Ride Bikes

Adare Wild West Series - XC Race

My race morning started at 2 am, with Baby Z waking up and needing to be fed, rocked and patted back to sleep. Catching another few hours sleep between 3am and 5am gave me just enough energy to grab my racing gear and a coffee and get on my way out to the Adare XC track.

I didn’t get a chance to ride the whole track before the race, so I was chatting to someone about the track layout. I remembered that I had actually raced at Adare before. And it was in 2008; 8 years ago!! I mentioned that I raced here 8 years ago, and I could sense that they were thinking ‘oh gee this chick is older than what I thought…’.

The conditions were dry, dusty and humid. It was only 7:30am, so we would be in for a hot race.

I was under the false impression that todays race was more of a short course format. But it was the full XCO style race (Olympic style cross country racing). That means it’s about 1.5 hours of racing for A grade women.

Considering my rides lately have not been much over 1 hour, I was feeling a bit nervous about my stamina to finish the race.

There were 5 ladies in A grade and it was all smiles at the start line. Off went the gun and we took off in the dust behind the A grade men. Let’s just say my race starts need a bit of work, and coupled with my lack of sleep and doubting my ability to race the longer format, I was behind the others within the first 100 metres. I decided not to chase them down and risk blowing up and not finishing the race. I had no idea what the track was like and wanted to make sure I could climb the climbs and make it down the technical stuff in one piece.

It may not be the best race strategy, but hey, it’s been a while since I raced A grade in the XCO format. The reality was that I was in for a longer race than I expected, I didn’t know the course and I was tired. So tired. So I decided to focus on keeping my rhythm, aiming for some consistency in my lap times and finishing the long distance. I was enjoying being on the bike and getting some time to myself.

The track had some fun rocky sections and not many climbs. There was a whole section which seemed to go forever with flat turn after flat turn after flat turn. I was started to get a bit nauseous from the constant turning.

Negative thoughts about my racing started to creep in midway through the race. Sometimes it’s hard to ‘fire up’ and get racing when you can’t see your competitors and are way behind. I find it much easier to race when I have competitors close by (in front or behind). I hate getting negative during a race. I soon snapped out of it and battled out some sections with the B grade men who were coming through behind me.

At one stage I thought it was raining. But it didn’t eventuate. Then I felt the ‘rain’ again in the same section of track, right where the cicadas were chirping. Next lap I realised it wasn’t a coincidence and that the ‘rain’ must be related to the cicadas. Perhaps it was cicada pee. I’m not sure…

On my fourth and fifth lap I started to remember what was coming up next. So I got a bit more flow on the corners. This didn’t help me much though as Anna Beck was already at the finish line sipping her ice coffee. I came through in 5th place with some consistent lap times.

It was great to mix with the fast ladies and I look forward to the next race.!

Photo: Race results
Photo: No race photos of me from today. Here are my dusty legs though after the race.
Photo: A grade ladies podium. Megan, Anna and Jo. All from Sol-Breads Cyclinic Womens MTB Team. Congrats ladies!


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Chicks in the Sticks - womens only MTB enduro

Chicks in the Sticks - womens only MTB enduro

Yesterday was my first ever “ladies only” mountain bike race. I’ve been racing for 10 years, and most of the time there is only a handful of women at the start line. So it was amazing to see 175 chicks at the Karingal 3 hour race yesterday.

My favourite part was seeing all the Daddys on the sidelines with babies strapped to them! There were lots of Mummies racing, so the Dads had to kid wrangle for 3 hours.

3 tips to make you a faster, smoother and more energy efficient mountain biker

So you’ve got the bike set up right, you are confident and have some fitness. You may even have some new riding socks.

You are all set to ride and you want to be faster, smoother, save energy, go harder and ride for longer.

Riding more often is going to make you fitter and stronger. But ultimately when riding, you want to carry more speed and go fast, while still conserving energy. So you can ride for longer and travel further.

Conserve energy while still going faster? Yes that’s right!

Here are 3 tips to help you reach that goal:

  1. Don’t brake.
  2. Choose good lines.
  3. Pump the track.
Doing these three things means there will be less pedalling (when you don’t need to), more speed, more energy.

Don’t brake

Try to carry speed by not braking as much. If you brake you will only have to put in the extra effort and pedal to get back up to speed. By not braking, you save that pedalling energy for later. Saving 1 pedal per corner on single track means you have the energy to pedal another 30 + pedals on the hilly or flat sections. Don’t brake unless it’s absolutely necessary!

