Thursday, 28 November 2013

Laughter is Good for the Soul...The MBG's take the spectators stance for once

Last weekend we decided to organise and end-of-season party in style and our amazing whip, V, sorted out a trip of a lifetime, to Ghent.

As a team we are thrilled by track racing, the ultimate of which is the Madison, we love to get muddy with some cyclo-cross and of course, we love to party! The trip to Ghent was bang-on, with a tour via Koksjide Cyclo-Cross in the day and then driving on to Ghent to watch some of the spectacle that is the Ghent 6-Day track racing.

Here's how each of us found the trip and a highlight memory each:


"Being able to unwind at the end of the season was fantastic and the amount of laughter over the weekend reaffirms why we all get on so well as a team.
Seeing our Brit girls Nikki Harris, Helen Wyman and Gabby Day racing at Koksjide was amazing and we were loving the Belgian vibe!
Next stop was the velodrome & Kenny De Ketele & Iljo Keisse didn't fail to impress as our predicted favorites.
The whole evening descended into typical MBG carnage & my stomach muscles still ache from laughing so hard! 
Beer, smiles, awesome friends, & racing.

Becca xxx"


"The whole weekend was bloody amazing, I don't think I have laughed that much in a long time. 

The cross was an awesome experience, beer, dancing and bike racing - what more do you need in life!

Then on to Ghent for the 6-day... I was a tad nervous about not having the stamina to last an all-day drinking session. We spent the first part of the night actually watching the racing, it was fast, furious and very exciting, exactly how we like to race! The events were all Madison based so there was never a dull moment, luckily had Rebecca chatting me through all the changes during the Madison Scratch and we were both getting super excited about racing it next season.

After spotting the boys in the middle of the track having 'far' too much fun we decided that was enough of spectating and it was time to party. After that the night is pretty much consisted off of beer, dancing, laughing, dancing, searching for Rebecca's coat, a bit more dancing, searching for Rebecca's coat, a bit more laughing and then again searching for Rebecca's coat - this went on until about 5am I believe. The whole day/night was hilarious and I feel so lucky to have such a cool bunch of team mates and friends to have shared the weekend with.

If you like beer and bike racing you must pay a visit to one of the 6-day events!

The only thing that would have made it better would be to have Di, Nat and Emily with us - we missed you guys xxx"


"Having never watched any live cycling events besides road races, the MBG team weekend was the perfect introduction into Cyclocross with a stop at UCI Worldcup Round 3 in Koksijde and live commentary - along with rider profiles - from Phoebe. Then, we were off to Ghent for my introduction to Track with technical experts Louise & V who managed to make some sort of sense of a “Madison”  - helped with beers….everything topped with some classic Belgian tunes! Loved the Madison scratch race and our stop in Bruges on the way back with full Christmas decorations on show…and chocolate fountains!! To sum up: cycling, drinking, dancing, laughing, partying, table football playing, sobering, pranking Adel, visiting, eating, driving…in that order! As much as I love my road teamies, it was great to spend some time with the other MBG riders: Phoebe, Anna & Rebecca.

By the way, here are below the remains of our Belgian escapade (picture attached). Let me know who they belong to with address and I’ll send them back!
-          MBG beanie
-          iPhone USB cable
-          An earing"


"This weekend I joined most of my team mates for a dirty weekend away in belgium. I got up at 4.30am and whizzed down the motorway to shotgun the front seat of Clem's van. We gathered up a few more team mates somewhere in london and hit the open road. Despite clem being french she is a fantastic driver - with her foot to the floor she flew past various pensioners and lunatics on the road with us waving and gesturing out the window (similar to a school trip on a mini bus). We made it via the tunnel under the channel with some of the girls hoping to see fish swimming past the window!! 

Once on belgium territory I managed to persuade the girls to call by at the Koksijde CX world cup. Thankfully we arrived just in time to see Nikki harris smash her way over the sand dunes to 3rd place. The rest of the girls soon found the infamous "party tents" and the beer started to flow. 

Next stop was gent for the track racing. As chief navigator I naturally fell straight to sleep as soon as i got in the car. I was then woken up and asked to find the hotel, turns out we were no where near where we thought we were. after travelling in the opposite direction down a motorway i managed to negotiate the gent roads and waterways to our hotel. Adel followed closely behind in a sort of high speed car chase any hollywood movie would be proud of. A quick turn around and we were all baking in the gent velodrome oven - being athletes we soon realised the important of staying hydrated in such temperatures. We threw the beer down our necks and got into full flow mingling with the belgies. This resulted in a number of marriage proposals and rather a lot of groping. Thankfully we had the protection of the boys from herne hill! The racing finished at 2am and I was starting to fade. However the MBGs have the stamina of seasoned alcoholics and we hit the nearest bar. The partying carried on well into the early hours of the morning interspersed with one million searches for rebecca's coat (which I am going to surgically attach to her next time she ventures out).

