It has been a busy few months for mountain biker Grant Ferguson and it doesn’t look like it is going to slow down anytime soon.
We managed to speak to him in between trips to find out how he manages to balance his training, racing and jetting off around the world.
The twenty-two year old from Peebles has been in the British Cycling Academy programmes since the age of eighteen, and is currently part of the Olympic Podium Programme as well as riding for professional team Superior-Brentjens MTB Team.
Grant has had a string of successes including a bronze medal in the under-23 men’s cross-country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships last year, alongside gold in the under-23 men’s UCI Mountain Bike XC World Cup and silver in the under-23 men’s UEC Mountain Bike XC Championships.
Although an elite rider, this will be his first year competing as elite in the Mountain Bike World Cups; a huge step up from what he is used to; and it all starts in Australia this Saturday (23rd April.)
“I am going to be racing with 140 other elite riders at a faster, higher level than I am used to – but I am feeling pretty relaxed about it – my aim is to be at the front of the bunch as much as possible.”
Jetting off around the world can’t be easy when you are trying to stick to a training regime – how do you do it?
“You just need to get used to it! If you aren’t prepared, it can throw you off – I always make sure I plan when I sleep and eat at the same time so I have some sort of routine.
On race day I always try and do the same things; I always eat three hours before the race starts – unfortunately not my favourite foods, it has to be something light, like rice – definitely no big steaks!
On an early morning race I have to make sure I warm up properly beforehand and on an afternoon start I like to go for a short relaxing ride beforehand.”
But if you were to be anywhere else in the world…
“I like to be in Scotland at home in between training but it has been really busy this past while with travelling for racing.
My favourite place to ride has to be in Scotland too, in the borders mainly where I am from – although Fort William is great – that is when it isn’t raining, it isn’t possible to be a fair weather cyclist in Scotland!
However, if you were to make me pick a favourite abroad location for biking I’d have to say the Alps!”
Putting aside the Mountain Bike World Cups, we don’t have to remind Grant that it is an Olympic year.
“The Olympics are always on my mind, you can’t help it – although I am not getting my hopes up as we don’t even know if we can send a mountain biker yet. This is something you work for, for years in advance so the thought never goes away.”
British Cycling are currently sitting at 27th in the UCI Mountain Bike Rankings behind Japan and will need to secure enough UCI points to put them in 23rd position by the end of May if they are to secure at place for a Mountain Biker in Rio this summer.
Some final words of advice…
“My advice to anyone who wants to break through into elite mountain biking is keep enjoying it, if you don’t enjoy it then you won’t have a basis for anything. I enjoy every minute I am on my bike and that is what drives me and pushed me forward!”
You can keep updated with Grant's progress in Australia this weekend by clicking here.