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Race Report – Southern Enduro, Queen Elizabeth Country Park – Amy Jones

amy-jones-round-1-southern-enduro-2019-flow-mtb

Intentional Elite at Southern Enduro

Why am I doing this? Yet again, I asked myself the same question as I popped the paracetamol to numb the throbbing headache caused by my daughter’s 5th birthday party on Saturday, and set my alarm for 3.30am. Last year I had the pleasure of racing a few of the Southern Enduro events held at QECP (Queen Elizabeth Country Park) in Hampshire. At that time, my brother, Matt, was living in Surrey and it made sense to catch up occasionally and race together. Matt now lives in Devon and has a baby so I was doing this one alone, and I’d decided to enter Elite. Whaaaat?!!!

Having won the Masters category at last years first round, 2017’s Mashup and the Southern Enduro Champs in Exmoor, I felt that it was time to step up and give Elite a go. However, I was bricking it. I felt like I was punching way above my weight. Those girls are rapid and I was concerned that they’d absolutely annihilate me. In addition to this, Matt is my wing man, my practice buddy, the guy who knows whether I’m capable of a feature or not and my line choice guru (unless Rob’s there to throw in some ridiculous “high line” or two). How was I going to fare without him?

Leading up to the event, it looked like there were to be only three in our category – a guaranteed podium, and I was willing to lay heavy bets on my finish position given I was racing Kate Wakely and local legend, Francie Arthur. So actually, pressure off. Or so you’d think!

I suffer huge nerves at the start of each event, at the start of every stage, whilst handing in my chip and, as it turns out, waiting for my podium! Quite often, this makes me appear quite aggressive and anti social. I received a message from my fellow South West race buddy, Mollie Leverton whilst I was driving up; “Just ride like you always do, don’t do anything different, and remember to be nice to people!” It made me chuckle and inspired me to talk to the people in the car parked behind me. Result eh Mol?!

Practice started terribly. Stage one involved a lot of pedaling (eugh) and flat corners (double eugh) in the top section, with a horrible pop over a big root onto lots of roots before a rooty uphill pedal! How the hell do you ride that?! The fire road crossing seemed to sap all speed before two loose, slippy corners led to an off camber straight and the road gap that Matt made me go off in last year’s race. I hesitated in practice but hit it and surprised myself by clearing it. My jump technique still needs work but I have obviously come on loads in the last year. Looking at it, I’m not sure how I cased it to flat before? Well, actually, bum buzzing the tyre is a pretty good way to drop your bike like a stone! From there, a long, flat out pedal saw the finish line.

After I’d done all 4 stages in practice, I went back up to try to get my head round the top section of this stage. It still felt horrid but I had a bit more of an idea of how to ride it (thanks to a pep talk from a Marshall!) Look forward and keep the speed! It helped a lot that the ground had dried a lot since practice opened at 9am. My race run went well but I had an unfortunate head on with a stump that stopped me dead. I stayed on but it cost me precious time.

Back up the main fire road climb to stage two that started in much the same way….pedaling and flat corners. However, I seemed to get a bit more flow on this and launched myself over the gap before the fire road. The tabletop after had me nosediving throughout practice but felt good in the race. Over the fire road, an short, sharp, uphill pedal sapped everyone’s speed before some switchbacks then led you to a very (a mile at least?!) long, slightly uphill pedal and over a small kicker that had a gap behind it early on but thankfully someone filled it in with sticks by the end of practice! A few corners then set you up for a straight line sprint finish.

Stage three was a bit more like it but still had a pedal out to a series of switchbacks before descending into a long off camber traverse that despite the odd bit of pumping, I still had to pedal, all the time looking out for sniper roots to catch me. A high line round a tree then led to a set of steep switchbacks and into the finish line.

These, in my race run, did not feel smooth as I kept grabbing the back brake and slamming my rear wheel into the catch berm instead of using the berm to hold speed. However, some very nice spectators said I looked quick which is nice to hear!

The fourth and final stage was the best of the day. A short pedal off the start line was about all you had to do. This trail had it all; kickers, bermed corners, a gap jump, a sweet (but rooty) series of drops and a rooty traverse that you could pump. It flowed from start to finish and was the perfect way to end the day.

