Ride Bikes

10 years since my first DH race!

10 years since my first DH race!

Way back in May 2004 I randomly decided to have a go at Downhill MTB racing. I had done a bit of DH riding, and wanted to meet more girls who rode. I had only ridden with one other female.

So, I packed up my Norco A-line DH bike in the back of my Pulsar hatch back and went out to Bennetts Forest for the Inside Line MTB Club event.

I don’t remember if I had ridden the track before. I remember pushing the bike to the start line thinking that I just wanted to get down the hill in one piece and enjoy the experience. The track was not very steep and a perfect beginners track. It was a pine forest and there was nothing too frightening on the track. I think I came in last place, but it didn’t matter because I was hooked.

I met some great girls who taught me a lot about riding and keeping race nerves under control. We kept racing together/against each other for years.

Photo: 2004. My bike and I when I first got it. I’m in my work clothes and just wanted to pose for a photo.

May 2004. First race!

My second race was at Fox Creek Long Track. I found some photos while reminiscing. This race was a challenge!

I think there were five of us racing in Elite Women. Myself, Sarah Booth, Julie Harris and Gemma Mayfield. Carol may have had more sense and decided not to race (and get the white socks muddy). The conditions were muddy and a bit more muddy…. It has been raining for days. The race still went ahead. I remember the top part of the track wasn’t too bad, but the bottom section was almost unrideable.

These photos showed how bad it was getting through a section. Once you stopped it was impossible to get momentum again to keep rolling. Your wheels got all clagged up and wouldn’t spin.

I found the results too. Boothy had the skills to keep it rolling, but Julie, Gemma and I really struggled. It took Gemma 21 mins to get down the track! I think she actually went off the course and physically couldn’t lift her bike back onto the track.

Photo: I needed to push my bike up over a kicker… it was exhausting…


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Kandanga DH

Kandanga DH QLD State Race

Tracey Hannah made an appearance this time. She took the win, with me in 2nd place and Lea in 3rd.


Photo above: Elite women podium


Toowoomba State Round


Toowoomba is a nice track, tricky and rocky in places, and fast and tight in others. Saturday was dry and the track was sandy in places. I had a few close calls in the sand nearly resulting in the first stack for the Mini dee (my new Commencal Supreme Mini Dh).

Saturday night it rained and rained and rained. We tried to find somewhere to eat and Sizzler (yep they still have them here in QLD!) had a line up outside! Apparently Jimmy Barnes was playing so most accommodation was booked out, so were places to eat. It continued to rain.

Sunday morning, the track was slippery and clayey. It started to tack up a bit when the sun peaked through the clouds. The competition was good in the Elite women's field. Although there were only 3 contenders for the crown, it was anyone's race.

Photo: Me through the rock garden.
There was the local girl, Sam who rides a bit ragged and loose, but that was perfect for the course which was dry and loose and sometimes rocky in the corners. Although only new to the DH scene she had the home track advantage.
Then there is Lea. She is a fast rider, gutsy and smooth. Lea has raced the track before and has been top of QLD DH scene in Elite women for a while. She tried to fix her bike a few nights before the race and lost the rebound in her rear shock. So she was riding an old short travel mongoose (sounds like it’s a disadvantage, but I actually think it was better suited to the track).

Then there was me. I like to think I am smooth and nimble on tighter courses and I tend to ride well in the wet. I have come up on top for the last 2 races against the other two girls. So, if it were horse racing, I'm not sure who the favourite would have been.

Photo: me near the bottom of the track.
In the qualifying run the course was wet but starting to become tacky in places. The local girl Sam, had a spectacular stack on the last corner over a double. Lea had a clean run. I got stuck in some soft dirt on a tricky corner for a bit, then pinned it down a rocky fast section and lost the front wheel somewhere and had Mini dees first crash. I’m not sure what happened but rider and bike where dis-attached from each other.

