Holy Smoke – Team Wideopenmag is 10 years old this year!
That’s 10 years of good times, winning races, road tripping and helping young riders go fast.
Video by Lewis Bradley / Photos by Mat Weale / Words by Jamie Edwards
We’ve said it a million times but the team is our passion project. It’s our way of helping rad young riders achieve their dreams, supporting the UK race scene and getting stuck right into the thick of UK mountain biking.
We’re not happy just sitting at home, hiding behind our laptops. We live and breath mountain biking and we do it on the hillsides of British DH, 4X and Enduro races.
Old Dogs and New Tricks
For our 10th (we think anyway?) year of racing we’ve invited three new riders to the family and continued to support two that have been around a little while.
Christo Gallagher and Chris Hutchens will remain in the family, racing enduro and creating media projects. They’ve been with us for a couple of years and are doing a great job.
Elin Berry, Tash Bradley and Andrew Georgeson will join us for 2020 as brand new, but familar, faces on the team.
A Long Winter
Whilst a team officially begins on the 1st January of any given year, the actual hard work starts months before. We’d been working on the 2020 version of the team since way back in the summer of 2019.
From Eurobike onwards it was a steady stream of meetings, trade shows emails, calls, texts, trips in the van, coffees and late nights.
By the start of the year it looked, fingers crossed, like it had all come together nicely.
A Knees Up to Kick Off
We like to start the year with a bit of a team get together. We’d originally planned this for Dyfi Bike Park but, the weather spoiled play. Roll forward a month and we rearranged the trip a little closer to home and gatecrashed the Forest of Dean for two days.
The idea was to get everyone together, ride bikes, have some fun, get to know each other and get some photos and video content in the bag.
We rolled into the Forest on Friday night and into a cosy, super-isolated cottage out in the hills.
Elbow Bumps All Round
There was no doubt that the mood was a little bitter sweet. We had beers in hand, new bikes, new kit and plenty of new faces to get to know.
On the bitter side, CV19 was just rearing its head in the UK and we each had our own stories of how our day-jobs were being effected, how eerily quiet the roads had been on the drive down or rumours we’d heard for things to come.
Not being able to shake hands with a new rider is definitely a strange sensation!
Getting Stuck In
Saturday was an easy one. We dished out new kit, we setup the new bikes and we rode the Pedalabikeaway uplift.
Knowing the trails well, Hutch led the way and the guys had a blast sliding around in the wet and wild conditions.
Sunday was a bit more down-to-business but still a fun day in the woods. We were joined by photographer Mat Weale and in-house video squid Lewis.
The riders sessioned some of the local trails and the media guys worked their magic to help capture some content to bank. With a bit of hindsight, getting a good bank of media was a wise move given the lock down we were all about to get hit with.
A big part of the team is racing but an equally big part is creating photos and videos. We can use those to tell you guys, our readers, stories about racing and the team.
We can also send them to our team sponsors to help those guys keep their own channels full.
And that’s about as complicated as we needed to make it. Lots of riding, lots of tea and coffee and lots of chatting and getting to know each other. Lots of good times.
I Love it When a Plan Comes Together
There’s always a really satisfying moment when we launch the team and see the riders all together, on new bikes and having fun.
It’s a huge job pulling all the minute pieces of a team together and seeing a rider sending a jump and confirming they do actually, really bloody like their new bike… that’s a great feeling.
There was definitely a really satisfying moment when we handed the guys their new Nukeproof Megas and Dissents, everything was fitted perfectly and they started charging down the hill.
And The Plan.
The weekend was also a chance to look at the year ahead. We did a bit of planning, chatting about what we want to achieve and what we expect of the riders. The main expectation is for them to work hard and have fun.
Our philosophy is that we expected the riders to train hard, ride hard and turn up willing to do their best… but first and foremost we want them to enjoy riding their bikes. If they’re having fun, they’ll go fast.
We want them to do well but, we’re not here to put pressure on them or whip them to get results. It’s our job to give them the kit and the support they need to focus on having fun, building their speed and skills and trying their hardest. If that all happens, they’ll almost certainly do well.
What’s Next? I’m Glad You Asked…
We also had to spend a bit of time chatting about the old CV-19 situation. At the time of the launch, we didn’t fully understand how serious it was getting.
Our plan was, and still is, to use the year to have as much fun on our bikes as we can. If the races go ahead, we’ll be at them. If they don’t, we’ll ride as a team and shoot photos and videos for the Wideopen website. If we can’t get out and ride, we’ll create videos at home.
Whatever happens, the team will be busy training, riding as much as we can and telling great stories about our riders and about racing.
See you out there, when we can.
A final and huge thanks to all of the people that have helped the team come together for 2020.