FNLD GRVL — Carolin Schiff

Win Gravel Locos and people raise an eyebrow. Win The Traka 200 and people start to take note. Win Unbound and suddenly there's a big target on your back. Caro Schiff won them all — back-to-back. FNLD GRVL fell at the end of an intense period of racing and traveling. A period of meteoric rise — that took the racing line from gravel unknown to one of the favorites. But a hectic race calendar is hard to manage. Caro took some time to also tell us about Finland and how she looks after herself while negotiating long transfers from race to race.

"Arriving at FNLD GRVL after winning Unbound — people were suddenly treating me very differently. It's nice, for sure, but I also think it's a little unfair that people treat you differently just because you won a race. But in the races also, other riders now have me on their plan to watch. They know me now."

"If you always travel and race, you can't train anymore. Every ride is just a recovery ride from travel, so your performance decreases. For me, the best plan is now to take a bit of time to rest, recover and reset the body."

"I try to plan where I can eat and what I can eat. I will check before I travel, where there are good places to get food. And not running empty during traveling. That's very important — not skipping a meal. Drinking a lot is also important while traveling. I'm not afraid to gain 1 or 2 kilos. With all this traveling and racing, that's fine."

From the beginning FNLD GRVL was like a road race. Riders had to be fresh and fast. But bad luck can always strike — even when you are in rich form — and Caro was hampered by 3 punctures, causing her to lose contact with the front group. Once back home, recovery included Maurten Solid, a day on the sofa, a short run and a jump into the lake.

Words by Ross Lovell, Photos by Julien Riganti