Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Inverness mountain biking champion Aimi Kenyon gears up for the World Cup

Aimi Kenyon of Culloden Academy is British Junior Women's downhill mountain bike champion. Picture supplied by Aimi Kenyon.
Aimi Kenyon of Culloden Academy is British Junior Women's downhill mountain bike champion. Picture supplied by Aimi Kenyon.

Inverness mountain biker Aimi Kenyon is headed for France and the 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

The annual event takes place in Lourdes on 26 March.

The Culloden Academy pupil already holds both the Scottish and British junior women’s titles for downhill.

Talking to the P&J as she arrives in France, Aimi says she’s ready for the challenge.

“I’ve never done the World Cup before as this is the first year I’ve been old enough,” she says. “I know it will be really difficult but I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Aimi Kenyon is competing in the World Cup in Lourdes on 26 March.

Living in the moment

Aimi inherited her love of cycling from her dad, and won her first competition at the age of nine. She started out with cross-country mountain biking but then discovered downhill racing.

Downhill is a race against the clock, with competitors vying for the best time down a challenging circuit full of jumps and obstacles. Female competitors can reach a top speed of up to 70km/h.

Not that that’s a problem for Aimi.

“I love the adrenaline,” she says. “I feel like everything else in life just goes out the window – you’re in the moment.”

The competition season runs from March to September, and Aimi has a packed itinerary throughout. She calls the P&J from France, where she’s testing out different products ahead of the race.

She plans to compete in the French national race at the weekend, before the World Cup at the end of the month.

The rest of the summer involves various national competitions, as well as World Cup races in Fort William (May) and Leogang, Austria (June).

Go for it

It sounds like a hectic life, especially for a teenager with exams on the horizon.

“It’s worth it,” Aimi says firmly.

Now in S5 at Culloden Academy, Inverness, Aimi is studying for Highers in maths, English, PE, chemistry and human biology. Her exams start next month, and in between studying she’s fitting in gym sessions and biking at the weekends.

“It’s really hard, because I know school work has to go above everything else, but biking’s what I love to do,” she says.

Photo supplied by Aimi Kenyon.

“The school have been really supportive,” she adds. “They put work up online for me when I’m away.”

Like everything else in life, the mountain bike circuit ground to a halt during Covid. Aimi desperately missed her sport during lockdown, but her athletic life has taught her to be resilient.

“You have to learn to get back up,” she says. “You try to overcome the obstacles and carry on.”

And that’s the advice Aimi would offer to other young people thinking of taking up competitive sports.

“You have to stick at it,” she says. It’s easy when trying something new to just give up if it doesn’t go to plan right away.

“My advice is just to go for it.”

More from the Schools & Family team

Covid in schools: Thousands of pupils and hundreds of teachers absent as cases rise

From Ethiopia to Ukraine: Why schoolkids get involved in charity

New Midmill head teacher follows in mother’s footsteps

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]