Re-discovering why we love to mountain bike, with Tracy Moseley and Manon Carpenter in the Highlands
Tracy Moseley + Manon Carpenter: 2 World Champions, 1 mission
2020 was a strange year, to put it mildly. Usual routines were disrupted, travel plans blown apart and families forced to communicate digitally. But as soon as there was some light at the end of the tunnel the urge to get back out into the mountains and do what comes naturally to Tracy Moseley and Manon Carpenter was strong.
We (Euan and Douglas) were on a Zoom call – now an everyday occurrence – with Tracy Moseley and Manon Carpenter, to throw around some ideas for a video that we were to produce together for Shimano.
With our reality at that time being one of ‘lockdown’ and our movements significantly restricted, we started reflecting on how we all ended up in these various niches of the mountain bike world, and how they each ended up at the top of their games as World Champions.
The conversation wandered off on various tangents and in different directions, as they invariably do, but it always came back round to the same topic: ‘Why?’. Why did we all start mountain biking in the first place? Particularly Tracy and Manon, who have been on the race circuit for so many years now. With racing put on hold this year, it’s given these two World Champions the chance to re-visit why they started riding, and fuelled the desire to get back to the roots of their riding careers.
The best-laid plans…
By the time we got off the call we had formulated a plan to go out into the Scottish Highlands and get back to our riding roots. No GPS, no Strava, no pre-drawn routes on our phones, just old school maps and the desire to explore and enjoy the mountains in the way we used to back in the early days of our mountain biking lives. To go back to ‘Why’.
Of course, you know what they say about the best-laid plans…
We were hitting the Highlands in late July, with a plan to ride remote trails, set up camp, sleep on a plateau under the stars, and document the experience in video. But Mother Nature had other ideas. As we arrived on the west coast the weather was relatively pleasant, but the clouds soon started rolling in, along with their good friends Strong Wind and Heavy Rain. Not ideal conditions for producing a video.
So, a big day of riding followed by wild camping on a mountain top morphed into a very big day of riding, battling the elements, then a comfortable evening with delicious dinner at the Kinlochewe Hotel. Could be worse. And the weather improved over the next couple of days to show the Highlands at their most enchanting.
As far as Tracy and Manon were concerned, it was all just part of the game. They came to the Highlands to ride bikes just for the sake of riding bikes, and that included taking whatever the Scottish weather could throw at them! Getting out into the mountains to ride bikes with friends is why we ride, after all, isn’t it?