An Incredible Life

Looking at your website, it seems that you have an incredible life (with lot of travels, countries, citizenships and sports).

Could you first sum up the big stages of your life? Twenty four years ago I was born in Guilford, England. We moved to New Zealand where my family comes from, before moving to Rochester in the USA. I began school there and we moved to Sydney, Australia when I was still young. Growing up I spent any spare time snowboarding, skateboarding and horseriding. The next overseas move was to Sweden in 1997 where I trained at a snowboard school in the north of Sweden for one year. After that I spent some time again in the USA (California) and then again in Sydney with my family. In 1999 I began mountain biking and I also started at university. I am now in my final year of my course where I am studying Graphic Design and New Media (Bachelor of Creative Arts) and I will be graduating at the end of the year. Last year I became an Australian citizen in order to compete at the World Championships. Travelling has been a big part of my life so far, I love Europe and also Japan. I just returned from a brief holiday in New Zealand where I visited my family and friends, I really enjoy it there but I would have to say that I call Australia home because it is where I have spent most of my time.

You discovered mountainbike 3 years ago after an injury done in snowboard, your last sport. Then you went on with this activity. Why did you choose it, what do you like in this? It must be similar to snowboarding? Do you feel better if you're unsafe? Mountain biking is a lot of fun!! The way I came across the sport was purely by accident, but I am so glad that I did. I think that mountain biking is great because it continually provides you with ways to challenge yourself. It is really satisfying to be able to see your own progression and even to just be able to get on a bike and go riding. To go out into the bush with friends and just ride.

You fast became one of the best riders in your country. Then last year, you discovered the world championships. Now, what do you aim for the next international dates? My trip to the world championships was really to see what an international race was like and also to see the level of competition. Now I am hoping to get on an international team so that next year I can start racing overseas.

Could you be a professional mountain biker in Australia? Which rank and notoriousness for your sport in Australia? In France, people like Nicolas Vouilloz or Laurence Leboucher are only known by specialists, in spite of huge highlights. Is this the same in Australia? Unfortunately you cannot easily become a professional mountain biker in Australia. Whilst mountain biking is an activity that many people do at a competitive level, the sport itself is quite small and receives very little mainstream media coverage. Just like Nicolas Vouilloz and Laurence Leboucher, Chris Kovarik and Mary Grigson are only known by specialists, regardless of their international success.

With all your activities : designer, biker and model, how do you proceed? How much time do you spend in each one? Have you enough time left to do something else (hobbies)? Life at the moment is very hectic trying to do all three considering that my degree is a full time commitment, however at the end of this year I will have completed my studies. I hope then to be able to focus much more on cycling. I still intend to continue with graphic design and modelling. I think it is really important to have time for other hobbies, so whenever possible I try to have time to relax, hang out with friends, go to the beach, play with my kitten, photography, watching films etc.

You were also voted as Australia's Sexiest Sportswoman by Inside Sport magazine for 2002. You've done several interviews for FHM or other male magazines? How do you feel with this? And what are your motivation in modeling? Just for fun? Did you come to an agreement with your cycling federation to promote mountain bike? Is it important to find sponsors? It was pretty cool to be voted as Australia's Sexiest Sportswoman, especially because mountain biking is not a particularly mainstream sport. Winning the title was great because it generated a lot of media, for a few weeks I was doing about three interviews per day. I started modelling before I began cycling, however it is great to be able to combine the two. Particularly because I think that being an athlete you become more aware of your body and what it is capable of. Sport keeps you fit and gives you self confidence and better self respect. As for an agreement with our cycling federation, no, but cycling (not just mountain biking) is something that I love and believe is a sport that so many people can be involved with. It doesn’t have to be competition, or even downhill, just to enjoy riding a bike is all that matters. As for finding sponsorship, I don’t think modelling in itself is important to find sponsorship but I do think that if you want people to have you as a representative of their company, then you need to be well presented.

If you had to make a choice, what would you prefer to become : the most famous graphic designer or gold medal in the Olympic Games? Hmmmmm, how about both!?! I am not sure, I love graphic design and I love mountain bikes. Obviously it is the ultimate to win an Olympic gold medal. But both are hard roads.

You studied french in school during four years. Why did you choose french? Did you already go to France? If you expect to do this, we'd be very happy to meet you for another interview, live next time! Actually my coach is French! I studied french when I was at school for four years, it was compulsory for the first year but it interested me so I continued with it. I think French is quite a beautiful language. I have been in France on two occasions, the first when I was very young with my family and the second time when I was living in Sweden and I travelled around Europe with friends during the summer holidays. Unfortunately both times were far too brief and I hadn’t yet discovered cycling, so I am looking forwards to going there for longer in the future.

Profile: Bruno Masseboeuf. - September 2002

InterviewsNiki Gudex