Chris Hutchens - The Wee Hutch
Where you live - Oban, West Coast of Scotland
With the bulk of the 2014 season fast approaching it’s exciting to see the developments at TCJ and to continue to work closely with the team there. It’s a fresh start for myself, having received a huge amount of support from Orange bikes over the years - which I am hugely grateful for – it’s time to move onto a different platform of bikes and move with the technology evolution of carbon fibre frames! I’m excited to have support from Giant UK this year and will be riding a Giant Trance Advanced bike. I’ve yet to race it however my first impressions after riding it for a few weeks is the superb stability and the ease it rolls over terrain. The lower centre of gravity on the bike is significantly better than what I’ve been used to and I’m hoping this will help my cornering and translate into some strong results.
While beginning my engineering career at Subsea 7 along with training and racing I’ve opted to move completely away from downhill racing, where my racing background is from, and completely focus on ‘Enduro’ racing. The terrain in Aberdeen, where I am currently based gives me the opportunity to progress this side of my riding. I’ve focused a lot on improving my overall endurance through road riding with the Deeside Thistle and making sure I get as much time on the bike and some gym sessions as well. The trails around are brilliant and the huge group of riders around makes it great to head out and explore the hills, punish yourself in the Cairngorm National Park and ride the natural long descents that area has to offer.
This season i’ll be focusing on the Scottish Enduro Series as well as racing a number of the UK Gravity Enduro events and one off events in Scotland. I’ve also entered two of the World Enduro series races which will add to a focused season. This should be a great year to build on following some good results last year within this area of racing and am looking forward to doing it alongside those that are supporting me and the ABZMTBraceteam.
Where you live - Livingston, West Lothian
Having been a TCJ Rider for a number of years up until 2009 I’m delighted to have their support again for the 2014 season. 2009 was a fantastic year winning the overall Scottish Series and placing 3rd overall in the National Series but after that I went in for an operation to graft my ACL in my knee. 2010 was really a recovery year getting back to full strength with 2011, 2012 and 2013 racing as a privateer.
The 2014 season is looking great! Riding as one of the Outbox Racing Team with support from TCJ I’m very excited about being part of a team again. All the team have all been racing for a number of years so I’m really looking forward to us all sharing lines and advice and generally supporting each other. With 5 of us all being in the Masters category I’m expecting some friendly competition and a lot of laughs this season!
I’ve approached this season very differently than I have in past. Since September last year and right the way through the winter I have concentrated on increasing my strength with a lot of weights and gym work as well as time on the bike. I didn’t feel that I was lacking strength in previous years however the benefit I’m noticing on the bike in incredible and is certainly making a difference to my riding.
I’m on a new bike for 2014 as well. With so much talk in the past couple of years about the benefits of carbon I’ve decided to see what all the fuss is about and am now riding a Specialized Carbon Demo. With Boxxer WC’s, carbon cranks and tubeless wheels the bike a really light (approx 35lb) but incredibly stiff. Pre-season training on it has been great and the bike feels really fast and confidence inspiring.
Goals for the season? Top 5s in SDAs but I’m really aiming for podiums and Top 10 in BDS races. Consistency is key to the overall but I’d also like to get my Scottish Champs trophy back from my team mate Alan Blyth!!
All set then for the start of this season! With the support from TCJ and the Outbox Racing Team I’m confident it’s going to be a great year.
Where you live - Fort William