Q & A: Beth Crumpton (Estrella Bikes Ambassador)

A leading rider in MTB and Cyclo-Cross, we quiz Estrella Bikes Ambassador Beth Crumpton about her National Trophy Series

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Q & A: Beth Crumpton (Estrella Bikes Ambassador)

1. Looking back at the National Trophy, are you happy with how it went this season?
Beth: I’m satisfied with how the series went, however I had every intention to be as competitive as I could and aim for the series overall title after finishing second last season.

Once the season had got underway, I was juggling a lot more than I have ever been used to with starting University full-time, working part-time and still finding the right amount to train. It has been a big adjustment in my life and I am still trying to work out the best way to fit it all in now three months later!

So to finish 3rd overall, I am happy, but it wasn’t what I set out to achieve so I will just have to try again next season.

2. Which round was the best for you and why?
Beth: It’s a tough call between Abergavenny and Hetton Park. I finished 2nd in both rounds and had the win in my sights on both occasions. Abergavenny was a great fun twisty track and to be battling it out with a World Champion live on TV was ace. I finished that race extremely happy, so I would say Abergavenny as I finished disappointed in Hetton to miss out on the win after a sprint for the win.

3. Tell us about the bike you used for the series – how did it differ to other bikes you have used and what did you enjoy most on it this season
Beth: Being an ambassador for Estrella Bikes, a British brand created by Paralympic Champion Darren Kenny and best friend Rob, I raced on their brand new model the Estrella Fangoso (which in English translates to ‘Muddy Star’). So a very fitting name for a cyclo cross bike. It is the first year I have raced on carbon cyclocross bikes and disc brakes.

My last bikes lasted seven seasons and they did the job but were definitely out dated and a bit weighty. The handling of the Estrella bikes have made a tremendous difference in my racing and I love that. With the disc brakes, you have control over the braking and are able to feather them just like on a mountain bike.

The chunky tubes on the frame make it so responsive in the corners and the slack angles make the handling so easy. I love technical courses and this bike is amazing to ride in the technical sections too. Hetton was definitely the most fun to ride on the steeper descents involving a bit of mud too.
I’ve also raced on Schwalbe tubs Rocket Rons and Ralphs all season until Shrewsbury when I finally got to use the Challenge Limus’s!

4. Did your preparation for the series change in 2016 or do you have a good formula nailed down for it?
Beth: I had a good break after the mountain bike/road season finished at the beginning of July. I had a good block of training in the Alps on holiday including a few times up Alpe D’Huez. This definitely helped me to be ready for the beginning of the season.

I raced a bit more road as well this year which made me stronger with the more miles and speed work. However, as I mentioned, once I started University at the end of September, I had a lot less time to train, which was odd for me to get used to after being full time training for nearly four years.

More hours in the day have been spent in the library than on my bike! I’m slowly beginning to nail the formula of normal life though now.

5. Were the conditions for the Trophy this year different to other years – ie, less muddy?
Beth: Definitely, it has been incredibly dry this season, and a lot higher speeds. I definitely prefer more mud as it makes the racing a lot more fun personally and makes the courses more technical which I enjoy.

The drier racing though has highlighted my weaker areas though, so it has been good to race in these conditions to some extent. Hopefully this just means we’ll have all the mud next season! The weather in Britain as we all know is very unpredictable, so it’s good to be prepared for anything.

6. What cyclo-cross race this winter has been the most fun here or abroad?
Beth: The most fun course to race this season has been Hetton. I really enjoyed the course they laid out there. It had everything; hurdles, run up, climbs, off cambers and slippery descents, it really tested your technical ability and I really enjoyed racing there.

I haven’t race internationally as much as I would have liked this season, as it’s very difficult to finance overseas racing. I was really gutted for Koksijde to be cancelled as I’m sure that would’ve been amazing. The atmosphere in Koppenberg was definitely something else. I don’t think I can recall enjoying climbing to the top of the brutal climb every lap tho!

7. Behind every success story within the tapes of a cross race is a team of helpers – How many people look after you at races in the pits and events in general
Beth: This year it has been just me and my dad ‘Pappa Crumps’ travelling to the races together. He loves cyclo-cross and I completely trust him with helping set up my bikes and being in the pits for me. He has given up so much time over the years to help me with my racing and I don’t know where I’d be without him!

It’s lovely to have support from other riders parents at the races too such as The Lomas family, on the start line to take my jacket helps my Dad from not having to rush from the start line to the pits, so a big thank you to them too!

At Bradford, hopefully Pappa Crumps will have more pit antics to keep him busy though if the mud and rain arrives and the whole of The Crumpton family will be there too to help out!

8. What is the key physical attribute a rider needs for British cross races which require both running and riding and skills to match.
Beth: I think for British Cross racing, having the speed, is definitely key as the courses seem to be naturally flatter and less technical with not many having big amounts of running in (unless the real mud arrives).

Technical skill is definitely the key attribute to have. As a rider myself, this is where I find I am able to gain time to make up for the time I lose on the flatter more powerful straights in courses. I have ran a lot more this season in training for when the mud arrives, however I’ve not had to run yet!

In British cross racing, I think the stronger and faster riders who race more on the road are the stronger riders for our racing but definitely you have to have all round ability and to be able to adapt to whatever the situation is!

9. What will be your preparation events for the National Champs this year and being at Bradford, is there anything in training you will do to prepare for that course?
Beth: I’m really looking forward to my preparation. Not being in Uni will give me a lot more time to focus on my top end work including a few local level races over the Christmas period such as The Boxing day cross and Macclesfield Supacross.

I have a few runs pencilled in just in case conditions are like last year and a fair few not so nice turbo sessions. Hopefully the training Oli Beckingsale has put together for me and my dedication over Christmas will put me in the form I am happy with to get the performance I know I am capable of come Bradford.

10. Finally, After the British Cross champs, what will be your goals for 2017?
Beth: My plans are to most definitely take a break and get some deadlines done for Uni most importantly. Then I will be back in to training, banking some road miles, hopefully going to some warmer climates getting ready for my first full road season with a new team!

I’m really excited to focus more on the road next year, as I’m hoping it will make me a lot stronger ready for next cyclo cross season. I’ll still hopefully fit in a few mountain bike races as I don’t think I can fully step away from that yet, but it is sadly taking a back seat as I take on a new venture on the road! :)

Thank you to Beth and good luck for 2017!




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