Tracy Moseley is a world renowned mountain biker. A professional MTB racer, she has multiple downhill world cup wins to her name, and a whole host of other race wins under her belt. Let’s just say her trophy cabinet must take a long time to dust.
This year, she's turned her hand to the new Enduro World Series. She’s competed in rounds in Italy, France, the US and Canada, all leading up to the final race in the aptly named Finale, Italy.
This is Tracy’s report from the front-line of racing, in her own words.
"My final trip to Europe has now been and gone and I can’t believe how fast the season has flown by. It’s been a busy one and probably the most tiring season of my entire career!
Multiple days of racing in really challenging terrain left me feeling exhausted after the final UK Enduro at the beginning of September. It wasn’t long before I got ill and that was the final sign that I needed to take a break and have a couple of weeks off my bike. Fortunately the timing was perfect as there was a break in between the races.
Coaching in Switzerland and Cross Country in France
I still had some coaching commitment and flew out to Switzerland at the end of September for my 2nd Girls Coaching week with Bike Verbier in Switzerland, feeling ready to get back on the bike.
Coaching is something I would definitely like to do a little more of once my racing career is over but sadly I have just not had time to fit much in this year. It’s great that Lucy from Bike Verbier just books a date early in the year and I know I have to be there!
This year we had 9 willing ladies, all keen to learn some new skills, ride some amazing terrain and meet new riding buddies. It was a fantastic week, and we were blessed with amazing weather. I got to ride yet more great trails around Verbier, and all the women went home having ridden trails they would never have dreamt of trying at the start of the week.
From Verbier I drove down to the south of France to the annual bike festival, Roc D’Azur. The Roc is the European equivalent of the Sea Otter Festival, attracting well over 20,000 participants taking part in various races over the 5 days.
Endura, my clothing sponsor, were also sponsoring the event so I spent some time signing on the stand as well as racing the enduro and the women’s XC race. It was a good weekend to get back into racing and stretch my legs with a few big days of pedalling in readiness for the final World Enduro Series event.
Enduro World Series Final in Finale
Going into Finale was an exciting time. I had already guaranteed the World Series Title and you would have thought that I would just have been happy to ride around and enjoy the final race, but for some reason I felt more motivated than ever to finish the year on a high!
I started the year in Punta Ala choosing not to shuttle the trails during practice as it’s something I just did not associate with Enduro, as all the races in the UK you just pedal around the course for practice.
I also felt that it ruined the atmosphere at the events, as people were not out enjoying the location and riding around chatting during practice.
Shuttling is something that has been part of the Italian races for many years and it’s not possible for that to change this season. It would also be impossible for shuttling to be stopped in Finale as all the trails are scattered around the surrounding hills, and all only linked by roads.
However I decided to stick to my feelings that an enduro race should be practiced by pedaling at events without ski lifts. To me shuttling is often not available for everyone, as not everyone has a hire car, or someone to drive etc.
I also feel that creating excess traffic in the beautiful areas we go to race is not a good advert for the ‘green’ sport of cycling. It’s not nice for the local people to have vans driving flat out right past their front door for days before the race.
It’s also not good for the trails themselves, as when people use vehicles to shuttle you are able to get many more practice runs in on the trails. Inevitably that amount of traffic over a short period of time can destroy the trail, to the extent that when we leave the venue after the race the locals have to ride our blown apart berms, holes and ruts or spend time and money repairing them.
If people rode around to practice, the trails would get less traffic and therefore get less damaged.
I also feel that people do not have the opportunity to actually enjoy the environment they are in, interact with the locals and experience a little of their culture and way of life. I spent 9hrs riding around the area over the 2 days of practice and saw so many birds, animals, beautiful gardens and trees!
It also highlighted to me how important riding the liaison stages in practice is, as during the race people actually got lost trying to find the start of stages as they had just been in the back of a van during practice and had no bearings as to where the stages were!
Racing to victory?
However I think my mindset is definitely in the minority as I only saw a handful of people out riding during practice. I did think that maybe my decision to ride the practice was a bad one as I set out for the first day of racing, though.
I felt fine during the liaison, just steadily pedaling away, but as soon as I tried to sprint in Stage 1, I just had instant lactic acid in my legs and they felt so heavy. However, apart from the tired legs I rode the technical sections well and took an early lead in the race from Anne Caro.
Stage 2 was the hardest technical stage, with lots of blown out corners and a technical rocky climb. I made one mistake, taking a tight inside line and washed out my front wheel going straight over the bars. It was just a slow speed crash but it put me off my rhythm for a while. I still managed 2nd on the stage. Only 2 seconds behind Anne; I was pleased with that!
After Stage 2 we headed back to the race start/finish just for 20mins, to quickly eat some food and check the bike, then it was off again for a 50min climb up to stage 3.
This was a super fast, and really narrow with such a loose surface it felt like I was riding on marbles!
I didn’t feel as though I rode the stage very well as it had changed a lot since I practiced it early on the Thursday. Again I took 2nd on the stage, but Anne had a great run. She went 10secs quicker than me to leave her leading the race by 5 seconds after day one.
Fortunately my legs felt a lot better on Sunday. After the long (1hr15min!) ride up to stage 5, I put together a good run on what was definitely my favorite stage of the race. So good that I took back 5 seconds from Anne to leave us on the same time going in to the final stage!
I am glad that I actually did not know the times before the final stage, as it would have just added to the pressure. I just knew I had to ride as well as I could and I did that. There were no crashes this time on Stage 6, and even with some confusion with the taping I managed to put together a good run and took the race win from Anne by 10 seconds.
Riding back to the finish I still did not know the result and in the big picture it did not matter, but I did really want to win this race.
To ride up onto the stage with the voice of race organiser Enrico telling me I had not only won the series but also the final race was just an amazing feeling!
It was more of a sense of relief that the pressure I put on my self was finally over.
2013 has been a season I will never forget. Taking the first ever World Enduro Series Title and winning 5 of the 7 races along the way is something I don’t think will ever happen again!
A massive thanks to everyone who has helped me this season, to all my sponsors and for the guys for setting up the Enduro World Series. It’s been an incredible journey, and one which I believe is just the beginning of something huge…