Also featured in Issue #27
Eighteen year old downhill racer from Pune, India – Piyush Chavan, is one among the handful of mountain bikers who strive to raise the tri color. A student on weekdays, Piyush spends his weekends sideways blasting local trails. Earlier this year he got the opportunity to race ’round 2′ of the British Downhill Series in Nevis Range, UK. Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine caught up with the young gun to know more about his speed times.
FR MTB MAG: How did the British Downhill Series come up on your 2015 plan?
Piyush – We all have watched a lot of world cup races and in most of them the tracks are sketchy and gnarly. But you don’t really know till what extent it can be gnarly. I wanted to check this out for myself and since the British Downhill Series is so famous it wasn’t hard to mark the calendar for the round 2 at Fort William. Gave me a chance to actually go and witness track conditions and the gnarliness!
FR MTB MAG: You’ve raced the Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy, Asia Pacific comp and now the Brit Nationals, how have these race appearances helped you progress as a racer?
Piyush – Every race has had its own shares of lessons, at some races I’ve failed miserably and that’s what has motivated me to perform really well at the ones I’ve excelled at. I’m starting to get a feel of how Elite level racing is and this year I’m hoping to soak it all in and give my best shot!
FR MTB MAG: How has your training structure changed, now that you are racing more often?
Piyush – Since I’ve had a brutal taste of competition ahead of me. I’ve started focusing on my diet and pushing my limits on the bike in areas and conditions I wouldn’t normally train on.
FR MTB MAG: British Downhill Series sees some of the world’s fastest DH racers in attendance, how was your experience meeting your idols?
Piysuh – It was an exhilarating experience to meet riders like Loic Bruni, Gee, Sam Bull, Josh Bryceland whom I’ve kept looking upto and I got a chance to see for the first time how these racers race on a world cup track. It was insane how much speed they carried through all rougher sections despite the poor weather. Some of them gave some inputs that I will keep investing my time in.
FR MTB MAG: Fort William course is regarded as one of the toughest tracks to race on, how did u manage to keep your speed up?
Piyush – I’ve practiced on the Sinhagad track near Pune and since it’s always so exposed and rocky it pretty much made ready to tackle Fort Bill. Although at Fort William’s I felt dialed in the rocks and the steeps even though I was slow. The jumps were really big, I’ve never hit a 40ft jump in my life and had a hard time casing it. During the race I stayed low and chose the easier line instead.
FR MTB MAG: What difference did you see in the scene there compared to India, in terms of riding quality, sponsor support and track design?
Piyush – Hundreds of riders showing up to race a world cup track? That says all about why UK is so dominant in the sport. I felt sponsorships there would be available but really hard to get since the competition was so high.
FR MTB MAG: What are the other races you plan to attend this season?
Piyush – I’m currently training for Himachal Downhill Mountain Bike Trophy in July followed by some Asian level races.
FR MTB MAG: Any shout outs?
Piyush – To my sponsors – Scott, Lifecycle and Multifit. Also to Alaistair Maclennan, Nevis cycles and Shane Morril for the best times indeed.
Photos: Himalayan Mountain Bike Network, Vinay Menon and Sarah Barrett.