BESTFIT finds thrill seeker Ben Moore in a rare moment of inactivity. In fact, we find him in the horizontal position when we call to discuss all things urban racing. You see, Moore, who races down mountains for a living, is nursing a shoulder following an operation.
“That completes the set,” he jokes. “I’ve now broken every major bone in my body. I’ll be back up and running soon, though, ready to do it all again.”
Ben’s approach to life is refreshing. He gave up his job in 2014 to pursue his dream and now he’s getting paid to throw himself down steep declines at speeds many of us would find petrifying.
Moore explains: “The main type of riding I’m doing now, or at least trying to specialize in, is urban mountain racing, a niche of downhill mountain biking. It gives me a huge thrill but also enables me to grow my profile. I post a lot of videos which people can relate to. When you watch a video of me tackling an urban downhill course you can really get a feel for what it’s like to be on the bike.”
Like many of us, Ben used to bike as a hobby. However, when he started taking part in events he found out he was actually pretty good.
“My last job involved importing flowers,” he laughs. “At the same time I was doing a fair bit of racing and picking up some decent results against professional riders. I started thinking to myself: ‘hang on a minute; I could have a real crack at this’.
“So, I set up a three-year plan. This involved loads of training, but I wanted to give myself a couple of years to have a real go and see where I could go with it. To compete you need money, so I worked around events, but I kept picking up good results, which lead to more sponsorship. Before I knew it I had signed to Orange Mountain Bikes as a professional.”
Ben’s new professional status required a new level of fitness, and he was soon introduced to the squat.
“The biggest struggle when transitioning from amateur to pro was racing against people who train for five to six hours a day,” he explains. “When I started I was still having to work, so I was fitting in my training around that. Now, I’m able to work to a proper training plan. For Goodness Shakes were really helpful at that stage of my transition. They’ve been with me from the start, and when I was struggling for time to train and eating properly their products were like life support! I’d never heard of anything like their Protein Water until they me introduced me to it two months ago. It’s fantastic; a protein and supplementary hit I can have on the go and stick in my water bottle.
“I’ve also been sampling their new flapjack. I recently spent one day training in the mountains, which made it hard having the time to get all the nutritional elements I need on board. Being able to stick a flapjack in my backpack was ideal. They’re experts when it comes to nutrition and training, and that knowledge and experience is vital for someone like me.”
So, with nutrition sorted, Ben is now able to focus on the serious business of racing down mountains without killing himself. And to do that safely, and effectively, he needs castiron arms and piston-like legs.
The main type of riding I’m doing now, or at least trying to specialize in, is urban mountain racing
“I used to be really lean, but my approach changed when I started to adapt my body to the demands of the sport,” he continues. “I needed more power, so squats were vital; I only did one for the first time a year ago! I also do a lot of upper body stuff. I used to do that of course, but not to the extent that I do now, and certainly not with the kind of knowledge that I have now.
“I’ve also had to change my mentality a bit, so I work with someone who works with a lot of top sports professionals. It’s quite easy to have a lot of fear when it comes to these events.
Some of the races involve huge heights and steep inclines, so I had to find a way of thinking not about how I was going to get down safely, but how I would get down in the fastest way possible.
“There are still times when I’m pretty scared and think ‘I really don’t want to do this’, but I’m managing to turn those fears around more than I used to. This is a process called ‘winning in the changing room’, and it involves relaxing and controlling the adrenalin levels in my head.
“A good example came in Singapore recently. I was feeling quite apprehensive about this particular event, which in turn made me feel guilty about all the people who help prepare me for these events. However, I used a coping strategy in my head, which took about ten minutes, and before I knew it my pulse had lowered, my adrenalin was under control and the blood pressure was lower. I won the race. So it really works!”
So, would Ben recommend ditching the 9-5?
“Absolutely. Even now, as I sit here out of action, I know I’ll soon be back training for the sport I love. When I first turned pro I would be riding thinking ‘I really should be doing some work,’ but now I’m lucky enough to be able to do what I love.” What are you waiting for?
Ben trains hard to deal with the dangers associated without racing down a mountain, and you can too. Here are his top three exercises…
Absolutely essential. You need strength and power in your legs for long periods, and the squat is the best exercise to help you do that.
These help you build a huge amount of muscle all over, not just in your arms, but also your back and stomach to. They’re ideal.
I do these on a bar to replicate how I hold on to a handle bar. This helps me prepare for the impact my arms face when I’m racing over bumps. You can visit my Facebook page for some essential pull-up tips!
Ben Moore is an ambassador for Goodness Shakes Protein Water, a new range of refreshing soft drinks, which give 20g of protein, zero fat and sugar. Priced £1.802.75, you can find them at Sainsburys or Asda.
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