RM Resident XC Racer Heidi - Interview by El Jefe


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Sep 18, 2002
Toronto, Canada
The Life of a Rock Star
by El Jefe (Jeff Jarvis)

Mild mannered accountant, or rock star? Heidi Faller, one of Southern California’s most talented and well-known amateur riders is both. Faller’s status as local hero recently advanced to that of national notoriety, as she was crowned US National 100 mile Champion in her triumph at the Big Bear 100 in Big Bear, California. The dry, dusty, sandy, rocky course turned out to be little competition for the infallible Faller, though for the first half of the race, her victory was not a foregone conclusion. Near the beginning of the race she crashed in a “slow speed endo,” and with 60 of the 100 miles behind her, Faller’s nearest competitor was lurking a mere 30 seconds behind. In the final 40 miles Faller put 30 minutes on the second place finisher, making the victory look like a mismatch. As women’s biking becomes more and more competitive, a win by such a large margin was quite a testament not only to Faller’s riding prowess, but her determination to push beyond that of mere interpersonal competition in search of the ultimate riding effort.

Tinker and Heidi</center>

Like most amateur cyclists, Faller is enlisted with the task of juggling a career and life with her husband (Sport rider Derek Faller) in addition to competition cycling. Her occupation is that of a full-time tax accountant which allows only 15 hours per week on the bike. Does Faller have pro potential? Always humble and diplomatic, she shies away from this question by saying “It may not be as fun to me then.” But then admits “that’s what I keep telling myself to rationalize it away.” In fact, Faller insists she isn’t as proficient a rider as her National Championship and Amateur Cup points lead indicates. Most who race against her would argue that Faller is indeed a quite formidable opponent, including some pro women who’ve found themselves finishing far behind the current NORBA Expert class rider. Compared to most professional riders, her limited training hours are barely enough to stay fit. Clearly, as evidenced by recent race results, Faller makes the most out of this limited time on the bike.

How does she do it? What drives her? What keeps Heidi Faller standing on the podium week after week? I recently had the chance to talk with Faller about her motivations for biking, life, and what the future holds for our beloved Ridemonkey Rock Star.

Jeff: It seems you’ve become somewhat of a fixture on the podium at races here in southern California. Let’s talk a little bit about how you came around to taking mountain biking on as a serious sporting endeavor.

Heidi: I have been riding for about 4 years now. Only last year did I start seriously riding and competing. Growing up I was always active in some sport. I played soccer, softball, basketball, and I was on the track team. I played indoor volleyball all through high school and beach volleyball in college. I took up running in college as well. I had to drop my love of volleyball when my rotator cuff started acting up big time. Still, to this day, too much arm motion with my right shoulder means I’ll be in pain by bedtime. I tried my legs at running but had serious problems with my left knee. After undergoing physical therapy, my doctor and I discussed a sport change. He suggested cycling, end of story.

Jeff: Advancing beyond the status of weekend warrior in cycling takes a certain level of commitment. How has being a serious biker affected your career and life goals?

Heidi: Well, unfortunately my career gets in my way far too much. It just so happens that corporate tax season coincides EXACTLY with my race season. The busiest time of year for me is June, July, August, and September…that is also when most of my races are. This year I had to take up commuting to work on my bike because it allowed for 2.5 hours ride time each day. My coworkers find it odd that I often have gloves and arm warmers hanging up in my cube to dry out for the evening commute home.

Jeff: With a full time job, it sounds like you don’t get nearly the amount of time on the bike many other competitive riders get. How much of an average week is spent on the bike, or in biking related activity? Do you ride mountain exclusively or do you mix it up a bit?

Heidi: Well, if you count my time on Ridemonkey while I am at work……no, seriously though, it depends. I do a couple long distance races throughout the year and obviously my training is greater in the months leading up to those races. Right now I try to spend about 15 hours a week in the saddle. That gets split up between mountain, road, spin class, and trainer workouts.

Jeff: You’re now an accomplished Expert level rider, and National 100 mile Champion. What are your long term goals in biking and in life? Any chance of going full-time pro?

Heidi: My long-term biking goals change periodically. Right now, I want to take this off-season to do some training, and then try my hand at several of the NORBA National races next year. I am on track this year to be Overall Champion in the CA State Championship Series, but I would like to go outside CA and see how I can do. I often dream about what I could do if I didn’t have to work and I could just train. I would love to go Pro and just ride. I think it takes a special kind of dedication to do something like that, and dedication runs through my blood. You’ll laugh, but just the other morning while riding into work I felt like Lance Armstrong… yeah right. It was drizzling out, 5:30am, still dark, and pretty chilly. I got honked at twice, and cut off by a bus…the same one, three times. The whole time I was thinking to myself, “Your competitors aren’t doing this, your competitors aren’t doing this.”

Jeff: You’re married to a mountain bike racer. How has (your husband) Derek influenced your biking?

Heidi: While he says I tend to be the more influencing person when it comes to riding, I couldn’t do it without him. He is very supportive of my training and racing. We often train together and I can’t say there are a lot of guys out there who would be tolerant of all the time I spend in the saddle. Furthermore, he is my mechanic and my liaison when it comes to all things technical. Just a year ago you could take all the oil out of my fork and I wouldn’t notice, I would just get on the bike and ride. I have slowly come to understand how different parts of my bike work and interrelate.

Jeff: One great thing about mountain biking, is that every course is different from the next. What are your favorite races and race courses?

Heidi: I haven’t raced too much – just in So Cal, once in France, and once in Germany. I liked Sea Otter because it was beautiful and long. I tend to like the longer, more technical races. NORBA Nat’s at BB was fun this year. Northstar was a great course, plenty technical like I like.

