Summer is sneaking up on us here at MTB Girls Ride – We can’t wait for some Summer Bike action! Whether that is Gondola Laps at the infamous Nevis Range, home to the World Cup Since 2002 or long mountain days in the Alps we know that it is going epic! We will be documenting out rides and trip throughout the Summer giving you some key tip of where to visit along the way, how to get there and what the trails are like! We will also be sharing with you all the must have kits for all our rides & trip.
We also want to hear from you this Summer! Share your stories with us on Social Media using #MTBGIRLSRIDE or send your images over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll try and share as many stories and images as possible! Our first post will be dropping tomorrow Home of the World Cup – find it on our homepage http://www.mtbgirlsride.co.uk.
The UCI have changed the rules once again and this time they have reduced the number of women that can make it through to the world cup finals. Previously 20 women were able to proceed through to the finals from qualifying this has now been reduced to 15. The junior field has also been culled with the number of Jr riders making it through to the main event being cut from 30 – 20.
Could this be a deterrent? Resulting in less women and junior riders attending world cups if they have less chance of getting through to the finals? Therefore preventing potential young & new talent entering the sport.
The UCI have stated that they have introduced these changes in order to “protect the integrity of the course and therefor improve the quality of competition”. However I can’t help but think this change won’t be anything but negative!
Whats your views?
The Solstice is the new womens specific backpack from CamelBak new MTB low rider range. It’s designed to move your load down towards your waist. This change gives you a lower centre of gravity and a wider range of movements so essentially it should be easier to manoeuvre when you are descending!
I used to often take large backpacks out on rides but often find that because I had a bigger space I would just fill it with unnecessary stuff. So when I first saw the Solstice on first impressions I thought it looked far too small and was sceptical about being able to fit all the essentials into the backpack, but the bag has ample storage and a place for everything:
The Backpack design means that the majority of the weight is focused on your waist rather than back, this aids stability during descents. The focus of the weight on your back is also design to reduce the strain on your back therefore preventing lower back pain from occurring.
I couldn’t believe how much comfier this backpack felt in comparison to other hydration packs I have used in the past. During descents it was extremely stable and at times almost unnoticeable. I often develop a sore lower back pain if I ride with a backpack on for long periods of time, but the smart design of the soltice definitely helped combat this. With all the benefits of this bag it is definitely my go to bag now for a trail rides and even on a hike. Retailing from as low as £60 this backpack is an absolute bargain.
This backpack was provided FOC from Zyro Distribution for product testing.
Safe, Secure & Stylish
Safety is key with the Bluegrass Brave helmet. The design and construction of this helmet has been carefully developed to ensure optimum protection for your head. The Brave helmet has the capability to withstand double the impact of most helmets this is because it is the first helmet on the market that uses D30 inserts. The D30 inserts are the result of highly innovative technology. They are made from a tactile polymer material which is composed of intelligent molecules. These are free flowing when at rest but stiffen on impact.
It is the smallest features of this helmet from the air vents on chin guard which prevent over heating on the warmest days to the easy use of goggles with the helmet. Giving maximum field of vision.
For me the comfort level of a helmet is crucial. Most of the time you have a helmet on for a significant amount of time and even after long days of chairlift and gondola runs this helmet still felt extremely comfortable. The padding in the helmet was perfectly position for optimum comfort. For this Bluegrass used an anti-allergenic fabric varying the thickness according to the position in the helmet. The interior pads are also removable and can be hand washed.
No hearing loss – Definitely my favourite feature of this helmet. Bluegrass recognise that an accident is more likely with loss of hearing. This often isn’t recognised by many brands. Bluegrass have taken steps in the development of this helmet to ensure minimum hearing loss.
Overall I loved this Helmet. I wore it consistently for over a month when I was over in the Alps this Summer and never once did I find the helmet uncomfortable, it is exceptionally light for all the features that are built into it. The helmet is also available in 4 vibrant colour combinations.
The helmet is available in 4 sizes, XS/S, M & L/XL.