The following day various bodies were gathered up from the hotel corridors and dumped in the van. Dragging our hangovers behind us we mooched around Brugge and attempted some tourist activites before heading home. 
The whole trip was absolutely fantastic. I feel so lucky to be part of such a fun and friendly team. Thanks for making me feel so welcome. I am still recovering. 

love phoebe"


"I was really excited to spend the weekend with a whole load of the old and new MBG's...the road team have a bit of a "thing" going on, with all their adventures around the country and beyond, chasing races and I'm normally too busy getting muddy or jumping shit to join them, so this was my chance!

The best thing was that everyone got on so great, the girls are brutally harsh in their sense of humours, complete piss-takers and, to be frank, pretty damn loud. Each girl is awesome, as a group, it is a force to be reckoned with!

I don't do well at spectating, I find it hard to concentrate, but the Madion racing was so fast paced and exciting....combined with not knowing what was going on and trying to work it out, it managed to keep me entertained for the duration of the main race. After that all hell let loose, My highlight of the evening was Cup Jumping in the track centre, where the boys had built a tower of empty plastic cups and we all took it in turns to jump over it, adding  extra cups to make it taller every now and again. We cleared a massive space and had the crowd clapping and cheering whenever someone cleared it....never mind the bike racing going on around us or anything!!

I also fell asleep in the hotel corridor looking after Lois (a team stray for the weekend) after she got locked out.

What this trip reminded me was that cycling brings me in touch with other like-minded women and I am so grateful to be a part of the MBG team! Can't wait til our training camp with ALL the girls...

Anna xx"


Louise stopping traffic to allow us to cross the road safely...she didn't notice that in fact the red light was doing all the work for her!

"In true MBG fashion I was running late when I left the house on Saturday morning to catch the train to meet the rest of the girls. Texting V to let her know and see exactly how late I was I got a response telling me to "stop text and SPRINT" so I did. However with no sports bra, a massive rucksack and a pair of unsupportive converse, and over a mile to the station I was broken and aching before I even got to Belgium!  

Once on the other side it was Adel's job to follow Clem's somewhat erratic driving to get us to watch the cross in koksijde (a name that in true Brit style we had a good giggle at). We made it just in time to yell for the British girls, in particular  Nikki Harris who was in 3rd and youngster hannah Payton who had stepped up to take on the tough sand dunes. Then it time for some beer and chips with a lot of Mayo! After giving fieldy a good yell in the men's race it was back to the road, destination Gent.

Following Clem wasn't too bad now we'd finally work out every time we'd pull in behind her, in the slow lane, she'd be pulling out again to overtake. However once we got into gent it wasn't so straight forward with a few left turns that suddenly became Uturns (across a few lanes of traffic) but somehow we made it to the hotel. After an hour or so unwinding time (possibly drinking for a few of the party) we headed down to grab some grub before heading to the velodrome. Once there this is my main recollections of the night; bloody hot, get beer tokens, track centre, watch racing, get dizzy, beer, find seats, move seats, beer, watch racing, you have to pay to pee?, beer, signer, beer, party time, track centre, jumping cups, sweaty men, lots more beer and then it's a bit of a blur...though I do know at some point we left the velodrome and went somewhere else.

Luckily for me I wasn't feeling too rough the next morning, as I'd vommed most of the alcohol out of my system. My legs and feet how're were really feeling the effects of the previous mornings sprint. I can't really repeat what Clem said I looked like...but I was hobbling a bit as we mooched round Brugge. Then it was back home to recover from a very messy weekend."


with her 4 desserts
"As my first venture out on a social with the MBG I thought I would
properly see myself off with a whole weekend of debauchery. Those who
know me, know what a lightweight I am and I have to admit to being
more than a little apprehensive as these girls have a, deserved,
reputation for their party antics. So when the opportunity to be
designated driver arose I leapt at the chance!! Little did I know that
I would have to follow a crazy Frenchy thro the streets of Ghent in an
Italian Job stylie!

Some bits that I will never forget have to include an hot dog served
with dripping blood, the menopause, croissant making, Belgium bike
racer bottoms, 4 deserts, cup jumping, the conga, aggressive
piggybacks, fussball, midnight sausage, the wrong hotel, sleeping in
the corridor, the panoramic view whilst using the facilities and my
car being stolen..... Only missing a drug dealing monkey!

