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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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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

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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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.

24 hours on the bike (well not quite….)

24 hours on the bike (well not quite….)

The Kona 24 hour race was held in April at Old Hidden Vale. We did the race last year when I was 14 weeks pregnant (see blog), which was challenging. This year we have 3 kids (including a 6 month old who wakes up every 2 hours) to add to our race planning and execution. I remember being up in the middle of the night (every 2 hours) breastfeeding Baby Z and thinking to myself that at least I wasn’t the only one up. I could hear riders outside. It gave me comfort knowing that there were other sleep deprived racers out there.

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.

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.


craft beer

Epic MTB Race 20 km

Epic MTB Race 20 km
Racing with kids
5th Place (14th September 2013)

I decided to enter the 20 km Epic Chaser race on the Saturday of the main event. Tony was racing the 50 km on the Sunday, so we each of us could look after the kids while the other one was racing.

We took the opportunity to camp on the Saturday night at Spicers Hidden Vale, so then we didn’t have such a rush to get to the race on the Sunday morning.

The last (pure) XC race that I did was way back in April 2009!! I did do the XC leg in the Anaconda multisport event, and also a duathlon. But it’s been a while that I have raced XC. As it was only the 20 km race prior to the big event, there wasn’t much pressure to perform. This suited me. The womens field was an open class, so there were lots of people.

I lined up at the front of the pack so I could get a clean start away from punters. Wearing my baggy shorts for the race, I wanted that mental view that I wasn’t racing too seriously. But in that hot sun, I really wished I had worn the lycra. It was hot and dusty.

A few chicks took a head start and left with the men. This meant they were already 5 mins or so in front of the rest of us. I try tell myself that it doesn’t really matter, but it was frustrating.

The race went a bit like this…

Took off in 2nd place (try not to blow up in the first 100 m), fire road, fire road (get overtaken by 6 or so girls), bumpy fire road, downhill fire road (pass a few people), flat fire road, cow poo, overtake some people. See the Grinder. See lots of people walking up the Grinder. Climb the grinder. Call out ‘track’ lots of times. Start to murmur ‘track’ in between breaths. The hill was rocky and steep. Saw my heart rate up around 190bpm. Almost got to the top and had to walk a bit. Single track. yippee! . Switch backs. Call track. People don’t move off track. People cut through switch backs, destroying the hill in the process. Stupid people. More fire road. A little bit of single track on the side of the fire track. People don’t follow the signs and take the single track. I loose a few places because I followed the track. Fire road.. fire road.. It’s windy. Head wind. Then a final single track climb up to the finish line. Then we have to do another 4 km of single track to finish up. It was hot. Hardtails hurt.

Come through the finish in 1hr 14mins in 5th place. http://www.strava.com/activities/82545984

I was happy with my race. It felt good to be out on the bike again. And with hardly any ‘training’, I was stoked to actually make it!

It’s made me keen to get out and race some more races! (and get a new bike.)


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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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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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