Perklis Ilias known for his passion regarding mountain biking, has recently won the Marathon World Championship in France. Having worked really hard all the previous years, Periklis Ilias is now a World Champion, who is willing to keep on biking and achieving more than he ever planned.
How did you start Mountain biking?
I started cycling 13 years ago, when I was riding my bicycle with my friends in my neighborhood, in Athens. Those rides used to be fairly short, but after a while they became longer and longer. That was the point when I decided to take part in my first race (in Athens). It was then, when I realised that mountain biking was what I always wanted to do.
How did you decide to become a pro?
Having won all the possible Mountain biking competitions in Greece (several times), I thought that it was about time to take the next step. I decided that there was no point in winning more titles in Greece, since becoming a professional (and travel the world) was what I really wanted.
What is your favourite mountain biking route on earth?
I have "run" several routes during my career. Every single one of them is a unique experience. It would be hard to choose, but I guess the ones I really enjoyed were: Cape town, Capadokia, Dolomites and Prespes.
You have recently won the Marathon World Championships title in France. Tell us a few words about your experience there.
I wouldn't describe this route as one that is made for me, as it was extremely dangerous and very technical. However, I had worked really hard for that race, as I was prepared to give 100% of my body strength in order to win this Marathon. Furthermore, I was mentally prepared before leaving Greece for that race. This mental preparation helped me to think clear and make all the right choices during the Marathon. During the last 500 meters of the Marathon I wrapped the Greek flag around my neck. That was a brilliant feeling, as I thought there was an "extra force" helping me to win this competition.
Tell us a few words about your future plans.
Having won the Marathon in France, everything seems different. I managed to reach an agreement with an Italian team (Full-Dynamic), and from now on I am thinking to take part in all major mountain biking events next year.
Any other outdoor activities that you like?
There are plenty of activities that I really like, such as skiing, swimming and hiking. However, as a professional athlete my free time is limited. Mountain biking competitions start in February and they last until November. What I really enjoy doing though is cooking; which I think is very creative!
How would you describe mountain biking? As a sport or as an outdoor activity?
Right now, as a sport. I might change my mind, as soon as I stop being a pro.
What is the best mountain biking route in Greece?
I guess "Epirus" is one the best routes, offering bikers stunning views, especially during Spring and Autumn.
You have been traveling all over the world, visiting several places and collecting "outdoor experiences". What was your best experience?
I have many memories from all the trips. It would be hard to decide on a specific experience. When I think of all these experiences, what I can clearly remember is: lots of hours waiting in an airport, driving long distances, waking up early every morning, and feeling hungry.