The Weekly Rider - James Downing

Cannondale Australia's James Downing is the La Velocita Weekly Rider! James mixes it up riding both road and mountain and has access to some great roads and trails around Canberra.

He's always on the search for the 'perfect day' on the bike, where you flying along effortlessly!

La Velocita's Kirra McDonald caught up with James to find out why he loves to ride.

Name: James Downing

Lives: I split time between Canberra and Albury when I am not racing! 

Dream bike: I already have them!!  I am incredibly fortunate to ride for Cannondale Australia and I have the superlative Evo Team Edition Road Bike and the brilliant new F-Si Team edition mountain bike. Enve, SRAM and Fizik are also companies that look after me and both bikes are decked out with their superb products. Even the bad days on the bike are good!!

Favourite local ride: There are a couple....but in Canberra on Tuesday morning I always look forward to the Hour of Power (HoP). As the name suggests this ride is not a stroll through the suburbs!

All NRS road teams are represented as are the pro mountain bike teams, and this is a true form indicator are either holding on for all you are worth, rolling turns with the fellas, or riding off the front! That latter one means that you will probably win your next race!

My current cycling goal is: I do about 40 races a year so there are lots of big, medium and small goals along the way depending on what I am trying to achieve.

Annual goals that are important to me are keeping healthy, training consistently, enjoying the entire journey and respecting my competitors as well as the race itself....if I can do those things, then the results are usually a decent by-product.

A few years ago I realised that the whole journey was important. If you go to a race and just hang out in a hotel then have a suboptimal result on race day then it impacts you in a fairly ordinary way.

It is always good to get out and see what else is happening in the place that you are visiting. You can be surprised sometimes what is out there!

When I am on the bike... I can just leave reality behind for a short while and feel like I am 16 once again with not a worry in the world. 

How did your love for bikes come about: I always wanted a bike. When I was 8 I got my first bike and I rode it everywhere around the local neighbourhood.

As a kid, it is pretty much your first chance to have your own freedom and see the world around you. When I got into high school my friend had a mountain bike and he let me ride it on his farm. I was instantly hooked and when I got my own mountain bike I could not wait to race.

That was 1989 and I can still remember that first race to this day. I was so into it that I also did my first mega road trip from Brisbane to Canberra that same year and raced the Australian Mountain Bike Championships!

Share a cycling memory: There are so many!! I've been racing, travelling, and living out of suitcases and bike bags for so long and I would not change it for anything!

Winning races are always a great thing as it validates what you are doing with regard to your training and preparation, but sometimes the most epic battles when you don't necessarily win are the ones that stay in the mind the longest for so many different reasons.

One particular race that always stands out is the 2010 Capital Punishment 100km mountain bike race. It was muddy beyond belief and everyone still talks about it to this day! I don't use the term 'epic' all that much, but it totally was!

I love to ride because... I love the feeling that it gives you and I am always searching for that perfect day on the bike when you are pedaling with ease and flying along effortlessly!