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Into the Winterland

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The winterland is that slightly mysterious area that runs between mountain bike seasons, where I’m not really sure what I’ll be doing or in what direction I’m heading.

 

For the last few years I have made the completely wrong assumption that winter will be quiet work-wise. In actuality, my mind buzzes furiously with the fear and excitable joy of deadlines and new ideas.  As 2015 drew to a close I manically juggled writing and planning press-releases with being a Christmas elf. Mid to late December is obviously a very busy time for elves – what with the buying and wrapping of presents, decorating, baking etc. – and as I always seem to forget, it is also a busy time of year for cycling’s Press Officers.

 

Thrown into the mix was also some cyclocross racing, with the support of the ever-wonderful Newdales Cycles. The training part of my cyclocross season never really materialised, but a few weekends chasing some fast boys around the forest on my MTB (more of that later) brought me enough form to enjoy the racing. An absolute highlight of the season – and also ranking highly on the list of best Sundays ever – was when my best friends came to watch me race in one of the Eastern League events, following a slightly boozy Saturday spent in the pub hysterically reminiscing about our school days. I left for the race earlier than they did, leaving instructions that someone should be at the start line at 1150 to take my warm up kit and bottle. As I rolled round the lap I saw on the start/finish straight what appeared to be a slightly chaotic photo shoot for ‘Norfolk Magazine’. It was of course my very attractive friends – Hunters and Barbours galore – hopelessly asking, “Is this the pits?”, and befriending most of the Vet 50+ competitors who looked upon them in both awe and utter confusion. Having established the start line from the pits, they did a marvellous job of taking my kit and cheering me off the start. They then worked their way to the centre of the course which, helpfully, allowed spectators to see the course at four or five points. I felt like I was a Belgian rider at the Worlds in Koksijde! They cheered and whooped and chanted their little Wellie socks off. Indeed, they cheered just about everybody they could learn the names of, providing forty minutes of entertainment vastly more engaging and enjoyable than the race itself. They loved it. Everybody loved it; especially me. It was really special. Thanks guys and gals, I love you dearly.

Another highlight was a win at Round 18 of the Eastern League, an event promoted by Push Sport which is run by my wonderful Mum and her business partner (and my IT man), Tim Bonnett. It doesn’t have to be a big race for it to feel great to get your hands in the air, especially when you share the moment with loved ones, and I’m sure that racing myself  – albeit rather casually – helps me to connect with the riders I write about and tell their story better.

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Hempton CX 2_1

 

So, back to chasing boys…

I’ve managed to catch a very handsome boy, Nick, and remarkably he’s still not run off. Even better, he converted his love for road racing into a love for mountain biking, so finally rather than me getting my arse handed to me on the tarmac, I could teach him a thing or two about the rough stuff. The problem was that after a month riding off-road together I was back to chasing his wheel, the little f@!ker. Luckily fifteen years of riding Thetford’s tight, twisty singletrack has taught me a lot, and I can still hold my own…going downhill, at least!

 

Throwing back the years to Sunday mornings riding in Thetford puts the biggest smile on my little face, and getting to record it all on my new GoPro (turns out Nick is a good Christmas elf as well) has been so much fun. Check out my first ever edit…

So with this new found love of MTB, married with an existing love to travel, Nick is going to join me for some adventures in 2016, culminating in the most exciting trip of the year, racing the three-day Epic Israel! I have partnered up with the organisers of Epic Israel to offer my media expertise to their growing event. Having followed my Novus OMX Pro Team riders at the race in 2015 I was really taken with the idea of doing it myself. It was professionally run with fantastic feedback from the riders, but most of all I want to go and experience the stunning landscapes for myself. I will work with Epic Israel throughout the year and then fly out with Nick to race the event together in October, recording the entire journey in film, photographs and words. You’ll hear much more about this adventure in the coming months as my involvement ramps up. I am silly excited already!

Obviously there is a lot to come before we jet off to Israel…

In 2016 I continue my work as a Press Officer for Novus OMX Pro Team. I made close friendships and amazing memories with the team last year and I’m very happy to join them again. Recently I spent a day in London learning about digital content strategy and how best to market OMX to a wider audience. It’s great to to keep adding strings to my bow and work alongside some very talented people. As well all this office-based work I will again travel with the team, documenting the people and the races. I will be at the Australian and European World Cups, a few of the British Nationals and a handful of other races. My first trip with the team will be to the Cyprus Sunshine Cup in late February. It will be my 3rd time at this race, three years on from the infamous leg impalement that led me to start writing and eventually realise this job. I feel like I have been living with subsequent scar for much, much longer, though that is not at all a bad thing: being skewered to a Cypriot mountain was the start of something really good…

So good, in fact, that this year I’d like to invite you into my working world a bit more so I can share the love! You’ll be welcome behind the scenes at some of the World’s biggest cross-country mountain bike races and letting you in on what some of the World’s best riders get up to away from the race track. You’ll also get to see just what goes into making a professional team run as smoothly as possible, and all the crazy things I get tasked with as I bring you stories and media from around the World! There will be a lot more blogs, more films and of course loads of photographs. I hope you’ll come along for the ride! –

Please give me a follow and join the journey:

 

Of course, if you’re looking for someone to write your stories, build your profile and help market your event or brand, I’m your girl! I’d love to hear from you.

 

Let’s rock n roll!

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