We’re asking some of the sport’s up-and-coming racers what motivates them to train through the winter and what that training involves. First up, Kona’s British enduro hot-ticket, Al Stock, who took the Euro enduro scene by storm two seasons ago and earned himself a place on the Kona World team.
1: What motivates you to train?
When you’re laying everything on the line to find hundredths of a second between some trees whilst too tired to make it up the next hill it’s all great fun…until you get stuck mid-pack in a race and you can’t thrash down the hills any more. Wide uphills are easy to pass on but skinny singletracks are near impossible when you’re trying to recover from the last sprint so that’s the kind of thing that motivates me to train. It’s your own fault when your fitness holds you back and now’s the time to get on it and train.
2: If you set yourself goals what are they?
My main training goal is to be consistent, enjoy it and not get bored with it, I find it easy to do too much at once so I try and stick to a structured program that keeps me entertained and guarantees progress. When it’s cold, the fire’s on and your mates are down the pub it can be hard to get out and train, I try and get excited about the stuff I want to do by changing things round whilst maintaining a similar output; I add stuff in like going in the sauna after the gym.
3: What gets you out on the bike in winter?
With XC the adverse weather conditions become natural and the snow’s always a good laugh but when you smoke the washing machine [translation: when you’re bored of using the washing machine multiple times daily] after just a few weeks it can be all about the cross training – hiking etc., it’s good to do something different anyway.
4: Do you have a trainer, do you think it makes a difference and do you think general riders should employ one?
Last year I was training with Joe Rafferty and before that Charlie Evans, they have both helped me out no end and I learnt a lot from training with them. They help me work out the areas of my fitness that need attention and to realise where my strengths are. The main thing for me is having a structured plan to make sure I’m well rested for the races and training hard in between.
5: Anything you’re doing differently this winter?
This winter for a change I’ve been riding DH on a Kona Entourage complete with a coil shock and sticky tyres; a bit more forgiving than my race bike. I also started XC running for the main base of my cardio work just to change things around a bit. Winter training can be a challenge but it is the foundation for the season so I try to always think about how it will make things more exciting during the season when I can push that bit harder towards the end of each race.
Bonus question: What races will we see you at this year?
This year I’m looking forward to racing in the Enduro World Series, the UK Gravity Series and the Megavalanche.