Ride Bikes

Australian National Champs 2017

Australian National Champs 2017


I haven't posted a write up on the National Champs. It was way back in March and only 1 week after the Toowoomba Nationals/Oceana round. The year is just flying by.

Well, it was a different race. A different style of track to ‘normal races’ and I only managed one practise reccy lap on the morning of the race, in the wet, sloppy conditions.

The track was pretty much straight up for 15 mins of climbing, with some places about 20%. With wet tracks it was almost impossible to ride up some of them (I would probably struggle in the dry). So there were two sections where it was more like a cyclocross race; everyone was off the bike running or pushing.

After the climb it went straight back down through some awesome off camber sections and steep rocky chutes.

As you can see from the top photo, I ended up coming home with the win. There were some good battles, and I really had to push hard to keep the pedals turning over towards the top of the climb. There are some super fast climbers out there!

Photo credit: Russ Baker

I feel a bit funny about posting the National Champion jersey and flashing my medal. Mostly because it’s not an ‘Elite’ category medal, I feel a bit like a fraud.... Although I keep telling myself that I did actually win in my age category. It’s not pretend! So I have this debate in my head that tells me that I’m not really the national champion as there are plenty of other ladies out there faster than me (in older and younger categories!) .

But then again, I was there on the day, I raced people my age (who also happened to have kids), and I did win. So I’m going to leave it at that and enjoy my glory and wear my national jersey with pride (well, maybe not.. do people wear national jerseys around the place???)

Some photos:


Photo: Steep, rocky section

Photo: Beer recovery/celebrations after the race

Photo: 3/3 kiddos asleep. Awesome.


cell bikes

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Australian Nationals Round and Oceania Championships - XCO Toowoomba

Australian Nationals Round and Oceania Championships - XCO Toowoomba 12 March 2017


Last weekend the final round of the Aussie Nationals mountain bike series was held at Toowoomba. Training for the event snuck up on me yet again, but I managed to make it out on the day and put in a solid race. My first win at a national level, in Masters.

The race itself was fairly uneventful, so instead of sharing the details of the race, I thought I would share my rather comical life with 3 kids in the lead up to a National mountain bike race. Sometimes I feel like I am in an alternate universe.

Everyone has their own obstacles when training (or racing), whether it’s injury, sickness, work, family or travel which sometimes unfortunately takes precedence over training. This year I really planned to get out on the bike more. I am lucky that I get to commute to work, so I make sure I push hard and work for it during the 20 km stretch of mostly flat road. I love commuter racing, and I race any person on a bike that happens to be in the vicinity. Mountain bike rides are saved for the weekend, where I usually get out once.

Every time I head out for a ride, my two-year old clings and cries (this also happens every time I have a shower; ‘hower too mumma?Hower too!!”.) When I get back from a ride, there is a chorus of ‘mumma, mummy, mumma!!’ Where everyone explodes with information they are busting to tell me over the past 1.5 hours. No time to stretch or eat, it’s straight into getting everyone else drinks, wiping bums, or cleaning up something.

Two weeks before the race, our two-year old was eating his regular 3 bowls of porridge for breakfast (yep, seriously!). I’m making school lunch, preparing daycare bags, and getting my own stuff together for work. I hear him say ‘oh no, oh dear’. I look over and there is porridge everywhere. All over him and the floor. I figured that he had spilled it, and thought about scraping it back into the bowl for him (of his shirt, not the floor). But decided to just clean him up and get him out of the high chair and off to daycare so I could get to work. I cleaned up the mess and finally I was off to work. Half way there I smelled something awful and realised that it was vomit. Then the penny dropped. The porridge that was all over him and the floor was actually vomit. Which looked exactly the same as the porridge in the bowl--honest mistake right...

The vomit sessions continued on for another 4 days, when finally I caved and took him to the Doctor. In the waiting room he managed to spew everywhere, and I had to sheepishly go to the reception to ask for help to clean it up. “These pills will stop him vomiting, just give him 1/3 of the tablet on his tongue’. Thanks Doc. Struggling to figure out how to cut a tiny tablet into a third, I managed to get some into the toddler. Where he continued to vomit; tiny third of a pill and all. After another day and night of this, with hardly any sleep and so much washing (toddlers don’t know they are going to spew until it explodes out everywhere), we decided to take him to hospital. Diagnosed with a super bad case of gastro and dehydration they preped him for a drip, but then he had a reaction to the numbing cream they put on before the drip goes in. So, he didn’t have to have a drip. Luckily we didn’t have to stay overnight, and they let us go after making sure he was taking fluids. Only to vomit again when we got home, and in the middle of the night (right into my face might I add.. .. ewww).


