People ask me why I took up this sport, and it’s pretty straightforward in my mind. I had an incident where I fell 40 ft and I broke both my legs and back and couldn’t walk. My injuries were serious enough for the doctors to have to consider whether I would ever walk again. I shattered both heals, broke all 10 metatarsals, snapped my Achilles' tendons, snapped my ankles and broke my lower back in 5 places.
This affected me badly in life. I was in a wheelchair for nearly 2 years and in 2 casts as I was undergoing operations. This meant I was a blue badge holder for over 2 years and under high disability. This was a tough part in my life as I've always been active but I always refused to believe this would be my life long term. During one consultation with one of the many medics I was under the care of, the doctor said a bike may help my ankles as they were fused.
This doctor got me thinking, absolutely yes, I had to have a go at cycling on the road, but because I couldn’t walk or stand properly, when I would stop the bike I would have to fall off on my side to get off the bike, for this reason I had to ride clipped and still do. I realised this wasn’t a safe way of cycling and following doctors advice. So my next step was to get a mountain bike and watched some YouTube videos and decided that Fort William was the place to learn to ride a bike!
I was wrong about Fort William though. With no cycling experience, I entered an SDA and came 3rd to LAST at this point I was still unable to walk properly. But soon after this, things took a turn for the worse. Due to relentless rehabilitation and no money I had to end my cycling. It was a very short period on the bike but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
After this short episode of riding, for around 3 years I wanted to get a bike but couldn’t afford one as I had lost my company and I had nothing. Once my leg became a lot better through insane determination I managed to get back to work and the first thing I was going to do was get another bike. I bought myself a used Lapierre Spicy Team for £1800 approximately 2 years ago. I bloody loved it.
So far I have done around 5 enduro events normally coming mid-field but I do struggle with the longer distances all the time due to my ankles. This is a result of having had numerous operations and sometimes suffering from stiffness. I then realised full-time enduro wasn’t for me as my body was struggling. So back in September 2017 I decided to give downhill a go. I got myself a Specialized Demo 8 S-Works 2017 and love it. I have been practising at local tracks like Havok Bike park which is my regular along with Revolution bike park. I book uplifts as much as I possibly can to learn the skills I need.
So the races I am lining up to do or have recently done are most Downhill series this year. SDA, PEARCE CYCLES, GRAVITY, BDS, PMBA and the Ard Rock Enduro and I plan on giving it my all. I am quite new to the cycling world but currently a midfield rider. I think I had a 10th, 8th, 7th and 3rd as well. I just need to learn to stay on my bike. I have built a Santa Cruz Jackal DJ bike to try improve my jumping skills as this is all that lets me down when racing. I hope to get up in the top 5 riders this season on a regular basis. I know I can do it. I just need some fine tuning and plenty of track time. I've also committed myself to some more enduro races, mainly the PMBA series in Kirroughtree and their final round at Lee Quarry and Havok Bike park in October.
I've got to say financing all this biking is hard work but worth it. I have given up smoking approximately 12 months ago for cycling and I attend the gym 4-5 days a week and ride weekends. I now have a new Santa Cruz Nomad 4 and I have been training hard and I have now managed to get myself up to a top 10 which I am chuffed about especially when you consider how little ride time I have had and experience. I have grown a strong following and a good Instagram presence and think 2019 will be my season. I am a lot stronger and fitter than ever and will continue to train through the winter. I've also started to organise rides for fellow MTBers, a sort of social gathering. This gives a chance for riders to meet up with other riders, so far at Gisburn and Whinlatter and a few uplifts. These are for all levels of riders.
So I’ll often hear people asking me what “Wormy” really means.
I wanted to try and create something to help give something back, in return for what mountain biking has given me. I wanted to do this selflessly. As wormy was already known and established to me, I used this to create a little brand. My nickname wormy was given to me when I was young due to the fact I used to eat so much food, yet I was so skinny. I have now created items that people can buy. From cheaper items like keyrigs and cups through to hats and t-shirts. All the money that is made from this will be used to help others. This is totally non-profit. It’s all a new venture, but my idea is to save up a set amount, who knows, maybe £500 at a time. Then when enough merchandise has sold I'll have a poll on Instagram with a couple of options of what the money should be used for, kind of vote for your favourite. The things the money will be used for will be charitable, for example helping cycling related injury charities, helping air ambulances and mountain rescue teams. I'd like to help people who can’t afford to cycle to maybe get the chance to have a go. It really depends on how much it raises, and this is up to the people out there, and in return, people get something cool from a rad t-shirt or cup and that feeling they have helped someone. I also have started a little race team WORMY MTB RACING which now has 2 sponsored riders who I am helping get into racing and helping with the costs of biking. In time I hope this to progress and have larger numbers of sponsors for the group and help more people.
I have been very lucky in the last few years and I strongly feel the urge that I should be helping others to get lucky. It's all about my motto now living the dream
Cheers to Jerry and Phil for meeting up with me on a number of occasions and doing some photo shoots. I'd also like to say a massive shout out to my partner and family who have been solid through this period of my life and the ongoing physiotherapy. This would have been an impossible journey without them. I would like to say a huge thanks to all my sponsors in what they have done for me:- Royal Racing, 7iDP 7protection, Peatys Products, Crankbrothers, Joes bikes, Squad Pro Bike, Whitakers signs, Pedal North, Mtb strapon, Derailed, Fortitude Fitness LTD, Also to Can’t Quit Cartel, Sick Bicycles and Shred Hedz for inspiring me to get to where I have and for also doing things to help others. Giving not just taking! INSPIRATIONAL!! See you on the trails dudes!!
Follow me on my journey on Instagram at @wormy_mtb