James Hall (AKA Cannonball) is a rider from the Northern Beaches of Sydney who has been lucky enough to score entry into Rotorua, Derby and Aspen EWS rounds and is on the waitlist for the Whistler round. Training hard and fresh off a result in Rotorua including a 6th place in one of the stages, James will be packing the Switchblade up and heading to Derby this weekend.
How long have you been riding mountain bikes?
18 years, and more competitively on and off the last 9 years.
How long have you been racing Enduro?
Favourite trail in Sydney?
I don’t think I could pick just one, it depends on the day. I love the diversity of trails we now have here on the northern beaches and linking them together for some larger loops is what I tend to enjoy most. We have a pretty damn good informal trail network between Narrabeen and St Ives, so that’s where I find myself most of the time.
Who are your sponsors?
Pivot Cycles Australia, JetBlack Products, DHaRCO Clothing, Ride In Workshop.
What bike will you be riding?
Pivot Switchblade 29er.
What’s been your best result in Enduro racing so far?
6th Place on stage 3 in the 2017 EWS round 1 at Rotorua.
You’ve been competing already in the EWS, how’s that been going?
This is the first year I’ve competed in the EWS. I was fortunate enough to be able to make it to round one in Rotorua. What an awesome round, I had an absolute blast sliding all over the place in the crazy mud fest conditions.
What goals have you set for yourself for this race?
First and foremost is simply holding it together for seven clean, fast and consistent stages. Ideally, I would love to see another top ten in a stage and hopefully a top 30 overall, but we will see how conditions fair and see what happens on the day.
What’s been your training plan in the lead up to the race?
Training has been diverse, to say the least with Indoor trainers, spin bikes, TRX classes, circuits, road rides, CX rides, dirt jumping, pump tracks etc and of course a lot of time on the mountain bike. Amongst all that, really the main two focuses have been boosting my thresholds by structuring high-intensity days with two to three rest days in between for recovery and keeping my skill base up.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
Getting a good night’s sleep the night before haha. No probably the biggest challenge maintaining an appropriate level of confidence throughout all seven stages, getting out of the tense state and more into a relaxed body and aggressive frame of mind.
Any plans to tackle more EWS stages after Derby?
Unfortunately, I can’t get to all of them, but I’m lucky enough to get some time off for the north American rounds. I’m currently registered for Aspen and on the wait list for Whistler held two weeks later.
How do you think you’ll feel when you’re in the start gate come race day?
Probably pretty anxious haha. I’m aiming for a good combination of excitement, confidence and focus with just enough nerves and fear to keep it rubber side down.