Having guested for MBG at Bedford last year I can confirm that these
girls take racing seriously but if you want to see the work, life,
race balls being juggled in perfect harmony, you could do worse than
take a leaf out of these girls books! Laughter is indeed good for the

And the next time I say "it's hotter than the centre of the earth"
maybe they will take note :-)"

Monday, 25 November 2013

Mud! Glorious Mud!

Here is a quick update from the girls up norf  who are now mid way through the gruelling cross season.

Round 9 of the NDCXL was at the National Water Sports Centre - Holme Pierrepont Nottinghamshire, this is normally a muddy technical course, however this year it was a nice day making a quick fast round. Phoebe and I had a good start and followed by one of our best rides of our season. The climbs on the course really suited us both and we attacked really well throughout the whole race. There was lots of motivation at the top of the longest climb it was like Mule Bar Girl /Sigma Sport corner. My parents are notorious for being top supporters and Mr Sneddon  (phoebe's dad) was also with my parents giving us both his smile and nod of approval as we were killing some of the vet men. Phoebe’s dad is one of my biggest fans and often rides out in freezing temperatures to give us a cheer. Also our fantastic support crew - Lawrence, Gary and Chris were screaming loudly from around the pit on every lap. It was a brilliant atmosphere and the support for Mule Bar Girls is increasing every week. We were 1st and 4th overall after a crash early on put Phoebe out of the running for a top 3 - she did ride like a woman possessed.

The next day was busy, Phoebe was cooking and entertaining family so I headed off to the Linc’s league for a good second race, I came 1st. The linc’s league are always really friendly and a great race for anyone tempted to give cross ago. However the 1 hours duration are a bit of a killer the day after a hard race, but great for use as overload training.

So on Monday we ventured out for a training ride, I was feeling a bit off it, but didn’t want to disappoint snedz (as she did point out to me I always make her ride whatever she feels like). I think I’m turning her into a personal trainer this week, she has been so bloody on it, she has killed me. A Wet and windy ride round Derbyshire and not even a coffee stop it was that cold. Tuesday we did a garage turbo session where I watched Phoebe smashing out some impressive watts, while I decided I definitely had a horrible cold and would pedal along until it was time to get off for a milkshake (Phoebe makes the absolute best recovery milkshakes).

I had the rest of the week resting and getting rid for my cold, in prep for round 10 of the NDCXL. Round 10 was an excellent course, technical and muddy. I was a bit unsure how I’d ride but gave it a good shot and lead the ladies race from the start came 1st and 22nd overall the vets men even though they had a 2 mins start on us ladies. I must have been well rested. My pit crew did a fantastic job as we needed clean bikes nearly every lap. All the ladies did amazing this week with many ladies only having one bike, which made the race seriously hard, but no one gave up, they just cleared their bikes the best as they could and dug in and got on with it, Tracey Flechter came 3rd with one bike - very impressive and highlighted her exceptional skills. A BIG Shout out to Sarah Lomas (Scott epic) returning from injury and coming a strong 2nd and 1st junior, She was so excited to be back racing and back slogging through the mud it was great to see. Next week's training prep is for the National Trophy at Milton Keynes and also mastering Phoebe’s new coffee swiss roll.

A big Thank you to Wildoo for the thermal Mule Bar Tops, they’re proving very useful now we are reach minuses figures.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Your Bike will bring you on many adventures

I was meant to write a blog about my trip to Japan, this was because it was such an incredible experience I never wanna forget it. However I was too tired and now, a week later, I have pretty much forgotten it already :(

So I am going to write about my trip to Liverpool instead, because it has just happened. It's called "your bike will bring you on many adventures"

A few weeks or months ago I came across an event called a super enduro. It seemed weird and my curiosity took over. I like weird events, ever since I did the red bull minidrome a few years ago, I like the feeling of nerves that come with the unknown,  its not like "have I trained enough? Did I eat correctly?" There is no self analysis, its just pure anticipation, like a child waiting for something their parents have told them about, which they have been told will be good, but they have never done it before, so they cannot expect anything. It's weird,  but it's cool.
Whizzing around the red Bull minidrome, one of THE most fun feelings ever!

Also, being a show off, I like crowds, I buzz off the extra nerves of doing things in front of people, the Cobble Wobble in Frome for example. I never would have thought I could get pleasure riding hard up a hill!!! But bouncing off the cobbles, trying to put pressure down without wheel spinning (do u say that??) And have the street lined with people in funny outfits cheering their heads off for you, its fucking cool! It makes me buzz with adrenaline and concentrate on what I am doing. And anything that makes me concentrate is a winner in my book of personal entertainment!