Weight: 1015g (XS/S), 1035g (M), 1085g (L/XL
This helmet is available in 4 different colours
Helmet is available for £153 from Chain Reaction Cycles
Bluegrass Brave Helmet was provided FOC from Bluegrass Eagle
I’ve spent the last month trying out the new trail helmet from MET. The Lupo helmet is new to the MET/Bluegrass trail range for 2016. The helmet is claimed to be the perfect balance between aggressive styling, ventilation and comfort. The helmet weighs in at only 270 Grams making it one of the lightest all-mountain helmets in the market. Making it the ideal choice for long days on the saddle.
It is clear that METs main design objective for this helmet was to provide maximum comfort & protection to the rider. The helmet has multiple features that are designed to keep comfort levels high! Even down to the anti pinch buckle on the chin strap.
With 20 vents in the helmet your not going to over heat with this helmet on. The large centred vents provide that much needed ventilation when you are working hard on the bike.
The Safe-T Advanced Fit System was easy to adjust and really made the helmet feel fitted and secure to my head. The contact points have a larger cradle surface which also significantly increases the comfort of the helmet.
The Gel 02 pads at the front of the helmet are designed to keep your head cooler on those long trail riders where you are pushing the limits. The gel pads also don’t absorb perspiration like the regular foam pads in most helmets. The only downside of the pads is that when the helmet is on a tight setting the pads press into your forehead and can become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for a significant period of time. The theme of light, breathable & strong also continued onto the Kevlar straps.
The helmet overall has a great secure, light feel and is extremely comfortable. It comes in 5 dynamic colours and in 2 sizes M & L.
The helmet fits extremely well, it provides increased protection without any increased weight. The only niggles I had with this helmet was that the Gel O2 pads at the front of the helmet could become slightly uncomfortable after wearing the helmet for long period of time.
SKINS WATERPROOF ISN’T IT?????
MTB Girls Ride just hosted our first girls group ride last weekend! Organising a group uplift day in Fort William was always going to be risky… as most people that are familiar with Fort William will know the weather is less than predictable!
After a good few weeks of decent weather I was optimistic that they weather was going to play ball! Sadly my optimism was short lived when I looked at the forecast on Friday afternoon! The word on the street was heavy showers and thunderstorms but the wind seemed okay so the ride would go on regardless of the rain…after all we live in Scotland and if we cancelled things when it rained we would never do anything.
I headed up to Nevis Range about 9am, half expecting to be the only person there. The rain was pelting down and on the whole it was just pretty grim! We had arranged to meet in the cafe and by 10am 17 girls had shown up! We headed out of the cafe ready to embrace whatever the weather had to throw at us.
We loaded the bikes on the Gondola and off we went. We’d got nearly three quarters of the way up the gondola and the words “well at least it’s not windy” had just escaped my lips when we looked out the gondola window and seen out bikes all fall to the side.The sudden panic stricken look across the girls faces was clear!
We all had a great sigh of relief as we pulled into the top Gondola station and the bikes well still hanging on. But the weather at the top of the Gondola was even more grim! I stepped outside the top station and nearly took a flight over Fort William. We decided to take shelter in the top gondola station cafe. After about 20 minutes we decided the worst of the weather had passed and to head out.
This was the first time that many of the group had ridden the red giant at Nevis Range! The track isn’t an easier red in fact it is very hard for a red but all the girls gave it a go and I would even go as far as saying they seemed to enjoy it…! At the bottom of the first run we divided up with some of the group opting to head into the woods and the rest opting for more gondola laps. Entering into round 2 of us V’s the weather.
This time at the top station the rain had stopped the sun was out and this was how the day continued. Sunshine, winds…but all round good times.
It was so great to see so many girls stoked about riding their bikes. The whole feel of the day was awesome and we can’t wait to hold the next one!
Keep an eye out for the next group ride dates coming soon!
“The UCI has decided to take up your idea to pay tribute to Stevie Smith. Together with Red Bull and our event’s partners we’ve decided to plan a memorial run in Fort William, UK, early June. Stevie’s passing away has been a shock for the Mountain Bike community and beyond. This dedicated moment will provide a fitting honour to “The Chainsaw” and will also celebrate his contribution to the MTB discipline. Thank you again for providing the initial impetus for this memorial. More details will follow.” – UCI
“Some good news comes out of such a sad time: happy to see there will be a memorial run. Thanks for listening to the community, UCI, and glad I could be a part of that voice. #LongLiveChainsaw” – Dominic Wrapson AKA Hwulex
It isn’t uncommon to be patriotic to your home town. But it makes it a little easier when you live somewhere as awesome as I do. Fort William is known to most as the home of British Downhill, but this small highland town has so much more to offer than just a Downhill track. Sure the track is heaps of fun and brings in thousands of visitors every year but the riding is so much more diverse than just that one track. This was showcased at the 2nd round of the Scottish Enduro Series a few weeks back, the race had a perfect balance of bike park to natural riding.