Normally I try to get round as fast as I can to get the race over and done with but today I took my time. I stopped for a drink and a chat with my mates (who were cheering the road gap on stage one) on every lap. Part of this was me being sociable, soaking up the amazing atmosphere that Southern Enduro always seem to create, but the other reason was that I’d given every stage my absolute all; I couldn’t physically get up that hill again without stopping to catch my breath! By my fourth climb, I finally met up with Nicky again, the girl that had parked behind me. Along with her friend Adele, we chatted up the final climb. I was enjoying my race so much that I was going up to stage 4, not wanting the race to end. A novel feeling for me!


1st Kate Wakely, 2nd Francie Arthur, 3rd Amy Jones
Photo Russell Wheelan

Post race, it was great to chat with all the girls. As much as I love racing with Matt, I’m always rushing off to go and catch his runs so miss the post race debrief! I was pleased to come in in third place, 37 seconds behind Kate and 20 seconds behind Francie, which, having seen them ride, I’m absolutely stoked about! I would have won the Masters class by 36 seconds and finished third overall. Perhaps I should be racing Elite, it certainly makes me push harder!

Yet again, thanks to Alex at Trailmunki for sorting my bike pre race, to Scott and all the crew for putting on a great event (the marshals especially as they’re all so jolly!), to Natural Playground for the prize and to Russell Wheelan, who I met at this event last year, for the offer of a roast and an overnight stop should I want it! My 18 hour day will catch up with me, I’m sure!

Amy Jones

Thanks to our 2019 sponsors DHaRCO clothing, 100% UK, Glower Clothing, FINDRA, MTB Instruction, Corley Cycles.

Main photo Steve Baxter

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Race Report – Welsh Enduro Series, Round 1, Foel Gasnach – Heather Kay

heather kay round 1 welsh enduro series 2019

When people talk about racing they talk about fitness, line choice, and technique but rarely do you hear people talking about the mental side of racing. I remember a few years ago, I was racing most weekends and I was loving it but one weekend I turned up at my local for the SW Champs race and I just wasn’t in it: not only was my body tired but my brain was tired too. The race organiser, Chaz Lamely, said to me “If your body is tired you can race through it, but if your mind is tired there is nothing you can do”.
 
My brain wasn’t tired last weekend but my heart wasn’t in it. I’d tried to convince myself that once I got there and got on the bike I’d be fine and I’d love it, but after my first 2 practice runs I was holding back the tears, trying to work out how to find my mojo again. We only managed one more practice run which meant we would have to race stage 4 blind, and so we headed off for lunch.
 
I put some chilled music on, sat in the sun and tucked in. It was cool chatting with friends and soon we were off to go racing.

Stage 1: Despite (or may be because of) being determined to make the most of it I managed to wrap myself around a tree and have a bit of a sit down. Stage 2: Trying to let experience get me through it, just focus on each stage and forget about the rest. But managed to connect with another tree and bend my levers back. I could go on, but basically it was a lot of the same for the rest of the day, I thought back to what Chaz had said and knew it was true. No matter how hard you try if your mind isn’t in it there’s nothing you can do. So now I need to look forward to round 2, try to find my mojo in the meantime and make something of this season!

Heather Kay, Flow MTB rider

Photo: Doc Ward

Thanks to our 2019 sponsors DHaRCO clothing100% UKGlower ClothingFINDRA, MTB Instruction, Corley Cycles.

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Race Report – Pearce Dowhill Series, Round 1, Bringewood – Rebecca Smith

Race Report - Pearce Dowhill Series, Round 1, Bringewood - Rebecca Smith

2019 season is go! Slime mud and trees collide to make a fun fast race (I might have collided with them too shhhh)

It seems like only a few weeks ago that I tidied away my kit from the last race of 2018 but already I was scurrying around my garage looking for all the things I needed for the first race of this year. As the pile of kit grew higher the weather forecast got better, that couldn’t be right surely?

I loaded my car in the sunshine, trying to shoehorn my entire house in to my tiny car and set off for Bringewood and Pearce series round one. Somehow I have never raced Bringewood before, normally due to breaking something shortly before it so I was really excited to finally have the opportunity and to get there with no broken bones!

