Bakewell cycle star’s Olympic memories

Annie Last. Photo: British Cycling.
Annie Last. Photo: British Cycling.

Bakewell-born Team GB and Trek Factory Team cross-country mountain biker Annie Last became the first British woman since the Sydney 2000 Games to qualify for the Olympics.

Despite only being 22, she lit up the Hadleigh Park race at London 2012, leading in front of the 20,000 strong home crowd and finally finishing in an impressive eighth place.

Annie Last. Photo: British Cycling.

Annie Last. Photo: British Cycling.

Annie is one of a host of top adventure sports names to speak at the second Buxton Adventure Festival, taking place over the weekend of November 2 and 3 at the Pavilion Arts Centre in Buxton.

Q: How did you get into competitive cycling?

A: I started because my brother did. He raced and loved cyclocross but I wasn’t convinced of the appeal of riding round a muddy field getting dirty, cold and sweaty so I used to ride horses. Every other weekend one of us would have to go watch the other, so I said I’d give bike racing a go if he’d ride a horse. So that’s how I ended up doing my first cyclocross race. It was ten minutes of riding round a field and then you got a goody bag and some chocolates. I really loved it and it went from there. His horse riding career lasted ten minutes.

Q: Where’s your favourite place in the Peak to ride?

A: That’s tough because there’s such variety. If it’s wet you can go into the woods and find rooty sections but on nicer days you can go up onto the moors. There’s great riding around Ladybower, Bakewell woods and Blacka Plantation.

Q: What are your lasting memories of London 2012?

A: I’ve not got huge memories of the actual race day until after I’d finished. When I crossed the finish line and got my breath back was something I can really remember - looking up, seeing the crowd and the support and just thinking wow!

Q: What advice would you give to a young rider?

A: It’s about really enjoying what you do and just getting out, riding bikes and having fun. It’s not about hours and hours of training. You can do that when you’re full-time. It’s about getting good basic skills, learning how to ride a bike and enjoying it.

Q: Most importantly for a Bakewell girl, do you like Bakewell Pudding?

A: I’m not a massive fan of Bakewell pudding but I do like a Bakewell tart!

Annie will be interviewed by Nik Cook from British Cycling’s ‘Insight Zone’, followed by a double-bill of newly-released mountain bike films ‘NotBad’ and ‘Arrival’ at the Buxton Adventure Festival at 8pm on Saturday November 2 at the Pavilion Arts Centre.

Tickets are £10 (£5 for students and under-16s) or you can purchase three sessions for £25 (£12.50). Family tickets cost £20. They are available from Buxton Opera House on 0845 127 2190 or www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk and www.buxtonadventurefestival.co.uk.