We grabbed Tweedlove Enduro World Series winner Tracy Moseley for a quick chat…
ST: After Chile how did you feel, obviously second is a great result but were you disappointed?
TM: The hard thing at the start of this season was I was trying to balance enduro with trying to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in cross country, so I’d been focussing a lot more on cross country than enduro going into Chile. The fitness was there. I just felt that I hadn’t really spent enough time on my enduro bike to be really sharp with the skills and I felt like I made a lot of mistakes which obviously isn’t what id normally do in an enduro. So I was more frustrated than anything that I wasn’t quite riding on my A game, and I’d also just travelled from South Africa so was pretty knackered. So I came away with two feelings, one yeah second’s still a decent result and I was glad it wasn’t any worse than that and that Anne was quite a chunk of time ahead and that was disappointing but at the same time it’s a series and I’d only lost a few points in the overall so actually it was a perfect start considering the preparation really. It only comes from experience knowing what preparation I’d put into it; a lot of people on the outside looking in went “oooh you got spanked by Anne Caro”, but that’s fine I knew what was in my own head and I could deal with that. In Chile it wasn’t even my own bike.
ST: Do you see this as a home turf win?
TM: I actually had my 18th at Bony’s Steak House, er, quite a while ago when I raced downhill at Innerleithan. I’ve been coming here to race every year for the last 17 years. I’ve raced more here than at any other downhill location in the UK. It’s the event I really wanted to target as there’s nothing like a home win. So I put a bit of pressure on myself this weekend, yeah, but that’s good.
ST: So have you changed your preparation and training for this year?
TM: The one thing when I decided to race the Enduro World Series was that I always felt that after doing ten or more years of downhill, I hoped that the downhill side would sort of take care of itself as long as I kept riding. I’ve always done a lot of trail riding, more so since I met James, being with James I’ve done a lot more natural riding. That part’s always been pretty good, the ability to read a trail, to react and ride a trail that’s in front of you. So it was just long days on the bike and the stages where you’re got eight minutes worth of riding, that was never a thing in downhill, it may have been eight minutes but now there’s a fair amount of pedalling and the need to just push hard. On long stages, some of them are twenty minutes long in France so it almost feels like a lap of a cross country race. So it’s a bigger focus on your endurance.
ST: And bike set-up has that changed at all?
TM: Not really I was already thinking of the day as a whole rather than just five timed stages. I think a lot of people just think ‘right I’ll set bike up like this because these are the bits I’m being timed on’ whereas I saw it more as a whole package. Okay, there’s timed stages but you’ve got to get yourself through the whole day and if you can somehow make your bike more efficient because you only spend maybe twenty to forty minutes racing but you’ll spend eight hours riding your bike. So if you can make the seven hours as efficient as possible you’re generally going to be fresher for the bits that you’re timed on. So I made tyre choices, used a double chainring and tried to lighten things up as much as I could without sacrificing durability. There’s a massive compromise when you come to bike choice, tyre choice, your set up in general. I think you set it up to your strengths as well, I’m happier having tyres that are a bit more sketchy but I know are going to roll fast, because with years of downhill experience its not the thing that worries me. I prefer to have a bit of help with the pedalling and a few sketchy moments in the downhill so I probably chose, compared to a lot of people, less aggressive tyres. But, it’s a balance I think. With bike setup in enduro you have to use your head a bit, which I quite like, it’s not just the same set-up for everyone.
ST: There’s a lot of ground to cover between stages here too.
TM: I was actually disappointed, I really thought they could have made an epic day and made this, every round is quite different, I though they could have made a stage in Inners and a stage at Cademuir. If you actually did those two areas, and you had to ride the whole valley. I’d love to have done one stage in each place and done a whole loop of the valley so you would probably have had a sixty kilometre day. That adventure for me is one of the big things, some of the enduros when they’re based in one forest are just like riding five downhills and that’s not where I think enduro should go, but I guess that just my personal opinion.
ST: So for your opinion of enduro, that adventurous aspect is important?
TM: I think that leaving the start/finish with everything you need for the day and not getting any food, or any assistance, for me would be perfect. You’ve got to be prepared, you’ve got to look after your kit you’ve got to plan well and eat well. There’s more to it than just riding your bike as fast as you can down stages.
James Richards: It feels, to me, like the competitive format for adventurous mountain bike riding.
TM: It’s like the ride you do every weekend with your mates but it’s timed and it’s official. It isn’t any different to that. But I’ve seen a few races this year use the same start/finish with two or three times stages, no one takes a bag, they’re just walking up the fire road to the stages and to me that just a downhill race and that’s not where I’d like to se enduro go. But at the moment we have this wide spectrum and it’s all called enduro and that’s cool.
ST: So feedback on this location would be?
TM: So for me hopefully this will become a regular location for the Enduro World Series and will become like Fort William is for downhill.