Riding to a tenth place at the German championships in her first year as an elite rider, Christa Riffel joined a professional cycling team as a trainee, just one day after she turned 19. Still only 22 years old, she joined Team Hitec Products with already 3,5 years of experience in the professional peloton. She for sure learned that cycling isn’t only pedalling fast. “The mind plays such an important role!”
After more than three seasons racing with Canyon-Sram, Christa is a Team Hitec Products rider in the 2021 cycling season. Time to get to know the German rider, who did quite a different sport on a younger age. “Before cycling and since I was 3 years old, I danced ballet”, she says. “I did that until I got ‘infected’ with the cycling fever when I was 14 years old. My twin brother’s best friend from school comes from a cycling family and he invited us to join the club team training on the open track once. Soon after that I switched sports and was only riding my bike.”
Cycling really got Christa. “Being a cyclist gives me freedom and I can explore new places and meet new people. I love the preparation and focus before the start of races, to work for a goal and to get a reward for the hard work afterwards. And also to prove myself what I am capable of.” Racing with Team Hitec Products will be a new chapter if it comes to that.
Staying involved in cycling
But who is she, besides a cyclist? “I would describe myself as a happy and friendly person”, Christa says. “In the beginning I can be really shy, but after a short time I am more open. I like to listen to music and podcasts and to try new recipes when it comes to baking or cooking. If I have time I love to read or to go roller skating. At the moment I am studying mechatronics. Maybe I will still be involved in cycling somehow in the future with that, or I will focus more in medical technology.”
In the near future however, the goal is to perform well in races. “In 2021 I want to try to be active in races. Not waiting until something happens and regretting it afterwards, when you maybe still had something in your legs, but creating opportunities and trying new things with attacking and in breakaways. I would be satisfied if I can look back on 2021 and can say that Team Hitec Products and I didn’t hesitate in races. That we gave our very best and thereby got some great results together and unforgettable memories.”
‘I learned a lot’
The experience she gained in the past year, Christa brings with her to the team. “I learned a lot in the past years. Coming from the juniors and mostly only being used to German races, I had not much experience. For example about how to race in the elite category, but also how to train effectively and how important rest and sleep are too. The races are completely different in the elite level and working strong together as great teammates can change the outcome of a race completely. Having a plan going into a race and believing in it is crucial, as well as trusting it. The mind plays such an important role!”
Earlier we also talked with Ann Helen Olsen, Martine Gjøs, Anne Dorthe Ysland and Caroline Andersson. Click on their names to read the interviews.
Photo top: David Lemanski