A track walk revealed that some sections were dusty and fast but some sections were a weird greasy mud that looked like it should be tacky but moved like slime under your feet. You could stand on it and watch it ooze to the side as you sank down in to it but it weirdly didn’t stick. All it needed was a garish fluorescent color and you could make any kid smile with a tub of it!

Practice kicked off on Saturday morning and with it came the usual mix of excitement and nerves. I admired my beautiful new shiny helmet and hoped for a good day. As I wondered to the uplift queue I made slow progress due to the number of people to hug, chat and catch up with. Pearce races are like one giant family and with a big grin and a feeling of contentment I knew today was going to be a good day.

It was just like old times practicing with Amanda, sliding round corners and whooping down the track. That weird slime claimed me and sent me off into the bushes. As I tried and failed to climb back up the slime on to the track an increasing number of riders joined me in the bushes and we all slimed around together until the marshal red flagged the track helping us all climb back out haha.

The uplift banter flowed, my face hurt from smiling so much and the track was riding well if you discounted the slimy section but even that was fun. I hadn’t done as much riding as I hoped over the off season due to a number of injuries that kept me off my bike. A couple of uplifts recently had seen me frustrated as I tried and failed to ride tracks I could normally do and did large sections on my face, hence the new helmet. Practice was a huge relief as my skill suddenly kicked back in after the few weeks of frantic practice and although I wasn’t up to speed, I was enjoying the track and having the fun I had hoped for. I finally felt like I could ride a bike and boy was she riding well after some much needed love from Sprung.

At the end of Saturday practice I was really happy with how the day had gone. I knew I was off the pace but I was riding like my old self again and enjoying every second. Since the goal for this race was to get back in to the swing of racing, enjoy myself and focus on lines and skills rather than results it was shaping up to be exactly what I hoped.

Race day dawned sunny with a cool bite to the air that promised a scorcher of a day once it got going. I pulled on my race kit and set off for a couple of fun practice laps feeling a bit self-conscious of my sleeve given my current riding skill haha. I did a perfect 180 slide to ass down the track, fully committed with hands and feet still perfectly on the bike as I slid lying sideways in a cloud of dust much to the amusement of the spectators.

The nerves set in as I sorted kit for the race and set off for the uplift queue again. We got to the top, everyone was in fine spirits and then the queue stopped moving. A red flag left us sat in the sun for 45 minutes which would have been pleasant if the breeze wasn’t so chilly. Almost every race last year had a huge wait due to red flags so I had learned how to deal with the anti-climax and then sudden adrenaline surge when racing finally started again but it is still far from my favorite way to start a race. Trying to warm up my cold limbs the racers got back on track and finally it was my turn.

I set off for a calm and collected run but it soon turned a bit rowdy as I barely stayed on track through the slime, teetering on the edge for a while before hauling it back on track. It went downhill from there as I clipped a couple of trees and made the spectators laugh by talking to the trees, crazy lady!

I was sitting in 9th with a time that I was happy with. I knew I could go faster if I could clean it up as trees are not the fastest line but given my off season I was chuffed to not be too far off the pace after all. The only problem I could see was that my second run is normally more ragged than my first and given my first run I didn’t think that left anywhere to go other than the floor…

It started to get a bit dark as racing ran further behind due to red flags. Gaps shortened to 20 seconds between riders in an attempt to get the last racers down before they needed lights to get through the woods. It felt like we had to wait for ages and then we had another delay at the top of the hill before we finally got on track for our last race runs.

The headwind had increased and I just couldn’t get going in the top section of track. I pushed it a bit harder and yep, you guessed it, got a bit too rowdy making friends with more trees. The bottom of my run was smoother and I crossed the line a little faster than my first run but dropped in to 10th as the whole field moved positions.

I might have finished in 10th but I was really happy with my time and how I rode. The best part was that I enjoyed the entire weekend and left feeling really positive. I hit my goals and felt ready for the season to kick in properly in a few weeks with the first national. I’ve still got some way to go to get back on pace but that will come now I can actually stay on my bike…

All the prep work I have done in the gym and with my diet has paid off, I felt strong and well fuelled despite being a bit out of race practice. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings!