The 2nd round of the SES was my very first Enduro race so I thought I’d ease myself in and enter the lite category. I came away from the weekend with two thing.. 2nd place and an enduro convert. I now see the appeal of this discipline. You don’t have the same waiting around that you do in Downhill, your constantly on your bike having fun and after all that’s why we all ride to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Despite this I still have a love for big bikes and chairlifts which I can’t see changing anytime soon.
My favourite time of the year in Fort William is normally around late April till the end of June. The weather is usually nice, the midges are still in hibernation and most of the visitors still think we are snowed in so the place isn’t overly busy.
As I sit writing this outside in 22 degree heat I think it is a fair statement to say that winter is behind us (despite last weeks snow). I must admit I surprisingly enjoyed winter this year, there wasn’t too much snow at ground/trail level so I got out on my bike heaps and there was still enough up top to get some good snowboarding nailed. I am however glad to see the back of winter now. It was fun while it lasted but now it’s Bike, BBQ & Beach time. Summer plans are nearly finalised, we’re heading to France, Italy & Switzerland in June and then over to Slovenia in August. We also have our first Girls group ride in just under 2 weeks in Fort William. It’s a great chance to ride with like minded girls (at a discounted rate). Check it out here.
This past weekend was the first weekend of Gondola uplift in Fort William, which to me signifies the start of Summer, the sun even made an appearance on the Sunday too.
The weather over the last few days has been phenomenal in Fort William the sun has been shining so brightly that it woke me up at 5am this morning and I decided to head out on a pre work bike ride (I might be a sleep at my desk by lunch time). Long may Summer continue.
Until Next Time 🙂 x
Fort William DH tracks opens tomorrow for the Summer!
Specialized bicycles will be on hand all weekend with demos & ride outs! Even offering people the chance to try out the Öhlins equipped Demo 8 Carbon.
Saturday ride out will take place at 10am & 2pm. Sundays ride out with Specialized rider Hannah Barnes is at 10am.
It is hard to believe that we are into the month of May already. The 2016 season is already well underway but there is still heaps to look forward too. Here is a round up of what’s happened so far.
The world cup season is well underway! I can’t believe we have already had the 2nd round.
Local Aussie Tracey Hannah put a stop to a British 1,2 &3 grabbing 2nd place and her best result since Wyndham 2012, Rachel Atherton continued to dominated securing the win by a huge 7 second gap.
There wasn’t any major surprises in this race. We had previously predicted that Tracey Hannah would do well on her home track and that Atherton would continue her domination. Carpenter however seems to be struggling to get out of the start gates, after dominating back in 2014 she has never quite got that flow back.
Rd 3 sees the World Cup to head back to the old favourite that is Fort William on the 4th/5th June!
Full Womens Results
Lourdes was never going to be an easy race, but the continual rain for days before certainly didn’t help. The three British riders, Manon Carpenter, Rachel Atherton & Tahnee Seagrave looked like the top contenders right from the off and with Myriam Nicole out with her 3rd broken collar bone and Raggot retired the field was looking a little more bare than usual. All the French hopes were on 2012 World Champion Morgane Charre.
Australian National Champion Tracey Hannah was looking pretty fierce on track despite having a nasty crash in Lourdes last year. She is one to watch out for this season, after a few seasons of lacking in form and being riddled with injury it is clear she is thirsty to be back on that top step.
Switching the snowy French Alps this winter for the muddy Welsh countryside has clearly paid off for former junior World Champion Tahnee Seagrave after she smashed qualifying by almost 5 second, even with a crash. But on the day no one could hold off Rachel Atherton as her good form from 2015 looks set to continue into the 2016 season. But Seagrave was hot on her tail with a gap of less than 5 seconds between the two.
