Rider Profiles: Scott Forbes

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Scott Forbes

Joolze Dymond collared Scott at the second Autumn Classic at his favourite venue of Crowthorne to find out what makes him tick.

Age: 33

Category: Masters

Riding for: Pedal On

Scott has been a high flying athlete for many years, first starting his mountain biking way back in the early ‘90’s, before turning his hand to triathlons where he very quickly turned pro, then returning to the mountain bike fold 5 years ago. He hasn’t looked back since, especially now in 2009 when he won a coveted National XC jersey as he scooped the Masters title against all odds. With an incredibly time consuming job, which takes him all around the world, Scott loves nothing more than heading over to the Gorricks, to catch up with all the riders and of course try and thrash them round the popular trails. Find out more about this talented rider and how he’s mastered the art of crashing… Though you’ll be pleased to hear, he draws the line at crashing the company ‘transport’.

What’s the day job:
For the past 10 years I have been working as pilot for British Airways. I am currently on long haul flying the Boeing 777. I spend most of my time in the far corners of the world. At the moment I am writing to you from Starbucks in Boston. The shortest flight we do is to Israel and the longest flight is down to Australia. There are some destinations that are much better than others, for example I spent last week in Denver riding everyday up in the Rockies at 8000ft elevation which is amazing training. The week before that I was in Las Vegas for a couple of days and after I get back from Boston I am off to St Lucia for a few days.

How do you manage to fit in enough training:
That is the hardest part, getting the training in but I take a bike away with me a bit and everywhere we go there is always a good gym and somewhere to run. Most of the flights are over the night so I can train nearly every day. If I was going to New York for example, I could ride for a couple of hours before I head off to the airport at about 2pm. I then fly out to Manhattan and land at about 2 in the morning UK time. The next day I'll get up early and head out for a long run around Central Park and maybe over the Hudson Bridge. Back to the hotel for a weights sessions and wander around town, maybe a quick kip before we head back to the airport. We start the flight home at maybe midnight or later and fly all through the night to land back at Heathrow at 7 or 8 in the morning. Race home for a couple of hours in bed and then out on the bike in the afternoon. So over a period of three days I have managed to train for about 6-7 hours, fly to New York and back and maybe sleep for 10 hours if I am lucky. Over the race season this last year I was training in the morning before I flew somewhere and when I landed I was going out training again so was able to train twice a day with a long haul flight in between. It's hard work and has taken me 4 or 5 years to get the body used to it and having a very understanding wife really helps too.


What bike do you ride:
I am currently on a Giant XTC Advanced SL with some personal trick parts but Pedalon.co.uk help out with all that and are fantastic for getting hold of cool super light kit. I am a bit of a kit junkie and love anything new and trick. My favourite new bit of kit had to be my Sidi Dragon Carbon shoes in white. So pimp! 2010 looks like a good year for new kit and I can see lots of new stuff appearing in the garage soon. 


Why this one:
I have ridden Giant bikes for a few years now and love the way they ride. They are a fairly compact bike and suits my style and for the last few years they have got the look of the bikes just right too. Mine is black and white so I can sprinkle lots of white bits all over it and keep the theme. There has to be a word for it but "pimped out" best describes the look at the moment.

Scott Forbes

You have a bit of reputation for trashing bikes? Do you keep hugging trees or something?
I have quite an aggressive riding style and push things a bit far sometimes. There is a running joke with the team that I need to crash at least once in a race to have a good one. I have taken to crashing on the practice day now and getting it out of the way before the race but at the Nationals this year I broke my frame the day before the race and thought that it was game over. However Steven James, one of our junior team riders had a spare Giant frame with him, which we all built up that afternoon. It must have worked because I went on to win the National Champs the next day. Thinking about it I have crashed every mode of transport I have ever gone on; be it motorbikes, cars, mountain bikes, skis or even falling over while running the morning of the day I was getting married. The only thing I haven't crashed is an aircraft, which is good I suppose but I haven't retired from that yet, that's all I'll say.

