Becky Cook

Trial Magazine - - TRIAL MAGAZINE - WORDS: TRI­ALS ME­DIA WITH BECKY COOK • PIC­TURES: TRI­ALS ME­DIA AND ORBEA

A very suc­cess­ful mo­tor­cy­cle ath­lete in her own right, Becky Cook had a to­tal change of di­rec­tion in 2017 as she moved to pedal power in the com­pet­i­tive world of Moun­tain Bike En­duro. For thir­teen years of her life she ded­i­cated all her spare time and money towards com­pet­ing at the high­est level in mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als, col­lect­ing a very im­pres­sive eight Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship ti­tles, 2012 Euro­pean Cham­pion, five times Vice FIM World Cham­pion and seven gold medals at the FIM Trial Des Na­tions. Us­ing a moun­tain bike to train on she came to a point where she liked rid­ing the cy­cle more than the mo­tor­cy­cle. With fund­ing to com­pete at the very cut­ting edge of the Ladies’ World Cham­pi­onship be­com­ing harder to find, she took the brave move to change di­rec­tion in her ca­reer. Af­ter en­ter­ing a few moun­tain bike races, which she re­ally en­joyed, she got ‘bit­ten’ by the Bri­tish En­duro Se­ries and took the Bri­tish ti­tle in the elite women’s class in her first year. Now rid­ing for the Orbea Team it was time to catch up with the de­ter­mined Becky Cook.

So; how dif­fer­ent is your world af­ter the move to pedal power?

BECKY: It all started in 2015 with a race in Wales, for which I had bor­rowed a bike off Jono from Tred-shop.com. Typ­i­cal Wales it rained all week­end, but I won and that was it — I was happy! The fol­low­ing year in 2016 I won the Bri­tish En­duro Se­ries, which gave me a wild card to race the full 2017 En­duro World Se­ries. Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion be­tween me and my hus­band Craig we made a joint de­ci­sion; that it was now or never so why not give it a go! My main spon­sor was still Tred-shop, so along with their sup­port and a lit­tle bit of help from Pivot Cy­cles I com­peted in the full En­duro World Se­ries as a pri­va­teer.

Is travel eas­ier with a cy­cle?

The good thing about bi­cy­cles and travel is that you can take them on a plane very eas­ily, so not so many hours are spent be­hind the wheel driv­ing. I trav­elled to all the events on my own stay­ing in hos­tels, Airbnbs, campers, ba­si­cally what­ever the cheap­est op­tion was de­pend­ing on the coun­try I was in. It was pretty tough as I had to or­gan­ise ev­ery­thing, look af­ter my­self and my bike with min­i­mal spares, time and en­ergy. I had a pretty good year though, be­ing con­sis­tent and fin­ish­ing ev­ery race plac­ing 9th over­all and beat­ing some fac­tory sup­ported rid­ers, so once again I was happy with the re­ward for the hard work. So in many ways it’s the same as the mo­tor­cy­cle world as I still get to travel the world with my bike, but ven­tur­ing fur­ther afield and see­ing new places.

And so you found your way into the world of Moun­tain Bike En­duro. How does this dif­fer from ev­ery other cy­cle dis­ci­pline?

I com­pete in the En­duro World Se­ries in the Pro Women’s Class which is the high­est level in the sport. We race usu­ally be­tween six and eight timed stages and the fastest cu­mu­la­tive time is the win­ner. But we also have to ride be­tween the stages so can eas­ily cover 50k on a race day. Some races are two­day events, so it’s a pretty tough week­end out on your bike.

How did the con­nec­tion with the Orbea Team hap­pen?

Tred-shop.com be­came an Orbea dis­trib­u­tor half­way through 2017 and the UK rep­re­sen­ta­tive passed my de­tails to the Orbea fac­tory know­ing they were set­ting up a new team to com­pete in the 2018 En­duro World Se­ries. Be­fore I knew it I was of­fered a con­tract to ride for the Orbea En­duro Team. The amount of sup­port from Orbea is just in­cred­i­ble and it’s made it a lot eas­ier for me to con­cen­trate on rid­ing my bike, I can­not thank them enough. It has been a crazy few months af­ter so many years hav­ing to do ev­ery­thing my­self, some­times it can be dif­fi­cult to re­lax and let them do the hard work. It’s still early in the sea­son but I am re­ally happy with the team, the bike and my team-mates, we’ve al­ready done some train­ing camps in France and Spain, pre-sea­son test­ing with spon­sors and fine-tun­ing our bike set­ups to get the best out of our equip­ment.

