Downhill mountain bike World Champion Steve Peat changed gear last night for an evening of conversation on stage at Sheffield Hallam University.
In front of a packed theatre, Sheffield’s own ‘doctor of downhill’ publicly thanked experts at the University for the important role they played in helping him to win the World Championships.
He said: “Training at Sheffield Hallam has given me a new focus. The training programme that the Podium Performance guys here put together helped me structure my training and leave time for my family. It was definitely one of the things that helped me win the World Championships.”
Sheffield-born Steve, who has an honorary doctorate from the University, is the most successful downhill mountain-biker in history, following his 2009 win in the UCI Mountain Bike Championships. He has taken more than 50 podium places in his career, including winning the Lisbon downhill race an unprecedented eight times.
After winning the silver medal on four occasions Santa Cruz Syndicate member Steve achieved his ultimate ambition in 2009 by becoming UCI Downhill World Champion in Canberra, Australia. He puts his success down to a combination of physical and psychological training.
During the lecture Steve explained that before he went to Canberra he was struggling to cope with the pressure of trying to win a World Championship. He spoke about this to Sheffield Hallam psychologist Dr Rob Copeland, who emailed him tips to use each day to build his confidence. Steve claims that during the week of the Championship he began feeling more confident day by day, and he thanked Rob for his support.
He said: “In the past I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to do it for the fans and the sponsors. In Canberra I didn’t think about it as much, I just went out there and enjoyed myself.
“I knew every rock and stone on that track, I knew where I was going to be braking or changing gear. But the track changes a lot day-to-day so you’ve got to be ready those little changes.”
The occasion was honoured when John Churchman from Yorkshire Cycling presented Steve with the C.A.Rhodes Memorial for 2009. The award was given in recognition of his achievements in Downhill Mountain Biking, and means Steve bears the title ‘Yorkshire Cyclist of the Year’.
John said: “I’d like to thank Sheffield Hallam for allowing us the privilege of presenting this award this evening.”