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Frisky Friday with Hannah Barnes

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After a brief hiatus last week, we are back with another instalment of our Frisky Friday features.

Far from hibernating up in the Scottish Highlands for winters, this weeks rider is known globally for adventure and having a pretty good time along the way.

Hannah Barnes is a professional I’d define as simply as a bike rider. Yes she races the EWS series and marathon events with some success but I would say she simply couldn’t be defined by such a narrow corridor of riding. There is also more to her than meets the eye and a one trick pony she is not.

I could go on, but part of Frisky Friday is to provide a slightly more candid look at just what makes riders tick.

( Top image credit Etienne Van Rensburg )


Descent-World: Now then Hannah – we’re used to seeing your Instagram feed full of amazing locations and awesome riding but at the moment you’re doing some night shifts in the local hospital?

It’s been an incredible year, racing the EWS’s has been awesome and in some really great places. Other exotic and tough races such as La Ruta in Costa Rica have been amazing too, but it’s also been great to race on home soil – 10 Under the Ben is a classic and one of my favourite ‘local’ races. In between racing and travelling I fit in a few shifts in the local hospital or Health Centre. I need to do a certain number of hours and training to maintain my nursing registration, but I also really enjoy it so it’s a perfect mix really! I don’t do night shifts any more though, they are too hard on your body. It’s good fun in the hospital, especially the A&E department. I feel really lucky to be able to do two ‘jobs’ that fit in so well together and are incredibly flexible.

And this year you’ve been on the Specialized programme. Is it fair to say they give you quite a free reign in terms of what you do?

Yeah Specialized are amazing, I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such great people! They are pretty flexible, and always make sure everyone is happy and doing what they want to be doing. Paddy our manager/mechanic says, ’no stress, there’s always a way’! As long as you are getting good media and getting out there doing good things then they are happy.

Credit: @hannahbarnes

You’re pretty big on van life, how many miles have you racked up on the old girl this year?

The last few years I’ve done a couple of trips a year out to Europe in the van, this year it was just one. I do love heading off in the van and just going to some great riding spots, swimming in lakes, and just keeping it simple. Now though, if there’s the option to fly I just do that as it’s so much quicker and less tiring. Since being with Specialized it’s made more sense to do what the team does, which is usually to fly. Each year it’s good to load up the van for the annual Alps trip though!

And stories of bump starting it or using a shoe lace as a throttle cable?

Haha what?! I’ve never done either! You must be thinking of someone else. The shoe lace story sounds interesting!

Credit: Sebastian Scheick ( The Hoff! )

So back home in Fort William. Obviously it’s a stunning place to call home but do you not fancy being somewhere warmer in the Winter?

Yeah Fort William is a great base, and I’m loving the Fort William scene at the moment. There’s so many good people around! I think the more I travel the more I appreciate home. The last two Winters I was in New Zealand which was awesome, but this year I’m keen to stay home. I’m more productive at home. The race season is so long with a lot of travel, and I’m so lucky to travel pretty much from March to November that it’s great to be home for a good stint over the Winter. I’m keen to get some ski touring skis and get into that this Winter, and also do the Scottish Skimo series!

The last two Winters I was in New Zealand which was awesome, but this year I’m keen to stay home. I’m more productive at home.

Top 3 tunes?

Solander – All Opportunities , The Jezabels – The long highway, Turbulance – Blood dem out

So obviously your sibling is quite handy on the bike and the dudes seem a pretty cool bunch, even Ferg I guess ( Sorry Ferg, I’m only joking ). Are you an honorary Dudedette of Hazard?

Haha even Ferg, he’s a proper character and is one of my really good friends. No I’m not an honorary Dudette, the three ‘dudes’ are a pretty tight bunch and keep to their own programme together. I can’t even remember the last time I rode with them!

The women’s cycling market is going through the roof and that can only be a good thing. Is this giving more women the chance to be full time pro’s? Many have been working second jobs in the winter and struggling to make it a viable career.

It’s fantastic that women’s cycling is really taking off, there is a visible rise each year which is awesome. This does directly give rise to more and more brand supported female ambassadors and racers. Of course the level of support is key to whether or not second jobs are required, although having another line of work doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as a bad thing. Although the market is growing, there are still proportionally fewer women riding bikes and therefore less financial support available. At the end of the day it all comes down to sales, and for a brand to have a well thought out and rounded image with the right riders/people behind it. That, now more than ever, involves having women on board which is awesome. I think that most women in cycling have a second job, and only a handful of girls in the UK are full pro’s, but I’d say that the same can be said for guys too. The majority of male ambassadors/racers have second jobs too. But yes, girls are getting increasing levels of support which is awesome and can only keep on improving as the market grows.

Credit: Dave Trumpore

Is it true that the entire male field in the EWS are actually robots with no soul? Can you give us some stories to counter this rumour?

Haha I’m not sure who came up with that, it sounds like a robot with no soul did 🙂 I wouldn’t listen to rumours! All sorts of shenanigans go on at the races and there’s so many fun, cool and interesting guys and girls who race, along with the mechanics and media guys too.

Lastly, you’re snowed in during a wild storm in the Highlands followed by an extreme heat wave. Biking is not an option. Whats your next best option of activities to do?

Interesting scenario! Get all dressed up for the storm and go out and play in the snow, go skiing, go for a wild snowy walk, drink hot chocolate, light the fire, play tunes… with good friends of course!


Credit: Justin Sullivan

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