2021 – Race plans, New Bike Day? GoPro incoming and the pursuit of endorsement

I’ll certainly need a new bike (for real this time)

“I don’t expect to be running in podium places but for me to finish a race would be a phenomenal achievement”

Welcome back readers, I hope great times were had by everyone over New Year to whatever extent you were able. Before we left 2020 in the dust I wrote a quick little post of my reflections for the previous 12 months looking at some of my MTB highlights. I’ve spent a lot of the holidays deliberating over how I can squeeze every ounce of life from 2021 to benefit me the most, the next few paragraphs will reveal exactly what I came up with.

Expanding the brand – GoPro footage imminent

I started this blog because two of the things I love the most are Mountain Biking, and Writing. But we often do things for more than one reason, and the ulterior motives behind this blog other than being a place for me to enjoy writing are:

  • To create a portfolio of articles to help me gain a job in MTB journalism
  • To showcase my talents as a writer and a rider
  • To chase down sources of income where I enjoy the work
  • To expand my presence in the MTB community
  • To give others the knowledge I wish I had earlier

With this in mind I will be committing a lot more energy to the blog this year, with a clear focus on the above goals. The first step towards this for me was to purchase a GoPro. By expanding from a simple blog into a multimedia enterprise I’ll hopefully achieve much better engagement as well as giving you guys more valuable content.

Race Plans (2022)

I used to do a hell of a lot of BMX when I was a little bit younger (around 15-17). I won’t pretend I was amazing but I could send it over some mean tabletops or fly offs and land flat without any worries, and the distance I covered single speed in the Lake District was mental. All things considered my fitness levels were ridiculously good, up until I learned to drive, started to drink and then (nail in the coffin) went to University. Fast forward to present day and I’ve spent the last year trying to undo 6-7 years of binge drinking, partying, takeaways and just a general lack of care for my body. The biggest surprise for me was just how quickly I manage to start clawing back some noticeable level of fitness.

I started 2020 by joining a gym for the first time since I left home aged 18, and I was going three times a week without fail if not more, then COVID-19 hit and that went to shit. I spent about a month of my furlough period rinsing through the Assassins Creed games and feeling miserable, before buying my Trek Marlin. I pushed my myself to start doing some lengthy Cross Country riding, heading out and not coming home until I felt sick or my saddle sore got that bad I felt like my ass would fall off.

In the time since new bike day and writing this, I feel like a completely different person physically and mentally. I’m outlasting those who used to drag me behind them on the trails and I’m constantly wanting more. I’ve been out in rain, snow, storms and sunshine this year and the UK weather hasn’t ever played a part in my decision of ‘do I want to ride today?’

With that being said, If I can achieve that in less than six months of saddle time and without a training plan, with a full year of serious training (and a new bike) 2022 is the year I’ll enter my first enduro race.

As far as Enduro riders go 26 is rather old to be entering your first race, and most of these guys have been training all of their lives, but with my history of cycling and the level of dedication I’ve found during the shittiest year of my existence I know that I can enter with confidence. I don’t expect to be running in podium places but for me to finish a race would be a phenomenal achievement, and one that I can’t wait to tick off the bucket list.

New Bike Day and working on my Technician skills

The next few years are going to be VERY expensive for me, with a lot of groundwork being done into securing a future for me and my soon to be Wife. For me to be able to enter a race in 2022 I absolutely need a new bike, entering a race on my Marlin 5 would be a level beyond ridiculous no matter how many upgrades I’ve given it, my riding level has simply surpassed the capabilities of my bike.

It’s hard to get a budget in mind with everything going on at the minute but one way or another it’s going to have to happen. Cycle to work scheme, second hand bargains or relentless saving, all suggestions welcome!

Possibly more important to me than getting a new bike though, over the course of 2021 I want to improve my knowledge of bikes significantly. I have a very good grasp of this currently and there isn’t much I can’t or haven’t already tackled on my hardtail. The areas I’ll be focussing on will be suspension components (specifically tuning them) and building my knowledge of how geometry effects your riding.

The pursuit of sponsorship/endorsement

Sponsorship and endorsement are why a lot of people use social media to expand their presence and showcase their riding. This isn’t necessarily important to me, as improving my fitness and my overall quality of life is why I embrace MTB so much.

So why would I want to pursue this? Sponsorship and endorsement is seen by most people as an opportunity to get free stuff, increased exposure and unconditional support. In reality, these relationships are a two way street, businesses and suppliers sponsor or endorse a rider as they also gain something from the partnership, and this relationship is what I’m looking for in particular.

Nurturing a relationship that benefits both parties is a great way to expand and grow for me and others. As I mentioned above expanding my brand is a huge goal for me this year, and partnering with another business or enterprise in a similar position is a great way to do this.

I’ve left this one off my list of goals as the scope of it is not too clear at the moment, but I’d also love to be in a position soon to sponsor riders entering into other races.

What’re your experiences with Racing, training or keeping fit in 2020? Leave a comment, get involved or visit my Instagram @cycologymedia for a chat. Also what’s your opinions and predictions for me entering next year at the age of 26?

I hope 2021 brings you everything you desire and that 2020 is rotting in hell 🙃

Happy trails. Ben

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