I figured I still had a week to get gastro and get better again, so my Nationals race wasn’t over yet.

In the mean time, six-year old and two-year old collide on the lounge and two-year old gets a black eye.

bad-head-toddler black-eye-toddler

Fast forward a few more days, and I have clingy toddler again who wont let me put him down. So I spend the day carrying around a 13kg lump of toddler. My neck and back aches. The issue of the clingyness is solved when, yet again vomit explodes out of his mouth all over the place. Another few days off work to look after a sick baby means I am not getting any riding in. I’m spending the nights cleaning up vomit and not sleeping. There is even vomit down the side of the bed between the wall and the bed. I can’t move the bed away from the wall so the stench of vomit stays there all night, while the spew is soaking slowly into the carpet.

We seem to be getting onto of the vomit clean up, only to realise we have tiny bugs/mites in the beds. The chooks have them, and now they’ve found our way into the house!! argh. More sheets to wash, and beds to be vacumed and sprayed with bug killer...

With my lack of riding the last few weeks I focussed a little on getting my bike into order. Getting some new tyres (I’m running a Maxxis Ikon on the rear and Maxxis Ardent Race on the front). I got my forks serviced by the lovely crew at www.cyclinic.com.au and they were running sweet!

I also thought I’d stock up on race gels, I never seem to get to a real bike shop, so it’s nice to be able to buy them online. I find the Endura ones are good, but the Gu and Cliff shot ones are way too thick and hard to swallow. From this website you can also get trial packs of different flavours.

Managed to get out to the track to practise a few days before, with fellow mountain biker shredder AB and Jo R. My lovely mum looked after the black-eyed-vomit toddler and four-year old. My eldest was at school, so I managed to drop the kids off, and then make the long drive to Toowoomba with AB. I had to work in the car on the way there, so I was being very unsociable on the laptop while AB drove. Rushing back to the burbs after track practise, I was worried we would get hauled in the principals office for being late to pick up the kids. But thankfully we were only 10 mins late, so weren’t categorised as Bad Mums yet.

Race day arrived and I hadn’t got sick and no one vomited during the night. Winning! It’s a 1hr 40 min drive to the race track, so we were up early. We packed the car the night before and the kids lunch boxes. They get so excited about what might be inside their lunch boxes, they had eaten half of it before we had even got to the neighbouring suburb.


The track was steep in sections, with lots of uphill technical climbing, with some super steep pinches. Downhill sections were so much fun, rocky and steep in sections with surprise pockets of sand just to keep you on your toes. My hardtail went well and I was smiling on every decent (while trying to suck in some oxygen ready for the next climb). No photos of the singletrack as my cheer sqaud was safer in the main village area.

Photo: race start, pushing hard up the road to get into the singlet track.

Stoked with my race, stoked I didn’t crash and happy no one vomited.

Photo: My support team and cheer squad ‘Mumma, mummy, mumaaaa!”

The next day I was loading the kids into the car before work/school/kindy/daycare. They are all strapped in ready to go. I leave the car doors open and I run back inside to change out of my ‘breakfast clothes” (the ones that get weetbix on them) and into my work clothes. I only take about 40 seconds, and love every minute of the peace and quiet that welcomes me inside. While half dressed I hear behind me:

Mumma, quick it’s an emergency!” Says my four-year old as she runs in from the car.

Whats up?” I say half concerned but half groaning... I’m sure that someone has either vomited, fallen on their head or slammed their finger in the car door.

“Its a chicken emergency!!”, she exclaims. I’m wondering if the chicken has vomited, fallen on its head or got slammed in the car. I run outside to investigate.

One of our 7 chickens has decided to jump into the car, eat up crumbs off the floor in the back. She obviously found something delicious under the passenger seat as she was well and truly stuck under the seat. Welcome to a new week of craziness!

The next race is the National Championships in Canungra in the Gold Coast hinterland next weekend.

Photo: Chicken. Yep that’s permanent text on the four-year olds leg

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Why pre-wash lycra with salt?


Why pre-wash lycra with salt?

Congratulations, you’ve bought a brand new riding kit. You pull it out the packaging and cut off the tags.

You think for a second, debating whether or not to wash it before you wear it. Then you notice something strange written on the tag:

“Pre-wash with a tablespoon of salt before wear.”

“Hand wash in cold water.”

“Do not tumble dry, line dry in shade.”


