Rider Diary: Sue Clarke Part 3


Rider Diary: Sue Clarke
Interview with Sue Clarke - Brand New Sue
- July 2009

Racing cross country and representing Great Britain since 1994 when she rode as a Junior in the World Mountain Bike Championships, Sue Clarke has been British Champion, competed in the Commonwealth Games and is now making a return to top level racing with help from husband and XC racing legend, Barrie Clarke. To find out all about Sue read her feature-length interview, and get the latest from her comeback right here.


September 2 2009
First Week In Oz...

We have been bathed in sunshine for the past two days here in Canberra. After several days of bad weather where thermals and overshoes were dug out of the kitbag, it looks like we are in the clear. First ride out we saw a Kangaroo which was pretty cool.

There is a good atmosphere in the team with downhill, XC and fourcross riders all together and getting on well. It has been a while since I have been to a Worlds, this will be only my second senior Worlds, the last in 2001 in Vail.

I am leaning so much from the downhill and fourcross riders, they have given me a lot to think on and ideas to combine into my training. I'm rooming with top downhill racer Tracy Moseley and it has been great. One of the favorites to take the Senior title, she still has the time to share ideas with me and is very encouraging. I really hope she wins as she is a top girl who would put several top XC riders to shame with her hard work and dedication.

Back to my schedule and I was just starting to get over the jetlag, when I came down with a nasty bout of food poisoning. Wrapped up in bed in my thermals and wooly hat was the only way to combat the chills! However, I am regaining strength each day and feeling almost back to normal now. It has meant that my preparations have been slightly delayed, with changes in my training and course inspection opportunities put on hold until I have been strong enough. It has been a bit frustrating, but patience is the key and at least I am not racing until Saturday!

Having now ridden the course, I have a little more information to go on. Based at Mt Stromlo and venue of a World Cup round last year, the track has many unique features. Most of the physical effort is put out in the first half of the lap, with a climb along a fire track, comically named 'Ramsey Street (maybe this is to bring a smile to our faces in the depths of pain?!).

Entering the singletrack we face the steepest climb of the course fondly known as 'cardiac climb', no explanation needed there. Several rocky features & drops follow, with some twisty berms and turns. The last part of the course is very fast with some fun jumps and tabletops. With each lap I complete I feel I am getting more in the groove of the course. It is very different to anything I have ridden before. At the moment it looks like we will complete five laps, but possibly six. It will be a tough day out, as any World Championship race should be.

Already several big names have crashed out, today I heard someone had broken their wrist. I had a fall yesterday, but am receiving some excellent treatment from our team physio Natalie Bates. It appears I have sprained one of the vertebrae joints in my neck. As I write this I am all strapped up. But I have been through a lot worse and consider myself a pretty tough cookie. Despite all of the challenges I have faced this week I am fully focused on the task ahead & the excitement is building daily!

Bye for now, Sue.