Girl on hilltop at sunset with mountain bike
Rosie McLaughlan Enjoying the Sunset at Conic Hill

Having won the Scottish Highland Hardline Downhill Series in the under 10s category two years in a row, Rosie McLaughlan (now 13) from Kilmacolm quickly became one to watch on the national mountain biking circuit. Since then she has gone on to win UK wide championships and has ambitions to ride abroad. The Advertizer caught up with her to find out more…

Can you describe mountain biking in three words.
Freedom, fun… thrilling!

What have been your biggest achievements in mountain biking?
My biggest achievement was coming second in the under 19 girls category racing at the British National Downhill Championship at Fort William last year and coming third overall in the Scottish Downhill series. This was huge as it was my first year racing at this level.

Do you ride as an individual or as part of a team?
When I started out I was lucky to be picked up by a team called Farlane Adventure and I am very lucky to be sponsored by King’s Sunglasses, a clothing company called FKD and this year I also have the support of Dales Cycles in Glasgow.

Do you have any pre-race rituals and do you eat anything special before a race?
Sleep is the one thing I need before a race and my mum fuels me up with some super homemade flapjacks.

Mountain biking seems quite male dominated – has this ever been frustrating? Is the scene changing?
It is very male dominated. It has been frustrating because at coaching days, I am often the only girl at my level. There has definitely been an increase in female riders in recent years and this is great to see.

Which is your favourite trail?
I spend a lot of time riding the downhill trails at Innerleithen. My favourite trail there is a trail called Crestador because it has both jumps and technical features and often trails have one or the other. I also love riding there because I get an uplift to the top. Downhill bikes are geared so that they are impossible to ride uphill.

If you could ride anywhere in the world where would that be?
France! I have been lucky enough to ride at Let Gets. It is amazing to be up in the mountains. The trails are super fun and really long – and the weather is so different to Scotland with lots of sunshine.

Who are your mountain biking heroes and why?
Rachel Atherton because she was the first female rider who inspired me and she has won so many races. She shows me what is possible with hard work and determination. I love Miriam Nicole’s riding style and she comes across as such a lovely person. Bernard Kerr is also really funny and his dog is his top priority. I love dogs!