Why does something that is designed to be hard wearing and tough need to be and pampered during wash time?


Pre-washing with salt

Have you ever wondered why cycling gear needs to be washed with salt before use?

Apparently, by washing separately in cold water with salt it prolongs the colour intensity, so it doesn’t fade overtime. It makes the material colourfast and prevents staining (where colour bleeds onto other parts of the item or stains other clothes it comes into contact with).

I have done this before, and didn’t experience any fading or staining. But there have been plenty of times that I haven’t used salt during a pre-wash and I didn’t experience any problems then either…

If you are worried about the colour fading or staining, grab the salt shaker from the pantry and sprinkle it in water to pre-wash your kit before wear.


Hand washing bike clothes

The tags say that it should be hand washed separately in cold water. I confess, this is one thing that I never do.

You get home from a ride; the bike gear gets chucked into the wash pile covered in sweat and mud. The last thing you want to do is fill up a bucket with water and carefully hand-wash your clothes.

Sometimes the tag states it can be cold machine washed in a delicate items bag or on the delicate setting.

To be safe and not destroy your expensive new kit, it’s a good idea to machine-wash it on the delicate setting.

Drying bike clothes

The one rule that I do follow is “Do not tumble dry”. The dryer and I do not have a good relationship. I would never put expensive lycra or jerseys in the dryer, except if you want to shrink it for your kids to wear.

Hang it to dry on the clothesline in the shade. The elastic on lycra or the bottom of jerseys can become brittle if left in direct sunlight for too long.

How many tag instructions do you follow?


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Unlucky 13. Why people wear race plates upside down

Photo credit: mountainbike-trails.com.au

I’ve been racing a long time, but have never been handed the famous number 13 race plate.

As I got to the registration desk for the Chicks in Sticks 3 hour race, there it was, number 13.

I had often seen people racing with their race plate #13 on upside down. I guessed they were a bit superstitious, and by turning it upside down it would ward off evil sprits or something. There is even a special word for people with a phobia of the number 13; Triskaidekaphobia (the term was coined in 1911).

This image is of a racer at another race wearing the number plate upside down.

Source: http://www.mountainflyermagazine.com/view.php/eagle-outside-festival.html

Back at the registration desk, I stood there looking at the race plate. I’m not really superstitious, but have had some weird coincidences happen in life. Should I put it on upside down? If I put it on the right way would I be worried about some phantom accident that might happen the whole race?

Apparently ‘unlucky 13’ is a big thing in the motor car racing world. They don’t even have a pit number 13 and opt for a 12a instead. (source: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/motorsports/10-superstitions-from-the-world-of-motor-racing6.htm)

In the rules of riding from this site; http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/comment-page-212/ , it clearly states that “If you draw the unlucky 13, turn it upside down to counter act its negative energy.”.

Source: http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/comment-page-212/

I thought about it, and decided to treat poor #13 with respect and run it up the right way. I was confident with my ability and preparation going into the race.

Photo credit: mountainbike-trails.com.au


I have since learnt that #13 is also considered good luck, especially in Italy (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13_(number))

The number 13 also represents femininity, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). Which is kind of fitting for a female only mountain bike race.

Embracing the number 13, I rode well and pushed hard. Had some great battles with other competitors and finished in 3rd place. It was about 51 km and 3 hrs 30 mins. The family all came out to cheer me on, which was lovely.



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aussiefarmers tent-world

What happens at a professional bike fit?


If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend ages choosing the perfect bike.

The colour, the wheels and the running gear all have to be perfect! You finally choose it, and get it from the shop. Then you put the seat to the ‘right’ height, make sure you can reach your brake levers and off you go!

I will admit it. I have never done a ‘technical’ set up for my bikes.

I make sure I buy the right frame size for my height, and then put the seat roughly to the right spot (based on putting my heal on the pedal, and straighten my leg, then set the seat height based on that). Then I might tweak it up or down depending on how it feels.

I never could justify getting a professional bike fit. I am far from a ‘professional’!.

So what exactly is a bike fit?

Put simply, a specialised bike fitter will measure you up and fit you to your bike.

A proper bike fit will reduce pain you might have in your back, feet, arms, neck while on and off the bike.

A bike fit also aims to get your technique right so you can get the most power out of your legs while riding.

Although I am far from being a ‘professional’ bike rider, I am keen to get the most out of my bike and my body. Perhaps my back problems are part baby-related and part bike-related? Maybe I can increase my power output and improve my race starts?

Fix a sore back

I do get a sore back. But they are not related to my bike…

It’s the kids!

