There’s nothing like a bit of pressure heading into your first competition – something Liam Brierly knows all too well.
Not only is it his first time involved with an event the calibre of Crankworx, but his boss will be there watching him as well as a busload of about 20 clients. Oh, and he’s only been riding a mountain bike for a little over four months!
Liam is the hands-on bike mechanic at Mountain to Road Cycles in Te Awamutu and he’s gearing up to compete in the Air Downhill event at Crankworx in Rotorua later this month.
For those who don’t know, Crankworx is part of a series taking place in Rotorua, France, Austria and Canada.
While the event attracts some of the most talented riders from around the globe, there is also a strong contingent of New Zealand riders competing, among them Liam.
Fitness Journal finds out more…
Name: Liam Brierly
What is your history/involvement in the sport?
To tell the truth I have only been riding mountain bikes for about four and a half months now, but really, to me it’s like riding any kind of bike, but with a bigger wheel size, different frame geometry, shocks, bars and whatnot.
How did you get involved with cycling?
Ever since I could ride a bike is when I started, but I first began racing BMX when I was five until I was about 15 and these were some of the best years of my life. However, all things come to an end and I wanted a change, so rode freestyle BMX for about two years, until I started working at Mountain to Road Cycles. This is when my boss Callum convinced me to start riding mountain bikes as well.
Why did you decide to have a go at Crankworx?
Well, it looks fun. I mean who doesn’t want to go flying down a 45 degree hill at high speeds? I guess really a lot of people don’t, but I certainly find joy in it. So, I thought, why not give it a shot and represent the business I work for?
What you are competing in?
I will be competing in the Air Down Hill on Skylines Mr. Black trail, where there are 32 jumpable features in the event. The trail is crafted as New Zealand’s answer to A-Line, the infamous spine of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and is a top-to-bottom whip through the forest, keyed for a fast and furious ride.
What does your training involve?
Really, just a bit of everything. Most of all I’m focusing on endurance training at the moment, because I will definitely need it as I’ve heard the trail is rather long, but usually I would just be hill training as that’s the area I’m weakest in.
What is the biggest challenge you’ll face?
My boss has made it is his sworn duty to pretty much tell every customer we have here in the store that I’m entering Crankworx, so a lot of people know I’m competing now. That’s huge pressure knowing that most of the people who would get my advice on their own bike will be watching me ride mine.
What are you most looking forward to?
The free beer – ha ha. No, but really just seeing a large part of the culture that MTB brings to the table in one place will be very exciting. It’s also a win that you get to meet some of the best riders in the sport.
What are your future goals?
Just keep riding my bike fast, hopefully…
Who are your supporters and what gear do you use?
My sponsor is Mountain to Road Cycles who supply me with all the gear I need. I don’t have to go anywhere else. I’m running a 2017 Norco range A7.2 for my ride choice and my gear is mostly Bell Helmets, Race Face and Poc apparel and anything else I might need on the day such as Giro Goggles.