“My name is Louise Paulin, I'm from Sweden and as a child I wanted to be a scientist.”
Athlete, rider, mom, and mountain bike guide, Louise swapped Scandinavia for the Italian peninsula. Her lifestyle sees her balance a commitment to the Enduro World Series with family and work. Louise Paulin's life revolves around bikes, and she’s always ridden.
“I learned to ride a bike as a child and would use it every day to go to school. But it wasn’t until I was about 20 that it all began. I saw a downhill race for the first time, in Norway. I immediately thought it was really cool. It was raining and muddy. And it was something I wanted to do, too. Two years later I got my first mountain bike.”
Change as a form of growth
“I lived in Chamonix for a while, but I already knew Italy and Liguria because I would often ride to Finale. It was here that I met an Italian guy. He wasn’t just a passing acquaintance like the others. And so I decided to move again. My family and my life are here now and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Louise believes big changes are all part of life and will always have a positive impact on our growth.
“In moving to Liguria I gave up the wonderful mountains of Chamonix, where I loved to ski. But I prefer not to dwell on what I miss as, when you make a change, you always gain something. So I don't think about what I’ve lost, but about the new and positive things I’ve found. I return to Sweden once a year, it’s where I lived for 23 years and I have to admit that I miss certain aspects of that life. But when I go back up there I don't feel very Swedish, I feel more Italian now.”
The meaning of mountain biking
“Mountain biking brought me here, to where I’ve built my present and my future. It’s a discipline with many meanings: being outdoors surrounded by nature, being with friends, socializing and sharing emotions. And then there are the races. Racing sees you challenge yourself and push your limits, to become stronger and learn new things in order to be faster.”
A passion, a lifestyle and a profession. Her work as a mountain bike guide always brings new experiences.
“I really enjoy accompanying different people on rides around the Ligurian mountains. Many come from the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, the United States and Canada. We’ve recently opened a mountain bike school for children, to teach them the basic techniques. I basically ride five days a week; I couldn't ask for more.
Happiness and freedom go hand in hand. Freedom for me is when I’m racing downhill, I feel the wind on me and can choose the lines I want, and at the same time I see my friends taking different ones. It’s a bit like skiing, you select your line and are free to go.”
Down in the woods with friends and your bike, it’s a great way to reach incredible places.
“I love my bike, in my head she's a girl, even if she doesn't have a name. It’s always great when a new one arrives. And I’m sorry to part with the old one, but I know it’s so I can have something new and improved.”
Bike, clothing, protection. All of a biker’s gear is designed for performance. And not just racing performance.
“The relationship I have with my gear is special. When you use something for so long, it’s as if it were made to measure, it takes your shape. And when you have to change it, it’s even harder than changing bikes believe it or not. I get attached to the protectors I use, even my gloves and shoes. Shirts are different, as I like having new ones.”
Like every athlete, Louise is demanding and has high expectations of herself and everything that contributes to a result.
“To feel comfortable on the bike, everything needs to be right. The bike must be perfectly adjusted, I need to have comfortable clothing, helmet, knee pads and gloves. I need optimal contact with the pedals and handlebars.
One thing I consider really important is my helmet. Like other protectors, it is indispensable if I want to push my limits and improve. In enduro in particular, clothing and protectors must be comfortable, worn like a second skin. Only when you are wearing everything and feeling confident can you really express yourself.”