People told me that having a baby ruins your back. But it's not the pregnancy that wreaks it. It's the slumping while breastfeeding. It's the rocking the baby to sleep and awkwardly and carefully placing them into bed. It's the leaning over the cot or through the cot rails patting or rubbing baby’s back at all hours of the night. It's the laying down sideways breastfeeding and trying to catch some zzzzzz. With a crook in your neck. Because you can’t move. Because then you’ll wake up the baby.

Anyway, I digress.

If you are sitting on your bike wrong and your pelvis/knees/ankles/feet are not working right, then you will do more damage to your body. You will get sore and probably won’t want to ride your bike as much. A bike fit can fix these problems.

Get more power

A bike fit can ensure your body is aligned and you are getting optimum power from each pedal stroke.

If you are set up properly you can be sure you are using those big muscles in your glutes.

Professional bike fitting

A friend I used to race with recommended I visit Gary Land from PRO Bike Fit. http://www.probikefit.com.au

He is located in Brisbane’s leafy suburb of The Gap, which is not far from me, so it seemed like a perfect idea to catch up and see what he does.

I met with Gary to discuss his professional bike fitting service, PRO Bike Fit. He is a Master certified Retul bicycle fitter who has been in the bike industry for 14 years.

His workshop has a lovely view of the rolling hills and is surrounded by bushland. Over a coffee we talk about the types of problems people have and how Gary fixes them. He legitimately wants to help people solve bike fit problems.

I know nothing about muscles

While listening to Gary explaining how the human body works, I realised I know nothing about muscles. He used all the technical terms for muscles which I can’t even attempt to spell, so I have no chance Googling them.

What happens at a bike fit?

Gary’s previous clients included high level road cyclists and World Champions. But surprisingly I didn’t feel ‘un-worthy’ being there. Gary also fits clients who are just getting into the sport.

PRO Bike Fit uses a Retul 3D motion capture system. The Retul motion capture bike fit assessment is about 90 minutes long. You get hooked up to a set of LED lights (on all your ankle, knee, hip, elbow, wrists etc), which is tracked by the motion capture system when you pedal your bike on a stationary trainer. I felt a bit like a super hero.

Photo: Part of the Retul system

The objective is to analyse your movement on the bike. Are you moving in the most efficient way possible? Are you flexing or rotating too far in one direction in your ankles, knees or hips?

The bike fit also includes bike measurement set up report of bicycle after setup, so you can use the measurements to replicate the bike fit on your other bikes (yes, I know you have more than one).

Making contact with the bike

It may sound obvious but there are three points of contact with the bike:

* Feet.
* Bum.
* Hands.

So, each of these needs to be assessed to see where problems may lie.


The PRO Bike Fit service will include an assessment of your bike shoes and cleat position in relation to your feet and toes.

I have always set my cleats up with the premise that they should be placed on the ball of my foot. I thought I had that part of my set up right…. But I guess I never really knew where the ball of my foot was!


Although I’ve been riding bikes for 15 years, I have never really thought too much about the type of saddle I’ve used. I just buy one that looks good and is light. I was never too fussed on the style of seat. I figured the women’s specific saddles were a marketing gimmick.

The PRO Bike Fit using the fancy Retul 3D system will determine if my saddle is right for me.


The sensors on my wrists will detect if I move my hands around while riding on the stationary trainer and it will also show the angle of my wrists on my bars.

Measurements and analysis

Once I was hooked up to the LED lights, all I had to do was pedal on the stationary trainer while the Retul motion capture system did it’s thing.

Photo: The bike fit process

Key findings from the bike fit

The analysis provided really detailed numbers for the various movements that your body makes when cycling. It showed where my right or left side were unevenly moving. It also showed that my pedalling technique needed work.

Bike set up

With the results showing where I had uneven movements, or where my body was moving in an inefficient way, the PRO Bike Fit assessment recommended changes to my bike set up and to my technique.

The big thing that I took away from the results was that apparently my trusty saddle was not the right size for me. It is too narrow for my sit bones. I needed a slightly wider seat because my sit bones were sliding off the saddle with each pedal stroke.

It occurred to me that I have no idea if I sit on a seat correctly. And what the ramifications are of it. Thankfully Gary lent me a women’s specific saddle to test out (that reminds me, I must give that back…).

Gary explained that some of the simplest bike set up errors can result in a lack of power. Your body may be using different muscles, and not using the strong glute muscles (in your bum).

