Team-Update: Andrea Paz Anjarí Bascuñán
Andrea Paz Anjarí Bascuñán is the first woman to line up in the Chilean Rotwild Team for the downhill event. A good excuse for an interview to get better acquainted with the 21-year-old.
Andrea, how did you get into mountain biking?
It all started about five years ago when my father was working in the south of Chile, in the city of Puerto Varas, and I was riding in the mountains on my very ordinary bike. Some guys there asked me if I also rode downhill. At the time, I had no idea what downhill meant. They gave me few pointers on riding technique, and I caught the bug instantly. Shortly after that I put together my first downhill bike.
What is the particular attraction of MTB downhill for you?
Adrenalin combined with the sensation you get when descending. There’s nothing to compare with the mixture of fear, adrenalin and speed that downhill brings.
How large is the MTB downhill scene in Chile, and how many women regularly take part in your races.
The scene is growing and is certainly bigger than it was five years ago, but still not big enough. I think what we’re mainly missing is publication through the media so that people can find out more about the sport and see that there are other options apart from football. Four or five years ago there were only three women who took part in downhill racing, now there are about ten who actively compete, but there are many more women in Chile who ride downhill. We have become integrated in this sport relatively quickly and I think that today there are about 20 women in the whole of Chile.
Is this perhaps due to the fact that MTB downhill is heavily dominated by men? What needs to happen for more women to be inspired by this discipline?
Here too, the sport needs to be publicized more via the media so that as many women as possible see how much fun it is. However, they do have to be prepared to get dirty, to take a fall, get up and continue riding. And it’s perhaps these characteristics above all that make it difficult to find suitable women.
In 2015, you came second in the national downhill championships. What targets have you set yourself for 2016?
I want to be faster and of course come first. During 2015, I got faster from race to race and have been able to improve my times by 20 seconds between the beginning and end of the season.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I hope that the sport continues to grow and become more widespread, and that more bike brands support young talent. I believe it is tremendously important for the industry to promote and motivate talented riders who have great future potential so that mountain biking in Chile does not simply decline due to a lack of support.
Fact sheet for Andrea Paz Anjarí Bascuñán:
- Date of birth: 13 September 1994
- Occupation: Student teacher (main subject English)
- Residence: Viña del Mar, Chile
- Riding MTB since: 2010