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Former mountain bike Downhill World Champion Tracey Moseley is taking on the uncharted territory of the women's Cross Country at the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup in an attempt to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Former downhill world champ hopes to make British cross country team
Having achieved all that she could in her downhill mountain biking career, former women's downhill world champion Tracy Moseley now has her sights firmly set on a spot on the English cross country team for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and this weekend's 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Pietermaritzburg will serve as the first step in her qualification process.
The current women's Enduro World Series champion has not been back to South Africa since 2011 when she tore up the World Cup downhill course, with her 2014 return set to offer an entirely different challenge and something that she is looking forward, despite still waiting for the reality of her new quest to hit.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet to be honest. This is the first time that I have been down to the track, and it's weird being down here recceing the cross country course!" the 2010 downhill world champion chuckled. "I have ridden a lot of cross country in the past as part of my downhill training, but I never thought that I would be racing it!"
Having given up on downhill racing a few years ago and then taking to the enduro scene very well with a victory in the first ever Enduro World Championships last year, Moseley feels that enduro is the ideal balance between downhill and cross country.
"I stopped racing downhill at the end of 2011-2012 and over the last two years, I have been racing enduro, which is almost a mix between downhill and cross country for about four or five hours, so you need to be fit.
"I actually won the first ever world enduro series last year, so I guess I achieved the ultimate goal in that sport and I am definitely getting to the end of my cycling career so the chance to possibly take a place at the Commonwealth Games was something I thought about last year," the Trek Factory Racing rider said.
The Worcester resident has not put too much pressure on herself ahead of arriving on the start line on Sunday and is just glad that she has the opportunity to try to qualify to represent her country in a major sporting spectacle.
"Even having achieved everything that I wanted to in downhill, there is still that desire to be part of something that is maybe one bigger than a world champs. Obviously the world champs is massive for us as a sport but, as downhill competitors, we don't get the chance to go to the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games so that was definitely the carrot that was out there for me when considering the switch to cross country.
"Just to make it onto the start list would be the ultimate achievement, I don't ever expect to be competitive because you can't expect to transition from one completely different sport to another just like that!
"It is a huge goal to just be selected (for Commonwealth Games) and that is the reason why I am here," she said.
Having a tough task and a technical course in front of her, Moseley is looking forward to the challenge and feels that a technical course is something that will be more suited to her coming from a downhill background.
"I chose to come and ride here because I think that the course will suit me the best because technical courses are my strength, and I'm not a great climber.
"I really haven't gone into this event expecting too much, and I am sure that I won't feature but it is a great personal challenge for me and it will help in my enduro preparations. It is really great to be a part of this event and I am really keen to start!" the 34-year-old said.