Despite being only 24, David Fletcher has been a consistent figure at the front of both cross-country mountain bike and cyclocross races for years.
A product of British Cycling’s development programme as a junior and under 23, David now rides for Britain’s only UCI-registered cross-country MTB team, Orange Monkey Pro Team.
With Orange Monkey David has emerged into elite ranks as one of Britain’s finest talents. A medallist at both the cross-country and cyclocross National Championships last year, Britain’s top performer at the cross country World Cups and still a familiar and friendly face at local races.
He is a rider fondly looked up to by many youngsters in the sport, especially after his coaching help at various British Cycling Talent Team events over the last couple of years.
Whilst David was finishing up his MTB season at the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge, we exchanged emails about the upcoming transition to winter and ‘cross racing, and his aims for the coming months –
Is your main focus mountain biking or cyclocross?
“I’m mainly a cross-country man, cyclocross has always had a place in my heart though and sometimes it is hard to decide. However, I would call myself a cross country rider as it is the main focus for my training and lifestyle.”
Your MTB season was put on hold due to injury sustained in Cyprus early in the year, will that help you for the cyclocross season – are you less tired?
“Breaking my wrist and elbow has prolonged my MTB season a bit but I’m still having the same amount of recovery and time off. I guess to an extent I should be a little fitter than previous seasons coming into the cyclocross season. Mentally I’m still there and want to compete at every event I can so guess I’m not quite as tired as usual seasons.”
Do you have a main goal for this cyclocross season?
“My main goal is to take the jersey at the cyclocross National Champs. I also want to try and gain as much fitness as I can at the same time to kick start my cross-country season.”
What do you most look forward to about coming out of the MTB season and into cyclocross?
“Ever since I started cyclocross, all those many moons ago now, it’s been something that I’ve loved to do. Short, intense racing and going all-out for an hour somehow appeals to me! I think racing all over the world and then doing a race half an hour away and still coming home in the same day makes it a little more appealing as well. Its a lot faster than an MTB race where you may average only 15 or 16 kph, whereas in a cyclocross race you may average 30 on a dry course.”
Do you have any plans for the future to race cyclocross abroad or are you quite content with Notts and Derby and the National Trophies?
“A few years back now I did compete and live in Belgium for the winter. Based out there and training and racing with the real cyclocross guys improves your overall fitness by so much. Its something that I do plan to do again, maybe not the living out there and living and breathing it, but the odd World Cup or Super Prestige when they fit in my schedule. Doing the National Trophies and regional races is a good way to keep racing and improve form. All races are worth while, it is just that the special ones in Belgium need a little more planning.”
Who is your favourite cyclocross rider?
“My favourite rider has got to be the legend himself Sven Nys. He’s been someone I’ve looked up to ever since I started cyclocross. It maybe me being a bit of a glory supporter with him but the way he performs and keeps up there no matter what makes me respect him and wish for myself to be in the same position. Over time I’ve grown to respect him more with seeing his abilities with MTB and road as well. He is a high grade competitor in all disciplines and shows how good his raw talent is. No doubt he hast to work for it, but still he’s a true idol to look up to and aspire to be like.”
What is your favourite cyclocross course?
“My favourite course would have to be Koksjide. The sandy classic of the World Cup. One of the hardest races there is in cyclocross. I’ve ridden it before when I was a junior and every year I wish to go back to the sandy dunes to compete and show my best against the world’s best. Hoogerhiede also has a place in my heart but nothing can succeed the sandy classic!”
David is a rider who has an extraordinary sense of calm and que sera, sera, but his effort and passion are equally evident. Ever polite and professional, it is a pleasure to see him do well and I wish him the very best for the coming season.
David says thank you to “my family and friends, British Cycling for their help all the years and giving me opportunities I’d never receive without them and all the sponsors that have helped me over the years”.