Tracy Moseley: Danger Girl|
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Editor's Note: This fall, Dirtworld.com caught up with Tracy Moseley just before the Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets, where Moseley was favored to de-throne Anne-Caroline Chausson of France in the downhill. After the initial interivew took place and a week before the Worlds, Moseley injured herself during a race and was forced to withdraw from the Worlds. After the accident, we caught up with Moseley again to find out what happened. Below are our interviews from before and after the accident.
After the Accident
DW: Where and at what race did you injure yourself?
Moseley: The final round of the Maxxis Cup Series in Port Aine, Spain.
DW: What happened exactly?
Moseley: I was riding on the first day of practice and I drifted wide around a corner to try and carry some more speed. I rode through a bush and a small branch caught my pedal and stopped my bike which sent me over the bars. I just remember feeling really high in the air and I must have landed straight on my right shoulder.
DW: What happened next?
Moseley: I popped up straight away feeling an immense pain in my shoulder. I thought initially that it was my collar bone, but after running my hand along my collar bone I realized it was still intact. I then realized it must be my shoulder. A few seconds later, my friend Lisa Sher came down the course and took one look at me and said, "I think you dislocated your shoulder."
DW: What was the final diagnosis and what are you doing to recover?
Moseley: I had shoulder arthroscopy (key hole surgery) where I had a bankart repair, which is where the cartilage is re-attached to the shoulder socket (glenoid). At the same time he also found damage to my biceps tendon.
This looked as though it was an old injury that had been further damaged from the dislocation. I had to have a piece removed and the tendon reattched to the glenoid, so I think I had a full service!! I am now in a 12 week recovery process, with intensive physio to regain the movement of my shoulder and then rebuild the strength of it. So hopefully I will be back on my bike by Christmas!
DW: Up until this season you've had relatively few injuries for a DH rider. What has this season taught you?
Moseley: I have certainly been very fortunate to have not had any serious injuries until this year. This, however, has taught me that it only takes a fraction of a second to completely change that. It makes me realize the risks that I take on a daily basis and that I don't always bounce!!
DW: What are your goals for next year?
Moseley: My goals are to be back to full strength and fitness for next season to try and accomplish my goals within the sport - To win the world cup and world championships.
Before the Accident
DW: Youíve been riding the course in Les Gets, France preparing for the World Championships - any comments?
Moseley: Itís quite a new track with a lot of steep and technical sections. Itís going to be quite a short race in the dry - about three minutes - but if itís wet on race day, itís going to be really difficult as there will be so many places to make mistakes. Overall, itís going to be a great track to determine the World Champion.
DW: Do you find it frustrating that everyone puts so much emphasis on The Worlds when itís really just one race out of the entire season?
Moseley: Some people say that the World Cup is a truer test because itís over a season instead of one day, but then you canít say youíre World Champion. I guess Olympic
Champion has a slightly bigger ring to it, but we donít have that opportunity, so the World Championships is definitely the biggest title in mountain biking.
DW: All the English fans are rooting for you; in fact, the English seem to be really enthusiastic about the mountain biking scene. Why is that?
Moseley: Thereís a lot of patriotism with the Brits; Iíd say weíre a patriotic country in general and the World Championships is the one race each year where you forget who youíre teammates are and you concentrate on whoís from your home country.
DW: So why didnít you race in Englandís National Championships this year?
Moseley: The UCI recently enforced a rule that requires all National Champions to wear their National Champion jersey at every UCI ranked event the following season. Had I won, the space available for sponsors logos on my National Championship jersey would be limited and the sponsors that support our team would have lost valuable advertising space. Because our sponsors make the team a reality, Kona felt it would be better that I didnít race and avoid the possibility of conflict all together.
DW: Did you ever imagine that the jersey youíd wear while riding your bike would cause such a problem?
Moseley: Never! In fact, I never expected to still be racing at this point in my life and I certainly did not expect people to be paying for space on my jersey! (Laughs)
DW: How did your illustrious career begin?
Moseley: A long time ago, my brother raced cross-country and the first time I went to watch him I thought, "Ah - thatís too much work." He suggested that I try something other than cross-country so I decided to enter a local dual-slalom race. I did pretty good the first year and the next year I won. After the race, someone said to me, "Do you realize who youíve just beaten?"
It turns out that the girls I had beaten were some of the best female riders in the country. After that, I started racing the nationals in 1995 and I slowly worked my way on to the World Cup. Itís been nearly ten years now.
DW: Early in your career, who did you look up to?
Moseley: I looked at people like Nico Vouilloz and Anne-Caroline Chausson. Theyíre the two whoíve dominated for the last ten years and you have to look at where theyíre getting their advantage. Who knows the answer to that though - Iíd love to.
DW: Youíve probably been asked this question a million times, but can Chausson be beaten? I mean, sheís been crowned downhill World Champ for the last ten years and she continues to dominate the sport.
Moseley: I think itís only when you believe that you can do it that it suddenly becomes possible. Now, at this point in my life, I do believe itís possible. Sheís not riding that much faster than the top girls and I think itís just a matter of getting it right that one time.
DW: Whatís the reality of competing at such a high level, day after day, year after year?
Moseley: With corporate sponsors, youíve got to keep a lot of people happy and sometimes you start to put a lot of pressure on yourself especially when you realize that once you get to the top, thereís only one way down. You hold yourself at the top as long as you can but it takes a lot out of you.
DW: Downhill mountain biking has a small audience compared to say tennis or golf. Have you ever been recognized in public?
Moseley: Once I went to a moto-cross race and some kids recognized me. That was the first time Iíd been recognized outside of the mountain bike industry and I suddenly thought, ĎImagine if I was famous.í Just the thought of people hording you for an autograph is really unpleasant.
DW: But some people love fame and fortune!
Moseley: I believe that everyoneís the same whether youíre great at a sport or not. In fact, I think youíre the same as the next guy and that it is just within your sport that youíre someone special. But thatís when I think you realize where your focus and your drive comes from. You have to be driven from inside and want to improve for yourself, rather than do things to make other people appreciate you.
DW: While the cross-country racers are clean shaven and have a reputation of being endurance athletes, the downhill racers are often compared to a motorcycle gang - fast, furious and riding with reckless abandonment. I guess Shaun Palmer set the tone years ago. Whatís itís really like on the downhill tour?
Moseley: Things have chilled out because there are sponsors to please and as a rider you canít afford to not be in good shape the next day, but thereís still loads of funny stuff that happens. It is like a circus at times, but you just learn to leave before things get too bad.
DW: Any funny stories from the road?
Moseley: Itís usually the standard stuff. Someone trashed a rental car. Some guys were riding trials in their hotel rooms bouncing off the walls and between their beds. Itís always the same goons, but you need those people. You have the entertainers and those that arenít - you always have the whole spectrum in any group. It is the wandering circus of the world cup.