Race time came around and the heavy rain and then more rain meant the track was very very wet and slippery. The clay had lost any kind of grip that it had earlier. This would be by far the trickiest wet track I have raced on.
We all got stuck off the track on the same tricky corner and Lea had a crash on a steep rock/cement chute. Presentations were put on hold due to the weather so we weren’t really sure who won. Results were posted later in the week, and I found out I had won by 6 seconds, which was surprising for me.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Photo Above: Lea


Canberra World Cup!

Canberra World Cup!

Photo Above: The finish line.

What a fantastic atmosphere at the World Cup! It’s a shame it always has to rain at these events though.

I decided to take my bike down to Canberra despite my wrist still in a cast. I hadn’t been on my DH bike since the crash earlier in the month. I did sneak out for an extended XC loop into work at the start of the week, but that was the extent of my ‘training’ for the World Cup.

Without knowing if I could even ride or hold on, I figured if I didn’t bring my bike I would be spewing. We arrived to Canberra on the Wednesday night and my bike failed to turn up. Apparently it was still in Brisbane. Not a good start to the weekend. It arrived the next morning so that was all ok.

Practise was sketchy and I struggled to hold on with my left hand and also reach the rear brake. I also could not lift the front of the bike too easily. Feeling very unfit and not confident, I decided to rule out hitting any of the big jumps and just roll down the track. By race day I figured I may as well race. I kind of hoped that I didn’t qualify so then I could watch the main race in the afternoon. Not the best attitude I know, but it’s not like I was in top form for the race!

I came in 21st place with only the top 20 qualifying. So I guess I got my wish! It was pouring with rain, and not very inviting to get back out on the bike. So I sat back and watched the pros!

Well done to Tracy Moseley and Greg Minnar for taking the win.

The after party was out of control as per normal. I am feeling very tired now. I can’t wait for the Nationals, hopefully I will be fully recovered and in fine form by November.

Thanks to Tony and Sacha for being my support crew, driver, caddie etc (TEAM RUTTER). Thanks to Annette for lending us her car and to Jimmy from Bikeology (
www.bikeology.com) for keeping my bike running nicely over the weekend.

Photo above: My first time on the bike in ages… Wrist in cast. Rolling around the car park at Canberra World cup.

Photo above: The start ramp.

Photo: Looking down the track from the midway point.

Photo above: This bit was tricky with my broken wrist. My hand kept bouncing off the bars.

Photo above: Dust and rocks.

Photo above: The top rock garden.

Photo above:Me and the Aussie Flag

Photo above: the bottom part of the track.

PHoto above: Me and the crowds! I was feeling lame because I didn’t do the big jumps. I felt like yelling out “I have a broken wrist!”

Photos above: Poor Matti Lehikoinen. Broke both his wrists. After 6 hours worth of operations he got a total of 12 screws, 3 metal plates, 3 pins. At least his mates got him a jug of beer with a straw so he could still drink.

Photo above: Sacha and I. After qualifying in the rain.




Back to Tassie. Tony and I spent the week between the Penny Farthing Nationals and the DH Nationals driving around Tasmania. Lots of wineries, great beaches and walks. We met up with Nick and Trish on the Thursday in Hobart at the Whiskey Distillery. Nick had hired a massive van so we could get around with the 4 DH bikes (Mine, Tony, Nick and Joes). Nick found out that massive vans don’t park too well in tight car parks. The van accidentally clipped a parked BMW. Oops. Nick wasnt happy as he didn’t choose the lower excess and therefore it would cost him $3000, so we drank some whiskey. After whiskey we went to the Cascade brewery. Nick got a parking fine. The weekend wasn’t too good for Nick with a taco’ed front wheel in the DH qualifier and then we got evicted from our accommodation (no fault of our own, the park stuffed up).

Anyway, Back to racing! Last time in Tassie I only managed to ride 20 seconds of the track before breaking my wrist. So this time I made sure my bike was built right and took it slow on the first run. The track had changed, but nothing too tricky in there. It took me a while to build up the courage to do the ‘Wrist drop’ (see cover photo). Its not overly big, but has a nasty kick if you get it wrong. Tony found this out when he did it the first time and crash landed (not inspiring me with confidence!). I finally did the drop and it was fine :) yay. I didn’t feel like I had long enough to learn all the good lines on the track. I had only ridden my DH bike once since the last Nationals in Dec - not good preparation! So I wasn’t feeling too confident.