Didn't you used to be a top class triathlete:
Yes, I went to Loughborough University and was doing Triathlons very seriously at that point but Loughborough was a hot bed of talent and I was training with some of the best runners, swimmers and cyclists in the country and this really brought me on. I didn't really do much work there; I spent most of my time chasing the likes of Paula Radcliff et al around the athletics track. I went pro not long after that and spent the next few years on the ITU World Cup racing all over the world. I was trying to qualify for the Sydney Olympics but was stopped by injury and illness. I needed to do something while I recovered and so decided to learn to fly and the rest is history. I still keep in contact with the guys I raced against and see them from time to time. They can kick my ass if we go out for a run but on the bike I can still hold my own.

So when/why did you hang up your speedos/trainers and take up mountain biking: 
I was training maybe five hours a day, all three disciplines from the age of about 17 and just wore myself out. It's funny, if I could go back in time and coach myself with what I know now and how my body reacts to training I could have done so much more but as with many young athletes I did too much too young and burnt myself out. My last triathlon was the Elite World Championship in 1998 and since then there have been many changes in my life but sport will always be a big part and at the moment I am loving mountain biking and the UK race scene.


When was your first MTB race and how did you get on:
I actually started racing mountain bikes back in 1993 and was doing the 7UP race series but triathlon took over and I was away from the sport for the next 10 years. I gradually got back into cycling about six years ago but it has only really been the last few years that I have been really pushing it. Most of the courses are still used, Plymouth and Margam Park and a few of the same faces are there but the equipment is a lifetime away from what I started racing on.

Scott Forbes
On home turf Scott used his local knowledge to score another emphatic win in the SuperMasters race, taking the opportunity to air his National Masters jersey.

What was your first ever bike:
It was a BMX, like most kids my age it was the bike to have and I was lucky there was a BMX track just down the road from me and even then I was racing against Jamie Norfolk; that must have been 22-23 years ago. Jamie would always beat me though. I am off to his wedding next month so it really is a small sport and that has to be the best part. I have known most of the guys I race with for 15-20 years and we are still all good friends. I was at Uni with Jamie; Nick Onslow from the team has been a mate and training partner since we were both about 15 years old. We haven't come very far, we are all still doing what we did when we were kids, riding our bikes around the woods and still have our parents handing us bottles each lap, it just takes me longer to get out of bed in the morning.


Your claim to cycling fame, or your best cycling/racing moment:
Winning the Nationals this year has to be one of the highlights but I am lucky, I have managed to have two cycling careers. I think racing around the Olympic course in Sydney, swimming by the Opera house and having such huge crowds there was quite amazing. But one of my favourite moments on a bike is out riding around the Lookout Mountain Bike centre with my wife. She is really getting into her cycling and it's fun seeing someone pick up the skills and start loving the sport I have enjoyed for so long.


What do you like about Gorrick Races:
Mainly it's getting to see and catch up with all my cycling mates and as the courses are all just down the road from where I live I train on the same trails so it feels like home. They are some of the best races of the year and the number of people that turn up is proof. It is the best training and race preparation for the National series there is and Jon and his team always find the best trails. It amazes me how it can rain all week and they still find a course that isn't too cut up and can still be raced hard.


How long have you been doing Gorricks:
Since about 2004 which is when I got back into serious bike racing.


Which is your favourite Gorrick venue:
Crowthorne as it has the Corkscrew and that is one of the best parts of a race course anywhere. Tunnel Hill recently has had some fantastic course on it too but the Crowthorne course is my local training ground so it has to be that one.


Got any cycling ambitions:
I would like to try and defend my National Title next year but I am hearing rumours of some handy Elite riders dropping down to Masters next year to have a go. It 's going to make it even harder but that means that a win will be even sweeter.


Best bit of advice you’ve been given over the years:
Believe in yourself, train hard and be the best prepared you can be but don't ever think you can't do it. As long as you have the focus and the will you can make yourself do much more than you ever imagined.

Best bit of advice you could give to someone starting out in the sport:
Hill reps!!!! Get out and ride hills, hard. It is the key to all my racing. I have a couple of big hills nearby and I will go and ride the same hill 10 times and try and do each rep faster than the last. It pushes your body harder than you can do normally and if you can climb everything else will follow on. If your focus is more on trail riding make sure you get a good group of mates to ride with. Sharing stories and chasing each other down trails is such an escape it will mean you never tire of the sport.

One piece of trivia about yourself:
I first flew a plane solo when I was 16.