Para-cycling athlete and top chef for a day

Ambassadors meet Commitment Partners

In the second part of our “Ambassadors meet Commitment Partners” series, Andreas Caminada slips into the role of a para-cycling athlete and Sandra Stöckli into the role of top chef. Both roles seem very different at first glance, but on closer inspection, a few parallels become apparent.

A beautiful, sunny day, pleasant temperatures and plenty of anticipation among the participants: the perfect setting for today’s role swap between top chef Andreas Caminada and handcyclist and para-cycling athlete Sandra Stöckli. The two bikes stand ready for adventure on the forecourt of the Casa Caminada in Fürstenau. Andreas Caminada looks suitably impressed while inspecting Sandra Stöckli’s latest acquisition: the awe-inspiring vehicle with an electronic gear shift is made of pure carbon and weighs just eleven kilograms. The entire structure of her bike – her constant and loyal companion – has been adapted and customized to suit her body perfectly. Nothing has been left to chance – after all, the bike is one of the most important parts of this sport. The good equipment, mental strength and physical fitness all helped Sandra Stöckli to her Olympic diploma at the Paralympics in 2016.

Following an extensive introduction into the world of para-cycling, Andreas Caminada begins his first ride. He quickly realizes that steering the bike looks much easier than it is in reality. Every corner requires the utmost concentration. Only the arms are used to steer, and this requires finesse and strength at the same time. But after a few wobbly corners, Caminada is slowly getting the hang of it and his steering is getting better and better. Having to think about changing gears at the same time, however, quickly throws him out of his groove again. Cycling along the road at such a fast pace requires a lot of concentration. “As you’re travelling so close to the ground at such high speed, you need to be extremely attentive and focus fully on the road. It’s absolutely exhausting – Sandra has my full respect!” says Caminada. As well as attentiveness, a lot of physical strength is required, too. While the steering aspect mostly puts strain on the upper arms, the general posture on the bike places stress on the torso. For this reason, a strong core is essential for para-cycling. The sheer effort is clear to see in Caminada’s face after training: he’s really worked up a sweat – and even changed his T-shirt.

But what does the ever-smiling para-cycling athlete find so fascinating about this sport? For Sandra Stöckli, training in the fresh air is one of the biggest advantages. “Cycling is not the same as the wheelchair-racing athletes in the stadium”, says the friendly athlete from German-speaking Switzerland. Sandra Stöckli mainly cycles outdoors. Not being tied to one place, and feeling the speed under both wheels are just two things that she particularly loves about the sport. All she needs is her bike and a road.

And what could be better than a delicious pick-me-up after doing sport? Nothing, really! As such, it’s now time to swap the bike for an apron. Sandra Stöckli is immersing herself in the culinary world in the kitchen of top chef Andreas Caminada. And, since it’s well-known that everyone loves chocolate, Andreas Caminada chose a tasty delicacy right from the beginning: chocolate slices. This chocolatey dessert is quick and relatively easy to prepare, and is perfect for any occasion. And the best bit? Snacking is allowed! But since chocolate alone isn’t enough to fill you up, the pair are also preparing a hearty main course: home-made gnocchi with artichokes. The rather unusual vegetable gives this tasty, Mediterranean dish a very special flavour. It soon becomes obvious that the upper arms are needed in the kitchen, too. Just like cycling, top-level cooking is also back-breaking work: whether you’re whipping cream, kneading, forming and sieving gnocchi dough, or stamina training while standing at the cooker – cooking is exercise for the muscles and the mind.

But the parallels between the two jobs are not limited to muscle strength: on closer inspection, Andreas Caminada and Sandra Stöckli have even more in common, such as their meticulous precision – an eye for every little detail – and their considerable perseverance. In fine cuisine, this translates to the beautiful arrangement of every dish, and in cycling, to undivided attention to your surroundings. These qualities enable them to achieve a first-rate performance, each and every day.

To the series


More impressions:

Video 1

Video 2

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