In trials, like many other sports, 2020 has been a challenging year so far. Due to the world’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, major competitions have either been postponed or cancelled, and pro riders’ training and practice regimes have been impacted, along with the freedom to ride experienced by many cyclists across the globe. But in adversity, human spirit and ingenuity sparks – and the world’s trials community looks to itself, to each other, and looks forward.
The 2020 UCI Urban World Championships, UCI Trials World Youth Games, the first three planned 2020 UCI Trials World Cup rounds (Salzburg, Val di Sole and Lenzerheide) and other events have been affected. But we are about to see a return to competition with various national championships scheduled soon – Poland and France host theirs in July, while others will follow across the coming months with new dates scheduled through to the Spanish National Championships which promises to be a highlight for fans far beyond Iberia.
In preparation for a return to competitive action, the pros have done their best to maintain skills and fitness, finding new ways to train and practice. But Elite athletes are not only training to be ready to hit clear rounds: they’re sharing skills, ideas and motivation with the trials scene’s global community.
Lockdown inspiration from trials stars
Frenchman Nicolas (Nico) Vallée, who thankfully doesn’t suffer from vertigo, decided to use every inch of his home to keep his balance skills honed.
His compatriot Vincent Hermance has mixed up training at home and in the forest, and has been sharing training tips for everyone to benefit.
And there’s more great advice being shared by the Belgian legend Kenny Belaey.
While young Austrian Thomas Pechhacker – 2018 20” UCI World Champion – has been showing off his backyard moves and ripped physique.
Throughout lockdown, triple 26” UCI World Champion Jack Carthy from Great Britain has been sharing his riding videos including a number if shots in his garden, which is full of man-made trials features.
And now he’s back out in the wilds of northern England and gearing back up for competition Jack's inviting us all to “go big or go home!”
A couple of months back, before suffering a frustrating knee ligament injury, 2018 20” European Champion Ion Areitio (Spain) was using beach rocks for practice, “trying to imitate @vasekkolar”.
Elite women contender Manon Basseville (France) was “Taking advantage of this lockdown to unlock new lines at home”.
She joins Germany’s Nina Reichenbach in shared excitement about riding outdoors again. The multiple UCI World Champion is looking forward to once again finding herself in the start box in Italy. Meanwhile former UCI World Champion Gemma Abant has been looking further ahead – to the next generation’s stars she’s training in Spain.
Inspiration from beyond trials
While today’s top pros are looking more seriously at getting back to competitive form, there’s plenty more inspiration around. If you have a head for heights, check out Andrei Burton’s ‘playing around’.
But of course while trials skills traditionally inform riders from other disciplines of cycling, it’s a two-way street: we can also draw inspiration from the lockdown antics of different types of biking. Mountain biker Chris Akrigg has been working on a good back garden set-up.
For a nice take on pushing your balancing techniques without leaving the house, watch these young BMXers.
Our friends in the motorised version of trials can often provide inspiration. Here’s multiple indoor and outdoor world champ Toni Bou (Spain) showing he can turn it on even without an engine!
Even the E-mountain bikers are getting in on the act, here’s one of many trackstand challenges, with tips all riders can use to help find their balance point:
Danny MacAskill seems to be sharing Vincent Hermance’s penchant for stacks of pallets.
Pallet stacks are also a favourite of the legendary Benito Ros, holder of more UCI Trials World titles than anyone else, ever. The Spaniard’s social channels are always worth a visit for trials inspiration.
But let’s leave the last word to his compatriot, and current 26” UCI World Champion Sergi Llongueras who is no stranger to finding challenging places to hone his skills and test his nerve but is excited to be training again at his local park, as seen in his new video, with some rainbow stripes action to inspire us all!