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Photo and words by: Matt Wragg

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You don't win races by just training hard. You need to train smart. The simple truth is that if you go out and hammer every day you're going to burn out and underperform when it really counts. To arrive at the “big day” in the best possible shape, rest and recovery are as important as those lung-busting interval sessions and muscle-burning gym workouts. Yet for elite athletes, rest doesn't mean sitting on the sofa in their underpants binge watching Netflix.

Martin's e-bike makes climbing actually fun!

Martin has found a way to inject the most important of all ingredients into his training program - more fun. "On any rest day, you want to go for a nice recovery ride, so you just take the Force GT-E, turn on Boost mode and keep your heartrate very low," he explains. "I ride my e-bike maybe once a week or once every 10 days. For me, a classic ride would be around maybe 35, 40 kilometers and about a thousand meters of elevation. It's so refreshing to have a bike like this."

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Not only is he having more fun, but he's gaining an edge too. He puts it quite simply, "You work on your skills at the same time." And with his Force GT-E, it's not just going down where he is working on those skills, "I really like to add in some very technical uphill sections because it's unique to an e-bike. I feel like when you approach a very technical uphill on an unassisted bike, you feel like you're just struggling and you're pushing a lot, which is good sometimes when you want to do some intervals, but it can't always be like that. Even if you're in great form you still need to stop, you need to have a little break to recover. But on the e-bike, I can just climb forever. I can do 500, 600 meters of elevation, no problem. And if you ride in the Boost setting, it's just so quick. The elevation you can get and the distance you can cover is pretty awesome."

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For a rider like Martin who is keen to throw himself into all kinds of mountain biking, e-bikes are just one more discipline to explore. On top of his already demanding schedule, racing a full EWS calendar, plus select World Cup DH and Crankworx races, he would like to try racing e-bikes too. "I was extremely keen to do the e-EWS this year but, unfortunately, it conflicts with other events. For example, I wanted to race in Finale, but the problem is that we have practice for the Trophy of Nations on the same day as the race.  I think when they do the Valberg round, which is going to be separate from normal EWS, I'm racing somewhere else. I would have loved to do it to just to discover a new format and race other people, but, unfortunately, I don't think that's going to be possible for 2020."

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Not a bad view...

Martin’s Force GT-E is more than just an e-bike, it’s a new and effective training tool.  Using the bike for active recovery rides, Martin can continue to hone his skills in a fun way without overexerting himself.  It will be interesting to see if the new tool will pay dividends at the EWS this season.  Who knows, we might even see Martin jump into a few e-races one day!


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