Dirt, barriers and a new lease on life…

As most of you would know, my history and results in cycling are largely road based (have a look here if you don’t!). However, over the past 15 years I have dabbled in other disciplines briefly (track, MTB and tandem cycling) but my passion for sweat, speed and strategy on the bike has always drawn me back to my roadie.

Syca-Cross Rd 1

Recently my motivation for road cycling was lacking a little and especially more so in the lead up to an expected cold and wet winter. I was in search of a new challenge or something to reignite my passion for cycling. I’d heard a little about how much fun CX was from other cyclists and was in awe of epic photos of mud, crowds and skinsuits. Then I saw Cycling Victoria and the Dirty Deeds crew were hosting women’s introductory skills sessions in the lead up to the 2013 Dirty Deeds CX series, and I jumped at the chance to find out what all the fuss was about.

Dirty Deeds Rd 1 - Brunswick Velodrome

I was overwhelmed by Stay True Racing’s most generous sponsor, Giant Bicycles Australia, providing me with the opportunity to ride a truly awesome cyclo-cross bike (TCX Advanced SL) and I was determined not to disappoint them. At every opportunity I am on my TCX practicing mounts and dismounts (not so graceful at that movement yet!), attempting to lift front and back wheels up and over obstacles, getting used to racing in small gears and constant changes in speed, direction and surfaces of the course.

NCXS Rd 4 - Sydney

A few months on and I am hooked! I have raced all the local races and even ventured north of the border to take part in Rounds 3 & 4 of the National CX Series. The CX scene in Melbourne is very strong, with Victorian women making up half the field at the recent National CX Series races and most featuring on the podium or in the top 10! Giant Sponsored Paul van de Ploeg is also dominating races and regularly featuring on the CX podium.

I am sure there will be even more roadies and MTB’ers come of the woods for the first ever opportunity to win a green and gold jersey at the upcoming National CX Championships. It will be held at Cranwell Park, Braybrook (near Maribrynong) on Saturday 10 August. I hope to see you there cheering with cowbells and beer hand-ups, if not racing!

– JM

CX Podium Syca-Cross Rd 1, April McDonough 1st, Me 2nd and Mel Anset 3rd

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