The 2013 season was a successful one. I started the year off representing Target Trek, where I claimed runner up at the Bay Criteriums, and a 5th and 10th at the Australian Road Championships. I then turned my focus to the dirt on behalf of Target Trek MTB, winning the XCO and XCP at the opening National Round, taking home the green and gold stripes for the Elite National XC Title, and also claimed victory in the Wombat 100k and Forrest 6hr.
These results aside, it was also a tough year for me. Firstly my nan passed away after a tough battle with illness, then I DNF’d the Australian XCM Championships as defending champion and sustained a chronic back injury that put me out for the next 5-months. My plans to go overseas to race two MTB World Cups vanished, as did my plans to compete in both the World XCM and XC World Championships.
|Selfie... courtesy of me lol|
So I found myself on and off work, intermittently training, partially immobile due to this stupid injury and worst of all I was getting fat! But I knew that I wasn’t done just yet. I would come back from it, my body would heal in it’s own time, and I had some unfinished business to take care of…
So with plenty of time on my hands I sat down on my now 64kg arse and laid out a plan:
Part I: I want to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games on the MTB. To be one of these three girls I have to compete in my National Championships on the 8th of March, and partake in two of three MTB World Cups pre May 30th 2014.
Part II: Further to this I wanted to take part in the entire World Cup series, which meant that I would need some form of funding to be based in Europe for the season. This came in the shape of Rochelle Gilmore, owner of the Wiggle Honda Professional Women’s Team who has signed me on her roster with the understanding that my focus will be MTB and is fully supportive of it.
Part III: I wanted Jarrod to be with me, so she signed him as head mechanic too!
|Excited to be joining the Wiggle Honda outfit in 2014|
Photo courtesy Kirsty Baxter
It was now August, and with these grand laid plans in place I started to build back up. My first race was a teams MTB race that we won, then I pulled out of my next road race, and crashed out on another attempt. I had a few weeks off and came back to win another MTB race, win a road race, then withdraw from my next two due to back pain. It was a vicious cycle. I quit work to focus on my rehab and prepare for the 2014 season. This time around... not a bad road race, then walking and pain in the next MTB race, and then two wins in a row. I was feeling fit again and went on to win a MTB tour, a road criterium and another MTB race. I was back – excuse the pun.
So the New Year rolled around quite quickly and I prepared for my first race in 2014 with the Wiggle Honda Team. I was excited and child-like about my new journey as the year kicked off, but with my first MTB race drawing closer I had a decision weighing heavy on my shoulders. In a complicated twist of events it became apparent to me that I could no longer ride for Target Trek MTB in the new season. It was tough news to break to the team and an emotional departure for me. But I thank both Target and Trek for their amazing support and killer bikes, and the team and staff for all the great memories.
|Target Trek clean sweep the teams classification at the National Championships|
Photo courtesy Russ Baker
It’s now 24hrs before I depart for the first National MTB Round in Adelaide, with no time to find my reigning National Champion Jersey! – I think it’s at Mum’s house? I will be borrowing a 2013 Scott Scale RC 29er’ off close friend Gary Lewis which I hear is a lovely bike but I’m yet to find that out. I will ride it for the first time tomorrow, donning my Moronis Bike Shop kit and when I return from Adelaide I’ll sort myself out for the 2014 MTB season and be sure to share some exciting news with you soon!