Franziska Koch: Sunsets, mountains, adventure, bikes

Sunsets. Mountains. Adventure. Bikes. Those four things give you a pretty good insight into my personality. I want to start my first blog by giving you my background, so let’s just dive right into it.

I love discovering the unknown and throwing myself into challenging situations. This can simply be going to new places or even starting to write a blog post. Out of the comfort zone is where the magic happens, right? But, with all these challenges, I also need some time to relax. One of my favorite means of relaxing is to watch the sunset. It’s a reminder that no matter how bad your day has been, it can always end in a good way. But luckily not every day is bad and I can just enjoy the beauty of the changing colours 😉 

The bike has been a part of my life since I was born. My family is a typical cycling family. My grandparents were cyclists, as well as my parents and siblings too. To give a little picture what this means: every Christmas we have the TV on in the background with all the ongoing cyclo cross races. Nevertheless, when I grew up, I did a lot of different sports as well: swimming, running and athletics, but the older I got, the more time I wanted to spend on my bike. I didn’t care which type of bike. I did road cycling, mountain biking, track, a little cyclo cross (but only a little, because I didn’t like running with my bike so much. Why run, when you have a bike!?) I even played Bikeball. It’s like football, but two against two on the bike.

Watching the sunset

My heart beats the most for road cycling and mountain biking. Although I dreamed about being professional on the road, in my junior years I focused more on mountain biking. I would never have thought that my dream of turning professional would come true immediately after my Junior years, but (back then) Team Sunweb showed their interest early. They offered me a contract and who could have said no to that? 

Time flies when you’re having fun and I’m already going into my 5th year with the team. I never lost my love for the mountain bike, but now I use it to alternate my training and my happiness. For example, I’ve gone on training camps with friends from the mountain bike scene and we rode to a field for a picknick- me riding there on my mountain bike and my friends on the road bike. Small hint as to who connects “work” with which kind of bike… but don’t get me wrong! I would never really consider riding my bike as work. I guess everyone who reads this blog knows about the awesome feeling of freedom when being out on the bike discovering new areas, feeling the speed, the adrenaline of a descent and the pride when reaching the top of a climb or finishing a ride. 

At Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Photo: Eloise Mavian / Tornanti.cc

Of course, winter training can be hard. But keep asking yourself Why? Why do I ride my bike? Why did I start? Those are great thoughts a friend showed me this winter and I recommend thinking about it yourself. For me, I said that in addition to liking the feeling of freedom, I like winning. Why? Because you can inspire and motivate people with great performances. So far, I am still riding in a support role and I am not competing for the win for myself yet. There is no question that this is one of my goals in the future. I already love the taste of winning when a teammate steps on the podium. Our team spirit is high, and we aim for one goal together. So we win as a team.

Our roster has changed a bit this year with some riders leaving and coming in. Change is good, it brings new energy and opportunities in a group. We started the season by proving that we didn’t lose any strength, with a win for Charlotte Kool in the UAE. We showed it wasn’t a coincidence with another win on the 4th stage. It kept on going for us in Setmana Ciclista-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fèmines with a win for one of our youngsters Elise Uijen on the last stage. 

At the UAE Tour. Photo: Cor Vos

Starting the season in a good way is important, because it gives you a little extra confidence and trust. Winning starts in the head. Next to physical strength, technical skills and racing smarts, confidence, commitment and team spirit are key factors as well. A victory is the result of everything combined. Personally, I am the most excited for racing the cobbled classics now. They are hectic, chaotic, and technical, which suits me well. My highlight of the classics season shows my preferences well, because my love belongs to Paris-Roubaix. 

I hope you enjoyed reading the article and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or feedback! You can find me on social media under @franzi_kc.

Cheers,

Franzi

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