Choose good lines

Line choice is a great skill to have. It is a key skill for downhillers, but it’s often overlooked by the cross country rider. Remember that the most direct route (or the A-line) is not always the fastest. It may not line you up best for the next corner. Some B-lines around drops are actually faster as you can carry speed and you don’t loose momentum on dodgy landings. Learn what works best for you and your bike. Ride smart and choose lines with purpose.

I remember reading an interview with Missy Giove (professional downhill mountain biker who dominated the sport in the 90’s and early 2000’s) which always stuck in my head. She always visualised the track before each race and imagined herself as water or a river, choosing the fastest route to flow down the mountain (Source from Dirtragmag).

Pump the track

Learn how to flow better and pump the trail. Pumping is more useful on the flat or downhill sections. Sometimes the trail is too rocky, rooted or rutted to get pedals in. So by working with the trail you can actually maintain speed and gain speed without pedalling or loosing speed. Small rises and falls in the track are actually like little roller coaster tracks. You flow down one side and ‘G-out’ at the bottom to carry speed up the next side. Push the bike down at the low points, and be light on the bike on the high points. It may not always be obvious where the track rises and falls. Sometimes it’s over rocks and roots and micro hills. You will be amazed at how much speed you can carry while pumping over a trail without even pedalling. If you are unclear of the concept of pumping, try playing the Tiny Wings game on your phone. It’s just like that.

So, by doing these three things, it will mean less pedalling, more speed, more energy!

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Racing the 3 Plus 3 at Old Hidden Vale

Racing the 3 Plus 3 at Old Hidden Vale

The annual 3 Plus 3 Event consists of a 3 hour race on the Saturday and a 3 hour race on the Sunday. We did the race last year when I was 6 months pregnant (see blog here), and we were keen to do it again. Our transition was like this Mr Z needs his nappy changed, Mr F is hungry, Miss T is really tired”. An extra fast commentary of all the kids needs and a quick kiss good luck to the parent who is left behind with all the kids (not to the racer). The racing part was clearly the easier component of the duo.

Mt Crosby Sunshine Series - XC Race

Mt Crosby Sunshine Series - XC Race

With a 7 month old who wakes up every 2 hours over night, I am exhausted. But because I love riding my bike, I was determined to enter the race at Mt Crosby. Having not seen the track before, I asked fellow MTBer AB what it was like. She said “There’s a few steep climbs, but you’ll be alright”.


Racing at Underwood Park

Racing at Underwood Park 15 Feb 2015

The short sprint XC series has begun. I am no where near race fit, with only a handful of rides under my belt, with none being longer than 1 hr. Perfect for a 40 min sprint race! I really enjoy racing. I love the adrenaline rush, the white line fever and the feeling of accomplishment after the race.

Summer Sprints - The same track backwards

Summer Sprints - The same track backwards

3rd Place (16th February 2014)

I felt a bit more comfortable on the track this time because I had already raced it a few weeks ago. But it was to be raced in the opposite direction. I wasn’t a fan of it being in this direction because there seemed to be less single track downhill sections.

Somewhere along the way I managed to loose the front end and crash with a load of dust everywhere. I didn’t hurt myself and quickly got back on my bike wondering how that had happened! It’s been a long time since I have crashed!

I raced ok and gave it my best. I finished in 3rd place behind Jo Rowell and Jodie Willett.

I have decided I need to climb more hills and get some leg strength!

*Edit: Shortly after posting this blog, I realised I was 5 weeks pregnant with baby number 3!


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Summer Sprints - The race to make me hungry

Summer Sprints - The race to make me hungry

5th Place (2nd February 2014)

It’s about time I entered another race! The summer sprint series is held at Underwood Park, south of Brisbane. I had heard about these races, but never managed to make it down for one.

I entered into A grade, perhaps a silly idea…. but the format of racing meant that even if I was way behind the pace, no one would be left waiting for me to finish. It was a 50 minute race, and you just finish on whatever lap you are on after the 50 minutes.

While lining up to get my race place I bumped into Jodie Willett, Kylie Maduna and Anna Beck. All top riders, who would be my competition for the day. gulp.

It was hot even though it was early in the morning. The track was nice with a few tricky little sections like this rock garden (photo). It was harder than what it looked because it was fairly flat and you needed quite a run up to keep the momentum over the rocks.

