PAUL Oldham has left it late to make his Commonwealth Games debut but is ready to make the most of his chance in Glasgow.
Colne mountain bike star Oldham is 36 and will be making his first appearance at the Games today when he goes in the cross country event.
Oldham has been in fine form this summer and finished 28th in the elite men’s race at the UEC MTB European Cross-country Championships in Germany.
“It’s been a big goal for the year so I’m proud to have been selected,” he said.
“At the beginning of the season it was all about getting the selection, and as soon as I did it was a case of getting my head down and stuck into training.
“You know all the other English riders so you know who you’re up against and if you’re beating them every week you’re confident of a place.
“You can settle down once that confirmation comes through and concentrate on the Games.
“I just want a good solid ride and be in the race, that’s the main thing.
“Hopefully I’ll be somewhere near.
“It would be nice to get something, but everyone in the race wants a medal so I’ll have to do everything right on the day and hope for the best.”
Oldham actually took up mountain biking by accident – literally.
“My dad, Chris, was a runner and he got injured,” he said.
“We got mountain bikes and it’s all gone from there.
“We both started at the same time, I was about 10. Mountain biking was just taking off then.
“I’ve tried on-road but I’ve never loved it, I’ve always loved mountain biking and cyclo-cross in winter.”
And while Oldham will thrive on the competition at the Commonwealth Games, he is able to keep a sense of perspective.
“It’s still a hobby,” he said.
“I have a full-time job.
“I am an engineer at Hope Technology in Barnoldswick.
“They help me out with time to train and time off for races.
“They’ve been really supportive with it all. They’ve been superb.”
Oldham will have support from family in Glasgow.
“They’re coming up to watch,” he said.
“My wife Sally and my two children, Declan and Jessica, are coming up and my mum and dad.
“I managed to get three tickets and then I can buy two more tickets so it’s worked well.”