Five questions with Kathrin Hammes

Our German rider talks about the season beyond racing and explains what the Tour de Friends is

September 26, 2023

In our new series, “Five questions with…”, we chat with riders to learn about who they are beyond being a cyclist. We’ll ask our riders the same five questions – but don’t think that means they’ll give the same answers!

This week, we’re talking with Kathrin Hammes. You’re more likely to find her in a breakaway or shepherding her teammates through the peloton rather than in the spotlight. She is a down-to-earth soul who loves the simple things: catching up with friends over a coffee, reading a book, or visiting a new place.

Read on to find out Kathrin’s offseason plans, why she didn’t become a professional field hockey player, and what the Tour de Friends is.

What is your favorite team moment from this season?
When Sara and I went to Girona and visited our Girona teammates. Not all of our teammates were there but it was really nice to have a little vacation so that was my favorite team moment because it was a vacation with teammates. We had dinner at Veronica’s place, and we visited Georgia at her apartment. We called it the Tour de Friends. This was really cool.

It was between racing Plouay and the Tour de Romandie and we had been trying to find a time when we could visit Magdeleine and the rest of the Girona team. So between these two races was the best time because then Mags left to travel to Canada. Originally, this was going to be our offseason trip because we thought our season would have already ended but our racing schedules changed so it was fun to have a training holiday in Girona. We just have a really good group of riders on the team so I really wanted to come visit as many teammates as I could. I always looked forward to going to races because I wanted to race of course but also because we have such good people on the team, both the staff and the riders. It was just a very nice group to be around so I really wanted us to get together before we go different ways.

What is your favorite photo from this year?
This is my godchild Julian watching the Tour de France Femmes when I was in a breakaway and as you can see he was very excited about seeing me on TV.

It’s a cool picture for me personally, but it also shows the difference of good TV coverage which is better at the Tour de France than at any other race. So I am glad I was able to get some breakaway kilometers this year!

What are you looking forward to in the offseason?
This offseason, I’m looking forward to not having to train on weekends and to have more time in general so that I can be free to do other things like sports or even riding but it can be whatever I want to do. Mostly, I’m excited to be able to be more flexible to do what I want. We want to have a proper vacation so we’ll plan that at some point.

What I'm really enjoying at the moment is running. I started running last week just after my last race. I’ve started really slowly but it's really nice to do something different and also because we moved from Freiburg to Cologne in the summer. It's a bigger city and the riding is nice, but you have to ride quite a bit to get to the really nice places because there's a lot of tricky traffic in the beginning. So I really like running because then I can enjoy the parks and run along the river. And Cologne is a really nice city for those kinds of sports compared to cycling. It's just a nice location for running.

The offseason also means I’ll have time to explore this new city a bit more. Not so much on the bike necessarily but the coffee shops and restaurants and beer gardens – all the places I didn’t get to when I was training in the season. And the weather is nice. It's a really lively city. It’s really easy to eat out three times a day here! There are always people sitting outside at the coffee shops so the atmosphere is really nice in the city. I can enjoy this a bit more now because I don't need to think about training all the time.

You are on a deserted island. What three things do you bring with you?
I would bring a bike but a gravel bike. And a barbecue! The third thing would be an e-reader to download different books. Is there wifi on this island? I really like to read anything and everything.

The barbecue is to make sure that I have enough food. I think I can find whatever I need to eat on the island and then I can cook it on the barbecue so that I always have a nice meal.

The gravel bike is not for exercising, it's more to get around and explore and also to find the food. I don’t know how big this island is, so a bike will be useful.

What is something that we don't already know about you?
I don’t think people know about the sports that I did before I started cycling or how poorly I did at those sports! I started with field hockey and then it was swimming.

Field hockey didn’t last because I was told I would have to wear a skirt. That was the uniform at the time and so I said, ‘No, I don't want to play anymore.’ When they said I could also wear leggings but I didn’t want to be the only one in leggings so I stopped. I was just a kid, maybe 8 years old, but we did this tournament where we played two games in one day and one game was a bit better than the other. We lost them both something like 12 to zero and the other was 14 to zero, so the 12 to zero match was the better game so I knew I wasn’t going to make a career out of it or anything.

So then I stopped and did swimming and fencing but neither of those sports were competitive for me. I went to the swimming club once a week and eventually they asked me to come twice a week and I said, ‘Oh, I don’t have the time to swim twice a week!’ So after a while I just stopped.

When I was about 14, I took up fencing – just once a week! – and that was enough for me to feel like an athlete. I thought that was enough to go to competitions but I was just really bad! I did one tournament and I didn’t win one match, so I really wasn’t very good at training or competing. I mostly liked it in the warm up when we played soccer but I never wanted to take up soccer.

And then I ended up in cycling!

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