When I got home, I found myself Googling sit bones and pelvic bones on saddles. I might follow up on a future blog about saddles when I’ve done my research.

Photo: The bike fit process


I was quite excited to test out my bike with the new PRO Bike Fit!

I did my normal loop in on my mountain bike. The cleats felt a bit weird, but I soon got used to them in the new position.

The women’s specific saddle felt really good. I could actually notice that I wasn’t sliding sideways with each pedal stroke.

It’s strange that I never thought I had an issue prior to the bike fit. But with the changes in place I could notice the difference.

I ended up getting a few Personal Best records during climbs on my mountain bike ride! Amazing!

I am totally sold that the bike fit will result in more efficient pedalling and more power for me. I’m not sure if it will fix my back pain as I am sure that is related to carrying my kids in awkward positions. But being more stable on my bike will probably help reduce potential future pain.

If you are interested in getting a bike fit, check out the PRO Bike Fit website (http://www.probikefit.com.au) and contact Gary for more information.

cell bikes

Merida Hidden Vale 24 Hour race

We geared up for a weekend of riding at the 24 hour race at Hidden Vale. We have been the past few years, and it’s a great way to get some quality riding in, and spend time camping with the kids.

As always there was a big bouncy castle for the kids to play on, plus an easter egg hunt for them on the Sunday morning. Our two older kids (5 and 3) also raced in the kids bike race. This year they got to ride some new single track, which was a lot of fun.

We entered the 24 hour race in a mixed duo. So we tag-teamed racing and child wrangling.

Hidden Vale has a stack of new trails, so each lap was mostly single track and it took about 1 hour to get around it.

Our youngest Master Z is almost 18 months old, so he is still quite little. Being out in the hot sun and also fuelled by chocolate meant that our kids were slightly feral by the days end.

On my dusk lap (about 6pm) I was chatting to a guy as we rode around. He asked how many laps I was doing, and I said I was heading back to camp after this one. He kind of called me ‘soft’ and suggested that I should do more laps.

I didn’t go into the details with him, but the tasks at hand back at camp were far from soft!

We needed two parents on hand to get everyone fed and into bed. We had to make sure all the soft animals were lined up perfectly, teeth were brushed and a few Peppa pig books were read. A fresh nappy for baby, and after a long time for them to wind down, Tony could go back on the track.

This was great. Kids were asleep and Tony was out racing. The only problem was I was covered in dirt. But the showers were a long way from our camp. I couldn’t leave the camp as the kids were asleep!! I couldn’t go to the toilet or shower. Argh..


I managed a wipe down with a cloth, but I really wanted a hot shower.

We raced well and came 4th place.


The new tracks were a lot of fun. We had a ball.

All the details of the race are here http://hiddenvale24hr.com.au

Kids love dirt


Mr F (5) raced in under 7s in the kids race and came 3rd. He was so happy. And he got chocolate. Chocolate makes them go crazy.



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Toowoomba Nationals 2016

After this weeks debacle of events, it was touch and go whether we would make it to the race. Thankfully the Gastro bugs stayed away.

We did everything we could to make it happen. We managed to borrow my Mums car (thanks Mum!) and somehow squeezed my bike into the back. The forks hung over one child’s head, and the handlebars over another.

Baby Z woke at 1am for a breastfeed and again at 4am ready to start the day.

Today will be sleep deprived racing at its greatest.

I tried and tried to get him back to sleep but it was futile.

In my pre kids life at a Nationals race, my bike and gear would be super organised and I would be in the right mind set to race. But this time around I was just hoping to pack matching gloves and water.

The morning was spent packing three lunch boxes full of tasty goods to make sure the kids were happy on the almost 2 hour drive to the race.
Photo: Lunchboxes all sorted.Yes, I know who likes the triangles and who doesn’t

As for my own nutrition, I made sure I had a banana for before the race and some protein for after the race, and my water.

While getting everything ready to pack into the car, Baby Z managed to fall out of the car onto his head and he got a big lump. Ice packs needed, and one cranky baby loaded into the car. After numerous discussions between Master F and Miss T about who brought which toy, we were finally off.

Photo: Bumped head

Photo: Finally on route to the race

We made it to the track and I really wanted to ride half of the course. I seem to do much better in races when I have warmed up on the track. But unfortunately I couldn’t get onto the race track because there was a race on. Luckily I had ridden it the day before!

My mind was distracted over the multiple cries of ‘Mummy!’ ‘Mummy!’. It is hard to focus. I made sure I drank some water and nibbled some food.

