Quick-fire questions: Hope's Rachael Walker - Bike Magic

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Quick-fire questions: Hope’s Rachael Walker

We’re asking some of the sport’s up-and-comers and most motivated riders what it is that keeps them keen and out on the bike come rain or shine. This time we have Hope’s Rachael Walker who rides, races and works for the northern engineering firm. 
Hope’s Rachael Walker.

Well known on the mountain bike race scene, Rachael has raced everything from crits on the road to downhill races at Fort William and literally every discipline in-between. For 2013 expect to see her racing enduros and ‘getting out there’ to ride and race at locations countrywide.

BM 1: What motivates you to train?  

RW: I love riding bikes. Getting fitter and stronger and better technically makes riding more enjoyable so that’s motivation enough. Everyone is going faster each season, knowing that all your competitors are training is a real motivation for me.

I live on the doorstep of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales where there’s some pretty epic riding- if that doesn’t motivate you I don’t know what will.

2: If you set yourself goals what are they?

Everyone always wants to get faster, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t naturally competitive. I ride with a fast bunch of lads so I guess my specific goals are to try keep up with the guys as much as possible and ride like them, following their lines definitely helps. I get a lot of stick from the guys if I ‘ride like a girl’ and no sympathy if things don’t go right on the track so I’m pretty focused on achieving my goals!

On the fitness side of things I figure anything the guys can do I can do better (or at least try). Needless to say it can sometimes get a bit competitive on the road or xc bikes..

3: What gets you out on the bike in winter?

Mixing it up in the winter works for me. The weather can be a bit grim but I think as long as you keep it interesting you can still enjoy a lot of riding. For me a mixture of DH, trail, XC, CX, road and a bit of gym thrown in for good measure seems to work. You never lose interest in one type of riding.

Racing enduro seems like a natural step for many ‘true’ mountain bikers and Rachael’s ‘ride it all’ attitude fits perfectly with the discipline. Expect top results in 2013.
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 voluntarily employ a trainer but I’m pretty fortunate in that I ride with such a diverse gang of people who all kind of train me in different ways. I ride with my old All Terrain team (Whitfield brothers, Flanagans, Simon Cheung and Ben Whitehead) and Rob Jarman who are basically a bunch of nutters where every ride out is a training ride.

I work with former national CX champ called Paul Oldham, who is pretty good at handing out tips and laughing at my lunchtime roller sessions!

So no I don’t think personal trainers are necessary. I think it’s better to have a training partner, someone of a similar ability who you can get a bit competitive with and push each other.

5: What, if anything, are you doing differently this winter? 

I didn’t really stop racing this winter. I decided to do CX races which was a real lung burner. I didn’t really do much DH, more XC and road riding. I cant wait to get riding DH again on the new rig so hopefully something might have worked!

Bonus: What races are you signed up for this year?

Something along the lines of some national and Scottish DH, Slovenian, German and UK enduros, UK XCs and dare I say it some crit road races. It’s gonna be a busy one!!


Read about Rachael’s team-mate Sam Flanagan here.


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