I came in 5th place. Time to step up the training a bit.


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Gravity Enduro Round 2 Garapine

Gravity Enduro
Racing Gravity Enduro
5th - Gravity Enduro Round 2 Garapine QLD - GE (21st April 2013)

Hardly any sleep the night before. Teisha is still waking once or twice. I hadn’t seen the tracks before. Heading down blind! Tony had to look after both kids by himself for the 4 hours. I was worried about how he would cope. Thankfully Gaz Hopewell was there to help out.

I lined up for the start and had to give Teisha a quick breast feed. Then I got Felix sorted with some snacks. 5 mins to spare before the start. I quickly checked my bike over and tightened up some loose screws.

There were two tracks. A blue and a black one. The blue one had some pedalling and some little doubles/gaps. Without seeing these I decided to go around them. Otherwise I could stack and then I’d loose lots of time. The black one was steep in places with roots. Quite fun, but it was a bit daunting heading down without knowing what was coming up.
We had to do each track 3 times, so I started to learn the tracks by the last few runs.

It was fun, but really hard work with a baby and toddler. Everyone was feral after the race.


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Gravity Enduro Round 1 Mt Joyce

Gravity Enduro

4th - Gravity Enduro Round 1 Mt Joyce QLD - GE (7th April 2013)

Pre-race coffee
Breakfast before the race.

Breastfeed before the race
A quick feed for Teisha before the start.
Baby cuddles after the race
Cuddles after the race.


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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


QLD DH State Titles 2008 QLD DH State Titles 2008

QLD DH State Titles 2008

I couldn’t race the final round of the DH (the State Champs), but went along to watch. My wrist was still in a cast.

Found out I won the overall Elite Womens Series for DH. So I was stoked with that.

Lea won the State Champs.


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




Photo thanks to Nicole Photography. It was a very close end to the Queensland DH series with only 13 points separating me and 1st place at the final race. So I had to win the final race to win the series.

With a spectacular crash at the last corner, I thought all hopes were gone. But I must have pinned it up the top of the track and managed to win by 3 secs, which made me the QLD Elite Women DH State Champ.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Photo above: Just after the crash. Determined to win!




Photo above: This is the gap jump that I crashed on and broke my wrist.

So, my big goal for the year was to race the Canberra World Cup round in the DH in August. I wanted to go to Canberra for an ACT state race before the World Cup to get in some practice so I could do my best at the Worlds. I have never really felt good on the Mt Stromlo track, so now was my chance to get some confidence up and learn some good lines. I booked a quick trip down to Canberra, flying down at 6am on the Saturday, then flying out at 6.30pm on the Sunday. I went by myself and hired a car.

The track had changed a bit since last time I raced there at the Australian Nationals. There is a new rock garden at the top and it is about 100m longer. There was also some new drops and jumps thrown in. All was going well on the Sunday morning and I was confidently hitting some of the bigger jumps and A lines. When it was final race time I was a bit worried about the wind on some of the jumps because it tended to blow people off course. While racing I decided that I would have to ‘harden up princess’ and hit the bigger jump in the wind (see main photo top).

I thought it may not have been such a great idea when I got blown over in mid air and landed on my head, knee and wrist. I ended up breaking my left wrist and am most likely not going to be able to race in 4 weeks (hey I am struggling to type….). So I have had a change of focus and now it is on the National Series (starting in November). I will aim to get selected for the World Cup Champs next year.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Photo: Cara

Photo: Claire.

Photo: Me.

Photo left: in the waiting room waiting for an X-ray.

Photo: Broken scaphoid.




Photo thanks to Angus Meek.

The Adelaide Nationals Round 1 has been raced and the dust has settled. Finally a dry nationals race! Although its a pain, I am thinking that I race better in the rain, so maybe I should pray for rain...    This time I decided to not race the XC and focus on the DH. Last year it was easier to do both as I was living in Adelaide, but this year it was just too hard. The aim of the race was to get some confidence back and not break any bones! Last year at the Adelaide round I finished in 5th place in Elite Women.    After a very very busy weekend visiting friends, family, practising the track, going to a wedding on Saturday night and then racing, I was exhausted. And that was before the race even began.    The track had changed slightly since the year before, making it shorter and faster in sections. A few tricky sections had been removed and a couple of new interesting parts added. The start mound of the track had been made higher meaning you didn't have to pedal as much out of the gate. However after the first berm, there was a jump over 2 large rocks/boulders, into a tight corner. It was quite daunting. If you didn't get enough lift off the lip you would case your wheel into the rocks (hopefully not the front wheel...). I didn't do the jump on the Friday as my confidence was fairly limited. Saturday morning, I rolled into it a few times and finally turned my brain off to hit it. As is always the case with these things, it was easy when I finally did it.    There was another new section where the track that cut through a loose rocky section and dropped into the old rock garden. This was hard to do fast, as there were often loose rocks over the track. I had a few moments there in practice, but wasn't too worried about that bit when it came race time.    I also did the creek gap (dry water run off area with large rocks about 2m gap), that I hadn't done before so I was stoked. There is a large set of doubles at the bottom of the track that I didn't build up to, which cost me time, but I will hit those next time!  

