Making it to the pro-MTB ranks was surreal. From my first rides with my dad to actually making more back than I paid out to ride my bike.

Base miles and big-ring drills, diet and core strength sessions. Attention to detail in every aspect of training and racing life.

When you are into it, it is all-consuming and as a younger rider in that moment in your life, it’s the most important thing, the top priority.

Shredding single track will forever hold a place in my heart.

Combining it with a maximal aerobic effort, fuelled by the competition and the adrenalin might have been a serious addiction for a while.

The team kit, the sponsored bikes, the team training camps made it a special experience – a constant balance was required to remember on the one hand that I’d earned it but on the other hand had to stay on the top of my game to keep it.

Race-day rituals got me through the butterflies in the stomach to the sprint to the first corner. Pinning numbers to my jersey and the plate to my handlebars was an obsessive activity.

The numbers changed from race to race but my attitude didn’t.

Because I am not a number.