Although I was racing Cross Country, the butterflies from my prior downhill racing days were back. I think it was because I could see the downhillers doing runs, and I knew how they were feeling.

After giving the kids more food, and drinks, I was off to do a short 10 minute warm up before the race start. I kept bumping into some of my old downhill racing buddies. So my warm up was not too good and soon it was time for the race start.

Lining up with top names like Rebecca Henderson, Imogen Smith, Anna Beck, Jodie Willet is pretty cool. Even though I was racing in Veterans (which I found out is now called Masters!! ), it was nice to be amongst the Elite.

The gun went off and we were off up a fire road then onto single track. I pushed hard to try get a good position into the single track. The passing opportunities were limited on the track, so it was best to get a good position early.
Photo: The race start. I am in there at the back.

The Toowoomba track is fun!! I enjoy technical uphill. I am much better at it than long grinds. The downhills were super fun, and left me smiling. I loved going past the kids each lap and hearing them call out ‘Go MUMMY!’.

I managed to overtake a few people as I went around. Which is always a good confident boost.

I knew there was a girl in my class in front of me and one right behind me. I pedalled hard to try catch the leader on the climbs and stayed off the brakes on the downhills. I could see her, but just couldn’t quite catch her.

I came through in 2nd place, 11 seconds behind the winner. Stoked with my race as I kept positive and had my angry face on.

After the race Master F asked me innocently ‘Why didn’t you go faster so you could get the gold medal Mummy?’

I tried baby, I tried!

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Hoping gastro has a 3 day incubation period…. Aussie Nationals T-Bar!

Here’s hoping that gastro has a 3 day incubation period, not 2. …. Aussie Nationals T-Bar!

The next round of the Australian National Mountain Bike Series is on this weekend at Toowoomba (or T-bar).

I’ve entered in the Cross Country race, which is on Saturday. I’ve never ridden the XC tracks there before, so am excited to have a crack.

Gastro Baby

But, on Wednesday night, baby Z started vomiting at 1am. After a change of sheets and clothes, he went back to sleep. Only to do it again at 4am, then again at 6am.. You get the gist.

By Friday he was fine. So, if gastro has a 3 day incubation period, then I should get it on Saturday night. Which is great as it means I can still race on Saturday!. But if it hits me on Friday night, then it will be all over.

Today I had the chance to pre-ride the track. Thanks to my mum for looking after Baby Z and Miss T!!

I organised the three kids to get the eldest to school and the other two to my mums. I could smell poo…. I figured it was baby Z needing a nappy change. Yep he sure did. But it had actually exploded out his nappy and onto my top and onto my pants. Awesome. Then it went all over the floor… So I had to clean all that up before I even got out the house for the 2 hour ride to the track. Exhausting…

The track is awesome. Some tricky uphill sections, with fast fun downhills.

Car Troubles

Along with the gastro baby, we also have problems with our cars. Yes that’s right, both of our cars.!

Our 4WD has a broken accelerator. Apparently something has snapped and it means you can’t push the pedal properly as it just hits the floor. So it means a slow and sluggish drive. It will cost $600 to fix it and they have to send it away somewhere. ARGH. So todays 2 hour drive was painful and my leg is sore from pushing so hard on the accelerator.

The other car also has problems. But I can’t fit my bike in there easily anyway. Plus the back seat smells like spew and it looks like this:
No cover on the car seat. Means no baby can sit in it until the cover is clean and dry.

So, stay tuned to see how I fair tonight and tomorrow for the race!

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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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What does it feel like to mountain bike pregnant?

Usually when people think of a pregnant woman they don’t imagine her riding a bike! Have you ever wondered what it feels like to ride pregnant?

You are probably thinking of the awkward waddle of a pregnant woman and conjure up uncomfortable images of her on a bike.

You imagine the discomfort of her sitting on a seat on her ‘private parts’ where, soon a baby will be delivered. How can that be a good thing? It’s enough to make you cringe.

Then you hear she has also been riding off road on her mountain bike over bumps and rocks! You cringe again…

Let me assure you: She’s not a complete nut job.

She’s probably not in pain and probably not even thinking about the area where a full sized baby will soon be birthed from.

She’s probably smiling, enjoying the fresh air, the outdoors and the exercise. She’s dressed for comfort and feels good.
Her lungs may feel squashed, making it an effort to breathe. But that would happen regularly regardless of if she were on a bike. She may feel tired, but that’s nothing new either. The bumps may make her need to pee and she’ll feel hungrier than ever.

But it is likely that she is enjoying herself, just like everyone else on his or her bikes.

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