Me hitting (ok casing...) the creek gap.

It was nice to see that even though I have been off the bike for a while that I can still ride. A nice confidence boost. Although it would have been nice to go well in the results (I ended up 9th), I was happy with how I went. Hey, I didn't break any bones or anything on my bike, so that's got to be good!    The next race is in 4 weeks at Illinbah in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Its a long track so my arms will struggle with their lack of strength. But hopefully I can work on that rapidly between now and then. 

Saturday, 1 November 2008




Very wet race. Did the 4X and the DH. I actually did better in the 4X! Ended up 9th place and didn’t qualify for the final. Gold Coast track just isn’t my track. I enjoy it, but just don’t seem to go fast on it!!!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Scary section of the track. Straight after this it went almost vertical.

Elite women washing bikes. While some of the Elite mens fathers did theirs. haha



Saturday, 13 December 2008
Again a wet race. Not feeling too confident. Lost my chain in my race run. :( boo.

Photo: It was a big turn out for Elite Women this race. This is most of us.




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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Today sucked. I was not enthused to race and had a late night last night. The track was not fun, and I really didn’t want to be there. You may be thinking ‘well then why were you there?’. I guess the answer is, that I wanted to see a new track. There were a few fun bits, but mostly long grass hill climbs.

And then some more long grassy climbs.... I raced ok, but just hurt a lot climbing and had very little motivation. Serves me right for not riding much in the weeks leading up to the race. Mental note, train for XC next time. I came in 5th place. Not too far behind the pace.

Sunday, 26 April 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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4X Race - Gold Coast

4X Race Gold Coast

I learnt a lot more this time round. I spent more time planning my race strategy rather than just jumping out the gate without a plan. There was also extra to think about with my race. I was racing at about 80% and really did not want to get taken out by anyone.

The weather was hot and sticky. We had three heats, which I managed to get Gate 1 each time which was the toughest line with a tight corner into sand and a small drop off. I dont mind taking that line, but the sand was really loose and sketchy.

I came 1st in two of my heats and came 2nd in the other. Cherie came 1st in the last heat, which I almost go her on the last pedal to the finish. She was uncommitted in the last rock section and braked hard before hand which meant I carried more speed. But I couldnt pass her in the tight switch backs to the finish. So that meant Cherie had first choice of gate and I had 2nd choice. Julie and Brodie had the remaining gates.

Cherie picked Gate 1, but I knew she wouldnt race that line and was likely to cut in front of me into either line 2 or 3. She is fast out the gate and I knew she would get out first. I stayed back in the gate to make sure we didnt collide. I took the inside line on the 2nd corner and almost had her as she took the outside line.

Then it was up to the 3rd corner, where I chose the inside line again but it was sandier than I expected and slid out and off the bike.

All over for me. I was happy with my race even though I came through in 4th. It was worth a shot! First crash on Rampy.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


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Tassie Nationals Round 1

4X Race Tasmania Aussie Nationals

Poor Tassie was down on numbers for all events (*not based on actual statistics).

The DH was quite expensive ($200 for the weekend I think) and that could have contributed to the lack of people. Or maybe it was because it was held so close to xmas. It was much cooler than QLD which was a nice change. I only raced in the 4X not the DH. The logistics and cost of flying down to Tassie with 2 bikes was just not worth it. Darren and Carol from Brisbane Boutique Bikes and Barspin Imports flew down to support the Banshee team. Thanks guys! and sorry that your tent got blown to pieces....

Ben Power was racing in the DH, Ryan Hunt in the 4X and DH and Alan Hepburn in the dirt jumps. I think the Banshee would be up for the DH though. Just might be a bit rough, but I think it would be ok.

