Wise Words is our new interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!
Wise Words this week comes from none other than Hannah Wilson.
Working as Crankbrothers sport marketing manager worldwide, and looking after both Crankbrothers and Fizik here in the UK certainly keeps Hannah Wilson busy. A brand’s reputation can often rest on the people that represent them, and Hannah has been championing Crankbrothers for as long as we can remember.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
Friendly, chatty, a bit scatty, a bit of a princess and definitely not a morning person. Everyone who did Tour of Mont Blanc with me this summer knew to just ignore my mutterings on the first trail of the day, the smile would return by the end of the descent.
What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?
A training plan from the wonderful Fay Jordan. She adapts it to my crazy work schedule. It keeps me a little more focused and I’m loving hitting the free weights area in the gym, I’m noticing the strength improvements in bike handling which feels so good.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
I have my own trail language/sounds. Follow me and you’ll know what’s coming up. I am not sure it’s the same every ride or on every trail but there’ll definitely be giggles, some swear words and some squeals.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Ride what you want to, push yourself when you want to and remember not every ride has to achieve something. Also you’re never so good you can’t learn something new. I went to Whistler for the first time in 2017 and for the first couple of days I struggled, I wasn’t enjoying the riding, I felt intimidated by the bike park and my DH bike felt alien after not riding it for a couple of years. I booked 3 coaching days and it was the best thing I have done. I’d been riding for 20 years but had so many bad habits and needed a confidence booster.
If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?
There was a day on the Tour of Mont Blanc from this year which had my favourite trail in it. I loved it. I got to the bottom covered in mud and I’d ripped my shorts but couldn’t keep the smile off my face. That day I didn’t even have grumpy morning first trail. I missed one of the trails out that afternoon as I was shattered, I guess my change would be more fitness training so I didn’t miss out on that descent but it was such a fun day it didn’t matter.
What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?
Don’t be afraid to do what makes you happy. I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time because it certainly wasn’t but before I made the decision to combine my passion for bikes and my career I was a police officer. It was an eye opening experience and one I am really glad I had, but it didn’t make me happy.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
Do something physical, out on the bike ideally, but if not go to the gym, on the turbo or even just for a walk. I spend a lot of time on the computer and sometimes you get caught up in that and need to have a break. Sometimes I need others to give me a nudge and get me out.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
Sense of freedom and adventure, gives me headspace and feel like myself again.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Doping and drug scandals in MTB last season.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
I want to see a continuation of the trend in encouragement and support for women in the cycling industry. I’d like to see more ladies joining the industry and in key roles helping develop the market.
I’m also looking forward to some amazing women’s events this season, Sisters of Send at Afan in May, Gowaan Girls festival in September and Hope Tech Women’s Enduro at Gisburn in October.
It feels like in the UK we have some incredible female athletes to draw inspiration from and a growing community offering encouragement and support. For women’s MTB it feels like the UK is in a good place and it’s only getting better every year.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Gaspare Licata, CEO crankbrothers.