Rebecca Smith, Flow MTB rider

Thanks to our 2019 sponsors DHaRCO clothing100% UKGlower ClothingFINDRA, MTB Instruction, Corley Cycles.

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Race Report – Kernow Enduro, Mount Edgcumbe – Amy Jones

amy jones flow mtb Edge cycles Kernow Enduro Mount edgcumbe

Kernow or No?

Like buses, we go years without a local Enduro and then two turn up at once! (Three if you count the entry for Bude going live next week!)

Following on from last weeks four stage, four season Enduro near Exeter, we were blessed today with glorious sunshine and amazing views on the Rame Peninsula, just the right side of the River Tamar! Organised by Adam Bowden of Edge Cycles, (previously of Gravity Project fame), you couldn’t ask for a better venue on a blue sky day like today.  And despite an air of occasional chaos, (the start for one!) Adam’s races always take on a relaxed atmosphere that lead to the most awesome of days out on the bikes.  Aimed to cater for all abilities, the trails may not be the most technical but they are by no means easy to ride.

I’m not gonna lie, despite my XC background, I really don’t like pedaling! I’m not sure if I mentioned this whilst scoping out the stages with my husband; Whippet and Russell; a buddy made from previous races, during practice, but following our first lap, they were very reluctant to come with me on the second!

My second practice lap definitely gave me more flow through the sections, enough that I actually enjoyed it. I found some lines that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise (thanks Georgina) and I felt like I may actually be able to race it instead of muddle through it.

Then cue the race head! Stage one was the pedaliest of stages and my absolute nemesis in practice. With a few flat corners (hate them) to start you off, an uphill sprint (ha!), a traverse to pick up speed and then an even worse uphill pedal (definitely not a sprint in my case) before traversing towards a set of switchback corners, with a little uphill nip in among them. A drop off a bank directly onto the fire road killed your speed before a sprint to the tape. Despite addressing my initial anger towards this stage during my second practice run, I did not hit the lines I’d hoped to prior to the uphill sprint sections during the race, making this a very frustrating and exhausting exercise. The joy was in the completion though and onto stage 2 I…..pushed!

Stage 2 was essentially the original track we’d raced in the Edge DH series that took place here last year. However, there were a couple of little tweaks to catch you out; a corner taped sharper than the worn line meant a few meanders into the tape in practice but a very cautious entry speed in my race run, and a little nip around a tree on the final sprint made for interesting gearing choices out of the final corner. However, this run is super fun and had me back smiling again, especially as I watched Andy Robert’s bike continue riderless from the line after his literal sprint finish, remain upright and turn a full 270 degrees downhill before coming to a stop on the bank, thus proving that a bike will always stay upright when pointed downhill!!

Stage 3 was my favorite run of the day. A sprint out of the box through a series of grassy “gates” to enter a hard packed single track pedal up to a couple of bomb holes. A sharp left at the top meant you could avoid the rooty drop and land yourself in a lovely wide catch berm before a few cranks took you to the next bomb hole. A series of tight switchbacks then sent you into a loose corner before the finish flags. Despite the last bit being more of a descent, I still finished puffing and unable to speak! A first, I’m sure!

The final climb up into the deer park cut you across stage 3 (with plenty of opportunity to miss passing riders) to the top of stage 4. Again, a sprint out of the box led into a series of grassy gates and into the woods. Although less pedally, the corners on this had been very slick in practice and I’d found myself taking a lie down on the final one. In light of this, I was cautious through the last 2 corners, not actually remembering where I was, costing myself time before the sprint to the finish.

So yes, I moaned a lot about the amount of pedaling I had to do, about my brake rubbing in practice (but strangely not in the race) and my gears not changing properly but actually, I had a really great day on the bike. The atmosphere was one of the best I’ve encountered at a race and the venue, with all of its amenities, was second to none. Adam’s chilled attitude helps create a relaxed vibe that really does make for a brilliant day out on the bikes with your mates. Isn’t that what Enduro is all about?

So next time Edge Cycles set up an event, whether you’ve raced before or not, get signed up. You’ll definitely come home smiling!

