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Aline Simoes Interview

Rio 2016 is just around the corner, so to start things off we're going to be doing a series of interviews with up and coming cyclists across the globe. To begin with, we thought that we ought to start with a Brazilian rider, and have tied this in with our friends at Focus Bikes, choosing Focus XC Team Rider in Brazil, Aline Simoes.

Mountain biking is big in Brazil, across all genres; it was good to speak with Aline and to find out how she got into the sport and what her plans are for the future - including for Rio

What was your first bike and how did it feel to get it to ride it? 
My first bike was a 29 Mosso. It was fabulous and I felt a real sense of freedom and fullness riding it, exploring places and having adventure.  
Where did you ride your bike? 
I rode my bike in all places; dirt roads asphalt, on the highway, in parks, in the nearby mountains and everywhere I could really. My family cycled a lot, so I had good opportunities to get out on the bike.  
What was your first cycling club and where was it? 
I was really lucky I suppose. My first club was the one I currently ride for, the Focus XC Team Brasil. A friend of mine referred me to the team, and the rest they say is…and here I am! 
When did you start cycle racing and how did you get into Cross Country (XC)? 
Well, again it was very recently. May 2013 was my first race, so not too long ago. Friends of mine were competing, and so I got into that way, encouraged and motivated by them.  
What was your first XC race and how did you do? 
My first XC race was my first cycle race again, in 2013. It was a championship in Dracena, Brasil. I came across the first 3 placed who were already professionals for years. It was a fantastic feeling and made me realise that I maybe had some talent for this! 

Where is the best place / route in your mind for XC riding? 
I love riding in the mountains on natural trails, and in places where it can have many trails and obstacles like tree roots, twisting singletrack and technical rock gardens. It keeps me focused and adds to the pleasure of the ride, making me more and more skilful at handling. 
We do quite a lot of work here with Focus Bikewear. How was it to be asked to be a part of the Focus XC Team? 
It was good to be referred – especially by a friend. They’re a great team and great riders! 
What's your best result so far? 
My best result was Vice Champion Brasil Ride Warm up Sport, and Champion Paulista Mountain bike 2014. I’ve been lucky to have some good early career results.  
Do you also represent Brasil at XC racing? 
No, not at this time; I need support to participate in events in Brasil. Unfortunately my country does not give due weight to the athletes. Hopefully things will improve sometime in the future and we can achieve a lot more.  
What are your ambitions and will you be riding in the Rio Olympics? 

I still have a lot to learn and need to evolve in mountain bike racing to be able to participate in an Olympics. I want to be competing mtb  in the 2020 Olympics in Japan, so see that as my XC goal; but I believe I can join the track cycling team (Olympic speed) in the Rio Olympics. Keep watching for me!