RIDER INTERVIEW - Nathalie Baillon

RIDER INTERVIEW - Nathalie Baillon


Nathalie Baillon is a big name in ultracycling since several years. Her first places in the Silk Road Mountain Race (2023), Trans Balkan Race (2022), B-HARD Ultra Race (2021) and most recently a second place in the Atlas Mountain Race, despite illness, testify to her unique strength. 

Last year she set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest time cycled by a woman from Tarifa to the North Cape. You will find out how this is possible and how she trains for it in this interview. 

If a stranger asked you to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?

I'm Nathalie, I've always been a passionate cyclist and I love traveling to new places. For this reason, I started ultra-cycling 3 years ago.

What does bikepacking mean to you?

For me, bikepacking is adventure, freedom and simplicity. You just ride your bike wherever you want, discover beautiful landscapes, new cultures, meet people. All you have to do is find a way to eat and sleep. You don't have to think about anything else. This makes you feel mentally free. In addition, you only have very few belongings with you, you only carry the bare minimum. That's what makes it so special for me. 

What type of bikepacking do you like the most?

I love traveling in mountainous and remote areas and discovering new places. Most of the time I travel alone – I really enjoy it. You can do whatever you want and you're not really alone because it makes it easier to connect.

How do you train for races and events?

I ride a lot to train my endurance, I go on bikepacking tours and take part in smaller events to gain experience.
I find out about the race in advance, for example with podcasts or videos, and I think about what the best equipment is for the race.

How do you manage your time?

I've been a freelancer for 2 years now, so I can organize my time however I want. I usually do the big rides on sunny days or with a group of friends to ride with. When the weather is bad, I do shorter and more intense rides or take a day off and rest.

How do you plan your races?

I choose 2-3 big events a year when I want to achieve a good result. The remaining races are more for fun and training. 

What does your preparation look like?

I try to be consistent, I ride all year round and typically train around 20 hours a week. This can be more when I'm on bikepacking trips, and often less in the winter because I'm trying to recover from the long season without losing too much fitness. But in general I don't have a fixed plan, but rather adapt to the time available, the weather, my riding partners and my daily form.

How did your season go?

Well, I've overcome my most important challenges, with a double victory in the Silk Road Mountain Race and the record as the fastest woman to cycle across Europe from Tarifa to the North Cape. This also meant that I was invited to many events that I was really looking forward to and therefore took part in. Unfortunately, this led to a very tight schedule, great physical fatigue and therefore less fun. I'll try to do this better next year.

What did you learn from your last season?

I really need to get more organized, plan races in advance and plan my season wisely and sensibly!

What are your plans for this year?

I plan to do the Atlas Mountain Race because the landscapes there look amazing and it will be a great challenge. I would also like to do the Badlands race as a pair with Mike Egger, who came third in the last edition. I've always ridden alone, so it will be interesting to find out how to tackle an ultra race with someone else. I also want to take time for personal challenges, and am therefore planning a bike rafting tour for next year.

What is your superpower?

I am stubborn and never give up.

If you would like to join Nathalie on her next adventures, follow her on Instagram Nathalie .

(C) 1. Floe // 2. Pauline Ballet