Blue skies, huge mountains and bikes. Three things I love, and three things that Switzerland has in bags. Switzerland is a pretty great location to test out some mountain bikes, and it’s not surprising that Scott Bicycles choose it as the location for it’s Scott Contessa mountain bike press camp.  That, and the fact that European HQ of the brand is in Switzerland.

Scott Bicycles is the second brand so far in 2016 to do a women’s specific press camp around a bike launch, which is noteworthy. It indicates that bike brands are paying serious attention to the women’s cycling market (finally!) and it’s good to see that they’re also ensuring the products get decent coverage on the main media outlets by hosting women’s specific launches.

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Previously only the unisex versions of bikes got launches, or products would be launched altogether which meant that most of the coverage focussed on the men’s or unisex bikes.

Now, there’s a whole other issue which is do we even need women’s specific bikes, and interestingly Scott is also the latest in a long line of bike brands that have opted to change to unisex frames for mountain bikes rather than women’s specific geometry, with female finishing kit such as a women’s saddle, paint work, etc.

I’d never ridden in around St Moritz and wow, what a beautiful location. The trails ranged from technical cross country with roots and rocks, through to loose and gravelly mountain top single track and rocky mountainside descents, with a little bike park action thrown in for good measure. I’ll be back, Switzerland, I’ll be back. That area has been added to the list that already includes Verbier – also awesome.

There were some pretty amazing moments across the 3 days of the trip, but one of them has to be the 4.30 am cable car and lift up to the top of the mountain for a dawn-lit mountain top breakfast, followed by a long (and occasionally icy) descent back down to the valley bottom.

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Now, nice as it was to check out the new bikes, one of the most amazing elements of the trip was the chance to meet and interview the freshly crowned Olympic XC Champion Jenny Rissveds. Rissveds, an athlete with the Scott-Odlo team, was fascinating. She has a very calm, mature and self-possessed presence, which is clearly a contributing factor to her incredible success, coming as it does also in the year she was crowned Under 23 World Champion. I’d love to say I rode with her, but given her fitness, speed and bike skills, I think the best I can claim is that I was on a trail at the same time as her, and quite some distance behind.

 

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