Pegasus Group senior planner Elizabeth Fowler talks about life as a champion Four Cross cycler.
How did you get into Four Cross cycling?
I've always been fairly competitive and a few years ago I started mountain biking for fun on a cheap bike. My interest grew and I started looking for what types of competitive racing were out there. I came across Four Cross, where four bikers race downhill on a prepared track with banked corners, bumps and jumps. Last year I did the British Four Cross series, this June I was selected for Team GB for the World Championships in Austria, which was a bit of a surprise, and in August I won the National Championships.
What does it involve?
First the bike: it's a hardtail bike, with front suspension, short chainstays and low bottom brackets to ensure tight cornering and good acceleration. Four competitors then line up behind a hydraulically operated metal gate and when that drops, its a short but frenzied sprint to the finish line, taking in every twist, turn and convolution of the track. I ride most weekends and in the summer months will be pedalling into the early evening on BMX tracks and other rugged terrain.
Why do you do it?
It's brilliant fun and the atmosphere at races is great. Everyone is friendly and, as a spectator sport, it's hard to beat as you can see the whole track and almost feel the raw competitiveness from start to finish.
What’s the toughest thing about it?
Some of the jumps are big, but there’s always a rollable, but slower, option and it's a mental thing; whether you can push yourself to take a giant leap of faith. The array of obstacles and the difficulty of getting over them at high speed while jostling with three other competitors means there are plenty of crashes.
What’s the most rewarding thing about it?
Winning is great, recognition is good, and being asked to go to the World Championships this year was amazing but completely unexpected. I'm still fairly new to the sport so for a competitive person, it's almost a dream come true to have represented GB at the World Championships and to have taken the win at the National Championships this year. A huge thank you to Pegasus for helping me fund the trip to Austria.
Are there any similarities between your day job and four-cross cycling?
I'm methodical and strategic in whatever I do in terms of planning, training and overall preparation. I take a similar approach to project work in planning. But as much as the similarities, doing Four Cross is about the difference it offers from sitting in an office. The two are different.
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