British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme athlete Grant Ferguson is enjoying an intensive build up to the mountain bike world championships and will race eight times in seven weeks.
The latest round of the mountain bike world cup this weekend in Windham will mark the halfway point in Ferguson’s preparations before the sport’s biggest annual event, which takes place in Hafjell, Norway in September.
In the opening three consecutive weeks of racing Ferguson has already won a round of the British cross-country series, retained his British championship and finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games, all before playing an impressive support role for Team Scotland in the road race at the same event.
Despite such a volume of racing, the under-23 rider cannot wait for more and believes the quality of work completed to date will stand the test.
“I enjoy racing my bike. I’ve put the work in throughout the year for this. I’m happy just to race my bike; it’s a good time to race," Ferguson said.
“It’s been a while since I raced so many times back to back and I don’t know how it will go. But it’s the back end of the year so it’s the right time and I’m fit.”
What Ferguson has lacked on the international stage since the opening round of the world cup series however, is some good fortune to match his good legs.
A puncture in Nove Mesto on the final lap relegated him to ninth and a crash in Albstadt a week later ended his chances of a second world cup podium appearance on a course that suited him.
Despite the setbacks, Ferguson remains philosophical about the circumstances.
“This season has been disjointed, yes. It would have been nice to complete a full world cup series but the world cup overall was never the goal. I put a lot of work into the Commonwealth Games and that’s the reason we missed some world cup races early on.
“The puncture in Nove Mesto and the crash in Albstadt – that was my fault – they both cost me. After the crash I was pretty annoyed, because Albstadt was a good race for me and my characteristics.
“But that’s mountain biking. Sometimes things go well, sometimes not. It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to race at the highest level, but I’m not impatient I’m just excited about opportunity. It’s all big races to go and it’s all to play for.”
Those remaining races include another world cup round and the conclusion of the British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series, but first Ferguson will focus on delivering a worthy performance on a Windham course that he says suits his abilities.
“I completed five laps of the track already and it’s one that suits my character so I would like to make the most of that.
“In this race I don’t have specific goals, I’m open minded. It will be a bit of a gauge, I can go in a bit more relaxed. I’m trying to get the best out of myself and obviously I want to be get stuck in at front of the race.
"I’ll be on the start line and trying to do my job well.”