Sean Flynn: Double British Champion

Sean Flynn: Double British Champion


It is always a celebration when you have a British National Champion who is Scottish, so when 16 year old Sean Flynn took two British titles in the space of a week - it really was something special!

The Edinburgh Road Club rider recently took the top spot at the British National Youth Circuit Championships and then the British National Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships.

So how does a rider who races Cross Country Mountain Biking, Cyclo-cross, Road (and a little bit of Track too!) manage to train across the disciplines?

We caught up with Sean to find out.

"I first got into cycling when we went on family cycling trips to places such as the Highlands and the Borders.  I was then inspired to get into racing from watching the Tour de France and the UCI Fort William Downhill World Cup.

My first race came when I was about 10 at the PCC Stage race.  However cycling was not the only sport I enjoyed, I took part in many others such as football and running, as well as triathlons and diving. 

Although, the sport I enjoyed most was cycling so I began going along to the Edinburgh Road Club GoRide sessions from the age of about 11 - this allowed me to develop my skills and get involved in all types of cycling, including Road, MTB, Cyclo-cross and Track.

My recent wins at the British National Road and MTB Championships were like a dream.  For the entire season, these two consecutive weekends were my main aim.  The British National Road Championships came one week before the British National MTB Championships, taking place at Hog Hill. 

I knew I was one of the strongest riders as my results on the MTB were very good and I knew I was capable of winning, provided I made good decisions in the race. 

I felt really good in the race and quickly I built up the confidence to attack the race, determined to leave all of my effort on the road.  In the end, the race went better than I could ever have dreamed, managing to make repeated attacks which resulted in me taking the win! 

I couldn’t believe it and the feeling of putting on the National Champions’ jersey was awesome!

Having taken the win on the Road, my confidence was high going into the MTB National Championships at our home course in Cathkin Braes, Glasgow, however I was still very nervous.

The new sections added to the course made it more technical and I enjoyed them.  Despite the bad weather on race day, my race went almost perfectly and I managed to take the win fairly comfortably, enjoying every second of it!  My second National Championships jersey felt no less special to my first.

When training, I primarily focus on Mountain Biking with my main season aims also being on the Mountain Bike.  I believe that the variety of training provided by Mountain Biking is very beneficial for all disciplines, partly due to the skills it requires and also the fact that it is a more full body workout, building up more power in arms, legs and core.  I believe this mixed with some Road training alongside is what allows me to be a good all-round rider.

It is sometimes difficult to do both MTB and Road racing at a high level, which is why I have to compromise by restricting the amount of road races I do, especially at a national level, in order to give myself time to recover and train for the MTB Nationals. 

However I feel that I have been able to get a good balance in order to maximise my racing at a high level whilst keeping a good amount of time to recover and train so that I can continue to perform well.

I think it is very important for young riders to take part in many different disciplines of cycling as this keeps things fun and ensures a good variety of challenges to be experienced. 

Also, by doing different disciplines you build up valuable skills that can always be transferred into other types of cycling making you a better all-round rider. 

However, I also think it is important that young people take part in a number of different sports as this will ensure that they continue having fun and learn many new things as well as developing new skills that can be useful on the bike.  For example, when I was younger, I took part in diving which meant that I had good coordination and good flexibility which are both very important in cycling.

I enjoy all the disciplines very much, however my favourite discipline is MTB.  I love the variety involved and the good mix between skill and physical ability.  Even when doing a hard training session on the MTB you can still have great fun by riding good trails between your efforts. 

I really enjoy going out on rides with my friends where we can get a good physical workout simply by riding the steep climbs and trails we do, whilst being able to push each others skills to the limit and have great fun flying down the trails as fast as we can!

On a local level, my sporting idol has to be Grant Ferguson as he has shown that it is possible for a Scottish rider to become one of the best riders in the world, which has inspired me to follow in his footsteps. 

I also greatly look up to riders such as Nino Schurter who is an incredible all round bike rider and an amazing athlete, I aspire to be as good as him one day.  Of course, riders like Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have also inspired me to try and become one of the best riders in the world.

In the future I would like to become a professional cyclist.  My ultimate goal is to become one of the worlds’ best, competing highly at world championships and Olympics.  However, this is a very big goal and is a long way down the line, in which time a lot can happen. 

All I can do is focus on the moment and give myself the best chance to be in a position to chase my dream in the future!"