Tony practised but wasn’t too keen to race. Tony calls it CBF’d. In my seeding run, the track was fairly blown out. Some corners were very slippery and dusty. I ended up going over the bars in my seeding. Something I havent done in a while! I managed to get my feet down and run it out, so no injuries. I rode straight into a hole and stopped dead (it wasnt there before I swear!). UCI points were up for grabs on this round, so considering I didn’t race the National Champs, it was a good chance to get some points so I can aim to be eligible to race any World Cup races later in the year. My race run was ok, but fairly tentative. The track is long with lots in it. Its great fun at the top with lots of corners. Its the first time I have had good fun on a DH track in a while. I ended up in 7th Place (Now I have 9 UCI points).

The ‘wrist drop.’ doesn’t look big, but theres a hole in the landing.

Me in the DH

I entered in the 4X for some fun. I raced on my DH bike so it wasnt ideal. My gate starts are getting better, but because I have no ranking I get the worst gate numbers to start in. There were only 5 girls racing, so I had a good chance to get into the finals! Well, I didn’t do too well in my heats, but it was good experience. I ended up on equal points with 2 other girls (so sitting equal 3rd), but because I have no ranking, I got bumped out of the finals! I still don’t really understand the rules, but I was a bit annoyed. Oh well next time. I need to get a 4X bike and some practice if I want to be serious about it. My DH bike is too heavy. I ended up in 5th Place.

Me in the 4X

The National Champs are in SA for the next 3 years. I am glad its not in Canberra any more, as I dont really like that track. However, I dont think Adelaides track is up to Champs standard (the DH that is), as its quite short. Still there is plenty of hill there and more trail can be built. XC is an option, there is time to switch and focus on the XC.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Leigh in the DH


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There has not been much racing happening lately. I have entered in the last 3 State DH races, but they have been cancelled due to rain and floods. So, what has been happening..... My last DH race was back in February in Tasmania. I have not been on the DH bike much, but mainly because of the weather and lack of races. The bike has been recently serviced and my forks have pretty much been replaced.

We head to Canada in a week and a half. So my bike is all ready to go. Today I went out to the jump park to see how the new forks felt and get out on the bike. I felt a bit sketchy - but mainly because I did not want to crash and injure myself so close to going over seas. I have been hitting the weights frequently to build up strength. Even though this restricts time on the bike, its been quite wet and cold so no big deal. I have a unicycle which I am learning to ride. It is great fun and requires patience. I can only ride about 3 m at the moment, but getting there.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


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So, Canada here we come. On Wednesday we will be flying out of Brisbane to head to LA then Vancouver. My bike is already packed up and ready to go. Weighing in at 25.4 kg I am hoping I can sweet talk Qantas to let it go through without having to pay excess baggage. If its over 23 kg, you have to pay extra, if its over 32 kg, it doesn’t go on the plane.

I need to travel light in my other bags too. Not just for the cost, but for ease of carrying everything. I also have a new bike! Yes its true. A lovely Banshee Rampant.

Welcome Rampant. I still need to build it up, but will wait until after Canada. I can’t wait to hit the jumps on this beast. It is sweet. The paint job is quality, the Candy Red/Raw colour sparkles a little in the sunshine. That’s it for now. Stay tuned for an update of mountain biking in Canada.

Saturday, 11 July 2009


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After 14 hours or so of flying, we finally made it to Vancouver. The plane trip when fairly quickly as we watched movies, and had a few beers. Only about 4 hours into the trip I decided to put on some roll on deodorant.

Unbeknown to me, the roll on ball fell out (due to the pressure difference) and I ended up pouring liquid deodorant all over myself. The smell was fairly overpowering, but at least it wasn’t a bad smell.... After the deodorant incident, everything was fine. Our bikes made it safe to Los Angeles, where we changed planes and went through customs and then through it again. Nick had already told us that his bike did not arrive in Vancouver (he had been in Canada for 4 days without a bike).

