Scottish cycling podcast 9: XC racing with Kerry MacPhee

In this show I’m talking cross country mountain bike racer Kerry MacPhee. We discuss how anyone can get started in racing, how to handle the challenge of stepping up from junior to senior level, the extra challenges beyond just training and racing such as logistics, the mental side of racing and gaining personal sponsorship.

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A photo posted by @kerrymacphee on

Kerry’s start in cycling
First bike was £30 from Recyke-a-bike when she was around 25

Racing logistics – on your own
Going abroad on her own
Find things out for yourself
Takes time to learn

What events to enter to improve yourself
British Series – you may be getting used to being at the front of these races
UCI races – look for cat 1 and HC races in places like Portugal, Turkey
World Cups – prepare yourself for life at the back of the row
It can take 4-5 years to learn how to race a World Cup

World Cups – what’s the difference?
People spend a few days recceing the course
Give yourself time to recover from the travel
Give yourself time to rest
The start is elbows-out aggressive
With the amount of riders, expect to jump off and run the first hill as the wide start narrows to singletrack
Sometimes B-lines can be quicker, to avoid crashes

Support team
Kenny Young from Rock & Road in Bridge of Allan is Kerry’s sponsor
Take time to build a relationship with a sponsor
Enthusiastic group of riders to bounce ideas off

National team
Tap in to areas of expertise such as physio or nutritionist
Travel and logistics taken care of – a big weight off the mind
Planning logistics – flights, cars, accommodation takes time
Returning to courses you have been to before helps

Managing things on race day
A friend or family member to help
Get reliable accommodation
A van is a massive help
What works for you personally on race day
In Kerry’s case it’s having her partner and dogs around!

Focusing on the start
Being prepared brings about a relaxed feeling
Writing schedules and list
Familiar rituals and routines can put you in the right frame of mind

Building on relationships was the way Kerry got sponsorship
Approaching companies whose product you like and feel are a good fit
Have clear with boundaries
Establish the expectations
Communication is key
Be prepared for the sponsor to evaluate what they get from you
Promoting yourself on social media can lead to enquiries
Have your athlete CV and sponsorship proposal
What is your persona, differentiate yourself, make yourself memorable

Qualify for Worlds and Europeans
European Championships 2018 are in Glasgow at Cathkin Braes
Commonwealth games Gold Goast 2018
Women peak later in life so there is plenty of time
e.g Gunn Rita Dahle, Catherine Pendrel

Quick Fire questions
Book – Tyler Hamilton Secret Race
Blogs: Lauren Rowney – rider blog on depression
Sram Eagle XX1 groupset
The Dropper Post Debate
Best rider ridden with: Gunn Rita Dahle
Change you’d make to cycling: more equality