How my life has changed in the last two years is quite something.
This time two years ago I had a full-time job as an electrician, a mortgage, a wife, and a new hobby called cross country mountain biking. Life seemed pretty settled and going along nicely.
Since then my dreams and goals have somewhat changed.
I’ve left my job to go as a full-time rider, sold the house, me and Nicole have gone our separate ways, and my hobby has turned into a life style.
So, how did it start?
I was picked up early on in my XC racing debut by Mark Letters of Banjo Cycles, Newbury, after he saw my Strava results.
He gave me the best ever chance to succeed in my racing goals. Mark saw my potential way before I ever did. He backed me 110% from the start.
He must have felt sorry for me, as I was riding around on a 26’’ 160mm travel all mountain bike, with flat pedals and baggie clothes, trying to race the Gorrick XC events.
Mark supplied me with a 2014 Specialized Epic 29er, SPD pedals and ‘cough’ lycra.
To get used to this new racing setup wasn't too hard at all, as it just made my life so much easier. The 29er wheels were just so fast, and the SPD pedals I just spend 20 minutes clipping in and out, before hitting the trails for the first time. And what a difference they made! The part, where you can push and pull, and hit roots without loosing a foot, was the first things I noticed. And, as for the lycra - well, that just made me sexy - haha.
Two years have past since them days…
And its safe to say - I picked up XC racing fairly well. Winning both the Expert National Series and Elite National Series back to back.
This year my dreams have really come true, and so far all the sacrifices I have made have all worked out for the best, starting with leaving my job, so I can now fully focus on my riding. It has produced opportunities I couldn't have accepted, if I was still in full-time employment, like the 9-day trip to Majorca for some warm training in early February. Once I got back from Majorca, I had a call to ask, if I could help out on a technical training camp in North Wales for 4 days, guiding our up and coming XC stars over technical obstacles and some beautiful Welsh trail riding. I was soon missing the warm weather of Majorca, so I've decided to pack my bags again and jet off to Cyprus to compete in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. Something I never though would become possible.
Time to get really excited…
This is where the next load of information is mind-blowing, and I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not actually dreaming.
For the 2016 season I have left Banjo Cycles. I can’t THANK MARK LETTERS enough, and I will still do my upmost to promote his store still and say how amazing he has been towards me and my racing. Without his belief in me this wouldn't be happening, and I strongly believe that, so all this is thanks to Mark and him backing me and supporting me. I’m sad to be leaving the Banjo Cycles team, and the commitment Mark and the team has shown me has been second to none.
When I got back from Majorca, an opportunity came up to be a ambassador for SPECIALIZED UK and race under Specialized team. I know right, this is a dream come true - to be racing for what, I believe, is the best manufacturer in the World. I’m so stoked and can’t believe this has been pulled off.
Another photo from www.jawdesigns.co.uk thinking about the long road ahead
And the fantastic news doesn't stop there, it actually gets one step better. I can only image your thinking, how can it get better…… well, are you ready for this? I managed to land an ambassador support from my all-time childhood favourite component manufacture HOPE TECHNOLOGY…. My mind has blown, and I'm bouncing on cloud nine.
I have always wanted to ride for Hope Tech ever since I began riding. The fact that they produce the best products, and that it is all happening in Hope’s Barnoldswick factory in Great Britain are just two of many reasons to be over the moon to have them on board of my bike. Their attention to detail and reliability, knowing that every part is hand-assembled to finish off, will leave me feeling confident and ready to race throughout my 2016 season. I'm so happy to have both of these companies looking after me in the 2016 season. What more could a rider ask for.
It just goes to show that with dedication and faith, plus a dream, your goals can be achieved. I am a living proof of this. As hard as it seems sometimes, I just never give up. Always keeping that smile on my face and make them dreams come true. If I can make it happen, you can. Don't be scared to ask for help. We all need help. And people are willing to help those, who need it to reach there goals. I’ve had a few knocks backs, whilst asking for help along the way, but in the end I've got a deal I would never have considered possible. And I'm in a place I never though to be possible.
As you can imagine, I am so excited about the 2016 season and can’t wait to get stuck in.
Follow my process on my website and, please, feel free to email any questions you might have. I will do my best to help and guide, where I can. This is a massive learning curve for me, and sometimes it’s other peoples’ questions that make you realise just how this has happened.
I’ll be sure to keep my website updated, whilst out racing in Cyprus.
All The Best