Burning my legs dressed as Christmas at the Cobble Wobble

There is usually an added element of camaraderie amongst the riders. Sometimes, like at the Tyne Tunnel race by the Veloctiy crew, there is a lot of  money up for grabs, so the competition is high. But, the strength of the unknown is stronger, you have to chat to riders to find out what they know, how they anticipate it, how they think it will feel, to prepare you best you can. So you all end up clustering together, feeling slightly jittery, and all united by the feeling of "why am I doing this? Will I embarrass myself? If I do embarrass myself at least I am with these guys now and not just a lone loser..."

Hanging with the racers pre-Tyne Tunnel Sprint at Velocity Street Race

so u wanna beat them, but you wanna align yourself with them too.

So, that will explain why I wanted to find out more about this super enduro. It was in the Echo arena in Liverpool,  which is like, a big stadium, and the format was following motorbikes. I dont know anything about motorbikes, so that meant nothing to me, I just put my faith in the fact someone else obviously thought it was a good idea. Not many girls were signing up, and me and Maxine, my super cool buddy who raced the Tunnel race with me, were both game for it. We badgered a load of girls to join us and have this big old trip, race, party in liverpool.  Some girls were busy, some girls knew about super enduro motobikes and made the call that it wouldn't be possible so they'd rather sit out and see how it goes.
How it looked initially

In the end, me, Maxine and Lorena drove up and met Sandy (I have blogged about Sandy before, she is so cool it makes me wanna run around the cafe I am writing this from shouting "you should meet sandy!!!" And a couple of other girls were already signed up.

Smiles en-route to the race

From here, I don't really know how to write this to make it interesting. The event was a motocross event, and the mountain bikes were meant to be an additional show using the same track. The track was mud and went over logs (big ones) and other obstacles.

After arriving we looked at the course and thought,  what the fuck?!, that simply isnt rideable. We got our bikes out and gave it a go, the original course had been shorted, so we only had 4 obstacles to do, but the mud/clay was so sticky it was hard just to ride the flat. I attempted the thing where we rode over tractor tyres, which were bigger than me, and after 3 or 4 goes I managed to get to the top, and my heart felt like it was gonna explode!!

We had some meetings, the organisers said they'd get some ply wood to modify it and we all went off.

The Charity Ball
An interlude to all this was that a lady, Sheena, from Twitter had contacted us and we basically ended up inviting ourselves to a charity ball that night. At one point we had run to H&M to get ball gowns for under a tenner (I was in charge of choosing something for sandy) and after all the problems with the course we ended up late for dinner. We quickly changed in the car park, where I quickly realised the colourful floor length gown i had got for Sandy was in fact a Rustafarian beach dress... my sparkly shorts turned Maxines boots into a hooker outfit... and the shoes Lorena had bought still had the security tag on, so she had to remain in trainers. I am laughing writing this, we looked so ridiculous that we could barely leave the car park we were laughing so hard. We tried to sneak into this ball...2 hours late, right in the middle of the raffle and where everyone looked like super models and one table of people actually laughed at us. I have never been so embarrassed in my life!



Yup...we were all at the same party!

However, the food was stunning and the dancing was energetic and at 2.30 am after a screw up with parking,  we ended up back at Sheena's house.
luxury meal

It is also worth noting,  Maxine looked stunning...and Lorena had oil on her face.

So we got up at 7, got back to the venue for this race, and no changes had been made to the course. We rode/ran/scrambled it and ummed and arred for a bit. Then the motocross dudes went on and BOOM the track was ruined!

We called a riders meeting and made a decision that the girls, and half the guys, were not gonna race. It sucked, because Anneka who had driven from holland really wanted to ride, and if we didn't,  she couldn't.  This made the decision really hard, but after the embarrassment of the night before, I think us girls felt like we just wanted to retain some pride, for ourselves and our beloved sport. The prize money didnt change that feeling. So we declared ourselves out.

It tasted pretty bitter, and was it the right decision? I dunno, but put it this way, when the winner of the guys won his race, nobody clapped, I dont think anyone even noticed. In the middle of an arena! Six girls, crawling over tractor tyres, dragging our makes me cringe even more than it does thinking about turning up to a charity ball dressed as a hooker!
So, imagine dragging your bike over something like this...

We stayed around and watched the motorbikes,  the best race of the day was definitely the girls. It was close, it was brutal and it had the audience stood up and screaming, which none of the boys races managed. I was proud of that, because a lot was made of the mtb girls, whether we should or even could do our race. But racing is about entertainment,  us mtbers wouldn't have been able to provide that here, but the motocross girls? Well yeah, they were slower than the guys, but holy shit, did they put on a show!!

Anyway, after a few disasters later on the journey, which I wont go into, we came to the conclusion: we try stuff, we give shit a go, and it cant work out every time, but when it does...its the freaking best decision in the whole world ever!!!

So, your bike will bring you on many adventures....even if you don't actually ride it!