Petra Wiltshire's Blog

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Need to race…..

I did an interview at the beginning of last season about riding, racing and getting old as a professional sports person. It featured in the Guardian on Sunday Newspaper and on pedalfeet a blog for the Guardian online cycle section. I like the interview, all of it is as true now as it was 12 months ago.

I still love bikes, riding and racing! If I won the lottery or found a wad of cash I would race as much of the time as possible. Not just to be successful, but more importantly to feel happy. I love racing as it allows me to travel, meet new people, old friends, overcome fears and put the biggest smile on my face. I cannot survive without competition for too long and crave the excitement on a daily basis. The ski season brings the occasional telemark race, but when all said and done I need my bike and a taped course, the fear and the starting beeps……! Roll on 2012 you cannot come quick enough…..

The interview:-

Great interview for the Guardian Newspaper Blog

Was done at the end of the 2010 season, mainly all my existing sponsors apart from Rocky Mountain Bikes and Rukkus!
Thanks Guys

2011 Season over and 2012 on the horizon..

Well, its definitely now time to get back in the gym and starting my training in preparation for a good 2012 race season. Plenty of time over the last few weeks to plan for next year, learn from this year and where I can be and what I can achieve in 2012. I have been racing for almost fifteen years and involved in professional sports for over twenty. My career as a international hockey player seems a distant past now, but my experiences with training, team work and goal setting have certainly paved the way for my biking career. I am certainly getting into the twilight years now, and some day I will have to hang up the pedals and pack away the bodyarmour…But for the here and now I want to still race and get better! I know I can and thats why I have set myself goals which I need to see me through the winter months.


1. To still be fast on a bike down a hill = Gym work and miles on the bike
2. To be a World Champion for the fourth time = Sponsorship and funding
3. Represent Great Britain = Culmination of 1 & 2
4. Represent all my sponsors and supporters = 1,2 & 3
5. Race a season of Enduro Downhill

I hope to get away in January to Tenerife, escape the snow and do some quality riding and training. This in conjunction with Lavatraks MTB Camps, who are hosting some womens rider camps. Jess Stone and I have been asked to coach there…Cannot think of a better place to be in the gloomy months!

Also hope that Champéry Commune and the Palladium will support me again like in 2010/11 and allow me to use the sports facilities in the Palladium. The facilities for a small village are terrific and certainly allow me to train well when its covered in snow outside and impossible to ride here in the mountains.

Starting to get excited about the pain of training..perverse I know!

Petra Wiltshire

Italian Sunshine and lots of hills to ride up and down!

Just recovered from the most amazing event of the season The Super Enduro Final in Finale Ligura (Besides the Cobble Wobble) In fact the two had similarities, racing a short thirty-second Time Trial on cobbled streets! I travelled down on Friday after a limited amount of hours spent in the saddle over the previous three weeks. Fearful of what I was letting myself in for. When we arrived the Finale Luguran coastline was sparkly blue, white sands and blue skies. A nippy wind did not curb our enthusiasm for riding our bikes in some amazing scenery.

My hotel was interesting to find, windy streets in a large minibus were expertly negotiated by Lloyd Grace (Bike guide and Professsional Transfers boss) Upon checkin, the receptionist gleefully informed me of the easiest route up and down to the town….200 Steps!!!! They went straight up! Fun going down on the bikes, hell carrying it back up! I would post pics but I managed to lose my camera during the weekend!!

Met up with Tracy Moseley and Northern Monkey Boy James that afternoon. They filled me with fear, explaining the nature of the event and the enormity of the climbs. Many taking well over an hour with time penalties for late arrival at the top. Sounds ok, but there were 1500m to take in in one days racing. The easiest one took me an hour!!!

I opted to not practice the stages too much as not having an uplift planned, it meant I would be doing some mega climbs and descents the day before the event…Retrospectively, I think I should have hitched a lift somewhere, the descents were eqaully tech and needed learning! Its all a learning process for my Enduro series assault next season.

