Rosie Holdsworth | Joining the Fold.

Our newest addition to the Wideopenmag editorial team is your 2016 Red Bull Fox Hunt winner, Miss Rosie Holdsworth.

Rosie joins the team as our eyes and ears at the ever-growing ladies’ race scene, alongside other events. Any lady-specific product will get run through the Holdsworth mill in every effort to find the kit that does the ladies proud.

Welcome to the team Rosie!

Who is Rosie Holdsworth?

An enthusiastic amateur when it comes to all things muddy and outdoors: Mountain biking is my first love, but I also dabble in a little nature conservation, farming, fell-running, tea drinking and pointing excitedly at rare birds when the mood takes me. (I saw Crossbills at FoD last weekend!)

How would you sum up your 2016?

Unexpectedly excellent! I started the year with a bout of pneumonia and general respiratory chaos which, though hilarious in hindsight, was pretty grim at the time and knocked me for six when it came to fitness. I entered a few enduros with the sole intention of having some incentive to regain a little fitness and ended up placing much better than I ever had before.

I also finally defeated an injury which has dogged me for years, allowing me to get out and about much more and build my fitness. I managed to make the most of some sweet local riding much more than usual and seemed to get faster as the year progressed.

This is your first year on Wideopenmag, what are you most looking forward to?

Really looking forward to having an excuse (not that I really need one) to spend even more time thundering down mountains on a bike. I’m also super excited to race some more of the emerging women’s races and compete with an increasing number of fast women.

What kind of stuff do you like riding?

I really love riding technically challenging stuff that makes my brain hurt and my eyes melt from concentrating so hard. Riding technical rocky steep stuff is really my cup of tea, having said that, I like steep sloppy woodland too. I would characterise my favoured riding style as: maximum elbows, maximum gurning and minimum pedalling.

What’s your favourite place to ride?

A tricky one, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the Lakes; views to make you weep, and more rad trails than you can shake a stick at, plus the added bonus of several hundred pubs and cafes who don’t mind soggy bums and smelly dogs!

For me, inching down a precipitous Lakeland pass over razor sharp boulders is blissful! That said; chasing friends down rocky Scottish singletrack or doing battle with my local Calderdale slop is pretty ideal too.

I also love being introduced to new trails by excited local riders. Riding people’s local trails is so much fun, I love finding different types of trails that I don’t get to ride often and meeting new folk.

What was the highlight of your 2016?

As I’ve said, it’s been a pretty wild year for me. However the stand out moment was winning the Red Bull Fox Hunt. It was one of those perfect weekends where everything came together just right and I felt on top of my game and in control the whole time. Despite the sloppy death-camber I managed to stay upright for all my practice, qualifying and race runs, and I felt stronger than I have done for years.

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My Mum and Dad were even there to cheer like maniacs and celebrate with me. Aside from the obvious thrill of winning, spending a whole weekend riding with some seriously rapid ladies and rubbing elbows with Rachel Atherton, all in a luxury Tipi was like some sort of mad, inspiring dream! Getting engaged was pretty rad too… But mostly the Fox Hunt!

Any disasters?

No real cataclysms to speak of, barring my horrible Victorian illness at the start of the year.

What will you being doing for Wideopenmag this year?

Racing and riding lots and lots, with a focus on the increasing number of women’s events, and generally coming at things from a women’s angle. I’ll be testing and reviewing women’s kit to its gritty sweaty limits, and writing race reports from a good variety of races.

Will you be defending your Red Bull Fox Hunt title in 2017?

Hopefully yes… maybe… perhaps… I find I ride really badly when I put any sort of pressure on myself, and there’s nothing like being reigning champion to ramp up the pressure. The Foxhunt is exactly the sort of ludicrous premise for a race that I love though, so I doubt I’ll be able to resist going back and having a pop at it this year. I’d also like to race the men’s Fox Hunt this year and compare and contrast the riding styles of the various Athertons.

What are your plans for 2017?

Flying by the seat of my pants is my usual approach to planning! My plans are pretty simple for this year: Continue to build my fitness and make the most of living amongst a superb network of trails.

I’ve got a good few races booked in as well as some exciting events and other bits and bats. Aside from racing, I’m planning a West Highland bikepacking adventure and plenty of time scoping out rocky death chutes in the Lakes. A last minute schlep to the Alps in an aged Peugeot van may also be on the cards, but we’ll see if the van lasts ‘til the summer.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m generally really excited to be (touch-wood) injury and illness free this year and plan to get strong-like-bull and speed up on the bike. I’m really looking forward to racing the No Fuss Endurance Downhill at Fort William as it’s exactly the sort of insanity I enjoy and was an absolute favourite of my race calendar in years gone by. I’m also super excited by the first HopeTechWomen Enduro at Gisburn, but that’s all the way in October, so there’s a while to wait (and train) for that.

Any pleases and thank yous?

So so many thank yous, but let’s not make this a Hollywood awards ceremony: Big thank yous (and please keep doing it) to all the people who organised the awesome races I did in 2016, particularly to the organisers of the women’s events who did so much last year to increase the number of women racing and the general buzz around women’s riding.

Thanks also to Wideopenmag for encouraging me to put my ramblings down in an orderly fashion. Ooh and thank you to my physio, Mike at MM Physiotherapy for fixing me and ignoring my expletive tirades.

Keep an eye on for Rosie’s race reports, reviews and mountain thundering in the coming months.

You can follow Rosie on Instagram for on the fly updates.