In honour of the recent World Cup downhill results, this week’s Throwback Thursday is the prescient interview we did with UK young bloods Manon Carpenter and cross-country racer Annie Last, back in issue 72. Carpenter clinched the 2014 World Cup overall series title at the weekend (along with Josh Bryceland) and Last recently took 4th place in the 2014 Commonwealth Games mountain bike event, so what better way to celebrate their achievements than giving you a reminder of how hard they worked to get there…
Interview: Manon Carpenter and Annie Last.
Not many racers get to stand atop a medal podium as they come of age. We talk to two of Britain’s bright young hopes about racing, training and how to charm your way through check-in with far too many tyres in your bike bag.
Words by Jenn, pictures by Jenn, Chipps and Madison.
There’s something odd about riding trails which are within your capability in the company of folk who you know are far, far better riders than you will ever be. Up to a point you can use Jedi mind tricks to convince your brain to follow where they have, at their speed, simply because the laws of physics confirm that if their bike can go through there like that, then so can yours and it’s only having you as the pilot that’s holding it back. Forget that momentarily though and you’ll be instantly, inevitably dropped.
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We rattle off for a quick lap of the trails, where both racers take advantage of shared pedal preferences to grab a turn on Chipps’ Lynskey. Annie’s clearly immediately at ease as she carves rapid turns behind the “way too high!” bars, while the bike sees more air under its wheels in a couple of minutes with Manon than it has in its entire life at Singletrack. The descent back to the car park sees the girls tearing off ahead again, both clearly more than happy keeping their wheels under control on the sharp kickers that deliver final thrills here; their talent – and hard work – is evident in their riding and presence, and something we think a lot of people are going to be noticing in the coming year.
Thanks to Annie, Manon and One Planet Adventure, Llandegla.