Where do you see the sport tak­ing you, can you be world cham­pion in your class?

To be world cham­pion is a big ask but I am nat­u­rally a very com­pet­i­tive per­son, so who knows. This year I am look­ing to im­prove on last year’s re­sult; a top-five fin­ish would be amaz­ing but the com­pe­ti­tion is so strong. There are at least twelve rid­ers all capable of a top five in the cham­pi­onship. I am one of the older rid­ers but my ex­pe­ri­ence from rid­ing mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als at the high­est level has def­i­nitely helped me and I will con­tinue as long as I still en­joy rac­ing.

Are you a full-time cy­cle ath­lete?

I train ev­ery day but I am still work­ing part-time as a lorry driver in the fam­ily busi­ness be­tween races. My train­ing is a lot more struc­tured now and I have a coach who plans my sched­ule, so I will usu­ally do a ses­sion in the morn­ing be­fore work, then another in the af­ter­noon af­ter work. It is still quite dif­fi­cult to fit ev­ery­thing in, as the train­ing is pretty in­tense so rest and re­cov­ery is just as im­por­tant. I am very grate­ful for this op­por­tu­nity so I in­tend to work hard. Orbea have been very gen­er­ous by sup­ply­ing me with a cou­ple of train­ing bikes as well as my race bikes so I’m spoilt for choice.

Tell us about your most re­cent trav­els and where you have com­peted.

I’ve just re­turned from the first two rounds of the En­duro World Se­ries in Chile and Columbia. They could not have been more dif­fer­ent, we went from rid­ing in thick dust to thick mud! I had two tenth po­si­tions which in truth I am slightly disappointed with but all the girls are so strong now, the com­pe­ti­tion is re­ally close. My new Orbea ‘Ral­lon’ per­formed per­fectly in both races and I took a fourth po­si­tion on stage five in Colom­bia so I am very happy with this and it gives me a lot of mo­ti­va­tion for the next race.

Do you miss mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als?

Yes I miss rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle with friends and cer­tain events like the Scot­tish Six Days Trial but I have no re­grets, none. I had a good few years com­pet­ing at the very top in the Ladies’ World Cham­pi­onship and en­joyed ev­ery minute of my time in mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als. If you can just imag­ine rep­re­sent­ing your coun­try in the Tri­als Des Na­tions, it’s like com­pet­ing in the team events at the Olympics. I still keep in touch with ev­ery­one and Craig is in part­ner­ship at Bvm-Moto now, so I feel like I’m still a tri­als rider. I try to ride when I get the time and Steve Saun­ders, the UK TRS im­porter, lets me bor­row a ma­chine any time I want. I still con­sider mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als as a very good skill base for most bike sports, and I for one have cer­tainly ben­e­fited from my mo­tor­cy­cling years.

Where will you be in five years’ time?

Who knows! I don’t tend to plan that far ahead, I just want to see where it takes me. I will no doubt be rid­ing on some­thing with two wheels. I am en­joy­ing my­self and the new chal­lenges En­duro brings at the mo­ment and am very lucky to have the sup­port of Craig and my fam­ily. My motto, as with many peo­ple, is ‘One life — live it to the full’. Becky Cook has shown just how im­por­tant it is to have an open ap­proach to life. Women in sport, any sport, is most needed, and in many ways she has been a pioneer from the tri­als world to show that with hard work and com­mit­ment you can change sports dis­ci­plines and be­come just as suc­cess­ful — we miss her in the tri­als world but it’s so good to see her achiev­ing suc­cess in another sports arena.

Full on in Chile.

Colom­bia: Fully 100% com­mit­ted. Team talk at the Orbea test camp.

TRIAL MAGAZINE

Colom­bia: The amount of sup­port from Orbea is just in­cred­i­ble and it’s made it a lot eas­ier for me to con­cen­trate on rid­ing my bike, I can­not thank them enough.

The last world round in Italy 2016.

En­joy­ing the last ride at the SSDT in 2016 on the TRS. Steve Saun­ders was 100% be­hind Becky’s move to pedal power.

TRIAL MAGAZINE Who knows what the fu­ture will hold.

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