Anyway, I opted the day before to put Maxxis Ardents on the Rocky Mountain Slayer… Big mistake as they were 1 and a half ply! The time trail was fun around the town, short street circuit on cobbles and spectators…Felt at home!!!

Next day I was paired up on the podium to start the race with Tanja Zakeji.. Junior and Under 23 World XC Champion!!! Eeek first climb for an hour at a hot pace with her not breaking sweat and me dying as we chatted!! The first dh was the most tech and I made a few mistakes, dropping my chain and getting over taken by Tanja… I then had to chase her all down the mountain. Very very impressed with a xc rider who can really shift on the DH sections too. At the bottom we only had 50 mins to make stage two and the mother of all road climbs for about 5 km. I had no lead out as Tanja had bust a quick helmet swap and gone on at warp speed!

I was really struggling on the second climb, no pacing meant I was not sure of my speed and time in relation to my start time (Must remember a watch next time!) I was a few minutes late for my start at the top, quick helmet swap and off on very tight rocky track. The Slayer was in its element, I passed two chaps and on one passing move hit a very square rock….Bang no pressure in my back tyre and nowhere to fix it. I ran for 4 minutes until I could find a place to repair the tube. The valve had completely sheered off! Quick change and burst of my CO2 cartridge and I was off and rolling…Dreading the time I needed to make up on the next climb! Just before the end I had the worst feeling again, my back-end was snaking around and another flat…Bloody single ply tyres!!!! I rolled through the finish and set about another repair. I had a another CO2 canister ready, I managed to inflate it about half full before the canister emptied…Bugger! No more co2 , tubes or pump! Amateur mistake I will learn from. My roll back to Finale was slow and laboured with only two stages completed and retirement! The beer on the beach did little to cheer me up, stories were filtering back of epic crashes, energy sapping stages and mechanicals all round. One guy I rolled in with had no mech and two flats as well!

Hey ho, I would like to say I would have finished but think my fitness was a bit suspect. Lloyd suffered terrible cramps in the final stages and even had marathon wall legs for a while! Tracy won convincingly from my climbing partner Tanja. Remy Absalon won the mens and the end of a fanatstic season for all involved. I cannot wait for next year. Not sure what I will be riding on, but I have loved my year with Rocky Mountain Bikes. They have worked faultessly and still look like they have just come out the box…testament to the quality of paint finish. Thanks again SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Rukkus, and Chris Sports. You have all made it a great year. Maybe I go for another Rainbow Jersey next year. Four is a nice round number, the winter nights will be spent plotting my assault on 2012 and a fitness regime to help me in the Super Enduro series too.

Keep smiling wherever you are

Pee x

Busy end to the season…Cobble Wobble and more…

I do not know where to begin…Time has flown by so fast with no time to catch breath it seems! Does not seem two minutes ago that I was in Finale Ligura Italy, taking delivery of two fresh shiny Rocky Mountain Bikes and riding down super steep, flowing tracks with dealers from all over Europe. That was February with snow on the ground in Champéry and skiing still firmly on the agenda. Now its October, the bikes are still shiny, but have a few more miles on the clock and I am heading full circle back to the tracks in Finale Ligura for the last blast of the year! Snow on the horizon here in the mountains again and mid drifting to snow and skis!!!

Its the big Enduro racing finale….The Finale Superenduro Final! I have to confess the bike is more ready to race than the pilot! I have not had time to get out enough since the lifts shut and guiding finished! Gardening work has taken priority with every tree and garden in Champéry need a prune it seems!!!alas, we all need to pay the bills and racing does not do that very often.

