Norwich BMX track
Roll back to late 2008. I'd spent the last 2 years training and travelling to perform the best I could on the GB BMX Team as a full time athlete. I raced in the early days of women's Supercross racing on the 8m Olympic size start hills and made it to the top 16 in the World. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to do this and glad I gave it my best shot, but it was time to move on. Racing like this had taken the soul out of it for me, the reason I'd raced BMX since I was tiny had escaped me for the first time ever. So I spent the next 3 years digging and riding trails, or just jumping about at the track, finding the love I'd lost.Fort William World Cup 2011
A few years down the line I was having a lot of fun, but it felt like something was missing again. So, what started with a 4X national for a bit of a laugh with some good mates, quickly turned into a return to Fort William 4X World Cup and a 2nd place on the podium after leading the final... this made me realise I missed racing, the challenges, the buzz, the people and the travelling! Identiti offered me a place on their team after Fort Bill and were making a BMX frame. On top of that, the BMX World Champs were being held in England for the first time in 16 years. It seemed like the right time to give BMX racing a chance again...My year in video:
The season started early with National rounds at the new indoor facility in Manchester. I loved it, the time off had re-ignited my racing fire, but the best thing about it was catching up with all the people I hadn't seen in so long, making new friends and just enjoying the race scene vibe again.
There was a part of me that was tempted to have another go at racing supercross. I still loved riding the supercross track, but getting on the gate to race was a different story. My head wasn't in that game any more. The gap between a full time BMX racer with an Olympic dream and a 31 year old working a 9-5 and riding for fun, was just far too great these days. I'd be making up the numbers and it's no fun putting your neck on the line for nothing when you have work on Monday morning.
I headed to France in March, for the infamous French Roadtrip, something I've done for the last 6 years. It's the one thing that's stayed constant throughout. 1 week of 20 BMX riders, 3 mini vans, numerous BMX tracks, beers, laughs and memories that will never leave me. I love this trip and all the guys on it. I urge anyone to get a big group of mates together and go away on a road trip what ever type of riding you do, good times are the essence of riding!French Roadtrip 2012, good times!:
The Worlds came round before I knew it, it was held earlier than usual due to the Olympics. It was crazy walking into the National Indoor arena in the centre of Birmingham to a perfectly groomed BMX track. It's something I could only dream of happening as a kid. I was so glad I wasn't missing this! I made it through motos, quarters and semi's and hadn't really thought about the final until I got there....
As we lined up and the gate sequence started, the TV guys next to me in gate 1 were chatting to each other, I couldn't believe their ignorance! I totally lost concentration, and blew the start completely. I wasn't gonna let that stop me though! Maybe it gave me an extra boost playing catch up half way down the start hill, I don't know, but somehow I just about exited the first turn in the lead. It was probably the worst lap I rode all day! It didn't matter though, I'd done it, I'd won the amateur World title! I'd never won an international in my life, so to do it with a home crowd including my closest friends and family cheering me on was just fantastic. My Identiti team manager Dave even cried a little bit... I may get in trouble for mentioning that!
After the big show, somehow, we found ourselves in a swanky bar with a minimum table spend of £500, wearing our shorts, tees and vans, spraying champagne and drinking expensive vodka ..... and not paying for a penny of it! A night we'll never forget, even if the memories are blurry ones.World Champs Podium 2012
Back to reality at work for a week, what a come down. It was only a week though before I was off to spend a day with my friends at Braintree BMX making a silly promo video for their national. We had a right laugh, riding my bike through a bowling alley, riding in high heels and going on the waltzers at the fairground in full race kit. From there it was straight onto Fort William World Cup for a bit of 4X. It was a great week in a lovely huge house, looking over the mountains and shared with 9 other mates. Or at least it was going great until second practice, when I squashed one of the jumps a bit too much and went straight over the bars. I winded myself pretty bad which was unpleasant, but the lasting damage was a broken hand and tendon damage in my shoulder, that sidelined me for the racing.My year in video Part 2... it'd be nothing without friends!:
I don't know what to do with myself when I can't ride my bike, so I had to try hard not rush the recovery time too much. I needed something to look forward too, so me and Scoobs booked a trip to New York in October. It was a great chance to visit our good friend Dan who'd relocated from the UK, see the city and hit some trails! We'd seen some videos and photos of the trails we might be hitting, but they really didn't do the place justice. When we arrived we were greeted by a wonderland of lips, landings, berms, hips and a group of super friendly locals. The first day we went we only had an hour of light left. The step up had something like a 10ft lip and as you took off it look like a brick wall in front of you. I was so excited I followed one of the friendly locals in to get straight on it and hit everything before it got dark, I was absolutely buzzing! Can't thank Dan and the locals enough. What an amazing trip.The NY edit:
This year I followed my heart and did whatever made me happy.
Tracks, trails, riding, racing, friends, beers, laughter, travel....it was awesome!
Thanks to all my sponsors, my family, my friends and everyone I've ridden and laughed with.
See you next year.