Tall Tales is a collection of our favourite crazy bike-related stories from our favourite riders, racers and industry legends.
Everyone has that story that they wait until the end of the night to pull out when the anecdotal oneupmanship starts to get into the final round. Tall Tales is a collection of our favourite bike-related stories from the best in the business.
This week’s Tall Tale comes from the legend that is Tracy Moseley and her first taste of international racing that came with a surprise.
This is such a tricky one as there have been so many years of travelling and racing bikes with different people and teams that there is never a dull moment and always a good story, but the first thing that came to my mind when I read your email was my first ever trip outside of the UK to race my bike in 1996.
My parents were the most supportive parents I could ever have asked for throughout my career racing bikes. When me and my brother first started mountain biking in 1994/95 mum and dad were super busy dairy farmers and would somehow find time to take us off at weekends all over the UK to race our bikes, staying in the caravan at the races. It was always only mum or dad as they could never both leave the farm, but they loved it and supported us all the way, but neither of them had any bike experience or knowledge so just left us to it in terms of sponsorship or planning races etc.
In 1996 I had only been racing for a year and as a 16 year old I was picked to race as a Junior at the European Championships in downhill in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy for GB. Also that year the biggest rising star of MTB in the UK Jason McRoy sadly died in a motorbike accident and his parents set up a fund, the JMC Fund to support young athletes to gain experience racing abroad. Myself and James Allaway were selected to go to race a French Cup on our way to the European Champs.
I wasn’t old enough to drive and my parents couldn’t leave the farm so James and I were driven out by Richard Vickery. Richard was a racer but I’m not sure how he came to be our driver and how my parents thought this was a good idea, but anyway we went. Richard was well known for getting drunk at bike races and taking his clothes off. I think the activity he became most famous for was climbing the tent poles in the big marquees at bike races, which was impressive on one hand, but not when he insisted on doing it naked.
If my memory is correct I think some race organisers even started to grease the tent poles to try and discourage him. It was just his drunk party trick and true to form out at the French Cup race, he couldn’t resist a beer and got so drunk… I remember having to drive the fancy Volvo my amazing sponsor at the time, Volvo Cannondale Junior Development Team, had supplied us for the trip to go and pick Richard up from the party and get him back to the apartment, thankfully he had his clothes on at this point.
Good job I had grown up on a farm and passed my tractor test earlier that year. Still meant I wasn’t legally able to drive.
The next day we then had to get someone to drive us down to Italy as Richard was in no fit state. Petra Wiltshire (another British racer who was at the event) drove us to the European Champs while Richard slept off his hangover. Thanks Petra.
Thankfully the trip was well worth it as I got some amazing experience racing abroad for the first time, taking a chairlift for the first time and riding down a proper mountain. I remember just having the sorest hands as I had never ridden anything so steep and so long before, but I loved it and got to race against one the greatest female mountain bikers, the legend that is Anne Caroline Chausson.
I managed to get on the podium with Anne and another top pro at the time Mercedes Gonsalez and beat a few other top french riders along the way so was super happy with my first race outside of the UK.
Crazy to think that I would still be racing Anne-Caro 20 years later as we battled together in the Enduro World Series in 2014… So cool to have been part of this amazing sport for so long as to see and be part of an amazing evolution of racing that he has happened over that time too.