Famous last words: Hannah Barnes

Mountain bike racer Hannah Barnes is a musical Highlander with a love for the world’s wild places. She is also just the person to have around in an emergency

I like to spend a lot of quality time with my boyfriend, family and friends. Our house is pretty sociable with lots of people always coming and going.

I play the fiddle, by myself or in a little session with friends over a big pot of coffee. Traditional music is a big part of Scottish and Highland culture, and I love it. I am going to learn the whistle at it’s easier to travel with than a fiddle.

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Fort William and the Highlands is a beautiful part of the world. If only it didn’t rain so much, and the midges disappeared, it would be ideal.

I lived in Alaska when I was 17 and 18 working at Susan Butcher’s Trail Breaker Kennel, training sled dogs for big races such as the Iditarod. That was an adventure!

I’m a staff nurse, that’s what I studied at university. If I hadn’t got into MTB I would probably specialise in A&E, and maybe do something like Médicins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders].

I only started riding when I was 18, through my younger brother, Joe. I went to some Downhill National rounds and World Cups to support him, made lots of friends and thought it looked pretty fun…so I got a bike (a Cove Stiffee hardtail) and started to ride.

Joe is an amazing rider and general bike genius. He knows so much about bikes and bike set-up, and he’s so patient and encouraging, 
he’s a pretty awesome brother!

Rotorua, New Zealand, is my favourite place to ride. It’s such a cool place with a great riding scene. The riding is fast and flowy, on hard pack dirt in stunning sub-tropical forests and there are natural hot springs all over the place for a post-ride soak.

I ride my road bike for training. I love to go for a long road ride on a sunny summer’s day on quiet country roads.

I’m happiest being outside and having adventures with nice people. Sailing and the sea, skiing and 
the mountains.

In 2014 I want to have fun riding my bike, see more of the world, get stronger and fitter and do yoga regularly, even when on the road and travelling — when I do it I feel great. I’d also like to play my fiddle more and learn more tunes — I get rusty as I’m away from home so much — as well as representing my sponsors well and progressing in my riding and racing.