Senior physio, Laura Robson was back at the Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup this year. Flitting between Austria, Scotland and Switzerland, Laura has had a busy time recently, but has managed to see patients back in our Wilmslow clinic AND have her own mountain biking holiday.
I am excited to share another season of UCI MTB World Cup action, and this time it is with Santa Cruz Bicycles’ team.
Elite sport is an exciting and challenging game, you have to be prepared to adapt to all sorts. This year I was asked to work with Santa Cruz’s own Syndicate Racing Team!
Entering my third season, I am more familiar with the tracks in the stunning locations around the circuit and how they differ technically, in length and in gradient. Each rider has their favourite track, as some have longer rock gardens, bigger road gaps, fast sweeping berms and other features that can pick out each rider’s strengths and weaknesses. No track is un-rideable for any of the riders, but each provides a different challenge both physically and mentally. Throw the unpredictable weather into the equation and crashes, slides, fatigue and mistakes can happen at any time. I am there not only to manage and treat the injuries as they happen, but to help prepare the athletes both pre and post-race to perform at optimal level. The preparation differs from athlete to athlete, as they find what works best for them and stick to it. I am there to guide them through this process as best I can.My role on the team is Physiotherapist, providing soft tissue therapy, manual therapy, strapping and injury management. However, a successful team is when everyone pulls together to ensure that the event runs seamlessly for the riders, to prevent any distractions so they can focus solely on the job in hand to win races. This includes setting up, packing down – a job which everyone dreads at the end of a race, and general fetching, carrying etc. I support and treat the rest of the team, including the mechanics and sometimes other riders with the permission of team manager, Kathy.
The atmosphere and camaraderie during the events are amazing. There is a real ‘community’ vibe around the pits and everyone gets to know each other, even though they are from rival teams. Mountain biking as a sport has really come on and is still growing in popularity; it’s the riders and teams in the industry who are a driving force. The competition gets harder and harder as athletes and bikes develop, which means more excitement for the viewers and more demand for a good support team. I am happy to be a part of it!
My month was a busy one, supporting the riders in Austria and Switzerland, but between the two races I got to sneak in my own biking adventure. I spent a week in Morzine, in the French Alps, with a group of my buddies and my own Santa Cruz! As a regular peddler, I can relate to the physical demands of the sport, but nothing could give me a sense of what the guys go through until I went to Morzine. I crashed several times, my forearms felt like they were about to explode and I pedalled until I had nothing left in my legs. But not only has that given me an idea of what the professionals go through physically and mentally, I too keep riding because I love it!