Amy Jones

1st Haby-Blue Cann, 2nd Amy Jones, 3rd Vicki Maynard

All photos: Paul Wright, Lansallos Publishing


Thanks to our 2019 sponsors DHaRCO clothing, 100% UK, Glower Clothing, FINDRA, MTB Instruction, Corley Cycles.

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SPONSOR GIVEAWAY – FINDRA Hat and Neck Warmer

In the second of our team sponsor giveaways we're giving you TWO chances to WIN! We've got 1 x FINDRA HAT and 1 x NECKWARMER in your choice of color from our team sponsors @findraclothing

In the second of our team sponsor giveaways we’re giving you TWO chances to WIN! We’ve got 1 x FINDRA HAT and 1 x NECK WARMER in your choice of color from our team sponsors @findraclothing. You can enter the competition on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages

Instagram:

  1. Follow @flowmtbapparel
  2. Follow @findraclothing
  3. Like the original post on @flowmtbapparel and tag as many friends as you like in the comments

Facebook:

  1. Follow @flowmtbapparel
  2. Follow @findraclothing
  3. Like the original post on @flowmtbapparel and tag as many friends as you like in the comments

Twitter:

  1. Follow @flowmtbapparel
  2. Follow @findraclothing
  3. Like the original tweet at @flowmtbapparel and tag as many friends as you like in the comments

Photo: Paul Smith Coach

Giveaway is being run by Flow MTB.
Competition ends on Sunday 31st March at 23:59.
Winners will be chosen at random.
1 winner will be chosen to win the hat.
1 winner will be chosen win the neck warmer
Flow MTB will announce the winner on Monday 1st April.
Winner must live in UK. No purchase necessary.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.

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Race Report – South West Kenda Enduro, Haldon Forest – Amy Jones

2019 south west enduro amy jones riding for flow mtb

South West Enduro Starts Off With a Bang!

We have always struggled down in the South West to get a lasting Enduro series. My very first Enduro was at Grogley in 2015 when one of the three part X Fusion series rounds took place there. It was a great event but was to be the last of its kind around here. Our annual “mates race” at Cotton Wood (invitation only!) is the closest we’ve come recently, but as cool as that is, it’s a fun Wednesday evening with your mates for three weeks of the year and nothing is taken too seriously! However, we don’t struggle for local talent, there are just a lot of us who are forced to travel “Up North” to get our Enduro fix.

However, our troubled plight has been resolved! With the help of the hugely organised Southern Enduro crew, the South West Kenda Enduro has arrived to kick off the season!

I’ve never been very enamored with my trips to Haldon Forest Park. There are some great, groomed trails that are amazing for families and beginners or for a long pedal but nothing seemed too exciting. I obviously wasn’t looking in the right places! Among the red and the blue FC arrows, there are some hidden gems; rooty, twisty technical singletrack sections that made up stages one and two.

My head wasn’t in the “fun” zone during practice to fully enjoy their awesomeness but by race time I was grinning from ear to ear even when I “rocking horsed” over the finish line of stage 2 with my chain around my ankle!

Everything was rollable in these sections, but they gave plenty of opportunity to put my recent “pump training” into practice. It helped that two of my friends; Hannah and Wilko were marshaling stage 2. Thanks for the encouragement and the photos dudes!

Stages three and four were over in Cafe Side. A totally confusing name (as my husband found out) as there is no cafe there! Here the trails were steeper and more technical with jumps and drop offs a plenty should you want to commit. There was a steep drop off on stage three with a massive tree root traversing the down slope. Had I looked at it from the fire road below, I probably wouldn’t have ridden off it! However, rolling into it blind was totally the way to get over that fear!

Stage four was by far the most fun stage of the day. It featured two gap jumps and so many drops with flowy berms, off camber root sections and little uphill nips to catch you off guard, just when you’d found your flow. I was gutted to enter the first fireroad after the bumpy, pumpy start section with my chain, yet again, around my ankle! There was no way I could pump through the next section without the aid of my pedals and I eventually gave in, got off and put my chain back on (always in a fumbley, shaky manner as you’re trying to be quick to not ruin your race run entirely!). In my attempt to build speed as fast as I could once I’d got back on, I completely misjudged the line, coming head on with a tree. Off I got again to realign the bike and run up the next short incline before jumping back on and having the most fun on the rest of the stage! I seemed to hit every line right, every drop off with speed and full on enjoyed every section, probably because I knew I’d ruined my day and relaxed into the trail.

