First Woman to Complete La Vuelta a Espana

Monika Sattler

Biel Switzerland

January 25, 2021

Why should someone try ultracycling for the first time?

To really test their physical and mental limits. Getting outside one's comfort zone and to see what one is really made of is an incredible feeling and enables to grow as a person.

Why do you compete in ultracycling?

Ultra cycling is a competition "against" one self. Although it is important to keep an eye on the competitors, if you forget to listen to your physical and mental cues, the race is over.  Ultracycling racing is about walking the fine line of matching the speed, etc of the competitors while listening and acting to one`s own needs. Just thinking about this gives me goosebumps. It is an exciting  process with a lot of great lessons to be learned.

What is the single best lesson you have learned from ultracycling?

The limits are mental - never physical. When you believe that you can achieve something, there is absolute nothing that will keep you away from it! Period.

I started road cycling 11 years ago when I dropped running and kayaking from multiple-sport adventure racing. When I realized quickly that the racing against others was not as thrilling as racing against my own mental and physical limits, I got into ultra cycling. I started with gravel races like the 500km Dirty Kanza and it evolved into multi-day adventure cycling tours across Europe. The pinnacle of my ultra endurance cycling career was the 3000km Vuelta a Espana where I rode all 21 stages of one of the Grand Tours on the same day as the male professionals (there is no female race). Altogether it was 3058km, 129 hours of riding, 49337m of elevation gain in 21 stages. That is a daily average of 145km, 6 hours of riding and 2349m of climbing.

I loved every single minute of it. The early mornings at 4:30am waking up, the sunrise at 7:40am, the conversations with new friends, crossing the finish line at 14:00, driving to the next hotel, enjoying the local cuisine and breathing every moment of a rich, intense experience.

My main mission of this project was to inspire people to go for their own challenge and come out to join for parts of this journey while spreading my message around the globe. With over 200 people riding parts with me and with a coverage of over 50 media outlets around the world, this project has exceeded any expectations.