Tracy Moseley: The New Steve Peat
Posted September 5 2010
2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Homepage
Photography By Luke Webber | Thanks to Fly Up Downhill
Eleven World Cup wins, one World Cup Series, six-times British Downhill Champion and three silver medals at the World Championships. Sound familiar?
In 2009, we ran a near-identical introduction to an exclusive Steve Peat interview - this time we're talking to Tracy Moseley - who, following Peat's win in Canberra, can lay claim to being the most successful British downhiller to never win the World Championships. But for how long?
For fifteen years Moseley has been racing the World Championships - for fifteen years she has been an inspiration to British downhillers, scoring consistent podium appearances in the World Cup Series despite the development of the sport.
And while the ultimate goal for any mountain biker is to pick up the rainbow jersey, it wasn't until 2007, at a home World Championships, that Moseley's mindset seemed to shift onto the biggest gamble of the year. It's a situation which has never been forgotten.
As Tracy now acknowledges, the experience of Fort William is one she never wishes to repeat. It was a season built entirely around one race, which on the right day was entirely possible to win. Unfortunately, things conspired against Moseley that day and didn't seem to return to normal until the end of the 2009 season, where a win at Schladming against all the big names proved that Moseley still had that winning ability.
Starting 2010 on a similar high in America with a win at the Pro Gravity Cup, it looked as though everything was on track for another historic year, similar to 2006. However, in adverse conditions at the opening round of the World Cup, things did not go so well; Tracy later revealing it was only in August at Val di Sole, that she first felt comfortable racing her bike again.
Sitting trackside at the Forest of Dean, Tracy wistfully commented "You'd think after all this time I'd get it right - but that's the joy of racing I suppose.
"I think I am a confidence rider, as everyone knows, downhill is one big head game and once you have one bad race it is hard to come back from it. We've had some bad weather which makes racing harder, everything is unpredictable, there are more crashes and the tracks have all been technical. Maribor was a disaster and since then I have been on the lower end of the podium, not where I would have liked to be.
"I even came into some World Cups in the wrong frame of mind, and frankly not riding well enough in a few of them.
"Val di Sole was a breakthrough though and for the first time I was riding well enough to win, had the confidence to back it up and the right to be annoyed when I didn't win; because I felt like I really should have done that weekend. That has been a boost coming into the Worlds. I feel like I am back to riding well, I just have to put the other details together."
Last week at Windham, the final round of the World Cup, it was evident Tracy was back to her best - winning qualifying and coming second to Rachel Atherton in the final. The secret to this has been approaching both races like the World Championships, and with the real thing just hours away, Tracy is in no doubt of the importance the final race of the season plays.
"This is not just another race, it is the World Championships, it is the only race I haven't won yet. To win would mean so much and will make any future decisions so much easier. I could end my career very satisfied.
"I don't want to dress it down; I have to give it everything. And it's not like there are five of us capable of winning for the GB team, there is nobody to fall back on in case of a bad ride.
"I need to make sure I am confident going into the race. I know my riding is good enough to be in contention; I just need to make sure the race run is my fastest of the weekend, which it rarely is.
"And I can be confident, because Mont Saint Anne has always been one of my favourites, my first senior Worlds was here in 1998, I have always done well and haven't been outside the top three in the past few years. I love the long natural, fast wide open style of track it is."
One certainty before the race is that Tracy will speak to Steve Peat, who went through exactly the same kind of pressure for years before capturing his first, very illusive title.
Ironically, even though Tracy only finished second at the Worlds last year, she still feels her preparation was near-perfect, and something which will be replicated tonight as racing gets underway.
"Canberra was my most satisfying result I have ever had at Worlds. I felt I rode my best on the day. I came away satisfied there was nothing more I could have done and strangely enough I don't feel like I failed last year. So going into this year I have a good feeling."
And should that good feeling translate into a good result on Sunday, you can be sure journalists World-wide will have to check their stat-books for a worthy successor to the best Brit to never win a rainbow jersey.