Five Questions with… Simone Berger

Simone Berger racing Conte's MTB Cup course
Simone Berger at Conte’s MTB Cup. (Photo: Diego Ferradas/VeloPista Photo)

How did you get started in racing?

When I first started mountain biking, I would meet every week with a group of guys and try to keep up for as long as I could. I loved the challenge and seeing my improvement. One of the guys suggested I try a local race. I won it and I was instantly hooked. I wanted to get even better and take my riding to the next level. I grew up playing tennis tournaments so I already had a competitive nature. I went on to race and win the Florida State Championship in Cat 3, then Cat 2 the following year. When I competed in Cat 1 my first year, I was disappointed when I was finishing at the back of the pack. I luckily found help with a coach, F2 Performance Lab. That year I moved up to finish 3rd in the series, and won the title the following year. Even now I “race the boys” by comparing my times to theirs and greatly enjoy observing my progress. My goal is always to beat myself because then I know I have improved.

Road, gravel, or mountain biking?

Definitely mountain biking. I started with mountain biking, and it became my addiction. There is nothing that matches the rush of adrenaline, the feelings of accomplishment, and pure elation of riding on a trail. I love being surrounded by nature, the friendly and supportive people, and the full body workout. I did switch to road for a few years to give it a try. I learned so much about racing strategies and the importance of teamwork, and usually landed on the podium. I enjoyed the speed, tactics, and feelings of power on a sprint or attack. I also gave gravel a chance, but neither were as fun as mountain biking.

How did last season go for you – highs and lows?

2021 had some of my greatest cycling accomplishments. I started off the year on the CWA pro gravel team. I trained and traveled for gravel races in Florida and North Carolina, and got to be a part of something bigger than just myself. I also traveled many weekends to Georgia to do the SERC/GSC series and won every race, even beating a pro mountain biker. And my greatest achievement was participating in the World Cup, in Snowshoe, WV, the highest level of mountain biking besides the Olympics and World Championship. I was selected to represent the USA in the race and got to compete alongside the best women in the world. I placed 33rd and I will remember it as one of the greatest experiences in my life. The most notable low for me was when I lost the sprint finish at the Conte’s MTB Cup at West Delray. It was the first mountain bike race I didn’t win for almost 2 years, and to lose it by a wheel from a mis-timed sprint caused me to replay that moment over and over in my head. It has since fueled my drive to get even stronger.

What’s next for you on the race calendar?

With the local South Florida Coconut Season coming to a close, the next race on my radar is the Conte’s MTB Cup at Quiet Waters on April 16th. The top prize for this one is $1000 so I have been practicing the course and doing efforts specifically for this race. After that, I have no plans for the summer and am planning some trips up north to ride for fun. I plan to be back to racing at the Florida State Championship series in September.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about you? 

I think it is important for people to remember that we do this as a hobby. I balance a successful professional career, my own business, I own and maintain a house, I have two fur-babies to take care of, and other responsibilities. My training is tailored around my busy working life and time for recovery. I am very thankful my coach understands this and focuses on quality over quantity. My typical training load is only 6-8 hours a week, prioritizing efficiency in the trails and race skills. I do events and trips that are within my available time and financial means. Mountain biking is how I have fun, stay healthy, and de-stress so it’s important that I enjoy it. I work hard both on and off the bike.

Simone Berger Cycling

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