This week we will be having our first team member chat with Jenna Lupo. Let's get into it!
Let's get to know Jenna, where are you from & what do you do outside of trials?
I'm from Launceston, Tasmania. During the week I work as a bookkeeper & when I'm not riding trials you'll find me on a mountain bike or out on big bikes doing a bit of enduro & hard enduro.
You're pretty new onto the trials scene, how long have you been in trials and what did you do before?
I've been riding dirt bikes for about 20 years and racing MX for about 10 years, so I'm no stranger to bikes. I was heavily involved in MX up until the end of 2016, racing every weekend from club to national level. I got bored of racing the same people on the same tracks and was looking for a new challenge, so when a mate bought a trials bike I was very interested. I started to have a bit of a crack in 2017, and let me tell you, I thought I could steer a scooter pretty well until I jumped on a trials bike! It was like I was learning to ride again!
So you rose to national representation quite quickly in this sport & you're heading back for another go at the TdN. What did you learn from last year and what are your expectations this year?
Last year was the ultimate slog! The terrain was extremely challenging and the weather on the day made sure we didn't get a chance for a breather. Every section was technical & required absolute commitment from the rider. I was definately thrown in at the deep end, with the event being one of the hardest to date (according to Kristie). The main thing I took away from the event was confidence and overall, my riding has improved. I will probably never ride somewhere as steep as Sokolov, so the thing I have noticed the most is that I have a lot more confidence here in Tassie when the terrain is steep or I have to drop off an obstacle. I'm hoping for a little more grip this year and after checking out a few vids from previous events in Ibiza I think that wish might be granted! It's going to be tough without Kristie or Michelle who are both very experienced and have many TdN's under their belts but I think that Lillie and I will make the most of it and enjoy the experience nonetheless. I am also hoping for some nice weather but we'll just have to wait and see about that!
What's been your best / memorable / funniest crash riding trials?
Yeah look, I can't even get on a trials bike without without falling off it so I have so many to choose from (laughs). The most memorable crash would probably be from the 2018 Australian Titles. I'd gotten through the whole section clean except for the last rock which was probably about hip height and a little longer than a bike length on top. I got up just fine, but carried the front too far & dropped it straight off the end of the rock. I landed on my face with my bike on top of me but since my axle was out of the section before my face touched the ground, I got a three!
You're now the elder of the women's team, what would you say to other women to get them to try trials riding or strive to get on the TdN team?
I have never experienced anything like the TdN. To go overseas and be surrounded by girls who are pasionate about bikes and to see the insane amount of talent they have is absolutely unreal. I wish that all of my friends with bikes could experience it, but not everyone has to aim for the TdN. If you have a bike and you want to have a crack at your first club trial or even go to a State or Aussie Title, I say just do it! I did it and I am so glad that I did because not only has there been heaps of fun had, I've also made a great bunch of mates who all enjoy bikes and who push me to ride cool stuff. The trials community is the most supportive group of poeple I have ever met, there will always be someone willing to help you and offer any tips and tricks. It would be good to see more girls on trials bikes. For our current female riders, if you strive to get onto the team, my advice is to push yourself out of your comfort zone, practice the snotty stuff, practice the big stuff and the cool stuff, set some goals but most importantly make sure that you enjoy the time you spend riding your bike. It's amazing how much you can achieve if you're having a ball!
Awesome, thanks Jenna. I really look forward to seeing how you've improved with last years experiences.