Surely this is the year Seagrave will get that first World Cup Win.
The next round is just under two weeks away in Cairn Australia and my prediction is that Hannah is going to pull something special out of the bag for her home round, she is clearly hungry for a win!
Absolutely delighted to announce that MTB Girls Ride will be ambassadors of Qloom Bikewear in 2016! The surf inspired range is some of the best kit that I have ever worn so I’m super stoked to have been asked to be an ambassador for such an awesome brand!! 2016 is going to be one hell of a year! Look out for our awesome Qloom/MTB Girls Rides group rides throughout the summer.
Our first group ride is happening next month, it will be hosted at the mountain bike mecca that is Fort William! So come along and get involved! It is going to be and awesome day!
What a weekend of racing! With the 2nd round of the EWS taking place in Argentina & the 1st round of the BDS being held at AE Forest. I don’t think there could have been anymore contrast between the condition these two lots of riders faced over the weekend.
Unfortunately the stereotypical Scottish weather prevailed and the riders were subject to rain & mud for the entire weekend. Still looked like a fantastic weekend of racing. With Rachel Atherton missing it is hard to say if these result are an indication of the world cup season that is kicking off next week in Lourdes.
Elite Womens Top 3
Women Top 3
Junior Womens Top 3
Conditions on the other side of the globe couldn’t be more of a contrast to the delights offered in Scotland, the sun was out and the dust was thick!
Womens Top 3:
The first round of the EWS is over and the season has well and truly kicked off!
Sounds like it was an awesome race! Check out the results below!
Top 3 Women
1. Cecile Ravanel
2. Anneke Beerten
3. Isabeau Courdurier
Press Release Courtesy of Ibis Cycles.
In July of 2015, At the Samoens Enduro World Series race, the winningest mountain biker in history, Anne-Caroline Chausson, suddenly quit the race and disappeared from view.
Anne had not been feeling right for quite some time, and had an MRI before the race. When she returned to the doctor the following week, she found out that she had Ovarian cancer.
After a long fall and winter of numerous operations, surprises and chemo, ACC is on the road to recovery, and hopes to be racing again this summer.
We caught up with Anne at her home in Southern France in mid-March, 2016. Here is her story.
Hello Anne-Caro, happy to know that the hard part is behind you.
Yes, I had my last appointment in late February. As with every appointment, waiting for the results was unbearable. And I was really happy to know that all was well after seven difficult months.
How did you find out you had cancer?
During the winter 2014/2015, sometimes I had painful stomach aches. I went through periods of feeling great and periods of fatigue. But I was not too worried about it. In late March, I went to New Zealand and I won the first round of the Enduro World Series. The return was difficult and I was slow to recover. In late May, during the round in Scotland, I was tired, I had a stomach ache and I was not feeling well. When I returned home to France, I could not recover. I thought it was because of overtraining. Then I decided to do a blood test. We saw that there was a lack of red blood cells, which is quite surprising for an athlete. Then in late June, I raced the Coupe de France of Enduro in Millau. I won, but I was very very tired. When back, I did an MRI. Waiting for the results, I went to the EWS mid-July in Samoens. I left because I was not really good. Then I got the MRI results. At the hospital, the doctor warned me that I had a tumor to be removed. But nothing more.
In late July, the tumor has grown rapidly. It was decided to operate in early August. During the surgery, they saw that it was more serious than it appeared. We decided for a second operation in early September, just to give me time to recover from the 1st. I started chemotherapy in early October. The day after the chemo, Tom (Tom Morgan from Ibis) came to see me. We went for a walk towards the Dentelles of Montmirail. I was tired, I had back pain and trouble to breath. I thought it was because of the chemo. I spent 10 days feeling like this. One day I went to the mountains. There, I could not breathe. We went to the emergency room and I was diagnosed with a pneumothorax [collapsed lung], which was not caused by the chemo. It was the icing on the cake!
Have you had already one?
Yes, two years ago at the opening of the World Cup in Punta Ala. I fell and broke 3 ribs.
What happened next ?
