2012: Roundup, From the Horses Mouth.

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Imogen’s 2012, in her own words…

As the 2012 MTB season came to an end I was looking forward to a well-deserved rest, with about a month off I got worryingly good at not riding a bike and at eating cake, the latter of which, on reflection, is something I have been good at all year round!

The last season was a great one for me, my first year with a coach and structured training made me improve greatly and I realised how much I like working toward a goal. I love riding my bike but it seems I love it even more when I am doing it and working towards something. Riding for the fun of it, just with added purpose!

2012 was also my first experience of venturing abroad to race bikes. Being a part of a British UCI team I was lucky enough to travel and have the opportunity to race a few of the RockyRoads.net World Cup series. These races were incredible, so much fun and such good experience, I loved every minute! Racing with the best U18 girls in the world and being a part of that sort of event was something I had always dreamed of, I just didn’t realise it would be happening so early on. Luckily for me I was ready enough to not get completely destroyed and maintain some form of self dignity at the back of the field.

A Brit abroad. Note the nails - repping the Union flag!

A Brit abroad. Note the nails – repping the Union flag!

I crashed a lot this year something that in the past hadn’t been particularly common. The WC courses are insane and fortunately I am crazy enough to ride them, something that helped me a lot and I think stopped me from being completely left behind and earned me some crowd pleasing points too!

I also met some awesome people! Firstly, my team mate Erica who came all the way from America to race in Europe for a season and ended up living with us, learning all kind of weird English ways, befriending Claude and becoming a part of the family. That so freakin’ was rad!

Erica and Claude. Just chillin'

Erica and Claude. Just chillin’

With the end of the season and the collapse of the Moda Bike-Magic team I was riding for (due to lack of funds) it was team search time. I had such an ace time racing abroad in 2012 and  I wanted to continue to have that opportunity and started scouring the UCI websites for teams that might want a small English MTB chick. I composed an awesome (in my opinion!) palmares and sent off a lot of emails. Then I had to wait…

I had a few responses from teams, most telling me that I was too late for the 2013 season and giving me their best wishes. It seemed operation European was a no go.

With the reality of racing for a UCI team slipping away I made a few enquiries in the UK and made plans with a British team. So things were still looking okay for the coming season, I had scaled down my ambitions but was ready for a British-based season giving me the chance to develop myself as a rider more before I would re-try and hit the continent in 2014.

Things were getting desperate.

Things were getting desperate.

Once again however plans changed. Thanks to a few inquiries by my ever useful boyfriend, I received a reply from the manager of a Dutch based team who I had originally emailed. Speaking to this guy was really positive and we started making some very last minute (by 2013 team deal standards) plans and even met up when I was over in the Netherlands. It was an opportunity to do everything I wanted to do this year (apart from World Cups although still high profile races in Europe and the chance to travel) and I was getting excited again.

One hitch though, I needed to find a Giant Dealer store to support me as an individual. More emails and I am still hoping something will happen although things are starting to look good. If not I’m thinking of a ‘display your advert here’ themed kit!

So, hopefully I will get this Giant thing sorted then I am all set for a pretty sick season.

Me and my big sis Anna- you can see her blog of our adventures here (https://annabuick.wordpress.com/ ) and she is a much better writer than me!! –  we have some big plans.. Two sisters, a green Renault Kangoo, a tent and a few bikes… what could possibly go wrong!?

Other cool things in life… (And a year’s worth of photos)

I did a CX race a few weekends ago, simply because I was bored of not racing. I was heroic, won £25 prize money and there was a great cake selection.. #win

I did a CX race a few weekends ago, simply because I was bored of not racing. I was heroic, won £25 prize money and there was a great cake selection.. #win

Us junior girls get pink numbers...

Us junior girls get pink numbers

Big sis/training partner

Big sis/training partner

Some shots from the last round of the World Cup at Val D’Isere. This was my best race and the week was definitely one of the best experiences ever!

The section of the course which ran through the town. Harder than it looks!

The section of the course which ran through the town. Harder than it looks!

Check out the face, think I may have been a little scared...

Check out the face, think I may have been a little scared…

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An incredible backdrop for a race.

Beth and I having a post-race chat.

Beth and I having a post-race.

Michiel (van der Heijden) is another cool person I met on my travels this year and because of him I’ve recently spent quite a lot of time in the Netherlands. He’s a pro MTB’er for Rabobank Giant (soon to be Giant XC pro team) and also a pretty sweet dude! We’ve had some adventures:

Down-hilling in Winterberg.. This was super fun, also super painful, 4 crashes in one day and I was pretty stiff the next morning. (If you want a laugh we were actually GoPro-ing as I crashed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CbfzT-62uE)N.B. To explain the wooly hat- I have a very small head and without it the helmet kept falling over my eyes and I couldn’t see- not good!

Down-hilling in Winterberg.. This was super fun, also super painful, 4 crashes in one day and I was pretty stiff the next morning. (If you want a laugh we were actually GoPro-ing as I crashed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CbfzT-62uE)
N.B. To explain the wooly hat- I have a very small head and without it the helmet kept falling over my eyes and I couldn’t see- not good!

Michiel and I having had just won a World Cup CX race in Namur, Belgium. (That’s him winning not me; I just got very nervous then cleaned his shoes). Unfortunately I couldn't fly home with the flowers.

Michiel and I having had just won a World Cup CX race in Namur, Belgium. (That’s him winning not me; I just got very nervous then cleaned his shoes). Unfortunately I couldn’t fly home with the flowers.

Photo posted on Privateer Magazine of me racing the Eliminator in Houffalize. Feeling big time.

Photo posted on Privateer Magazine of me racing the Eliminator in Houffalize. Feeling big time.

Alternative sports...

Alternative sports…

...and alternative uses for bicycles!

…and alternative uses for bicycles!

Missing Erica on her birthday.

Missing Erica on her birthday.

Missing our summer tan!

Missing our summer tan!

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Helping (or not, as this photo would imply) Mummy build the course for one of her 5by3MTB grass roots races in the eastern region. (Check out the website here- http://fivebythreemtb.com/ )

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Anna and I getting excited to watch the European Cyclo-Cross champs at Ipswich. Cool to have a British winner in the women’s -Helen Wyman. The U23 was won by a very nice Dutchman-Mike Teunissen (now also world champ).

Lastly, simply to prove I don’t spend all my time in either wellies, lycra or in a field (or any combination of the above):

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Well, hope you all feel enlightened to the past year of my life- I could have chronologically ordered this but I have neither the memory nor the inclination!

I’ve got big plans for 2013. Stay tuned.

Over and out.

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About annabuick

A cycling writer and photographer. annabuick.wordpress.com

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