Jeff: There are literally thousands of trails to ride within driving distance of Southern California. What are your favorite trails, and where are they?

Heidi: That’s a tough one. I love everything in Crested Butte, and Sedona. I like the technical XC trails where it isn’t just flat fireroad. Give me any of the following: trees, twisty singletrack, tough rocky climbs, rooted and rocky DH…those are the trails I love.

Jeff: I’m glad you mentioned downhill. Any thought of jumping over to the dark side and racing DH?

Heidi: I actually have, but I’m too afraid to get hurt. I mean, that’s my favorite part of a (cross country) race….actually uphill too. I like hills a lot. Like on Fall Line (a DH trail at Big Bear) guys will ask “did you pre-ride that?” and I’ll be like “Yeah! Three times, it was great!” With some DH stuff, I’ll just try it and fear doesn’t enter my mind…..but it sucks to get hurt and risk losing my XC season.

Jeff: Speaking of getting hurt, it’s a rarity to see a serious mountain biker who has never been injured. What injuries have you sustained while biking?

Heidi: In 2001, just 2 weeks before the Brian Head Epic 100 that I had been training for 5 months for, I crashed hard riding Noble Canyon and fractured my right hip. Just 2 months later I fractured a couple of ribs while racing in a 24 Hours of Adrenaline. Other than that, just your regular scraped, cut, bruised, and bloodied elbows and knees.
(Editor’s note: Despite these injuries, Heidi continued to compete in both these events……wow!)

Jeff: If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be? Sorry, I was waxing a little bit Barbara Walters on you there.

Heidi: A banyon tree.

Jeff: Alrighty then.

Jeff: Many riders spend hours on Ridemonkey.com and other bike related sites talking about the rewards and frustrations related to biking. So what about you? What do you find to be the most rewarding and most frustrating things about biking?

Heidi: Most frustrating is easy – I want to ride more. I swear, I could ride almost every day, all day and not get tired of it. I get frustrated by having to struggle to fit it into my day. I’m addicted, truly addicted.
Most rewarding would have to be just the things I get to see, the people I meet in this sport, and the places I get to go and ride. I love speed, I love challenges…man, I just love to ride.

Take a heap of talent, rock solid training ethic and mix in a truckload of toughness. What do you get? Humble yet driven, Heidi Faller rides on………..



Mar 26, 2002
Thanks for a great interview of a great rider. RM needs more of this quality writing about his members. A great plus for this comunity!

Oh yeah, and Heidi kicks ass, but what else is new?:thumb:


Der hund ist laut und braun
Aug 22, 2001
Bend, Oregon
Originally posted by shocktower
Thats a crazy ride :eek: :eek: ,cool interview I just hope you don`t get the curse :eek: :eek: ;) ;)
I got "the curse" (Jefe curse), last year at the 24 Hour Race - we both crashed. This year since he is hurt, he is going to crew for us. :eek: :eek: :eek:


Get your pork here.
Sep 26, 2001
COlo style
Great write up and interview!! Congrats again Heidi.

El Jefe, I was expecting some more risque questions out of you. :eek: ;)


Top Banana
Jun 28, 2001
Superior, CO
Congrats to Heidi although I should just say "Ditto":)

Great Article El Jefe. It was nice to read something positive and inspiring... keep the good stuff coming monkeys :thumb:

El Jefe

Dr. Phil Jefe
Nov 26, 2001
OC in SoCal
Originally posted by Squeak
Great write up and interview!! Congrats again Heidi.

El Jefe, I was expecting some more risque questions out of you. :eek: ;)
Heidi (and her husband...who carries a gun) are too cool and too good of friends for me to go real hard edged. Don't worry, I'll do some digging on my next interview subject. Just you wait. :p


Turbo Monkey
Jul 10, 2001
Shut up and ride...
Originally posted by El Jefe

Heidi (and her husband...who carries a gun) are too cool and too good of friends for me to go real hard edged. Don't worry, I'll do some digging on my next interview subject. Just you wait. :p
Heidi rocks!


In dog years I'm dead
Aug 23, 2001
Salinas, CA
Originally posted by sirknight6

Heidi rocks!
Yup, she's the bomb. Dang, that second place rider must have been totally demoralized by The Rock Star! Hey Heidi, you ever gonna try racing Montezuma's Revenge?


Don't mess with the Santas
Apr 16, 2002
Napavine, Warshington
Wow! Heidi=Tinker...


I'm impressed, remember when I said next time your up in Washington let us know so you could meet all the Washington Monkies, and do a ride?

I'm borrowing my friends YZ 250, just so i can keep up!:rolleyes:

Great Job!


The Rev
Oct 8, 2001
Heidi, you are a true inspiration! I'm at a loss of what to say.... the world is a better place because of you.

Stay cool! and hopefully we'll see you at Sea Otter again!


Sep 20, 2002
Nelson, BC
Awesome interview El Jafe and power to you Heidi! :thumb:

Try that leave of absense and give those pros a run for their money. I really don't think you would ever regret giving it a go.

-- headcrash


Mar 5, 2002
Heidi got me sucked in for a "just a spin" ride last night...only to hammer hard and got me bonked....... that girl just couldn't slow down.... speed, thrills and bellyache...

good luck this weekend, H......


Nov 21, 2002
Pittsburgh, PA
Originally posted by Deyv
Thanks for a great interview of a great rider. RM needs more of this quality writing about his members. A great plus for this comunity!

Oh yeah, and Heidi kicks ass, but what else is new?:thumb:
totally... how about a sticky with a featured member every week/month? it would be anyone - newbie, expert, highest poster, etc...