Whilst attending the hugely successful Temtiwr women's weekend in North Wales, Tess Agnew managed to grab a chat with the legendary mountain biker, Tracy Moseley. Here are a few MTB top tips from the queen herself...
Words by Tess Agnew
Know your bike
“You’re responsible for developing how you like to ride and what works for you. Just because the bike shop says this is how you should have your handlebars, or where your brakes should be, doesn’t mean it’s right for you and will get the best out of your riding.
“One thing I would stress to everyone is start with tyre pressure. Know what pressure is in your tyres when you ride and know how it feels. Change it up and learn what feels right for you. Same with suspension – it’s very subjective and down to personal preference.
“Two World Cup winning riders will have their bikes set up very differently depending on how they like to ride, for example."
Don’t run before you can walk
“Make sure you progress slowly and don’t get tempted to overdo it. It’s really easy now with trail centres to end up on a black trail before you’re ready for it.
“The things I hate to hear are: “Every time I ride I fall off my bike". That shouldn’t be the case. There are lots of great progressions you can make from starting at a level you can sustain, at your pace. Don’t jump on an all-singing, all-dancing full suspension bike until you can actually ride it and lift your front wheel over a log, or know how to pump.
Build those skills at a sensible level so it becomes enjoyable."
Get social – riding with others will improve your skills
“Finding the community is the best way to start – to have other people to bounce ideas off and get you out on a rainy day," she told us.
“You’ll meet more people like yourself, and benefit from the guidance they give and experience they’ve had. And the more places you go, the more terrain you ride and the better and broaden your experience and skills will be."
Learn to rationalise fear to overcome it
Getting over the fear since my accident has been a long and slow process. When I first got back to the trails the fast, flowy blues that I loved so much terrified me, and steep, rocky obstacles were out of the question.
So getting advice from Tracy on how to get over the fear was something I’d been waiting to do since signing up for the weekend months before.
“Having fear is healthy, but you have to be realistic about it, and think actually, is that fear justified in terms of ‘can you ride this section?’ she said.
“Ask yourself, ‘is this something I should be fearful of or am I creating this in my mind?’
“It’s learning why the fear is there and if it’s justified or not. And building the blocks back slowly. So if you find something you’re terrified of, find something less terrifying and do it loads of times, get the memory bank back that you’ve got the experience of doing something well, and then build it back up from there."
Go out and PLAY
“Everything I’ve learned is from being a kid playing and I think when you get into a sport as an adult you don’t go back and just play," she told us.
“The best thing you could ever do is get out on your bike down the local park with a stick or some cones and a bunch of you and play on your bikes.
“Practice track stands, do slaloms, try manuals – just play. That builds far more skills than just riding all the time doing trails."