Saddleworth mountain biker turns hobby into elite career

OPTICIAN JACK READING never set his sights high when he began mountain biking, viewing it as no more than a hobby.

Never did Jack, 27, envisage becoming one of the sport’s elite riders who also owns his own team.

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Jack on the podium

That is what has happened to Jack, an optometrist at 2020 Saddleworth in Uppermill as One Vision Global Racing is a professional downhill mountain bike race team that he and his father Phil set up.

It was formed in 2015 and is based in Saddleworth where Jack does the majority of his training in the Dovestones valley believing part of his success has been down to the great mountain biking terrain on his doorstep.

Jack has just enjoyed his best-ever season finishing 27th in the World Cup series ranking having recently achieved his first top 20 finish in Mont Saint Anne in Quebec, Canada.

He also finishing the season winning the final round of the British Downhill Series at Llangollen, Wales, propelling him to fourth place in the national rankings. It was his first win in a national event having been runner-up on a number of occasions.

They are heady days for Jack as he explained: “I started racing in 2007 as an extension of a hobby when I was at college, and never intended it as more than that.

“It was only when I spent 12 months in Whistler, Canada, renowned for skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer, that I began to take it more seriously.

“I returned in 2009 to Canada where I unexpectedly won a national race that was the only way to compete in World Cup races which I began in 2010.”

Initially Jack combined racing with studying for a degree in optometrists that he obtained and later as an optician.

But in an effort to achieve even more success in mountain biking, Jack has tailored work to the sport.

wisla-jump-jackHe explained: “I was working five days a week at 20/20 and training two days, but now I am working two days a week and training five.

“It means I can devote more time to training and fitness, and it has already made a difference.”

The World Cup series has taken Jack to Australia, Austria, Andorra, Canada, France and Scotland in 2016. In other years he has also visited America, South Africa, Portugal and Spain.

Jack heads a One Vision Global Racing team that has signed up George Gannicott, Will Jones, James Hurst and Myles James.

He added it is an expensive sport explaining that it costs £20,000 for one rider to compete in a World Cup season.

Jack said: “That is only for travel and does not include equipment. At the moment we are only a small sport and most of our sponsors give us products and not cash.

“And while that is great, we could do for a couple of big companies to see what we are doing and give us some money to put their logos on to our clothing or bikes.

“It is not a cheap sport and all our guys work Monday to Friday and train at weekends.”

Jack is delighted with how his team has done in its first two seasons. Throughout 2016 Jack has worked with Nicolai Bikes, the team’s main sponsor, to design and develop a new World Cup race bike that is now in production for 2017 after such a successful first year following its initial development.

z-1The team’s other main sponsors are Mojo Suspension, ONeal clothing and protective gear, Hope Technology, Clif Bar nutrition, Schwalbe Tyres, Pacenti Cycle Design, MRP chain devices, Works Components, Mango Bikes and DNA Sports Performance.

The team is also a partner of local start-up business, Dirt Factory, which will be the UK’s first indoor mountain bike centre, soon to open in Manchester.

Jack is also supported by three friends who are local mountain bikers, Mark Davies, Richard Taylor and Adey Bennett, who helped start the One Vision project and are still on board today.

The team also operates a development programme for promising riders, giving them the chance to reach their full potential.

Jack started racing back in 2007 and has experienced the difficulties that downhill racing throws at riders. The team aims to help and encourage riders to achieve their goals and dreams within the sport.

These riders have previously struggled to achieve their potential due to a lack of outside support, as the sport is massively under-funded and there is a lack of good coverage despite being such a great spectator sport.

The team aims to support people that love racing, and have a real talent, but struggle to make it work alongside study or work commitments.

Jack and the team are actively looking for sponsorship from outside of the bike industry to provide some of the financial support to help with the expenses required to race on the world circuit, as the team’s travel expenses are completely self-funded at the moment.

Anyone who would like to support One Vision Global Racing can get in touch via the website www.jackreading.com or the team Facebook page.

Though the season has ended, Jack and his team are already gearing up for the 2017 campaign with a five-day training camp in Portugal in March the prelude to the World Cup campaign that begins in Lourdes, France.

“Hopefully all the hard work I have planned over the winter will pay off and, having achieved my first top 20 finish, hopefully I can push towards the top 10 in the World Cup series,” he explained.

 

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