#rockytrailracer in focus: Cassie Voysey and David Sharp

We had a chat to these two #rockytrailracers at the NSW Downhill Series Finale at Awaba MTB Park at the end of July 2019! Cassie Voysey is on a roll and was going to be off to the World Cup circuit overseas again soon, racing in the U19 category. Cassie is a tremendously driven and determined young racer, who is incredibly focused on her goal to claim a World Cup podium next year. But finish year 12 first. Cassie has been supported by her coach David Sharp over the last 4 years, a regular at Rocky Trail gravity events since our early years.

RTE: David, how long have you been coaching Cassie and how did you find each other?

David: I’ve been coaching Cassie for three to four years and we met when a young kid bought my old bike off me and he knew her. We just starting riding together, just a couple of runs here and there together and it all started from there.

RTE: Cassie, we’ve seen you develop from a very young age at our downhill events, how did you get into it?

Cassie: In school, my first race was the Interschools with Heathcote High in Thredbo. I thought it was going to be a one-off event, but I just started to get better and better and decided to continue to do it.

RTE: How do you tackle Year 12 studies, racing and travelling?

Cassie: My school is reallly good, they send me school work on Google Classroom so we can communicate with each other and I can do my assignments while I’m overseas. And the European racing season ends just before the HSC starts, so that’s good timing.

RTE: David, how do you stay in touch when Cassie is overseas?

David: I generally speak to Cass before and after every race run. We’re in contact via social media all the time. When she is in Australia, I send her a training ride to do on Zwift on Tuesdays and she rides a road bike on her trainer in the garage. On Thursdays she comes over to my place and we do a training ride out in the bush, going up some good hills and of course also riding down.

Photo: SPCPhotography

RTE: What’s your favourite ride in Zwift, Innsbruck?

David: I generally go into the training rides section and select more sprint-based trainings, with a bit of endurance here and there. I find Zwift is amazing for developing power and sprinting ability. Because it is so important to have the ability to clear lactate, you know, when your legs are burning, unless you actually put your body into those positions all the time, you can’t do it. so I’ve been really trying to get her into that.

RTE: Cassie, you have a pretty intense training program on the other days as well, what does a typical training week look like?

Cassie: Monday – gym, Tuesday – Zwift, Wednesday – sometimes gym, Thursdays – ride with David, Friday is Zwift. On Saturdays I might go to the gym and do cross-training, and on Sunday’s I either have a chill day or go on Zwift again.

David: When Cassie is on the Zwift trainer, I can actually log on and see her stats as she rides and monitors her power etc. – I always check in to see that she is actually pushing hard. We found her FTP to increase by 35 Watts in just six months to 146, so let’s see where you can take it when you have more time to really concentrate on training next year.

RTE: How has the coaching experience been for you, David?

David: I like to see someone take my recommendations on board and use what I’m saying to go forward. My focus is downhilling, I’ve been doing downhill for 15-20 years, you know, I do ok on a bike and have a few ideas. I do know what it is like when you’re just getting into the sport. If you have someone that is experienced and passes some things on to you that really helps. – It starts with maintenance on your bike and knowing how to fix certain things. These sort of things as a junior especially, you need to know, because you don’t have that back-up yet of a team support.

Photo: Via Cassie Voysey | credit 15.06.19_Crankworx_innsbruck_LO_c_shootandstyle.com_207_ (1)

RTE: What are your plans after school, Cassie?

Cassie: Hopefully to become a personal trainer, because that’s what I’m studying at TAFE. Maybe next year I might be getting some work with the Bulldogs in Rugby League to become a trainer to help them out…

David: … and a full World Cup Season!

Cassie: Yes, I’m definitely planning on that!

David: Fingers crossed for the World Champs this year!*

Cassie: Yes, I hope I make the team this year.*

RTE: So on the World Cup Circuit, apart from downhill, which types of events do you compete in?

Cassie: I got first in the Dual Slalom at Crankworx in Innsbruck, my first gold.**

David: Cassie has got a lot of ability on a pump track and crosses over to Dual Slalom really well!

That first Gold Medal in Innsbruck. Photo: Kylie Voysey

RTE: Who organises all your travel?

Cassie: *smiles* Mum and Dad.

RTE: What’s the fascination with this whole World Cup scene for you? When you stand in the event centre with all these people around you and flags everywhere.

Cassie: It’s so different to over here in Australia! The crowd is always so good, I actually had to do another run in Leogang because I had been stopped because of a crash, so by the time I did that repeat run a lot more people had come onto the hill because the junior men’s race was on after us and it was so good to do a race run with that bigger crowd cheering.

Photo: Kylie Voysey

David: Yes, that was a crazy race, because I was here back home in Australia, and I had my wive’s phone open watching Cassie’s dad’s Facebook LIVE feed and had my phone open watching the live timing….and then I saw here start and that she was up on the first split and then suddenly she just dropped off the timing! I thought, oh no, she’s come off, this is no good. And then suddenly I see her on the Facebook Live feed come across the finish line and just shout to her dad, “Gotta go do another run!” And she was gone, and I though, alright, we’re on again! And then you got fourth, didn’t you.

RTE: Do you monitor your UCI World Cup Ranking?

Cassie: I do, I was fifth for a while, but because I missed a few races I’m now in 6th or 7th.

RTE: What’s your goal for next year?

Cassie: A World Cup podium, really trying to get for those overalls.

RTE: Do you race differently racing for the win vs. racing for points in terms of taking risks?

Cassie: With us girls the gaps are generally bigger, so that’s then not such a motivation to take a lot of risks. So this year, one of the girls has already won the overalls, because she won almost every race by quite a bit.

Photo: Kylie Voysey

RTE: Do you girls talk among eachother?

Cassie: Yes, I’ve met a few of them, but generally the ones that come first or second are in their own zone. I know them, but we haven’t really socialised.

David: It is a big learning curve on and off the bike, to stand up for yourself, to represent.

RTE: What is your plan for next year in terms of equipment?

Cassie: I’d really like to get on a factory team and I’ve been working hard for it.

David: It’s really tough, as a junior in general and as a woman to get into the sport and to get those sponsorships, it’s tough for anyone… but she’s been trying to build up her media profile. I’m convinced of her potential and she is working hard, she’ll make her way.

RTE: Congratulations on a really successful career so far and good luck, we’ll be following your upcoming races!***

*Note: A few days after this interview Cassie was announced to represent the Australian Team at the World Championships in Leogang

**Cassie just claimed the Gold Medal at Crankworx in Whistler in mid-August 2019!!! Plus 6th in Garbanzo DH and 3rd in Air DH!

2019 Crankworx Whistler. Photo: Kylie Voysey