I was recently out at the Nundah Criterion Circuit (Albert Bishop Park, Brisbane) watching a friend participate in a race. This was my first time out at the track. It was a buzz of activity … an old fashioned bell rang, there was chatter about race numbers, laughter, tactical planning, announcements of sorts blaring over the microphone, music, and importantly, the sweet smell of espresso coffee wafted out from a mobile coffee van. It was fascinating! Race bikes were everywhere and came in all brands, colours and sizes. Cyclists wearing brightly coloured flashy lycra kits bearing club names darted about. I was mesmerised…until a flash of pink caught my eye…pinkkkkkkkk…so pretttttty…powder pink. Was that black or gun metal grey? Pink handlebar tape. Pink cables. Who owned this mystical pink bike? I was about to bend down to take a sneaky snap when a young woman appeared. It was as though I was shot through a worm hole and was back at school behaving like a girl with a crush…and in a girlie squeaky voice I said “Hi! Can I take a photo of your pink bike?” She replied “Sure!” I snapped the pics, you see above, and asked what was her name. “Rachel” she replied. I asked her a few questions about her bike. It was a locally designed and built bike with titanium frame, and that she wanted this bike to last her a lifetime. She told me a whole lot more…but as I am only new to this road bike caper all I could do was nod my head to signify I was listening…as the words that came out of her mouth were another language to me! I asked Rachel would she mind if I wrote a blog about her and her pink bike and would she like to share her story about her love of cycling? She provided me with her story and a link to her blog. I was completely in aw! I have only ever read and seen pictures of women with this level of cycling skill. She has an absolutely amazing talent for both mountain and road cycling and her high level of commitment and sheer determination is an example of what is possible if you put your mind to something. The outcome is unreal! I think I have discovered my new role model…
…this is how it goes…
I like bikes. Mtb bikes, road bikes, whatever – riding is fun. I know I have a problem because at current count I own 4 mountain bikes and 6 road bikes and I need them ALL!
I only really got into sport in my late 20’s, through the typical office trash talk around the BRW triathlon. Turns out I quite liked it and was good at it. I had a brief stint in sprint triathlon before going on a mountain bike ride for cross training at lysterfield in melbourne. It was so much fun I never came back to triathlon. I did a bunch of adventure racing including XPD (900km, nonstop, unsupported race), a few geoquests and so on and then moved into 24hr solo enduro riding, which is probably my pick of things to do on a bike. I’ve now had a couple of seasons on the road, mostly as a way to improve my MTB fitness.
I love riding because getting on my bike and working hard just blows everything else away. I call it feeling the machine and I guess it is my chosen form of meditation. I also love to race and I am probably a typical overachiever at heart. I’ve done ok on the road with a few masters titles and open race podiums, and I have done pretty well on the MTB. I have also made the best friends.
Most people think the enduro thing is crazy. I often get asked why I do it. For me it is really about proving determination and will. Being able to do something I didn’t think I could. It started as a goal to finish a 24hr, these days I am experienced enough that I can actually race them. The feeling you get finishing one of these is pretty amazing and gives you confidence that overlaps into your daily life. You know you can handle anything as long as you don’t quit. I think that is a great lesson.
I’d like to get another world title for 24hrs before I slow down – hoping this year in October will give me a chance!
I also want to get myself up to A on the road. I’ve had the call from the state handicapper – one more result and I can go (fingers crossed for Battle on The Border).
Next year I am lining up to race RAAM – Race Across America in June 2014. I’ve been granted qualification to make a solo attempt. I am planning on racing a tandem with Shannon Duggan because it is the hardest way you can do the race – and as long as one of you is qualified on a tandem you are in! so we are in for 3000 miles, non-stop. We are super lucky that GoPro have come onboard to get things started but we still have work to do on signing a major sponsor. Lots of work to do, on and off the bike.
In an extension of my passion (obsession) I am also starting up some bike related business. I am not really expecting to make too much money, but it will support my BIKE lifestyle 😉 First cab off the rank is bringing DannyShane cycling gear to Australia. They make some great looking jerseys and knicks, but the key thing is they are made from bamboo. If you havent had a piece of bamboo clothing you are missing out – and it is ecofriendly fabric thing too so I have good karma on the trails. 🙂
To view Rachels blog go to: http://sockpuppetracing.blogspot.com.au/