I had a 3rd operation! The operation was not the most painful, it was a pleural talcage to repair the pneumothorax. After 3 operations, I had lost a lot of weight and I was down in the dumps. I had to go through a 6 chemo program, every 3 weeks. The last sessions were spaced out a little more, because my red cells were not high enough. So, they lasted from early October to late January. They call these preventive chemo. Late January, my results were good. Everything that could have been affected by the bad cells was removed. Today, we can’t say I’m healed, because cancer is complicated. But everything was done so that it goes well. Above all, it was treated in time and hit nothing else. The important thing they told me, is to listen to my body. If I’m tired, I rest. And if I’m OK, I do what I want to do.
Did you do some activities during your treatment?
When you are opened in two, it takes few weeks to recover, walk or move normally. Treatment is heavy. This is not a small injury or a little weak moment. Chemo knocks you down. When you are tired, you don’t need to add tiredness in your body. I tried cycling, not for training, but to clear my mind. I did a lot of skiing, a little motorcycle and electric bike. For many people, what I did was a bit too much. For me, it was just a way to clear my mind and to think about something else.
With your competitive spirit, it should not be easy to go slow.
I had no choice, I had to rest! I want to do lots of things, but I have to live at the rhythm of my body. For once, I’m listening to my body! The goal is not to tire it more, but restart it gently.
What’s the latest with your pneumothorax?
I still have pain in breathing. I do a lot of rehabilitation. I think my lung capacity decreased a little bit. So, it will take time to re-educate all this.
How do you see the future?
I need a goal, because I’ve always lived this way. Today, what will help me is telling myself that I will return to race. Without cutting corners. It will allow me to re-mobilize and be back in shape faster. I’m sure about that. I hope to start doing smaller competitions in June, without specific performance goals.
And you told us about another goal.
My real goal is to be able to finish a big enduro race by August. I want to go to Whistler on August 13 and finish the race. If I would race downhill or cross country, I think it would be really easy to get to the finish. On the other hand, I’m not able to spend 6 hours on a bike for 3-4 days for now, honestly speaking. But this goal will allow me to motivate me, after seven months without making real sport.
See you in Whistler?
You can count on that !
Both the current Queen of Crankworx Anneke Beerten & the former Queen Casey Brown both got off to an awesome at the opening day of Rotorua Crankworx.
Casey took the win at the Official Oceania Whip Off Championships
Women’s Whip-Off Results presented by Spank:
1. Casey Brown (CAN)
2. Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI)
3. Karen Pastenor
The current Queen Anneke Beerten took the win at the Giant Toad Enduro beating a pretty pack NZ endure field.
Women’s results, Giant Toa Enduro:
1. Anneke Beerten (NED) 00:40:38
2. Rae Morrison (NZL) 00:40:52
3. Annika Smail (NZL) 00:41:14
4. Vanessa Quin (NZL) 00:43:01
5. Katie O’Neill (NZL) 00:43:28
These ION Dude gloves dropped through our letter box recently so we thought we had better give them a try. The gloves aren’t female specific but I didn’t find that to be a problem. Made with a mixture of light and durable materials the gloves are extremely well fitted & comfortable. I was wearing a size Small, I also have really small fingers & they fitted really well.
The gloves come in 5 different sizes & 3 different colours. They definitely aren’t an all year round glove but they are perfect for summer riding. They’re completely animal lover friendly, with no real leather insight, instead they use a high-quality synthetic leather that is in fact three times stronger than real leather. There is also a silicone_print on the fore & middle finger for precise and safe brake lever control (this was my favourite feature of the gloves). The upper material on the gloves is thin and stretchy enough that the heat can escape yet still durable enough not to rip or fray at the smallest amount of contact.
Overall I loved these gloves, they look good & feel good!
The gloves retail at £19.99
This product was provided to us FOC from ION Bike UK
Last weekend saw us make the journey down from Fort William to AE forest for the NDH TT. I am pretty much as novice to racing, but I have really enjoyed the races that I have done and can’t wait to get a few more under my belt during the 2016 season.
We arrived at AE bright and early to find the car park almost full, I had no idea this was set to be such a busy event. After a mad dash trying to find get Louise entered, find a cash machine & then a full face helmet for her we were warmed up and ready to go.
So we built our bikes up and off we went, ready for some torturous hill climbs to the top of the track to start practice for the day… when we ask a girl at the bottom which way to cycle up she looked at is like we were crazy (and rightly so) and quickly pointed out to us that we could cycle up if we wanted but she would’t recommend it. This was a push up track no cycling up required.
