Nicole Reist: The woman who achieves the impossible on the road bike

02. December 2020 – Katharina Schlangenotto

The extreme sportswoman Nicole Reist rides the hardest ultracycling races in the world: Race Across America, the hardest ultracycling race in the world, the Ultracycling World Championship, the Adriatic Marathon, Race Around Austria and everything that for most people is far beyond imagination.

The 36-year-old Swiss lives for her sport and picked one of the toughest in the world. She trains according to the motto: “Success comes from outside the comfort zone.”

In competition, she uses this mantra to win: “Give your best and when you are done with it, surpass yourself!” Oh, yeah! That sounds tough and not at all like someone who ever gives up.

Nicole Reist explains:

“In an ultracycling race lasting several days, it is difficult to estimate in advance what is really possible. It also depends a lot on external conditions such as the weather. But I know that I have the basic physical requirements and that I am mentally strong. Because the head is absolutely crucial in ultracycling races – namely when the legs don’t want to go on. It is exactly this interaction of body and mind that fascinates me about this sport. The one does not work without the other. Just as important, however, is the team that accompanies me by car during the races, looks after me, navigates, provides entertainment, keeps me awake and provides my food. So ultracycling is not just an individual sport.”

On September 21 of this year, the press caused quite a sensation: The exceptional athlete had left all men behind her in the Italian non-stop Adriatic Cycling Marathon and was the first woman ever to win an overall victory in an ultracycling race in 43 hours and 54 minutes over 1,200 kilometers and 7,000 meters of altitude difference. And that even though she crashed hard the very first night: Nicole Reist had overlooked old, overgrown tracks when crossing them in the dark, and so her hands were knocked off the handlebars and she flew into a crash barrier. Lucky in misfortune, you could call it, because she got away with minor injuries – and of course continued her ride.
For years now, the petite woman from Winterthur has been riding in the world elite of men. This year she has now won her first victory. She is a little miracle who knows how to say everything necessary in just a few words: “Despite the fall, I got everything out of myself that was possible.” Well, it was enough.

In lectures, she talks about motivation and gives answers to questions like:

Why do people ride several thousand kilometers on a bicycle without sleeping? What is ultracycling anyway? Nicole Reist explains how such high performance is physically and mentally possible and what it takes to realize an extreme bike race like the Race Across America.

She shares how she experiences such a race on the bike as an athlete, what the team has to achieve in the different phases and how much influence a functioning teamwork has on success. Nicole Reist takes you on a journey to her passion, which she has lived out for 15 years, with all its ups and downs.

Nicole Reist

Ultra cyclist