Bio

Heather grew up in Boulder, Colorado where she still lives with husband who is also a professional mountain bike rider, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski. She loves everything two wheeled and enjoys the outdoors year round whether she’s riding bikes, motorcycles or skiing in the backcountry. She says that she, unlike other racers, always avoids the gym bike and chooses to exercise in the sunshine. Heather grew up taking regular family trips to Moab and Winter Park. Her parents are also incredible athletes and cyclists and have inspired Heather throughout her career.



Heather began racing at the age of 18 and continued to develop her skills as a member of the University of Colorado Cycling Team while earning her BA and MS degree in Applied Physiology.  When not traveling the world competing as one of the top U.S. pro women mountain bikers, Heather enjoys the occasional acting or modeling gig, working on heavy duty house projects, food & wine shopping, cooking incredible dinners, baking scones, skiing, riding motos, and being at home with her friends and family.

Q & A

  1. How did you start Mountain Bike riding? How old were you?

    I've been mountain biking since I was twelve years old. Cycling in general was a normal activity for my family, trips to Moab and Winter Park were regular. I spent every ride chasing after my Mom who is an amazing rider. I had no idea mountain biking with your Mom was unusual!

  2. It is great that you and your husband, also a professional mountain bike rider, both share the same passion and that you are both successful at it.

    For me, I wouldn't have it any other way. Being together with someone who understands the ups and downs of racing and training is so important. It’s a huge reason that I have had so much success.

  3. Did you meet while riding?

    Jeremy and I were both on the University of Colorado Cycling Team. We didn't actually meet at an event or riding though! We actually met in a more typical situation at a party.

  4. Describe your racing equipment.

    I'm officially a 29inch convert. I no longer own a 26 inch wheeled bike. My ride: The Gary Fisher Superfly, SRAM XX components/front suspension (80mm travel) fork and Bontrager X Lite Wheels, Seat post, Bars, and Stem. Cane Creek 110 headset, Crank Bros egg beater pedals. Tires: Bontrager XR1, 293 and 290.

  5. Favorite movies:

    Old School by a long shot.

  6. Favorite books:

    I've really been into factual fiction books. I love reading stories that deliver facts in an entertaining way. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett was the most recent book I've read and loved.

  7. Heroes and why?

    Rather than naming one specific person I'd say my heroes embody certain characteristics. I've always looked up to people who are intelligent but are also risk takers. I admire people who have accomplished the seemingly impossible by making wise decisions and taking smart risks. I love the people who are doing things that most other people believe they could never accomplish.

  8. If you were not a pro mountain bike rider, you would be?

    Being a professional athlete has changed me so much that it's hard to say where it will take me in the future. I feel a much stronger need to work for myself than I did before. If I had never become a cyclist, I imagine I would have gone to either Pysician's Assistant school or Vet school. Today, I waffle between Vet school and something totally random/yet to be determined for a post-racing career. I don't plan on facing that decision any time soon though - too much to accomplish still!

  9. What is the biggest obstacle you have faced?

    The biggest obstacle I have faced came early in my career. I had a persistent knee injury for three years, with the last 2 being the first two that I turned pro. Training would appear to be going well and, without warning, the injury would come back forcing me to rest for periods that would wipe out all of the hard work I had done. After many ups and downs training and loosing a spot on my first pro team and riding unsupported for a year, I almost quit. I thought my body just wasn't made to race. After many frustrating doctor, PT, and chiropractor visits, I finally found an expert who nailed the problem. After surgical removal of a medial knee plica, my career was back on track.

  10. What is the best advice you've heard?

    Stop thinking and end all of your problems.

  11. What is the best advice you've heard on improving in your sport?

    It's a bit cliche but having fun is the best way to improve at any sport. When you're enjoying what you do, i'ts easy to push yourself to new levels.

  12. Where is your favorite place to ride and why?

    Winter Park, Coloarado is my favorite place to mountain bike. I LOVE high alpine singletrack and there is PLENTY of it there. You can link miles of trails together and ride 4-5 hours solid all above 9,000ft.

  13. At this level, what is something unique that you do in your training to improve your riding?

    At this level, what is something unique that you do in your training to improve your riding? Unlike many cyclists, I have a "no stationary exercise" policy. I don't think riding the trainer is any fun (having fun = improving), so if the weather is awful or it's just really, really cold, I back country ski. The workout is super hard - great training and keeps it exciting.

  14. Do you have any other special talents?

    Not sure if they are talents or hobbies but I LOVE riding motorcycles. I have a street bike, an off-road touring bike, and a little dirt bike. There's a pretty short window each year when I can ride, but I'll take it! I also back country ski and love cooking and remodeling our old ranch house.

  15. What are your goals for 2009/2010?

    My goals for 2010 include moving up at International Races. I had a couple of really good top 10 performances at the World Cups and World Championships this year but I am aiming for top 5. I'd also like to defend both of my National titles.

  16. How do you get and stay inspired?

    I really appreciate the peacefulness that Taoist principles bring me. A constant search for balance and simplicity keep me going.

  17. What are your strengths?

    I've gotten a reputation for being exceptional at high altitude races. I absolutely love AND feed off of terrain with plenty of tough, long climbing.

  18. What are you working on?

    One reason 2009 was so great for me was that I really worked on my "big engine" power and riding fast on flatter terrain. I'll continue to work on strengthening that area.

  19. What are you working on?

    One reason 2009 was so great for me was that I really worked on my "big engine" power and riding fast on flatter terrain. I'll continue to work on strengthening that area.

  20. What are you working on?

    One reason 2009 was so great for me was that I really worked on my "big engine" power and riding fast on flatter terrain. I'll continue to work on strengthening that area.

Heather Irmiger

heather2

Enjoy the process and the outcome will take care of itself.

Date of Birth:
May 31, 1979
Hometown:
Boulder, Colorado

Career Highlights

    • 2009 1st Pro XC Short Track #3 Colorado Springs, CO
    • 2009 3rd Pan American Championships Santiago, Chile
    • 2009 3rd Pro XC #1 Fontana, CA
    • 2009 3rd Pro XC #4 Mt. Snow, VT
    • 2009 Single Speed World Champion
    • 2009 US National XC Champion
    • 2009 US National Marathon Champion
    • 2009 Pro Tour Short Track Series Champion