Ours made it fine to Canada and in one piece. On our 2nd day in the city we decided to hire bikes and ride around Stanley Park. In Canada they run their brakes backwards (front brake on left, rear on right). Tony decided to undo his front brakes to avoid going over the bars. Stanley Park was a great place to do skids. We also saw a raccoon. This one was in the sea, scavenging around for food (I was surprised to see one in the water, but I dont know anything about raccoons...).

We found a nice brewery/pub on Granville island and also another one in Gastown called Steamworks. The city was full of cruiser bikes. They look cool, but not sure how functional they are... especially going up hills.

Saturday, 18 July 2009


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We caught the bus from Vancouver to Whistler on Friday midday and met Nicko at our hotel. Not wanting to rush things (and end up in hospital) we decided to check out the place and have a few beers before getting on our bikes. We will ride tomorrow. The weather is perfect. Nick wanted to ride this afternoon, so we let him go up the hill (and haven’t seen him since....). The beer is good here, and not too expensive. The coffee is terrible. Our hotel is really close the bottom of the lifts. Looking forward to tomorrow. Time to build up my bike!

Saturday, 18 July 2009


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We got out on the tracks today and decided to pay for a guide to show us around. That way we will know the best way to link trails together and get a feel for the terrain.

Riding for a good 6 hrs in the sun and am pretty buggered now. We linked together quite a lot of trails, ranging from green runs, through to double black diamonds. The double black runs wern’t too full on, but the guide said they were the easiest of the double black ones.

Maybe tomorrow and later in the week we can build up to the others. There is a huge range of tracks and the runs seem to go on forever.

Sunday, 19 July 2009


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Whistler has plenty of variety to keep us entertained. We only had one day when it rained. There was lightning around, so the lifts got shut down just shortly after we made it to the top.

So we took our time down Crank It Up in the pouring rain. It was fun sliding around in the mud. It has been hot most days and steamy in body armour. But there was no way I was going to go ‘armourless’ because that would just be asking for an injury! I have been loving the Garbonzo runs.

The roots and rocks up in the top section are so much fun. So much variety, tight turns, massive berms and pallet drops... or steep chutes or rock roll downs. My favourites include Original Sin to Freight Train (or No Joke to In Deep), to Duffman and Aline. Or, Angry Pirate to Aline or Ninga Couger to Karate Monkey.

Aline had some sweet tabletops and step downs. There were a few kicky jumps that I didnt want to hit at full speed. Here are some photos of the riding.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Jayne and Tony

Jayne on the roots

Jayne wall riding.


Tony doing GLC drop


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Panorama & Kickinghorse Parks

Panorama & Kickinghorse Parks

Kickinghorse MTB park was quite blown out and dry. But plenty of trails to keep you entertained. The boys went rafting while I opted to ride the park by myself. So I dont have any photos. The next day we went to Panorama, a smaller MTB park, not far from Invermere.

This place was pretty cool, with active trail fairies looking after the place. Crazy Train was one of my favourites with a nice rock drop and pallet work at the start. The video above shows my first attempt of this section of the track.

Sunday, 2 August 2009


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Cedar Ck DH & Brookfield DH

Cedar Ck DH & Brookfield DH

Cedar Creek DH

Brookfield up the top of the track.

Dust, dust, steep chutes and sharp corners. Not much time to rest on this track. By the time you made it out of the tough stuff you were at the bottom.

Completely different to the recent Canadian tracks I have been riding! Which are all perfectly groomed. Five girls were racing Elite, which is quite rare for the state series. I qualified in 1st and held on to the position for the final. Its nice to be back racing (last race was the Nationals in February!).

Lea - Cedar Creek

I have raced this track once before last year. It hadn’t changed much. A few sharp flat turns with a long fire road in the middle and a steep rock garden up the top. I qualified in 1st (only just!), then couldn’t hold on for the win, with Lea getting me by 5 seconds in the final.

(photos thanks to Chris Dalziel and Graham Reid and bradleyadamphotography)

Sunday, 30 August 2009



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