Welcome to the team Melanie Chappaz, The Brigade are excited to announce that the 2017 Junior World Champion will be part of our growing racing family.
Melanie began riding bikes at just 5 years old, started racing downhill in 2015 and just 2 years later took the UCI Junior title, so to say we have high hopes for this fast lady is an understatement. Riding on her home trails near Geneva, Melanie has honed her natural riding ability and is undeniably fast between the tape, and will definitely be a contender for the podium this season.
“I’m super excited about joining The Brigade for 2021. I feel I’ve definitely chosen the right team, the atmosphere is really good and the guys are all really professional, they know how to enjoy themselves but also know when it’s time to get serious. I’m fortunate that I already know most of the crew and am really looking forward to working with everyone. I’m really keen to begin racing this season, I feel now with The Brigade and this great team, I have the opportunity to ride faster and harder, I’ll definitely be up there, closer to the fastest girls this season. I can’t wait for what the future has in store!”Mélanie Chappaz
If having a World Champ join us wasn’t enough, The Brigade are currently busying themselves testing the innovative Production Privée Group B downhill bike. This unique frame is designed, developed and manufactured in Andorra at the Forestal Technology Centre. The full details are still top secret, but we’ll reveal more on this CNC beauty in the coming month.
The Brigade team members, Alex Marin and Mélanie Chappaz will be joined by 2 more elite downhill riders for 2021, but we’re keeping that news secret for now, but keep reading to learn more about our new rider!
Tell us who you are.
Hi My name is Mélanie Chappaz, I’m a French DH rider who lives near Geneva
Who do you ride for?
For 2021 I have joined The Brigade MTB Team
What are some of the accomplishments that you’re most proud of?
The accomplishment I’m proudest of is becoming the UCI Junior Downhill Champion in 2017. It was the hardest race I had ever done, both physically and mentally. When I saw the results it was like a huge relief, it confirmed what I wanted to do with my life. It was a proud moment for me and a great achievement for the team and sponsors, and I think it was a great way for me to thank them for all their hard work.
2021 looks like it might be a weird year, but what are you looking forward to most?
2021 is gonna be as weird as last year but I can’t wait to get back to races and have fun with riders and my team. For me, the goal is the same but the way to achieve it is different after my injury I guess. I’d like to be closer and closer to the podium and the fastest girls but for the moment, I prefer staying focussed on what I can improve so I can have fun on the bike while getting faster. I feel lucky that I can still get out and enjoy riding my downhill bike, not everyone has that luxury due to restrictions.
How did you get into mountain biking?
I started riding when I was five years old with my dad and brother. I gave racing a try and really enjoyed it so I decided to keep training and racing. I had to stop for 5 years due to my study commitments at school though and eventually came back to racing in 2015.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical morning for me begins with a gum session, I love to start the day by really pushing myself hard with difficult exercises and weights. In the afternoon I get out on my bike. I change what bike I ride from day to day so I keep motivated. I like to end the day with stretching and generally relaxing ready to start again the following day.
What’s the most difficult part about being a downhill racer?
For me the hardest part is handling the pressure and meeting my goals. I always want to do my best and do a great job, I need to prove to myself and those around me that I’m really born to race. It’s a tricky balance becuase you do need to focus on racing, but you also can’t lose sight on why we started racing in the first place, to have fun and enjoy the riding bikes.
What’s the best part about being a downhill racer?
The best part of this sport is how racers are good and helpful to each other. You will always get someone to help you on track if you’re struggling or someone to fix your bike because you’re alone with a mechanical. Of course the adrenaline you get when you’re riding and the way to push your limits a bit more every day makes this the best sport ever!
Where is your favourite place to ride?
I don’t really have a favourite place to ride… I love all bike parks around my home like Morzine, Chatel or Morgins for example. They are all different but good to train on and fun as well. I train a lot at Le Saleve which is my home spot because we can do our own shuttles in winter and it’s still a good training with long tracks and tech sections when everything is closed.
What’s your favourite food?
Uuuh I don’t know if I have a favourite or not… honestly I could just eat desserts and pastries from breakfast to dinner like tiramisu as a starter, pizza banana Nutella as a main course, and apple cake for the dessert (there is a fruit in it so it’s healthy),
What do you like to do when you’re not riding?
When I’m not riding, I really like chilling with family and watching movies to think about something else.
But then I like staying focused on the coming days so I work on my next gym/riding pieces training, make some debriefings for every training to better know what to work on for the next day.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Just that I’m stoked to be riding for The Brigade and I can’t wait to get to the races!