Sam Flanagan is a British mountain biker who has recently been picked up by Hope Factory Racing having won the overall senior title at the 2012 British Gravity Enduro series.
We’ve been asking some of the sport’s up-and-coming riders what keeps them motivated to ride and train throughout the winter and so we come to Sam; a guy who grew up riding all sorts and racing downhill with ‘training’ coming naturally – it’s all fun to him.Hope’s Sam Flanagan reflecting on another epic ride.
Photo © Sam Needham 1: What motivates you to train?
I have never been massively into my training previously (coming from a downhill background), I do however have a lot of stamina and never seem to be able to give in no matter how much it is hurting! I went into last year’s enduro season after a winter of limited riding and no real base fitness, I built this up throughout the season which is definitely not the best way to go about things.
My main motivation to train is the drive to win that everyone who races feels as well as my love of riding. Sundays wouldn’t be the same without rambling up a big old hill and blasting down some epic singletrack with the boys in full on horizontal rain or glorious sunshine, the feeling when you’re nailing it down a big Lakeland trail is enough motivation for me!2: If you set yourself goals what are they?
My main goals for this season are to relax and have fun. The less pressure I pile on myself the easier the results seem to come. I would love to get some top 10 World Enduro Series finishes and front row of the Mega and Mountain of Hell so watch this space.3: What gets you out on the bike in winter?
My love of riding as well as my new green blinged-out Hope Factory Racing Yeti SB66C. A new bike is the best way to motivate you to get out on those freezing cold snow filled trails! If I don’t get out on a bike of some kind at least once a day it feels like a wasted day. I also have a great group of mates and we all motivate each other to get out in all conditions and get wild.Training for Sam is more about getting out on the bike whatever the conditions.
Photo © Sam Needham 4: Do you have a trainer, do you think it makes a difference and do you think general riders should employ one?
I don’t currently have a trainer. However, I am reaching the stage in my training where it would be very beneficial. I feel like my fitness has reached a certain level and to get it to the next stage I need to look at modifying my diet as well as working out the best things to do to get the most from my training without over doing it and blowing out.
If anyone out there wants to help me out with a good plan I would be very grateful…
In terms of general riders and training I believe that people will start off riding with a view to doing it for fun but they will soon get the bug and drive to do well. Realistically there will only be a few that are willing to take it to that next level however; to not go out drinking or eating the wrong things and to focus on getting their fitness and results up.
5: What, if anything, are you doing differently this winter?
The main thing I am doing differently this winter is working hard on my core strength and fitness in the gym using both weights as well as cardio. I have always been into my big epic rides that have known to zombify a few people who don’t come prepared for the distance and climbs…
Also if the bike hasn’t been carried at least twice during a Lake District epic then you’re doing it all wrong! Roadie miles are also a big part of my training this year; this hasn’t really played a part in previous years’ training. However, I need to step up the efforts and sprints to get the power up to get into beast mode on some of those big old flat-out pedalling stages at the enduro races. I have always enjoyed riding BMX as cross training and this is how I initially got into riding so this is still a big part of my winter regime.Bonus question: What races are you signed up for this year?
This year I will be competing in all the UK Gravity Enduro series rounds, the European rounds of the Enduro World Series and the Megavalanche, Mountain Of Hell, selected Superenduros and hopefully some of the American races, dependent on my budget! It is going to be one hell of a year.
You can follow Sam on instagram to keep up with how it is all going – @samfla