Skye Davidson speaks to SSN about how her mountain biking career has flourished in the past year. She shares her experience in Rwanda where she won gold. The Hellenic sixth-form student also shares some of the challenges she has faced and how she has overcome them.
SSN: So tell me, why mountain biking?
Skye: Well, it hasn’t always been mountain biking. I have done it for a few years and just competing in inter-schools races, as my main focus has been triathlon since I was in form one. I recently qualified however, to go to the African Champs for the mountain bike event in Cape Town last year , and upon competing in that my eyes were opened to a whole new international field. I was determined to be more experienced and get proper training so I could compete with the very best. I was diagnosed with compartment syndrome in my calves recently so I decided to quit triathlon and start my career in mountain biking which has proven to be worth it.
SSN: Were you always at Hellenic?
Skye: I’ve always been at the high school but I was at Heritage for junior school although I competed in inter-schools duathlon competitions for Hellenic junior because Heritage didn’t have the sport.
SSN: I hear that there is a range of different types of mountain biking like cross-country, free-ride and dirt jumping. Which one is your favorite and why?
Skye: I would have to go with cross-country because that’s the only one I’ve tried. I would definitely love to try downhill riding someday though.
SSN: I would just like to congratulate you on your latest accomplishment in Rwanda. I understand you attained a gold medal in the Junior Women’s race. How did you feel about that?
Skye: Thank you so much. It was certainly a huge achievement, one that I felt I truly deserved after months of hard training and preparation.I was filled with so much pride and joy, standing on that podium looking at the Zimbabwean flag while our national anthem was playing. Knowing that this was because of me made me really emotional.
SSN: And how was your stay in Rwanda generally?
Skye: It was really amazing. It’s a beautiful country. Everywhere you look there are hills and mountains which made our race route interesting. The people were very friendly, it was great to learn about their culture. We had to get taxis back to the hotel. These taxis are made up of people on bicycles with little wooden platforms joined to the bikes where passengers can sit. This was definitely a new experience for us! The weather was also very different as it rained at least three times a day but it made our trip really fun.
SSN: What would be your best achievement?
Skye: To be honest I don’t have a set plan for my future but I would love to represent my country at an even more élite level, be it the Olympics or the World Championship Races.
SSN: What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Skye: My fear of technical sections. I’ve had a few bad crashes off mountain and road bikes in the past so it has been difficult to get back on. During the months June and July in 2013 I was really terrified after I had broken my ribs but I started realising that when I rode by myself or with one other person it wasn’t so pressuring. I started trying sections I wanted to without everyone watching me and it helped me gain my confidence back.
SSN: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Skye: My mom. She has in fact been down the path I am on now but at a later stage in her life. She is also my coach and is always giving me words of wisdom. I’m very lucky to have her to look up to and very grateful for the relationship we have.
SSN: What sets you apart from other athletes?
Skye: I’ve been very active in most of the school sports as well as doing mountain biking, triathlon and horse riding outside of school so I have had to learn about discipline and managing my time at an early age. When I get opportunities to represent my country I put absolutely everything I’ve got into that one competition but still put aside time for the books.
SSN: What was the best advice you have ever gotten?
Skye: Life is too short so we’ve got to take the opportunities as they come to us because we might never get another chance.
SSN: How important is discipline in sports?
Skye: Discipline is one of the most important aspects of being an athlete. You must have a strong enough resolve to get out there and train. You’ve got to know why you are doing it and stay focused on the end goal.