Looking back, one of the highlights of my year was the infamous Frome Cobble Wobble, in its third year it was something that should be put in red on everyones race agenda… A MUST do event, in the same vain as Cape Epic, Mega, Trans Provence and many others…!!!!! I arrived back in the home town armed with a pair of race shoes and a helmet….Looking for some kindly sole to lend me a steed suitable for an assualt on the cobbles of Catherine Hill. The winning record time of Chris Akrig is staggering, something I still find hard to comprehend. Basically, its a time trial up a short steep cobbled, shop lined hill in a sleepy Somerset Town. Dreamt up by visionary bike genius, Andrew “Cobble Wobble/Bike Academy”Denham. Riders can take it seriously or not

There were some amazing sites, including a Stag Party in various stages of undress, pantomime Horse and countless fairies, smurfs, and assortment of men in womens clothes. Small kids on barbie bikes and elderly people on Bromptons and professional riders from GT and Rapha-Condor etc.

Richard from Live 2 Ride in Frome came up trumps and loaned me a splendid small road bike from the shop. Jess Stone also came down from Trek Gravity Girls. Richard used the chance to launch his Live 2 Ride Women section in the shop (Maybe a rethink on the name is in order Rich?) We had lovely one off T Shirts especially with our names on the back!

Well needless to say, I hold my hand up and profess loudly that I am not, and never will be a star climber or roadie of any repute! Its downhill for me! But, I loved it, felt like spitting chunks at the finish and smiled the whole 30 something seconds of it! Next year I will be on tender hooks to get an entry and preparing a super dooper cobble wobble race steed! Thanks to Richard and Fleur, Marjorie and all who helped me prepre for the event and helped me get up the hill in one piece! I think I need to have more Cobble Wobble beer with Rich, Fleur and Jess the night before and more of the pre race food of Champions…Curry and then brekkie of porridge

So, now I am preparing for Finale Ligura this weekend. The Slayer is shiny, buffed up and ready….I just have to get my tent de-mildewed and sleeping bag fumigated! Just found out there is about 70 km of riding and 1700m of climbing…Eeek! Ah hell, its not all bad…Mediterranean coastal town, Gelato by the bucket load, good wine, good food and some of the best natural descents to the sea known to man. Just got to get me and the Slayer to the top under my own pedal pushing power first!


Wow worlds in Champery, blast round the hill with a few old pals and more

Where to start? Yesterday first I guess…. Little Danny Hart has just given the mountain bike community of the world a lesson in bike riding! This kid was 11 when I first met him…Shy, but a confident crazy riding style and pushy Dad! Thank God his Dad was pushy and Danny had the ability and desire to back up the promises Dad made about a future world champ! I knew another kid like this with the same sort of Dad….He did the same and became F1 World Champ! Jenson and Danny have alot in common!

The Worlds in Champery began with me getting some great riding in with old chums…Tracey Moseley and I go way back and it was great to do lots of runs down the WC track before the worlds week. Mo was riding like a girl looking to retain her stripes… Wow, oh so quick and good for me to get back up to speed again on a DH bike! Had the best day of the season following Mo head long down the most most crazy dh track in the world!

The weather has been hot and dry for a good few weeks and the Slayer has had alot of uphill and downhill action

Just before the worlds Jess Stone from Trek Gravity Girls came out to bust some all mountain rides….This girl is a hyper climber… Give her a challenge and off she goes! Col du Cou two days running to see if she could ride it without Dabs. Tracy Mo had two dabs and think Jess had 4 ….I had too many!

With the circus in town and Worlds all last week it has been a manic time to say the least! Danny winning the DH and Fionn taking silver in the 4x, little Manon took a great win in the junior girls dh and my buddy Emmeline Ragot took a second world title in the womens dh….She is chasing my three jersey record!

Well the racing has been and gone and now its back to riding and clearing up! Next week I am off to compete in the big season ender The Cobble Wobble! Expect big news regarding lots of potential sponsorship deals for next year and some other exciting ventures in the offing! Pee x

Torgon Swiss Super Enduro yeehah!

Had a tough two days in the rain and mud at the Swiss Super Enduro in Torgon. A great event consisting of 6 different DH courses linked by lifts and climbs to access starts! Saturday was very wet and only did one run to orientate myself! The rain was pouring and conditions steep, deep and oh so slippery! Met Jo Pauly from Ride Ability in Morzine (Another local MTB Guide) We did one run together before deciding on full mud spikes for seeding and first run.

