Martha Gill may still be in the U21 category, but she’s been racing bikes for a decade now. We caught up with the current leader of the U21 competition to find out a bit more about her.
How long have you been riding and racing bikes? What was your background? XC, trials, DH?
I’ve been riding bikes since I can remember! I joined my local cycling club at about 12 and started racing a bit of everything; road, track, cyclo-cross, then eventually started to focus more on cross country. I was on the British Cycling XC Programme for two years but didn’t quite make the cut… that’s when enduro saved me!
What has been your favourite EWS track you’ve raced this year and why?
I really enjoyed the first two rounds in Rotorua and Tasmania because both terrains were so different to anything I’ve ridden before, really fun and flowy with some techy sections too. We had pretty severe rain for both rounds so that made me feel in my element coming from England!
What are your strengths and your weaknesses during an EWS race?
I think one of my strengths is my fitness having come from XC, I seem to be getting my best results in the physical stages. Also I like to think I’m mentally strong, I’ve not let my self be phased by technical sections or the adverse weather conditions this year. My weakness is the feed zones – I can’t hold myself back when I see all the chocolate and biscuits and always end up eating a bit too much!
Who taught you to wheelie? Would you say that is your signature move?
I taught myself – YouTube also helped! When I was 15 I was going to the XC European Youth Championships where there was a round that tested your flat pedal skills so I spent the whole summer leading up to it just practicing in my garden every day after school. I guess you could say it’s my signature move, I like to think it helps me stand out from the other girls and shows my fun side and that I’m not all about race results.
What are your favourite tunes you train to?
At the past few EWS rounds I’ve started to play some music up the transitions to keep us going. It ranges from some singalong classics to hip hop and Biggie Smalls!
Why Enduro? In three words describe why you love to race Enduro?
Enjoyable, adventure, challenge!
Next year you’ll be racing with the big dogs, are you excited? Nervous?
Yeah I’m excited! I’ve started to get some better stage times compared to the elites this year so I feel like I’m really beginning to see what I’m capable of now. It’ll only make me train more and push myself harder in the races so I’m excited to see how I get on!
You’ve recently raced the Trans Provence race, how did you find that whole adventure type racing experience compared to a normal EWS race weekend? Do you think doing events like those will help your racing?
It was a lot more relaxed, I got to spend more time chatting to and meeting new people as there are no liaison times. I think most people including myself enter it for the adventure experience not the race result, so everyone’s just more chilled and not in ‘the race zone’. I think they do help yeah, obviously there’s the massive endurance part of riding all day for six days in a row, but also racing blind is really cool – it forces you to look up and read the trail more.
I’d like to say a massive thanks to my team and sponsors for all the support so far this year, without them I wouldn’t be where I am now! So thanks Marin Bikes, Stan’s NoTubes, Troy Lee Designs, Burgtec, Maxxis, Crankbrothers and Fiveten!