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If you´ve been following me over the latter part of my career, and especially over the past couple of years, you´ll have seen my progression from pure roadie to lover of gravel riding and, more recently, mountain biking. I´ve lined up in a couple of MTB races, but next week, I´ll face my biggest challenge yet, at the brutal South African MTB race, Cape Epic.
But before I head off to Cape Epic, I really wanted to learn a bit more about the history of mountain biking, and the evolution that it has gone through to get to where it is today. I wanted to educate myself, and any others out there listening, that are in the same boat as me – just starting out in the sport of mountain biking but with your head still mostly in the road game, to understand the sport from the bottom up. I wanted to start at the beginning, and I wanted to know what it was like to race the sport and learn the etiquette from the inside out.
So I turned to a few greats of the sport. For history and background, I spoke with Ned Overend, one of the early adaptors of the sport. We chatted about the backstory of MTB, and the early legends, the ones who developed the iconic bikes – The Klunkers – those beach cruisers adapted into makeshift mountain bikes, which they then started racing downhill.
Next, I wanted to learn about the beauty of mountain biking racing, and that meant I needed to speak to the best of the best, and in my mind, that is the GOAT, Nino Schurter. Nino´s been part of the evolution of the sport from its inception, so what better way to find out how the sport has changed – the racing, the bike development, the course structure, all the technical stuff.
Next, I spoke to someone who started a bit later in the sport but has been really entrenched in the professional racing side of things and that´s Haley Batten, a rider who is now just coming to the forefront of mountain biking, and Haley really helped me to understand the nuances of the sport, the unwritten rules and the etiquette.
Lastly, I wanted to speak to someone who was a roadie but had transitioned to MTB, like me. Lachie Morton, having come from the road and transitioned to MTB, understands what it´s like for someone like me who is coming across from the road and trying to understand the sport.
I´ve developed a bit of a love for this sport, and I can´t wait to get stuck into the challenge of Cape Epic. It´s happening next week, and I´m heading there with my roadie partner Ian Boswell. We will document throughout the time in South Africa at Cape Epic and bring it to you after the event, but for now, sit back and enjoy learning a bit more about the beautiful sport of mountain biking.
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Show Notes –
Intro with Ian Boswell – until 15´44
Ned Overend – 15´50
Nino Schurter – 43´30
Haley Batten – 1´08´30
Lachlan Morton – 1´25´20
This episode is brought to you by Rapha, makers of the world’s finest cycling clothing & accessories and the world’s largest cycling club, RCC. Find out more about Rapha: their kit, their club, their events, and awesome clubhouses at rapha.cc.
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This episode is supported by our friends at Athletic Greens.
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The theme music for Life in the Peloton was composed by Pete Shelley, who was lead singer of the punk band Buzzcocks. It was commissioned by the production company behind Channel 4’s coverage of the Tour de France in the 1980s and was used as the theme music for the nightly highlights show. Pete died in December 2018. We were given permission by Pete’s widow and his manager to continue using the music for the theme tune to Life in the Peloton. To hear more about the music, listen to the Andre Greipel episode of Life in the Peloton.
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