I am 21-year-old cyclist from Peebles. I am part of Bart-Brentjens Mountain bike racing team. I am part of the Great Britain Cycling Team and have represented Team Scotland at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.Back
I got involved with the sport when I moved to Peebles in 2000 from Edinburgh. I started riding a mountain bike when I attended a local kids club at Glentress run by local cyclists Tracy Brunger and Emma Guy. I enjoyed it straight away.
When I started there were no formal trails, bike shop or coffee shop at Glentress and over the years I have seen the place change and develop into what it is today. I was doing a lot of different sports at a young age but I became more interested in cycling because a lot of my friends also rode bikes.
I watched local DH races at Innerleithen as well as doing uplifts and marshaling all of which was really cool and exciting to be a part of. At the same time I was riding track at the velodrome in Edinburgh along with regular cross races through the winter, time trials during the summer and I would attend trips and club runs with friends.Back
I started racing mountain bikes from a young age in the Under-12 Sprogs category at SXC events. These were fun weekend races where my sister and I would both race along with friends, which made it quite competitive and exciting.
As I started out I was racing many different types of bike races such as track, cross, TT's, road and mtb, which I think added a lot of variety to me as a bike rider. There was a lot of support available as I grew up especially from Scottish Cycling with different race trips and camps, which were a great place to learn different things about the sport. I also received support from Scottish Borders Council and Braveheart, which was a massive help for my family to help attend races.
As I got a little older and moved to the youth category I started to travel through out the UK and compete in the British Series which was an eye opener to start with but I soon started to get on well and enjoy the events. As I moved to Junior I got the chance to join British Cycling’s ODP programme which gave me support and helped me to attend my first World Cups and World Championships. These races were a massive experience and it was a privilege to race them. It was a big step from the UK racing scene to world level but I really enjoyed it. I soon started to get some results and I got to travel throughout the world which was brilliant. I was still racing on my road bike and cross bike at this time and got to compete and attend some big events which was really exciting.
As I finished junior and moved up to the elite category I was happy to get selected for British Cycling Academy Programme, which is a full-time programme based in Manchester. This was a new experience, as I had to move away from home and had to learn how to look after myself, cook, shop, washing etc. That took a bit of time but I soon learnt the essentials! As I was now a full-time cyclist it meant there was a big increase in my training compared to when I was at school and I had to learn to manage this and there was a lot more travel to different training camps and races, which was something I also had to learn to deal with.
The Academy programme was based together and I enjoyed the fact there was a variety of different cyclists around from track, BMX and road, which made it quite interesting. In my second year Elite, I joined my first professional team of Bart Brentjens MTB racing team and I have been part of the team for two years now which is great fun and I am always learning and challenging myself.
My main target for this year was to compete in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and I was happy to get selected for Team Scotland. It was a massive event and to be a part of it was a great experience. Both events I competed in had big crowds who were all excited to watch the competition. The village and the ceremonies were highlights of the games experience away from the main competition, which I obviously thought were cool.Back
I think that it is important to enjoy riding your bike and have fun. It is also important to learn skills at a young age, as it is a very useful thing when it comes to racing some of the technical XC tracks throughout the World. I think that youth racing in Scotland is good but if I compare it to youth mountain bike races in Europe where there are 200 people lining up, I think that this is an advantage to them but the more people we have riding a bike and racing at a younger age the better.Back
I think if I stick to XC specifically in Europe they run XC mtb races on the edges of towns, which I think brings the racing to the people and it can be great to watch. I think that trail centres have helped improve general participation in mountain biking. I think that an increase in trails and improved access from different cities would help to continue to build the mountain biking participation levels. I think Scottish festivals and events such as Tweedlove and Fort William Downhill World Cup are big attractions to Scottish mountain biking.Back
I have ridden most of the trail centres in Scotland and I grew up on the 7 Stanes trails and I think they are some of the best in the world. I also love the fact you can go and explore the countryside throughout Scotland.Back