It would make me sad though if I smashed my X0 redwin red on a rock. Racing time came around and I had a clean race coming through with a 2nd place behind Sarsha. My best ever Nationals result so far (and 10 weeks pregnant)!

Ryan Hunt (Team Banshee) came 2nd in the Elite mens event. Ben came 5th in the U19 downhill and Alan came 2nd (I think... in the dirt jumps). Go team!

Sunday, 13 December 2009


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Round 3 and 4 - 4X Nationals

Round 3 and 4 - 4X Nationals

The final two rounds of the Nationals 4X were held at Toowoomba showgrounds.

The track was quite fun, and I wish I had more time prior to the event to practise the track. Lately I have been playing it safe at races and dont hit the bigger jumps as I dont want to injure myself for the race! But if I went there prior to the race I could practise things in my own time. Anyway, the weather was great and track very fast and in perfect condition.

Round 3 was held on the Saturday. I came 2nd in one heat and 3rd in the other 2. Finishing the race with a 3rd place in the final.

Round 4 was held the next day and I came 2nd in two heats and 3rd in one, then 3rd place in the final. I finished the season in 3rd overall for Elite Women 4X.

Pretty happy with coming 3rd in Australia with a 8 month old baby. Thanks to Tony, Felix and Team Banshee for their support.

Photo Below: Spraying champagne all over everyone. I like that part.

Photo Below: After the race


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Australian National Champs Race

Australian National Champs Race

We arrived safely in Adelaide with Bike and Baby stuff. No problems with excess baggage so that was good. This was my first race back since having a baby and also since Dec 2009. So its been a long time! Im not feeling too fit, but entered the race with the aim to get back into it, have fun and see friends.

4X is not my preferred discipline. I rather DH or XC, but 4X seemed the easiest of the 3 to race in while looking after a 7 month old. Tony my husband was there to keep the little man looked after while I was racing, but because I am still breastfeeding so I need to be close by.

It was hot and dry up at Eagle Mountainbike Park. I had not ridden the 4x track before and it looked quite tricky in places. As soon as you are out the gate there is a rock drop then a gap jump over nasty looking jagged rocks into a berm. Practice went ok, and I was comfortable with clearing the rock gap jump on the first straight. There were 5 different lines you could choose from, with the Gate 1 line having the largest rocks to jump over, and Gate 4 the smallest. I was comfortable with all the lines except one. I had a decent crash on the one straight out of Gate 2. I think I clipped my front wheel on a slippery rock which sent me over the bars. I got some good bruises and thankfully didnt break anything.

Gate starts are getting better, but sometimes I cant clip my feet into my pedals. Something I need to work on. Race Day: Practise at the track started at 8:30am. Seeding at 4:30pm then racing at 7:30pm. So a very long day out on the hill. Especially for a baby... I seeded in 3rd place which meant I had a choice between 2 gates in the final. This was good because it meant I didnt have to choose Gate 4 which sent you straight into the outside line of a berm. A very slow line. Sarsha seeded in 1st place, so got 1st choice. After a bit of indecision, she chose Gate 2. Indi chose Gate 3. I was happy with this because it means Gate 1 was mine. It had the largest rocks to gap, but was the fastest line. Felix was pretty cranky by the time the finals came around. I could see Tony and him on the sidelines in the heat struggling. So I had extra things to worry about. I was completely over the race by the time finals came around. It had taken too long and my little man needed feeding!

Because the Elite Women had seeding rather than Motos, it meant that I had no practise riding with anyone else in the gate with me! So this was a big downfall I was not confident with storming out the gate and over the rocks with 3 other girls. This showed in the final. I failed to clip one foot in, and was very slow out the gate. Everyone says I gave them all a 20m head start. Whoops. I came out the gate in 4th place, then managed to get into 3rd on the first corner. Then one of the girls nudged me out the way on the 2nd corner. But I got her again on a rock jump, when she went around it. With a sprint to the finish, I nearly got 2nd, but had to settle for 3rd.

I was happy that I raced and competed, but not happy with the ‘way’ I raced. Lack of preparation, practice and sleep! Hard to give 100% on the little sleep and energy that I had. Next Nationals race is at Toowoomba in March. I will aim to be a bit more positive by then!

Here is a link to the highlights footage.:

Photo Below: Me racing in the 4X Finals.

Photo Below: Pump track racing.

Photo Below: Podium in 3rd Place


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