Wintertime is time for preparations in the lives of most XC mountain bikers. Some like to compete in cyclo-cross, but I’m one of those who don’t – without any special reason or from the other side – I don't have a reason why I should.

In beginning of November, after nice off-season time I started my preparation for 2016 season. But besides training there were also many other things to do – like resigning a contract with Unior Tools Team and making a proper plan together with my team and my coach. It's really cool to work with so nice, hardworking and enthusiastic people. In my opinion our plan (and we are making it real) is better than any year before, which makes me calm and confident.

Besides that another important issue was to again find motivation and passion for biking in myself, which I luckily did. Just average results weren’t the only reason for occasional lack of good mood, at one point I've found my life boring, focusing only on training and competing. Therefore I joined some educational programs, where I meet new people and learned a lot. I also went hiking in Slovenian mountains more often than ever before, and every time again and again the beauty of our nature amazes me.

Now I’m on the right track. Hope it stays like that or it gets even better in 2016. It's going to be a special year in any case, I have no doubts about that.

I wish everybody to feel good, stay healthy and have a very special 2016!

Tanja Žakelj in the Slovenian Alps

Tanja Žakelj in the Slovenian Alps

Tanja Žakelj in the Slovenian Alps

Tanja Žakelj in the Slovenian Alps

It's been quite a long time since I last raced a proper cross-country race; that was last September in Hafjell, Norway at the finals of World Cup 2013. Winter time passed very fast, which means it was exciting and full of different adventures. On the other hand it was nice to spend a longer period of time at home.

Slovenian cycling federation awarded best riders and teams of 2013 season and of course there was no doubt about the best female rider. I was already awarded with this title in the past, but this year it was more deserved than ever – with overall victory in the XCO World Cup, two World Cup victories and European title. Best male rider of the year is Matej Mohorič, under 23 road world champion. Best mountain bike team of the year is Cycling club Rajd, managing club of my team - Unior Tools Team.
I’m very honored to receive this recognition from the federation, but I’m even more excited about the results in the season that are the reason for this award. I know that this was a teamwork, and my thanks go to the Unior team and the larger group of people around me. I hope that all of these awards will connect us even stronger and we will start the new season without pressure, full of power and new ideas.

Photos by Marko Kopač and Rajko Petek

0