On my final push up the hill, head full of disappointment, I caught sight of my friends Mollie and Andrea. It was great to finally see someone to talk to, have a laugh with and brush off that horrible feeling. I was number one off the grid and because I was scared of the rider behind me catching me on the descents (I’d Roots & Rain stalked her prior to the race) I had pedaled off towards the first stage at my usual pace and subsequently lost everyone. I think we had all made mistakes here and there but I was pretty sure mine was a game changer.

As Mollie and Andrea went off to stage 4, I headed back down the hill to watch my mate Rob come down the root drop and catch up with my brother and niece who’d come to watch me. (I totally missed my husband and own children in the doing though! Oops!) Following that and a puncture slowing my return to the event village to a walk, it turned out that I’d kept a lot of people waiting to see how the final podium would look. To my amazement, my chip scanned to reveal that I’d taken the win in my class; just in front of Vicki Maynard who was so nice to me given I’d knocked her off the top spot. I’m so sorry Vicki, you totally deserved that glory but it was so great to stand next to you on that box!

At the end of last Summer, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue racing. I felt like I’d probably hit the top of my game. I’d scared myself a bit in Scotland, despite my pleasing result and perhaps from here, it could only go downhill. The Winter Series at Gawton reminded me of how amazing the camaraderie of racing is and I have made some lasting friends because of it (although two of them have since spent the last few months injured so I can’t ride with them!) I have an ace group of guys that I ride with and who never mind me stopping to session stuff or give me pointers/encouragement along the way. Rob, Rhys and Matt were there yesterday; the banter bringing my nervousness back to an acceptable level (even if I have a ‘Red’ personality and use second gear too much!). And thanks to the husband for having the kids whilst I gallivant around the country, I’m sorry you drove all that way to not see me at all!

Without my local bike shop, Trailmunki, I would not have raced at all yesterday. Thanks Alex for your continued, non pressurised support and for essentially rebuilding every aspect of my bike on Friday, even if you did have to use a dremel! I’m glad I missed that bit! Thanks to Rob Drake and Jay Williamson for my “pump training” and to Chris at CC Professional Fitness for helping me get race fit. I will get faster (I hope!). Lastly thanks to Flow MTB for believing in me, accepting me onto the team and for making me part of the family. Here’s to Enduro Season! Good luck everybody!!

And if you’re looking to getting into Enduro racing in the South West, why not try the Kernow Enduro at Mount Edgcumbe next Sunday (24th March 2019)!

Amy Jones

Thanks to our 2019 sponsors DHaRCO clothing, 100% UK, Glower Clothing, FINDRA, MTB Instruction, Corley Cycles.

Photo: BigMacPhotography

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SPONSOR GIVEAWAY – 100% Accuri Goggles

Sponsor giveaway 100% goggles

In the first of our team sponsor giveaways we’re giving you the chance to WIN a pair of 100% Accuri Graham Goggles with mirror red lens from our team sponsors 100% UK. To win head over to our Instagram account and

  1. Follow @flowmtbapparel
  2. Follow @ride100percentuk
  3. Like the original post on @flowmtbapparel and tag as many friends as you like in the comments, each tag = an entry

Photo: https://www.katrinabartlett.co.uk

Giveaway is being run by Flow MTB. Competition ends on Friday 22nd March at 23:59. Winner will be chosen at random.Flow MTB will announce the winner on Monday 25th March. Winner must live in UK. No purchase necessary.Instagram are in no way associated with this giveaway.

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Ladies Do Downhill – Amanda Tanfield

Amanda Tanfield Ladies Do Downhill

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. Worldwide, slow gains are being made when it comes to increased media coverage of women’s sporting events, the securing of bigger sponsorship for women’s teams and tournaments, more equal pay for women in sport, better support and greater respect overall. It’s time to place a lot more value on women’s sporting contributions and participation. And it’s time to celebrate the people, teams, communities and media who actively choose to support, cover and feature women’s sport.