The push up ran parallel to the track so it made for some good viewing of the other riders coming down. The track looked fast, not very technical but definitely speedy. There were loads of girls out in force for this race, there must have been well over 20 of us there, in a field of 120 which is pretty fantastic. The girls were all looking supper fast on track and it was clear that the racing was going to be eventful.
We managed to get 3 practice runs in before stoping to refuel and heading back up to the top of the track for the first race run. Race runs always seem like a bit of a blur to me I don’t really take in anything around me. However after reaching the bottom I did know I wasn’t happy with my run, there were two parts of the track that I just could focus on and kept going off ( or nearly going off) the track .
After an hour, but what actually felt like no time at all we headed off back up the hill for our final race run, this run definitely felt looser, not sure about faster though.
Overall I wasn’t happy with how I was riding on the day and I knew that I could of rode a lot better. But it was an excellent day riding with some friends from home and friends from afar and the sun shawn for the entire day ( Not something that is common in Scotland in February ). Overall a great weekend of riding my bike somewhere new :)!
Thanks NDH for an awesome weekend! Can’t wait for more races in the next few months.
In the market for a new DH bike? Well it might be worth checking out Specialized latest news. Specialized have announce that they will be adding two new additions to their demo family. The new frame will retain the same distinctive look as the carbon version. The Aluminium frame is considerably cheaper than the carbon alternative, coming in at just $2400 for the frame in comparison to $4500. The cheaper of the two whole bike builds comes in at $4000 with the second build coming in at $6000.
ION the Brand
ION Bikewear is definitely unique in comparison to most other bikewear out there. Their lines are inspired from surfing, which is where there roots lie. Initially established in 2004 they focused on wetsuits & neoprene products for the international windsurf, kitesurf, surf, SUP and wakeboard scene. ION’s unique combination of high quality products wrapped in a progressive style and design found fans all over the world – becoming the global market leader for wetsuits and harnesses in the wind- and kitesurf world.
Then in late 2012, ION took the same approach to the slopes, launching a separate bike division with functional cycling gear, clothing, accessories, gloves and protection.
I absolutely hate layers! To me the worst thing about Winter riding in the UK is that you have to wear a load of layers. It makes me feel really restricted & uncomfortable when I am riding. I have been waiting years for a solution for this and it looks like ION may have gone and cracked it.
I have spent the last few weeks testing this ION Womens Aerial Insulation Jacket. As the name suggests the jacket is designed to keep you warm, the Primaloft Silver lining in the jacket is designed to keep you warm on even the coldest of days. The jacket also has Thermo Mapping which prevents you from over heating.
The front of the jacket has a soft durable water repellency shell that will keep you dry during light rain shower, the back of the jacket has Technostretch fleece to let heat escape. The fleece like material on the back of the jacket doesn’t have any water repellency in it so I wouldn’t recommend this jacket for rainy days, but it will offer enough protection if you get caught in a small rain shower.
After previously wearing ION clothing I had high expectations for this jacket. I have always found their kit to be of high quality and durable in all conditions and I wasn’t wrong. ION once again met my expectations, the jacket is extremely comfortable, it is non restricting which makes it easy to move around the bike. The primaloft silver lining & the thermo mapping in the jacket are ideal for keeping your body at the right temperature, preventing you from becoming to hot or too cold, therefore allowing you to conserve energy on your ride.
One of the great feature that comes with a lot of ION clothing these days is the Clear_Optics: integrated lens cleaning fabric helping you to keep your lenses clear on even the muddiest of days. The jacket also has two front zipped pockets reducing your chances of losing stuff during your ride.
This jacket isn’t just great for a day on the trails, it is also excellent for days on the hills hiking or even going out for a run. I have used this jacket now for a range of different activities and works fantastically for them all. The jacket retails for around £147.99, which is fairly reasonable for the quality & diversity of the jacket. The jacket is reasonably light and will easily fit into most backpacks.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L & XL
ION is about challenging yourself, experiencing nature and feeling its force. Therefore ION develops gear that is not only smart and innovative, but also transforms this passion into an unique design.
This product was provided to MTB Girls Ride F.O.C from ION UK.