Callum Dew is one of the many riders currently jumping at the chance to race in the relatively new discipline of gravity enduro racing and, like many of those, he comes from a downhill racing background. Scott’s UK team has taken him on board for the 2013 racing season, putting faith in his skills and motivation, which are both plentiful. Callum has kindly taken the time to tell us about what it is that motivates him to ride, train and race bikes, whatever the conditions (well, almost!).
BM 1: What motivates you to train?
CD: My main motivation is for results throughout the season. I’m well aware that if you don’t put in the effort over winter then it really shows once the season starts and it can make life difficult if you’re constantly playing catch-up to fitter racers that have had more bike time.
I’ll often think about the feeling of winning or getting on the podium at an event and that alone is enough to motivate me to put the training hours in. So in that respect I think I have pretty strong self-motivation. I don’t remember ever wanting to skip a training session and it just becomes a weekly routine over winter, I actually enjoy it.
Equally I get bored quickly when I sit around and have nothing to do; I always just feel like I’m wasting my time unless I’ve earned the right to rest after training. It might sound odd but when I get really into my training I think of my body as a machine, and by training hard and fuelling it properly with good nutrition I feel stronger physically and mentally. Also small things, like hearing that another racer is training hard, help to motivate me along the way. I hate to think that someone out there might be training harder than I am and I guess that’s just my competitive edge showing.
Also this winter my younger sister has been training hard herself and racing a lot of track at Manchester Velodrome, which is such a professional environment. After watching her race there and being surrounded by such motivated people I always leave feeling motivated myself to train hard, and it even led to a lot more lycra and SPD pedals being involved in this winter’s training!
2: If you set yourself goals what are they?
Racing goals are always the same, at the first race I’ll set myself a position goal, sometimes with certain individuals I want to beat in the process, and then look to improve on that result with each consecutive race. Training is similar, I like to record my progress and then improve with each session or week. I’ve been using a heart rate monitor the last two winters and I enjoy training that way and striving to push harder each session. Equally seeing my resting heart rate get lower and lower as winter progresses is encouraging! In that sense training goals for me are continually changing with each milestone that I hit. Having boxes to tick off every step of the way seems to work better for me rather than just setting one ultimate goal for the season’s start.
3: What gets you out on the bike in winter?
I know it’s a cliché but I get out on the bike because it’s what I love doing more than anything else. It’s why we all do it at the end of the day, it’s a hobby and I thrive off it, ultimately I’d love to make a career out of it. No matter what the season or what the weather is like I enjoy it regardless. The only weather that’s been known to keep me indoors is strong winds; when it’s blowing a gale outside as it can be around the Peak District over winter it sometimes isn’t worth going out because you can’t actually move. I was out on the road bike in a classic Peak District head wind today and it made life pretty difficult!
But it’s all fun. Rain, snow, mud, its all part of the job and as long as you’re dressed and prepared for it it’s a great laugh and smiles all round. Having the boys at the North West Mountain Bike Centre on hand to keep my bike running sweet when the winter grit has burnt through brake pads and parts is a massive help for sure.
4: Do you have a trainer, do you think it makes a difference and do you think general riders should employ one?
I’ve never had a trainer before and have always made my own plans, but this winter I have been doing some training with a good friend of mine Damon Manning, who is a personal trainer at Virgin Active in Didsbury, Manchester, and a national triathlete. There is no question that it makes me train harder than I would do on my own, especially with Damo being a good friend you develop friendly competition and rivalries. I think introducing a competitive element to your training is undoubtedly beneficial, and the fact that Damo is a qualified trainer is equally beneficial.
I think people work closer to their optimum when they are given guidance, especially guidance that they can trust. For example I know that previously I have sometimes felt a bit lost with my training – not knowing if what I was doing was beneficial in preparation for mountain bike racing. Having a trainer to tell you what is best, or even to just give you confirmation that what you’re doing is good, is perfect for not only physical but mental preparation too.
From a nutritional point of view I have been lucky that studying a biology degree at Manchester Metropolitan University with a focus on nutrition has meant that I have been surrounded by qualified nutritionists. Essentially my lecturers have acted as my nutritionists (although they didn’t know it, ha!) by explaining to me the best diet in their opinion for endurance athletes and answering any questions.
Having a trainer and nutritionists available has been beneficial to me as a racer in preparation for the season so I would recommend other racers to employ one depending on how seriously they take their racing. That being said I don’t think a trainer is necessary for a non-racer/ general rider as I think for some people it could detract from the fun of riding and likely make the whole experience too serious.
5: What, if anything, are you doing differently this winter?
Training harder than ever before! Despite occasionally training with a trainer as I mentioned, the main difference this winter has been my focus on nutrition. It’s something that I never paid a great amount of attention to in past winters, as I bet is the case for most young mountain bikers. I never ate badly at all, but I’d never previously had anything like a structure to my diet.
Since winter began I’ve experimented with all sorts of different methods, from low fat diets to calculating macronutrient percentages. I feel I’m in a good place now with my diet, I’ve found a balance between good nutrition without taking it all too seriously and letting it get to my head, which most importantly works for me and at the end of the day that’s what matters the most.
Another massive difference causing me to train harder this winter has been having the added motivation of the enduro deal that Scott UK offered me. My sights have been firmly set on doing the best I possibly can this season in return for the support that Scott have provided. It’s amazing how much extra motivation you feel when someone offers you their support like that.
6: What races are you signed up for this year?
Gravity enduro is my focus for 2013, after racing only downhill for the last 6 years. I’m signed up to all of the UK Gravity Enduro Series rounds and the final round of the World Enduro Series in Finale Ligure. My plan is to sit down this week and work out where I can afford the time to travel to Europe to race out there. I’m hoping to be able to fit in an extra 5 or so European enduro races, with another European round of the Enduro World Series.
Whichever races I decide on I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic year for me and Scott UK. I can’t wait!
Callum would like to thank Scott Sports UK for supporting him this year.