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Sharn Hooper takes on the GBDURO

SHARN HOOPER GBDURO 2021
Planet X are delighted to announce our partnership with Elite Athlete Sharn Hooper helping to support her GBDURO adventure this year!


PLANET X have supplied Sharn with an ON-ONE FREE RANGER Adventure Gravel Bike, ON-ONE’s high-speed, all-terrain singletrack sprinter. A bike, that both the team at PLANET X and Sharn herself, feel will see her through to success during the epic country length endurance race.

Sharn Hooper GBDURO athlete On One Freeranger

Sharn has achieved impressive results riding Elite Level Mountain Bike XC and we're super excited to see her take on the GBDURO in August.

The GBDURO?


The GBDURO is a self-supported bikepacking enduro race from Land's End, Britain's most south-westerly point down in Cornwall, to John O' Groats in the far north of Scotland on Britains northeastern tip. The Route takes riders over a variety of different terrain including 'road, gravel, singletrack and everything in between'.

The GBDURO is organised by The Racing Collective, a not-for-profit club and community of self-supported racers who love wild places and are on a mission to protect the natural world. It follows a newly plotted route known as the GB Divide.

We're really excited about supporting an athlete of Sharn's calibre in an event as epic as the GBDURO. Here's some more information on Sharn, her riding history and sporting achievements.

Sharn Hooper


Sharn likes bikes and adventures…A LOT!
She also works full time as a physiotherapist in the NHS and privately, a job that she absolutely loves. 
Sharn started out doing triathlons back in 2010, in her first proper season of triathlon She also completed Ironman Nice, and various other local events.
 
She continued with triathlon for a few years but soon realised that cycling was her favourite discipline, prompting her to partake in numerous road cycling sportive events, including crit races (A criterium, or crit, is a bike race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit usually performed in towns and cities) and some long-distance endurance cycling events that included a week of mountain stages covered in the 2013 Tour de France route.
 
In 2015 Sharn went back to University to study Physiotherapy and was lucky enough to be selected for the sports scholarship programme. This allowed Sharn to study and race, representing Great Britain at Age Group level in off-road triathlon at the European Championship event. Sharn came away with a bronze, silver and gold medal!
 
Sharn was also lucky enough the take part in the Transalp 7-day mountain bike stage race, twice! It was from this incredible event that Sharn started to get more into off-road cycling, and found she was pretty good at it too. Sharn bagged many podiums in local races and soon went on to get her elite licence in 2019.
In the same year Sharn competed in her first national XC series, and won the Brighton Big Dog MTB race female solo title too. 
 
‘To my surprise, I managed to come 5th Elite female in the series standings in my first year racing as an elite in the HSBC National XC series!’
 
In 2019 Sharn headed out to race in South Africa for the 3-day Wines 2 Whales MTB stage race a singletrack-loaded adventure from the whales of Hermanus to the wines Lourensford! 
 
2021 has already been an exciting year for Sharn, winning the South West regional XC championships and gaining the female elite SW champion title. Sharn also won the first round of the Southern XC race and come 5th elite female in the first round of the HSBC National XC series!

Sharn Hooper GBDURO athlete On One Freeranger Bikepacking

 
The week before the nationals Sharn was cycling through Somerset and Devon to test her new On-One Free Ranger gravel bike we had sent down, this involved a 170 mile round trip in search of ice cream! ‘An adventure extravaganza with my wonderful friends’ as Sharn describes it.
 
Sharn’s epic ice cream adventure was in aid of her GBDURO training and we'll be eagerly following her on the run up to this formidable event!

Sharn Hooper On One Freeranger



We asked Sharn about her riding history from triathlon to XC and her reasons for taking on the challenge that is the GBDURO.


What made you want to take on the GBduro? 

I have always enjoyed travelling, and have always travelled far and wide to take part in some spectacular races around the world. This meant that I had always overlooked the UK for a place to adventure. Initially, I found the international travel restrictions of Covid very challenging, but the positive side of this is that it forced me to realise there is so much to explore in the UK. This event seemed the perfect way to see it all. I followed the GB Duro last year and was mesmerised by this epic event. I thought this kind of event was a toughness beyond me. Then, in the depth of winter when the invitations for the GB Duro applications were advertised, I suddenly thought…I have to do this! I completed the application and got accepted! 
 

What are your favourite elements of Bike packing/Endurance cycling?

I absolutely love the sense of freedom and self-reliance you get with bike packing adventures. It allows you to connect with nature and appreciate the outdoors from a completely different perspective. Endurance cycling really does provide an exciting journey; the beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and fun variable terrain; combined with the challenges of overcoming difficult weather, fatigue, long miles (and various mishaps!), which allow you to experience an incredible sense of achievement. 
 

What attracted you to this kind of racing and how do you find it compared with racing XC?

I have a habit of liking to try different things, but always to the extreme! I started out in triathlon, and decided to do an Ironman in my first season, of course I chose Ironman Nice, one of the toughest Ironman races, and then went on to do Ironman Wales, another tough one! GB Duro is one of the toughest events out there, so of course that appealed! I like a challenge, and I like to push myself out of my comfort zone constantly. But I also love and crave adventures and this really does hit the spot for the adventure factor. Of course, it’s Very different to XC racing; and it is quite challenging to manage the training side of things in preparation for both events. XC requires high power, threshold work – the ability to go all out solidly for 1.5 hours; and endurance cycling is the complete opposite. Having done a lot of high threshold racing in recent years I need to be careful to not go out too hard, and remember I need to sustain my efforts for many days! However, I recently had a very serious crash, from which I feel lucky to have walked away from with just a significant concussion. It could have been very different. But this enabled me to gain a whole new perspective and appreciation for cycling, and realise that its important to just go for what you want, take the pressure off, and just enjoy what you decide you want to do. 
 

What would be your dream bikepacking/endurance event to take on?

I was due to be taking part in the Highland Trail 550 this year, however due to my crash just a few weeks before and the residual effects of the concussion I was unable to take part. So my entry for this has been rolled over to 2022 which I am very excited about. The other dream event, and one which has been on my radar now for a number of years is the Transcontinental race.  I hope to apply for a place for 2022! I think the GBDuro will certainly prepare me very well for these events.
 

What one bit of advice would you offer to someone wanting to go on their first bikepacking/long-distance adventure?

Go for it! Don’t put it off. You really do learn as you go, so if you’re a little apprehensive then just arrange a mini adventure close to home where you can test all your kit, and then build up to the bigger adventure! Have lots of fun, and keep smiling.
 
On One Freeranger See the Bikes

29 July 2021

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