We catch up with Team Wideopenmag’s squad of pinners about their plans for the 2021 season.
With the 2021 race season hopefully not too far away, we catch up with Team Wideopenmag’s flag-flyers to find out who they are and what makes them tick.
Andrew Georgeson is our Junior Scottish pinner who hails from the Highland Capital, who’s at the sharp end of the current crop of rapid Junior dudes, looking to be the next downhill superstar.
Photos by Mat Weale.
Who are you, how old are you and where in the world are you?
Andrew Georgeson, 16 years old and I am from the depths of the Scottish Highlands.
What bike do you ride?
For my downhill race bike I ride a Nukeproof Dissent, for my all round mountain bike I ride a Nukeproof Reactor and a Nukeproof Scout hardtail.
Where are your favourite trails to ride?
Where I live in the Highlands of Scotland, every hill is riddled with trails. If I was to pick my favourite it would have to be the local jaunt at the Mast in Inverness. The trails there go from the steepest of steeps to the most epic jumps. A very close 2nd would be Fort William World Cup track a few hours away. To live near one of the biggest mountain bike race venues in the World says enough about how lucky I am to live where I do.
How did mountain biking start for you?
We moved down to mainland Scotland when I was 7 and I got this Tesco bike that my mum had bought me. I was absolutely chuffed with this bike, even if it was stuck in 6th gear, it definitely got me good on the climbs. We started going to Learnie Red Rocks, a local mountain bike centre, and soon later my step dad started taking me to the club that gathered there every Tuesday night. I started in the winter so I definitely learnt the hardship of Scottish winter rides from the start.
From here I just progressed more and more every week from all the coaches and the love of the sport grew from there. The year after I started mountain biking, 2014, my dad took me to Fort William World Cup, I was left in awe of the whole thing and knew that it was the scene I wanted to be a part of.
And how did you progress to get more seriously into it?
I started by racing local races called dirt crits, these were awesome wee races that spanned over the Highlands which were the same style as cross country races. I then progressed into mini DH after a year of these races. There wasn’t much of a scene up north for mini DH races so me and my step were travelling the length of the country to race in the famous Borders of Scotland. I spent more time on the floor than on my bike but I absolutely loved it and kept pushing. A few years into racing mini DH I knew that I wanted to go the next step. Before I knew it I was deep into the SDA series racing with the big dogs at venues I dreamed of riding at.
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
2019 was where it all set off. 1st race of the season at Innerleithen I came down the hill and won my 1st ever SDA, this was absolutely surreal and beyond expectations. Then the next race at Fort William BDS came along and this was a whole new ball game again. I had never raced half of the lads in the category and was excited for a challenge. I came down in 1st place with the other lads within 100ths of a second. This was a crazy race.
The next race was Scottish Champs, in Glencoe, an absolutely brutal track. Came away from this race with Scottish Champion title. What an awesome memory.
For the final race of the year It was the Ae Forest BDS. This race was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. I came into it feeling strong and ready. Saturday practice went awesome, but at the end of the day I had a massive crash off of the big step down and this shook me and my bike up. For race day I was riding a new back wheel which was 27.5, not 29er and every biker will know that changing wheel size is a rowdy move.
I came down in first place and was mega pleased considering what the last day was like. I learned a pretty big lesson that weekend that it’s not about the bike you’re riding it’s the mindset of the rider riding it.
Tell us about your 2020 year. How did it go for you, where were you and what went down?
I came into 2020 very excited at the prospect of racing with Team Wideopenmag after meeting the team in Forest of Dean. Then all over the world, one by one, races were being crossed off and the realisation was setting in that this year was going to be a very different year to what I had been used to and a real bumpy ride for everyone.
I started to realise that this could be a positive thing that could give me the chance to really explore what was on my doorstep. In the depth of lockdown, Strava started putting up these challenges that people could join and I put myself on one of the challenges to complete 1200 km in the month of May. This really kept me going and motivated me everyday to get out and ride. I managed to complete it and this was something to be happy about in this world of uncertainty and chaos.
As soon as I could get out on the trail bikes, I was out all the time and this was awesome to, again, explore what was around me. Later into the year I had a big crash, breaking my collarbone, and this really set the tone for the rest of the year where I was off the bike recovering,
What motivates you as a mountain biker? What are you really passionate about and what makes you want to push yourself to do it more?
I just really love the sport of mountain biking. I eat, sleep and breathe it. My motivation for riding boils down to 2 things. One, to become the best rider that I am capable of being and two, the euphoric feeling and buzz I get from riding.
What do you do outside of riding bikes?
I am someone whose life just revolves around the mountains, since we moved down to the mainland of Scotland I have done lots of sports in the mountains. My summers are normally spent in the mountains hill-walking and in random lochs swimming and freezing myself. Since I was little my family have skied so in the winter you’ll find me in the mountains deep in snow. When I’m not outside in the mountains I’m climbing. I started off climbing at the age of 8 at the local climbing wall and since then it has been a big hobby of mine.
What are you excited to achieve in 2021? What’s on the cards and what are you hoping you can make happen?
In 2021 I am excited to complete a season of racing British National Downhill Series. I never raced the full series and I am excited to push myself into that standard of racing. My main goal for 2021 is to ride to the best of my ability, wherever that sits me I will be stoked. I am also excited to just have an epic time exploring new places on bikes and meeting new people who share the passion I have for bikes.
Who do you look up to or use as inspiration for your riding, where did you first see/hear about that rider?
When I was tiny I was my first exposure to the sport of bikes was a Danny MacAskill video, who of course lives in Scotland being a local legend. I thought his videos were so cool and it made me want to ride my bike any way I could.
You can keep tabs on Andrew’s season as it progresses on his Instagram feed here.