATIENT!!!! I started really riding a bike when I started racing triathlons almost 20 years ago, and I just couldn't understand how to do it efficiently!!! I came into triathlon as a swimmer, so I would be out of the water first and I could count HUNDREDS of people passing me on the bike! SO FRUSTRATING!!!! Then I started riding with CYCLISTS, rather than just alone, or with other triathletes, and I started to understand shifting and bike handling more, and it started to click! It's a fabulous sport, because I believe we get better as we get older (as long as you're still staying strong) due to learning how to be more efficient on the bike.
STICKBOY: What motivates you to carry on?
HELENE: Changing what I'm doing often. Coming from triathlon, I started with road bikes and road racing, crits, etc.. Then came Cyclocross which was so fun and different!!! And then came MTBing, which I continue to fall more in love with every season! First there was a hard-tail MTB bike and Cross Country races, then came a single speed hard-tail which is so much more challenging and fun! Then I got an Enduo MTB which is really helping me to gain confidence on more technical terrain, and now I have a full-suspension race bike to do some technical terrain but in a cross country setting!!! And of course Fat Biking mixed in whenever the feel is there (and all winter!!!).
STICKBOY: I saw you at the Hardcore 24 this year. Will you be one of those crazy people that does it solo this year? Yes. I label myself crazy. I don’t want to be normal, hahaha.
HELENE: YES SIR!!! I LOVED that race, and doing it as a relay was fun, but I'm an endurance athlete, so the challenge of riding for 24 hours solo is MADE FOR ME!!!! What fun is it to be normal???? I'm with you :-))))
STICKBOY: Last question. What’s your favorite part of the IditaFAT?
HELENE: Honestly, I love the small town feel of this race. The volunteers are AWESOME, the food is AWESOME, the raffles are AWESOME, and come on, where else do you get a DECORATED race number???? It's the best small town, but biggest distance fat bike race around!!!!
Thank you to everyone that made this interview possible. Thank you to Helene Schmid, Roth Racing, Winona Forest Recreation Association and the IditaFAT.