At the recent Merida Brass Monkeys, the first of an all-new winter enduro series taking place in the South East, there was a noticeable face on the start line.
Better known for her success at the Beijing Olympics as part of the Team GB track squad, where she picked up a gold medal in the individual pursuit event, Rebecca Romero was trying her hand at mountain biking for the first time.
It’s not as if she hasn’t managed to transfer her talents from one discipline to another before – she previously won a silver medal as a rower before deciding to switch to cycling, and she told us that she’s keen to broaden her experiences as a cyclist.
“I’ve decided that I’ve done my track work and got to where I did and now I just want to broaden my experience as a cyclist, work on my skills and challenge myself in other ways. I’ve been riding plenty of trail centres all round the UK and having fun.
“It’s good to have something like this to work on and watch as it develops as supposed to just producing power. This is so much fun and doesn’t feel like training and the hours just go by really quickly. So I’m looking really at mountain biking through the winter as part of my training. It’s good for power development and good for learning bike handling skills and it’s a bit different for me, a bit of a change.
“I had a few little tumbles out there but just really enjoyed it, it was great training. Plus it was good to be out in all that mud I haven’t really ridden in these sorts of conditions before. It was fun. I had a mechanical and had to sit out for about 10-15 minutes on one of my laps. I was really getting into the rhythm but towards the end I think I’d done enough. I feel a bit bad for not going the full distance but as it’s my first real race and I’m just learning the ropes, I think I did okay.
“Let’s see what happens at the next one. This one was a real baptism of fire. I did enjoy it though can’t wait to see the bruises. It was good you wouldn’t get that type of intensity if you were just out training – this was a forced workout, really intense.
“I’m going to see how I go over winter and if I think I can get to any reasonable standard then I might think about having a go at the National XC Series. But XC racing is pretty intense, you’re looking at 2 hours of racing and the racing is lots of efforts, not a constant output of power which is what I’m used too. If I can get enough experience through the winter and I think I can be a decent competitor and not get in the way of others then I’d love to take on the challenge and broaden what I do as an athlete. “
Does this mean the beginning of Romero making the switch fulltime to mountain biking, and could we be seeing her lining up in London 2012 on the mountain bike circuit? Only time will tell…