is a paracyclist, current vice world champion in time trial and overall world cup winner on the road. Since 2011 he has an incomplete paraplegia due to a surgery on the spinal cord. He is a police officer and a sponsored top athlete. Today Matthias Schindler is talking to us about his life, his goals and his travels as a top paracyclist.
Thank you so much for being with us today! What motivates and inspires you as an athlete?
In 2011 I sat in a wheelchair with over 100kg body weight. Now I am on my way to become one of the best para-athletes in the world. It motivates me to see what is possible despite my disability. I would like to raise my level further and further and I am curious whether my way will lead me to Tokyo2020. My personal history, my destiny and the difficult time I lived through motivate me to go this way with all my energy. I am inspired by people like Samuel Koch or Erich Winkler.
How often do you usually travel as an athlete and speaker?
I travel a lot. In 2017 I spent 150 nights away from home. In 2018 I covered 20 flights and 30.000 km by car. Training camps, competitions, personal visits to my partners as well as the lecturing activities cause me to be constantly on the move. For the future, however, I would like to make sure that I spend more time at home.
What does your luggage look like when traveling to a cycling event?
I always travel to a cycling event with a lot of luggage. Besides my 2 competition bikes I usually have my training bike, spare wheels, a roller trainer, fitness equipment, various helmets and shoes as well as my personal luggage with clothes and cosmetics. On air journeys these are often up to 4 pieces of checked baggage.
What is your favorite cycling route in the world?
I like the classic coastal trail on Mallorca very much. Beautiful scenery and easy to ride both in a relaxed way and in intensive training.
What do you do while traveling in order to stay fit and healthy for cycling competitions?
I try to keep the travel time as short as possible. In addition, I always wear compression socks, stretch regularly during breaks and make sure I have a reasonable diet during the trip. After arriving at my destination I like to get on my bike for a short time to “get the journey out of my legs”.
What are your personal goals as well as your sports-related goals for the next years?
Personal relationships, family and friendships are very important to me. I would like to invest even more into them. Only if this basis is right do I see myself in a position to survive in hard professional sport. In sporting terms, the qualification for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo2020 is at the top of my list. 2019 is the qualification year for Tokyo. Next year I have to confirm the good performances of this season in order to be nominated for the Tokyo Games by the national coach. This is my biggest goal and my big dream.
What’s your craziest travel story?
I don’t have many crazy stories to tell. Either everything runs smoothly or it ends in a disaster. No matter if by plane, train or car, I am always happy when I have arrived at my destination well, which I never take for granted.
Maybe the security check at Toronto airport on the return flight from the World Cup in Canada was crazy. The device for the screening of bulky luggage was too small for the cycling equipment of the German team. We had to open all the suitcases on site, take out all the bikes in parts, scan them individually and then pack everything again. We caught the flight just in time. Otherwise it would probably have ended in a disaster again…
Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, Matthias! We wish you all the best for your future travels and for your journey to Tokyo2020!