With the weather so bad we were told we would do a night dual slalom….On a grassy ski piste!!! The combined times being our seeding placing and accumulated time too. Winner being rider with smallest accumulated time after all runs etc.

Needless to say, me being a former British Dual Slalom Champ I thought I had all the “old school`moves dialled….Oh how wrong can one be? God, I was crap with a capital C! First run against a keen youth rider and had him for two gates before missing the next two and getting a wopping time penalty…Over zealous, decision made to stay calm and conservative for run two! Alas got the hole shot jump and binned it on gate four….The embarrasment rolling through the finish with grass poking out my lid and in last place in the girls for sunday…. meaning I found out that I would be starting after 150 riders and having to pass them each run all day from the back…Buggeration!

It poured all night and arrived in Torgon at 7.30am to find the race had been put back from 8.30am to 9.30am, I could have had a few extra minutes in bed ;(

The first run was oh so bloody steep and lary tight. One narrow line to follow cut into a mulchy forest floor.With some steep off camber shoots and rocky and roots aplenty….Really was the name of the game all day!

Well despite starting almost last I passed quite a few had a tumble and past a few more…All good and second quickest girly and 22 over all! So some time made up! Next run was more eventful with a stupid crash on a rocky bus top….Blame go straight on pilot and lack of respect for spikes on wet rocks!!! This was to be my pedals undoing alas. I struggled to get my foot to release in the crash and pulled out very hard in the mid-air panic stage before hitting the deck. This ripped the pedal almost off the axle which I discovered on the pedal to the next and longest stage! Eeek.

I rode the whole 14 minute stage panicking that the pedal was going to come completely off, I looked down a number of times to see the axle almost completely exposed and at the end even had to stop with the pedal attached to my shoe and try to thread it back on to the axle…Not advised on a steep camber and riders coming past! At lunchtime the mechanic said it was a no goer and I needed a new one….NOT got one with me! So washed the bike and waited to go back up on the rickety old 2 man chair. The chair necessitated rider clutching bike on the side of the lift with pedal resting on the seat. Not so good with aforementioned pedal hanging off! So I hastily rustled up a zip tie and attached it best way I could to my crank! Anyway, I got to the top with no dramas. Next run was a disaster however, the pedal came off twice and finally I must have had it attached to my shoe only to lose it when I put my foot down going round an axle deep rut. It’s now in a muddy grave on a mountain high above Torgon!

The last two runs were highly stressed. Its tough trying to keep a carbon soled spd shoe on a spindly metal axle! I managed to not come off but rode extremely slowly trying to not stab myself in the calf with the axle! So, with six runs of high drama and mud I had survived my first super enduro race. The Rocky Mountain Slayer was awesome for the event. Gobbled up all the steep drops and flew up the climbs…Doing what it was designed for! My EVOC Freeride Rucksac protected my back superbly in my rocky high-speed stack and Rukkus Clothing race kit was bright and Bling at the end of 8 hours racing in the mud! Thanks to SRAM AVID and Rock Shox for providing the best suspension, brake and running gear a rider could ever wish for.

Jet washed and clean I wondered over for the presentations, I watched proceedings whilst ordering a well-earned beer….Shock upon shock I was announced as second in the women and 36th overall! Off up to the podium totally unprepared and beer left lonely on the beer tent bar! Wow, happy to get 2nd to a girl who specialised in this sort of racing and others who were seasoned campaigners in enduro racing too. So with a place on the podium I am now addicted to enduro dh racing! Despite being shattered, when I arrived home I searched the net for other races. One next weekend in Lenzerheide -Trek Bike Attack and one in sweden in a few weeks. All too much money so will have to save the pennies for one closer to here or find some new sponsors keen to get into and have a part of enduro racing.

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