What does a seven-time XC World Champion and Olympian do in the offseason? We’ll give you a hint—it has little to do with wearing lycra and chasing VO2 max on an XC bike. For Nino Schurter, the time between race seasons is spent with friends and family in Tuscany, Italy, and it just so happens though that most of Nino’s family is as addicted to riding as he is.
While Nino’s home in Graubünden, Switzerland is under snow for the winter, his family's house in Tuscany has endless single track starting just outside their front door. Relatively remote, the house and trails offer Nino a chance to rest and recharge, both on and off the bike.Massa Marittima in southern Tuscany is a perfect area to outlast the colder northern snows. With dry (and dusty) trails, there’s the opportunity to ride shuttles all day if you want or smash pedals for hours on end. Plus, at the end of the day, there’ll be excellent food and beverage to refuel.
Scott Sports Interviews Nino Schurter
Nino Schurter's Scott Ransom
What do you associate with the Ransom and what went through your mind when you heard about the revival of the name or the bike?
“The Ransom was my first freeride bike and I experienced many great tours and races with it. I even won one of the first Enduro races in Flims. The Ransom was a pioneer in this segment. I was really looking forward to the new edition- no doubts, it kept what it promised.”
How often do you ride the Ransom?
“In the past offseason, I only rode the Ransom, no other bike. If I were not an XC racer, and if I could only own one single bike, I think I would buy a Ransom. It’s the kind of bike that gives you both freedom and fun, with this bike you’ll climb to places which would never be accessible plus every trail feels like flow. It climbs so incredibly well for a 170mm bike and on the downs it simply rules- I’ve never ridden an enduro bike which is capable like this one.”
Electronic components, shifting, an E-dropper post- your Ransom set-up ticks all the boxes. What’s your impression?
“The advantages don't seem so dramatic at first sight, but once you’ve ridden it for a long time, you don’t want to miss it anymore. Every activity always feels the same and that feels extremely safe and comfortable. Basically, you can focus much more on the basics- and ride even harder.”
Do you consider using an E-dropper post in the World Cup?
“Yes, certainly, not in all races but mostly when there are courses with difficult conditions. The set-up of the E-dropper and the removal is now super easy, so we can change quickly.”The Off Season
Nino, what does the off-season mean to you?
“In my off-season, I try to refuel and get new motivation. An XC season is extremely energy consuming both physically and mentally. First of all, I recover and I try to not bike at all, instead taking care of the beautiful things in life, so that means family first. In my short off-season, I also catch up on missed things: From time to time we go to the beach, have dinners with friends and generally do things which have nothing to do with biking. Spending time with friends is especially important to me – that’s often not done enough when you’re in World Cup mode.”
How important is it for an athlete to switch off from high-tension race mode?
“Recreation and breaks are as important as training. Breaks are essential during training time to regenerate physically. Longer time-offs lasting several weeks are important for athletes in the long run in order to give the body the break it needs, plus to set new stimuli and to clear my head. Those who train constantly without giving body and mind a break, train themselves down to zero, both physically and mentally. Especially after an eventful season with many highlights and great successes, it is immensely important for me to come down as well as possible. My family and a completely different environment help me a lot to do just that- come down, and re-focus.”
What are the benefits of going to a remote place?
“I have a lot of hustle and bustle all year round. In addition to the training and the racing circus, my program also includes sponsor events, media appointments and other commitments throughout the year – which is nice, but also very time-consuming and intense. To relax as much as possible and to clear my mind, I like to be in relatively quiet places, such as my parents’ holiday home in southern Tuscany, where I have no distractions and can focus entirely on doing simply nothing. The trails there are like a playground, the terrain is made for both little and big boys: every year I discover new trails and lines. So, zero doubts- the Maremma is very wild and offers enormous variety for bikers.”
Where do you find inspiration in the offseason?
“I do everything that is fun and offers variety: riding motocross, going to the sea, indulging in the Italian Dolce Vita – Tuscany makes it very easy for me here.”
Tuscany is known for its wine, alleys, and rich history. What does it mean to you and why do you go there frequently?
“With Tuscany I connect family, good food, cool trails, the sea, friends and any outdoor adventure. It’s the place where I literally come down and push my “Re-Set” button. You live a quite simple life there, garnished with the typical ambiance, extremely nice people and mostly pleasant weather. Apart from that, it’s great to train here- regardless of the bike.”
How important is your family and what role does your daughter play?
“My family is my base. Nothing works without a well-working environment. My daughter and my wife are of course always most important to me. At the age of three, my daughter is already very skilled on the kid's bike. She often comes with me or I take her with me – she’s totally in it, no doubts.”
It seems you’re riding a lot with your brother. What’s the story with him, how did he inspire you?
“We discovered biking together when we were kids. And we challenged each other from the beginning. As a family we often went on bike holidays. We both have a totally different bike style, which can be very inspiring. We all have fun with biking in our own way. My brother is an MTB instructor, he has a bike school in Massa Marittima and therefore, like me, he rides bikes almost every day. My father used to coach the Swiss DH national team and is still very fast on his bike today. Both invest a lot of time in local trail building and in the bike community here in the Maremma. It’s great when you can share a passion within your family! We live mountain biking to the core. They have just shaped a new trail line here in Massa Marittima on one of the local mountains, it’s called El Nino. I couldn’t wait to ride it!”