As someone who has inspired lots of women to give downhill a go today felt like the perfect time to announce we’re supporting Amanda Tanfield and her Ladies Do Downhill events in 2019. 

Amanda set up her Facebook group for female downhill riders ‘Ladies do DH’ in 2017 with the sole aim of encouraging more ladies into riding and racing. The group now has over 800 members. The Ladies do DH group meets around once a month, mostly at the Forest of Dean but also more recently with uplift days at Pearce Cycles locations.

In 2018 Amanda organised a ladies only downhill race at the Forest of Dean. When entries went live the numbers crept up slowly, women started sharing the event, guys joined in sharing it and encouraging female friends to enter and on race day 81 women had entered the race. This year Amanda plans to run two races of which we’ll be a category sponsor.

Amanda is one of the friendliest, welcoming and supportive riders out there and recently became a qualified British Cycling Mountain Bike coach. Here’s her ‘wee bio’

“I have been mountain biking for 5 years and doing downhill for 3. I have raced at the Forest of Dean, Steal City, The Malvern’s and Pearce. This year I plan to race some of the Nationals. I keep fit by going to the gym in the week and every weekend you can find me out on one of my bikes. I started Ladies do DH 2 years ago when I began getting a group of ladies together each month. When we get together we session a trail from top to bottom in the morning and then in the afternoon we will ride some other trails.

I ran my first race for women only last year and plan to run two this year. Once a month I also coach for Pedalabikeaway at The Forest of Dean. My favourite thing to do on my bike is to try new things. I am my happiest when I’m on my bike.”

You can follow Ladies Do DH and join one of their rideshttps://www.instagram.com/ladiesdodh

Get 10% off your next order at Flow MTB using Amanda’s discount code ladiesdodh  at checkout

Photos Katrina Bartlett Media https://www.katrinabartlett.co.uk

#flowmtb #flowriders #noordinarylife #iwd2019 #internationalwomensday #celebratingwomen #womeinsport #mtb #mountainbiking #team #BalanceforBetter #ladiesdodh

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Give Mountain Biking A Go

International Women's Day 2019

Brands, teams and organisations across cycling are celebrating International Women’s Day. This year’s theme #BalanceForBetter recognizes, though we have come a long way in gender equality, there is still work to be done.

Far fewer women than men cycle regularly in the UK, and yet the physical and mental health benefits of cycling are particularly beneficial for women. Mountain biking, like many adventure sports, has a predominantly ‘male’ image. Stats show that most participants, at professional, amateur and recreational levels, are men. However the stats also show that increasing numbers of women are getting out there and experiencing the fun, challenge and thrill of mountain biking.

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the fact that mountain biking is open to anyone who wants to take a bike out for a spin. We’re especially passionate about seeing more women getting out and giving mountain biking a go and to support this we’re hosting regular social rides and women’s skills courses throughout 2019 with our coaching partner MTB Instruction. You can find all our women’s skills courses on our website https://flowmtb.co.uk/womens-specific-mtb-skills-training/

Get 10% off all orders this weekend using code IWD19 at checkout, valid until midnight Sunday 10th March, 2019. Happy International Women’s Day!

Photos Katrina Bartlett Media https://www.katrinabartlett.co.uk

#flowmtb #flowriders #noordinarylife #iwd2019 #internationalwomensday #celebratingwomen #womeinsport #mtb #mountainbiking #team #BalanceforBetter

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International Women’s Day 2019

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. Worldwide, slow gains are being made when it comes to increased media coverage of women’s sporting events, the securing of bigger sponsorship for women’s teams and tournaments, more equal pay for women in sport, better support and greater respect overall. It’s time to place a lot more value on women’s sporting contributions and participation. And it’s time to celebrate the people, teams, communities and media who actively choose to support, cover and feature women’s sport.

This year we thought we’d share a little insight into our team of female riders and celebrate their achievements.

Amy Jones 

Riding for me is an escape; an hour or two of pure freedom from the stresses of work and family life. Nothing matters when you’re on that bike other than the steepness of the hill in front of you (up or down), the line through those roots or the size of the feature you’re about to hit.

