Time on AQR team: Since 2011
Discipline: 12/24hr Solo & Stage Racing
Weapon of choice: Cotic Soda
In my previous seasons with AQR my main race has been early in the year. In 2014 things are a bit different as the World 24hr Solo Championships are not until October, so there’s plenty of time for other races and challenges this year.
After venturing into stage racing in 2013, this year I’ve already been back to Spain to race in my second successive Andalucía Bike Race, coming one better and finishing sixth in the female pairs. My next big multi-day event will be in July when I head to the BC Bike Race in Vancouver with team mate Ant Jordan. The race is renowned for its amazing singletrack and technical trails which will be a fair contrast from last year’s Transalp.
|Rach trying out foreign mud.|
Follow me on Twitter: @24hrSokal
Read my blog: http://rachelsokalmtb.blogspot.co.uk/
Time on AQR team: since 2011
Discipline: 12/24 hour and Stage Racing
Weapon of choice: Cotic Soda
I’ve loved riding bikes of any kind for as long as I can remember. Marathon running was the main focus for me for many years, whilst playing around on bikes trying to find the ‘perfect singletrack’ was the aim of many trips both near and far. In 2007, after 10 years of fun trail riding with friends, I entered 24 hour competitive racing as part of a team at Mountain Mayhem, going on to gain a top ten placing in my first 24 hour solo in 2008. Bitten by the 24 hour solo racing bug I travelled to Australia for the 2010 24 hours of Adrenaline World Champs. Focused coaching from AQR has enabled an ‘average Joe’ rider like me to climb onto a national podium at the 24 hours of Exposure Champs in 2012. Over the past couple of seasons I’ve dipped my toe into the world of mtb stage racing completing Trans Pyr and Trans Alp, and over the winter won the mixed pairs Trailquest mountain bike orienteering series with my partner Rachel Sokal.
|Ant showing he loves the UK mud.|
Follow me on Twitter: @Yet2Tamer
Time on AQR team: Since 2013
Discipline: 12/24 hour Solo
Weapon of choice: Cotic Solaris
I like riding bikes - so much so, I choose to do so for 24 hours without stopping every now and again!
My history with the AQR Race Team is pretty short compared with the rest of my teammates. A move to Nottingham in 2011 saw me hook up with James and Rachel through mutual riding buddies. Slowly I realised that James had incredible local trail knowledge and was a hell of a lot of fun to chase, and Rachel was just plain mad and loved the thrill of training and hill reps! They told me all about AQR as a coaching and holiday company and I decide to invest some money in personal coaching from Kate. This made me faster, James had to start chasing me every now and again and Rachel had company on her silly early morning training sessions. A 2nd place at Torq 12 in 2012, Top 20 at Keilder 100 and 3rd in the UK endurance series saw me get an invite to the team for the 2013 season, the highlight of that season being an above expectations result in my first 24 hour event, finishing 3rd at the UK and European Solo championships
2014 is all about the 24 hour world championships (WEMBO) at Fort William. Hailing from Bonnie Scotland, this is one of the first places I ever rode real mountain bike trails, so it's a bit of a homecoming for me! The aim is to race hard for 24 hours. The result really depends on who is on the start line but I believe a top 10 isn't beyond reach; the closer it is to the winner, the happier I will be!
|Martin staying clean unlike the others.|
The best thing about riding for AQR is the team spirit. There are no expectations around results - just do the best job you can do, but be a happy rider while doing so. And being unhappy is impossible with such a good team around me. Solo endurance riding is not just about the rider - I need to be fed, watered, cleaned, maintained, kicked up the arse. They are always there for me, whether it's 2:00am in the morning during a 24 hour race or on the end of a phone call, text or tweet during a tough phase of training.
Follow me on Twitter: @martinsmith86
Read my blog: http://bicycleadventures.wordpress.com/
Keep your eyes peeled for more team introductions coming in the near future covering the second trio of endurance riders.