INTERVIEW OF TRACY MOSELEY A true lady legend of MTB
Back in the day’s of late 90’s UK DH, Tracy was so often top of the UK Elite females category, dominating in the British series and being an MTB household name. She has been about doing her thing, racing and riding professionally for many a year now. After having knocked the DH on the head, put her hand to XC and currently being the best the UK and the World has to offer at Enduro, it was time to get a few straight talking and heart warming words off her, fresh from her amazing win at Punta Ala in the first World Enduro round.
ENDURO: So Tracy how long exactly have you been doing the MTB stuff for now?
Tracy – My first race was on the farm at home in 1993 and in 1995 I did my first UK national downhill series, so since then I have been riding and racing mountain bikes. I graduated from University in 2000 and have been a full time rider since then…..so I guess 20 years ish
ENDURO:Please tell the Enduro Bike Mag readers of your best MTB achievements to date.
Tracy-2010 World Downhill Champion, 2006 + 2011 World Cup DH Champion, 16 World Cup DH wins, UK Gravity Enduro Champion 2012, winner of first World Enduro !!
ENDURO: So what exactly was it like to win the first ever World Enduro Round?
Tracy – Amazing…a massive achievement accomplished, as it was a tough weekend. With so much hype and interest surrounding the event I definitely felt more pressure than I have ever at an Enduro race to date. There was so much unknown having never raced most of the girls at an Enduro race. Not knowing if the fitness and speed I had would be enough was hard, but as soon as the race got underway I really enjoyed it!
ENDURO: There were a few discrepancies regarding riders and the big teams doing uplifts prior to the race at Punta Ala, tell us your thoughts on these practices.
Tracy – Putting on Enduro races in different countries is always going to bring up issues as most countries have different formats and rules and beliefs as to how Enduro races should be run. There is also a history in Europe of Enduro races as they have been going on for 10 years or more in some places. In Italy they have always opened up their courses more then a few days before the event to allow people to go and ride before the race weekend, and it also brings tourism to the area. I can see the reason for this but I think for a World Enduro it needs to be fairer for everyone and I think Enduro racing should be on trails that the riders haven’t practice to the extent that they would have for a DH race. There should be some riding on instinct and good trail reading.
Shuttling at an Enduro I think should never happen…..there will be some races where you may get shuttled to the top of the col to start the day, or you may use the chairlift in ski areas, but these are uplifts that are open for all and are part of the event. Shuttling to gain extra practice on the stages I believe is not in the spirit of Enduro racing. I am racing Enduro now because I want to spend time riding my bike, not just riding DH and sitting in a vehicle to get back to the top, as that for me would just be like racing DH again on different DH tracks ! Part of Enduro is about your fitness, and riding between stages to practice I think is part of the sport. We were in a beautiful place in Punta Ala and the nature and sights and smells people would have experienced riding between stages was ruined by the continuous stream of pickups driving up the forest roads. It ruined the beauty of the bicycle taking you to places you would not normally get to in a car. Cycling is meant to be ‘green’ and good for the environment, Punta Ala was not doing much for cycling’s ‘green’ credibility in the forest that weekend!!!
ENDURO: I’ve known you and you’re partner James for a fair while now, I’m sure James is a massive part of you’re training and racing and as he just seems to bland into the background of your publicity, here’s your chance to tell the readers just what he does to help (or hinder!!)
Tracy –There is always a hidden support network behind every successful athlete and for me that has always been my brother and family and for the last 7 years James ! He has pretty much given up his career and his own aspirations to support me and follow my dreams around the world. That can be a hard sacrifice to make for anyone, but for a man I think it can be even harder sometimes as the norm is for the man to be the one out there with the career. James has been the most supportive boyfriend and is also partly responsible for the change in my riding over the last 7 years. Since being with James I have ridden so much more XC / trail riding. I have been out on epics in the freezing winter in the Lakes, and Yorkshire Dales and learnt to suffer, stay warm and try and climb up any gradient of hill that was in front of me ! He has opened my eyes to mountain biking in its entirety and not just racing. I have grown to love bike riding, in whatever form thanks to James. For the last 2 years he has also been my mechanic and has spent hours getting my bikes ready for training and racing. It’s often not easy working and living with your partner but it has its plus points when we get to travel and ride our bikes in some amazing locations together.
I owe a huge amount of my success to James and he has to put up with the roller coaster life of a professional mountain biker and take in the highs and lows along the way ! Thanks James …
ENDURO: Tell us about other MTB related activities (ie coaching) you get up to.
Tracy – Over the last few years I have done a few different coaching qualifications and have begun to do a few coaching sessions, mainly for women so far. I have really enjoyed being able to help people improve and see their enjoyment for the sport grow. I hope I can inspire people to get as much from biking as I have done over the last 20 years.
I plan to do more coaching in the coming years when I decide its time to retire fully from racing ! Later in the year I am doing a women’s only camp with Bike Verbier and there are a few spots left on that. Take a look at this – http://bikemagic.com/news/tracy-moseleybike-verbier-women-specific-skills-camp-2013.html
ENDURO: Do you prefer the Enduro to DH and XC, which would you do if only one could be done?
Tracy – At the end of the day Enduro is just mountain biking, it’s the kind if riding we all love to do. Big day out and, enjoy the views and go fast on the fun flowy DH bits ! If there was only one type of racing that I could do, it would be Enduro. You only need one bike and you can do everything on it…..simple!
ENDURO: Where do you see Enduro going in the future and what changes would you make if you could?
Tracy – I think it will become a massive participation sport, I think it will draw at lot of new people in the competitive side of mountain biking. I hope it does not grow to big and too fast to lose some of the raw, grass roots style and feel that events still have. I hope it can still be social, fun and maintain the foundations it started with.
ENDURO: What riders have or do you look up to and why?
Tracy – Steve Peat for being able to keep at the top of the game for so long and for still being a down to earth, approachable guy. Anne Caro and Nico Vouilloz for their domination of our sport in the 1990/2000 years, such precise, talented riders.
ENDURO: How are you liking that Trek 29er and will we be seeing you on a 650b at any time?
Tracy – I have really enjoyed riding it over the last few weeks and love the feeling of speed that you get from it. Carrying speed I think is a big part of Enduro racing and the 29er certainly helped me to that win in Punta Ala. I am keen to try a 650b bike too, still open to try and test the different wheel sizes.
ENDURO: Finally what advice would you give to any aspiring female Enduro riders?
Tracy – Just to get out and ride as much as you can on as varied terrain as possible. Being a good all round rider in different conditions and on different terrain will set you up well for racing. Get out and have a go, as it’s a really social type of riding and the more you race and ride the better you will become!
ENDURO: Thanks Tracy, well done for your recent wins at Punta Ala and Hamsterley, keep up the good work and make sure you crack the whip a bit harder for James!!
Words: Jim Buchanan Photos: Doc Ward (http://www.doc-photography.com/)