It doesn’t come without guilt I suppose; time away from the family, dumping the kids on the husband yet again, but that’s where the racing comes in. It gives me a goal; a reason/excuse to be out there 2 evenings a week and a half day at weekends “training” (aka having a laugh with my mates!). At every start line when my heart is pounding and I’m on the verge of sickness, I wonder, is it really worth it? But the atmosphere of a race; the friendships born out of striving for a common goal, sharing experiences of the hill, both good and bad, make it something I just can’t get enough of, just like my bike!

You can follow Amy’s progress in the 2019 race season https://www.instagram.com/@noddyjones

Emily Beckett

I love the challenges of mountain biking and the sense of achievement when I do things I previously thought were impossible for me. I love all the beautiful places we get to ride and the feeling of freedom when you’re weaving through trees or floating through the air on jumps. Racing creates even more of the adrenaline buzz we all get from riding and has introduced me to so many new friends, and taken me to new places to ride tracks I wouldn’t normally.

I work as an Advanced Physiotherapy practitioner in primary care, it’s a really exciting but challenging time in my career and juggling a full time job, studying for a masters degree, planning a wedding, renovating a new house and training for racing can at times feel a bit overwhelming, but it just requires military precision time management. I do a couple of gym sessions a week, some before work, and wattbike sessions at suffershire Cheltenham push me to train hard even when I’m struggling with motivation. I eat well and plan my meals around my schedule and have some quick go to meals, and batch cook and freeze things when I have a bit more time. Getting out on the bike at the weekend is my stress relief, my time to spend with friends and my fiance and I just love it.

You can follow Emily’s progress in the 2019 race season
https://www.instagram.com/@emilyb_mtb

Heather Kay

It’s difficult to describe why I love MTB so much, obviously the adrenaline rush, the focus when ragging it downhill, being on the edge, concentrating on where every inch your body is, which line you are going to take, looking down the track preparing yourself for the next section… it requires all of your being, your troubles float away, suddenly life is good. So, I guess I can’t talk about biking without talking about mental health and how the downs enable me to forget my woes but also how the ups allow me to think, to process, as the legs turn the cogs of the brain whir and bit by bit I can find answers or learn to accept the curve-balls life throws in my path.

MTB is also about friends, hooning down trails together, high fives, and near misses. Which brings me to racing. Racing used to be about competition but actually it’s more about catching up with racing buddies, you chat and have a laugh, then get into the start gate and all of a sudden, it’s all about the racing and that adrenaline rush! It’s not always been easy to fit that in around daily life, especially when your van gives up the ghost and you’re skint. But funnily enough that MTB community is always there to help you out and pull you through. I just don’t know how I’d make it through the tough times if I didn’t have my bikes.

You can follow Heather’s progress in the 2019 race season
https://www.instagram.com/@heatherkaymtb

Rebecca Smith

I love the freedom that riding a bike gives me. I can get home from work and be in riding kit rolling through the woods 20 minutes later with my dog for company. Its so easy to get out that even when the weather is bad its hard to find an excuse; its such a good feeling arriving at the pub as it goes dark, dripping wet and covered in mud. After a busy day in the office a blast through the woods, alone or with friends, is exactly the freedom I’m looking for.

Racing is the exact opposite to a quiet blast in my local woods. Rowdy, boisterous and energetic, the atmosphere at races is a real buzz and the fun of whooping and laughing down tracks with friends is hard to beat. I like the challenge of testing myself against tricky features and trying to find the fastest lines. I am competitive and want to do well but I really enjoy the people and camaraderie. With a busy job racing needs to be fun to keep me going back for more. Fitting in the gym, riding, work, seeing my husband, friends etc can be tricky but I honestly don’t know what other people do with their time. That grin on a mud speckled face at the end of a ride makes it all worth it.

You can follow Rebecca’s progress in the 2019 race season https://www.instagram.com/@becca_mtb

Get 10% off all orders this International Women’s Day enter coupon code IWD19 at checkout, coupon valid until midnight Sunday 10th March 2019.

Photos Katrina Bartlett Media https://www.katrinabartlett.co.uk

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