Read on and find out about Ben and his best tips for aspiring mountain bike riders, the benefits of having a private coach, the best MTB gear, and much more!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Ben Deakin, I am a professional Mountain bike rider from Bournemouth in the south of England. I have just come back from a long road trip finishing off at the Mega Avalanche in Alpe D’huez (France) where I placed second in the M30 category. I am lucky enough that my hobbies of riding a Mountain Bike has become my job.
As for my favorite kind of music, I haven’t got any particular music that I can say I really like as it changes on a weekly basis, I love liquid Drum and Bass, to Hip Hop majority of the time. If it’s a really sick song I likely due to a memory I have associated with that tune or watching a video with that sound track. If I normally like a tune, I will try if I’m allowed to use it in one of my videos.
How and why did you get into mountain biking?
I guess, a few friends got me into mountain biking when I was fifteen, I was a devoted football player but got fed up of everyone blaming each other if we lost. With you and a bike, you can only blame one of two things!
I started riding around the local woods messing around with a few jumps and then first started racing when I was fifteen starting off with a cross country race, and then going onto Downhill when I was sixteen, which is when you were first allowed to race Downhill.
My parents were very supportive. I couldn’t of asked for more from my parents, they took me all around the country to race my bike and go and ride with friends before I was old enough to drive myself. They supported me in whatever I decided to do and were never too pushy like you see some competitive dads with there sons now.
Why is mountain biking important for you?
Mountain Biking for me is a great way to travel the world and go to places you probably would of never gone to. I am so privileged to have gone to all corners of the world due to riding my bike. From the well-known Whistler, French Alps, New Zealand Bike Parks to the Philippines and Chiangmai in Thailand. The most memorable has to be Bali this year though as it was full of laughter and not knowing what we were doing from day to day.
On a smaller level, its a great way to keep fit and I ride locally on non-challenging trails just to get some fresh air.
How do you train and become a better mountain biker?
I think the best way of training is mixing it up to keep things fresh, so spending time on a trail bike/Downhill bike with a bit of road riding now and again â€” Although I need to do more of that!). I don’t follow any specific programme but just have a laugh with it, I don’t have a coach purely as I don’t really have time for solid training with the amount I am away currently.
What are the hardest parts of mountain biking?
I think the hardest part for me is the mental side! Waiting around the start line for your race run is nerve racking but in a good way whether that be for a one minute track or hour Enduro – I still get nervous.
Injuries also suck and I’ve had my fair share of those, I think once again if you have had a big crash it will always affect you mentally and you wont always attack a track how you used to until your brain over comes the fear of what happened.
How do you prepare for events and races?
I think a good winter fitness is key.
Unfortunately, when the season gets started. It is hectic and very hard to have time and motivation to train really hard as one race rolls into another with little time to prepare. At the start of the year, I sit down and decide what races and events I want to do and try and plan at least a few months in advance so I know where I will be and what I am doing.
Although, I try and only think of one trip at a time as if I thought I’m going away for three months with six different trips, I would feel exhausted.
How do you eat and sleep?
There’s no beating around the bush as I am not the best the sport has to offer. I am just a guy that has a good laugh and has as much fun as I can. So although, I try and eat healthy, I don’t stick to a diet or aim to have nine hours of sleep at night. I just gauge what my body wants and go from there.
Travelling and jet lag is the hardest to deal with as it’s currently relatively normal for me to only have a few days if that at home between trips so I try and stay as chilled as possible, which rarely happens!
How do you handle injuries and recovery?
Injuries are inevitable pushing the boundaries in our sport but itâ€™s how you bounce back. Luckily, with my previous career as a Royal Marine commando, I have a pretty strong head game to always make the best out of a bad situation.
I’ve had a few big injuries and the key is not to push it, but try and keep fit, avoiding too much strain on the injured part yet try and do plenty of rehab. I’ve been fortunate to receive help from a private company to get me back on the bike asap. Cheers, Physio Fitness.
What are your best advice people new to mountain biking?
Remember why you ride. I ride to have fun. Don’t feel intimidated by other riders with all the gear. Start at your own pace and ride at your level without pushing too much to begin with. I 100% recommend coaching as it can teach you the correct technique from the offset.
Like anything if you do it too much you will find it boring so I try and mix it up to freshen things up. Whether that means riding new locations, riding a different bike (Trail, Downhill or Road bike), or even riding with different groups of friends. I always try and find ways to make riding my bike more exciting.
Best advice for people who have been mountain biking for years?
Don’t be stuck in your ways. Riding technique has changed and adapted with the ever changing more technical terrain as the kit and equipment becomes more advanced. Maybe have a look at good riders and ask yourself what they are maybe doing differently to you.
Once again private coaching can really show you a thing or two. I would really like to change the snobbery in our sport â€” who cares if you have a Seven thousand bike or a Two hundred pound bike we all ride to have fun!
How do you balance normal life with training and competitions?
Generally, from May to September, I am away most weekends racing or off on a adventure so a large proportion of the winter is spent chilling with friends and family back home. Due to spending majority of the summer months away, I miss catching up with friends that I haven’t seen for a while for the odd beer!
What mountain bikes do you prefer?
I love riding my Downhill bikes that means generally that I get a lift back up the hill in a gondola or uplift truck but realistically living where I live majority of my time is spent on my DMR Sled trail bike that allows me to ride up the hills and have fun down them as well!
I own four different bikes but my trail bike is the one I spend the majority of my time on.
What has been your best sport purchase below $100, and what other favorite gear do you have?
I’ve got to plug my own socks, haven’t I?
My #OiOi socks started as a joke but a lot of people want them. Been saying it in a few videos as it’s quite an English lads on holiday saying and gradually it’s taken off. I think the Germans love it the most certainly when I compete in the WhipOff at Dirtmasters in Winterberg. I said to my friend I would make some socks as a joke but the only problem was it was a minimum order of five hundred pairs so I laughed and thought worst case it can go to friends and family for the next few years as birthday and Christmas gifts. Make you faster but not guaranteed!
And my other favorite gear is one of the best inventions in MTB and that would have to be the dropper seat post. It’s reinvented the way people ride and made everything a lot easier on the ups and the downs!
What will the future bring?
Just carry on doing what I do for as long as I can, travelling the world riding my bike, and having fun with my mates, and remembering why I started!
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