The Adventures of Racing

This documentary comes with a warning, prepare to hear the words: ‘epic’, ‘steep’, ’awesome’, ‘gnarly’, ‘fun’ and ‘insane’ multiple times… What can I say, when you combine exhaustion, rowdy trails, and overwhelming beauty for 6 consecutive days, you quickly run out of words.

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Traharn Chidley, originally from a quaint English village in the foothills of North Wales, and like many of us, I blimin’ love mountain biking, infact… it changed my life. 7 years ago I had a very different story and biking was no where near my radar. My brother, Joel, grew up racing bikes from the age of 6,

whereas I had my own thing going on. It never occurred to myself or my family that I’d be interested in biking, let alone any good at it, so for years I remained chief cheerleader for Joel at his weekly races.

Until one day, Joel was living the dream in Whistler and saw how unhappy and unrecognisable I had become, he encouraged me to go out riding with his friends. At first it was a way to be closer to Joel while he was in another country, but before I knew it I absolutely loved it, with every crash, pedal bash, and tree smash, I became more confident, excited, alive and free. Until I was finally at a point where I had more control over my life with the strength to change the life path I was on.

To find out more, click here for: This is my story..

My passion for mountain biking rapidly grew, after one week on the Downhill bike, I followed Joel’s wheels and started racing DH mountain biking, quickly progressing on to race Fort William world cup. After a few years of DH, it was time to give enduro mountain biking a go, a perfect combination of fitness and fun. Joel and I both switched to enduro mountain biking, racing had became a huge part of my life. I’m not your typical racer, probably one of the least aggressive people you’ll meet, although I’ll always try my best, the focus is never fully on results.

The things I love about racing are simple, I get to ride with my brother and friends, I get to explore incredible parts of the world I wouldn’t otherwise see, it pushes me to push myself physically, technically and mentally, and that buzz you get where you feel complete exhaustion and bliss satisfaction when the day is done.

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Which brings us to now; I moved to British Columbia, Canada, last autumn and instantly started plotting with my bro; “which race shall we do in Canada??…” It was a no-brainer, if we were to do just one, it was the Trans BC enduro, it had everything in one, a week of riding, a guide of BC’s best trails, a challenge, boot camp, holiday… we had to do it! Last year I spent nearly every weekend racing all over Europe from spring to autumn. However, this year with a change of scenery, the focus was on just one BIG race.

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The general consensus for the race was, it’s super gnarly, big, hard days on the bike. Now, I’ve heard this before and it’s never as bad as people say, in fact, it usually ends up being perfect for me. As a result i’ve learnt not to take too much notice, relax and be prepared for ANYTHING. Well, let’s just say, first corner of stage one confirmed how hard this race was going to be, nothing to signify what was coming left me well and truly on my toes for the rest of the week.

We spent up to 8 hours on our bikes nearly every day, climbing insane amount of elevation (1500 – 2000 meters a day) with even more descending. Every single descent was super long, (not quite what Joel and I are used to) technical, with the added challenge of not having a clue where the trail was going.

We were sent UP some ridiculously steep climbs, not knowing how far or long it was, added to the challenge, but any time we reached the summit we were overwhelmed with the stoke. The views we got to see were mesmerizing, and we certainly earned those descents.

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Neither myself nor Joel have ever done so much consistently intense riding with butt-clenching descents, torturous climbs, epic views, touch of sun stroke and awesome people, it was the perfect recipe for an incredible week.    

If it wasn’t for the race I never would have experienced half the stuff we did, which is the exact reason why I love these races.

To be able to say I did the Trans BC Enduro with my brother, is something I never thought would happen. I feel extremely lucky and happy to have these experiences with Joel by my side.

 

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Traharn Travels – ‘Rest Day’

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Rest Days are just as important as training days, you need to give your body the time it needs to recover and rebuild, if not, your muscles never get the opportunity to fully recover, making them weaker and weaker.

Now there are lots of different ways to have a “rest day”,  so long as the muscles needing the recovery get to rest, then it doesn’t have to be the typical ‘couch potato’ day.

Mike and I went to Washington at the weekend and decided to hike up a super cool mountain, with 4000 feet of elevation… but what we tend to do on the way back down is, RUN! It’s so much fun, I’ve been running for years and my knees are well accustomed to downhill running, but I haven’t descended that much, that quickly in a long time! So, as you may have guessed we couldn’t walk straight for the next few days. I constantly looked like John Wayne or like I’d poohed myself… I hadn’t, I swear.

However, the more you sit still, the stiffer and more ridiculous you become… Therefore, we decided the best thing to do was keep our legs moving, get out into the gorgeous sunshine and take our DiamondBack Haanjo Cyclocross/road bikes to Rossland’s local lake, Nancy Green.

Although I’m obviously still using my quads, the focus is on a different part of them and the pressure is much easier to manage.

So off we went for a 60kilometre pedal to Nancy Green Lake…

The Search for Back Country

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After traveling around the world, I’ve discovered a lot of opinions on England, with some of the most common conversations go like this:

Example One

New buddy: “Oh, you’re from England, I’ve been there, where about’s are you from?”
Me: “Shropshire” followed by blank pause, “West midlands… near Wales…”
New buddy: “So, north of London?”

Example Two

New buddy: “You ride mountain bikes? Did you start that out here in Canada, there’s nowhere to ride in England, it’s all flat isn’t it?”

 

So, as you can imagine, I had a little bit of educating to do: “Yeeeah, London is as pretty south as you can go”… “There are so many incredible places to ride all across the Britain, some of the best mountain bike racers in the world come from my home town, Shrewsbury.”

Most people are always so surprised, their image of Britain is it’s: flat, busy, overcrowded, wet, grey with traffic-jams, football hooligans and bad teeth;

It has been my absolute pleasure in showing people otherwise. The first person I really got to show Britain’s beauty to, was my Canadian boyfriend, Mike Hopkins, his opinion wasn’t too dis-similar to others. Mike was shocked at how similar my home village, Snailbeach, was to his home town Rossland. Rossland is basically Snailbeach on steroids, an old mining town, on top of the hill, incredible riding trails straight out the front door, even going down the hill to the next village is the same, down the road to the factory town, with a reputation of being a little bit grubbier. People could think I’m literally talking about either one; a tiny, quaint english village on top of the hill, called Snailbeach, or, a quaint Canadian mountain town, called Rossland.

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It didn’t take Mike long to fall in love with my home village, beautiful scenery, awesome riding, with cool old buildings full of history… The deeper into the North Wales mountains we went the more Mike’s mind was blown, mesmerised by the perfectly built ancient stone walls guarding the tiny narrow roads for miles and miles.

Mikes visited a handful of times, but this time I wanted to take him to The Lake District in North England. This place is outstanding, I also have way more exploring of my own to do up there, but last year, during a race (The Three Peaks Yacht Race), I came across a beautiful cottage, tucked away in the middle of the tillest mountains in England. Since then I vowed to come back with Mike and stay in this little cottage; which turned out to be the most remote hostel in Great Britain, only accessable by foot, with the closest road nearly 10 kilometers away.

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I wanted to film our journey to show people that England has so much more to offer, we have back-country too and it’s beautiful.

So sit back and enjoy the video we put together, I mean it wouldn’t be a proper British trip without a little bit of rain… however, rain and shine, this place is specatular!