Things are most definitely hotting up in women’s MTB, team changes and race preparation are in full swing with people geared up for another year of adventure. Whether you are a professional rider, or someone who loves bikes, everyone is busy planning their year ahead; what bike related purchase to make next, which events to enter or perhaps more importantly, where to take the bike on holiday! Whatever your bike means to you, it’s definitely more than ‘just a bike’ for those who don’t understand, and couldn’t possibly understand why bike mad people love bikes so much these interviews are just a small glimpse into the lives of people who live and breathe bikes.
Who are you?
I’m Maxine Filby, an Elite XC Mountain biker riding for Trek Bicycle Coventry Women’s Race Team, living in Charlton Oxfordshire (worst place for Mountain biking in the country!) with my boyfriend Pete and little dog Ali.
[quote align=”right”]Cycling I think in that way is far healthier, you can’t starve yourself and still be fast on the bike, you need energy![/quote]
What do you ride, bike (s) and discipline (s)?
I ride a Trek Superfly 9.8 SL for XC, a Trek Remedy for Enduro and a Trek Madone on the road.
What would you say has been the best and worst moment in your career so far?
I have had quite a few highs and lows which I’m beginning to realise is all part of bike racing. I think each time I compete at a World Cup XC it’s a pretty amazing moment and doing the World Series Enduro race in Val D’Isere last year was really cool although a little scary. I can’t say I’ve had a moment that stood out as being terrible, last season was pretty tough I got ill a lot and I didn’t feel I performed as well as I could have done.
How does race preparation differ for each discipline? (XC, Enduro, XCO..)
To be honest I prepare for each race pretty much the same. If I’m doing on XC race I make sure I’ve ridden my xc bike lots in the weeks leading up to it and the same with the Enduro I try to ride scarier stuff a bit quicker! Fitness wise they both compliment each other with the Enduro it’s more of sprint efforts rather than a long effort like xc, so I might throw a few sprint training sessions in. Racing the Crit races on the road bike also helps with that too.
Looking back on 2013, what are your reflections on last season?
It was a tough one! I had a really winter then the team I was going to ride for pulled out leaving me with not a lot. Thankfully I have some great personal sponsors who stuck by me and I was able to keep racing. I came into the season with high expectations of myself, I got ill and never really got back to the form I know I had. However, this meant I had a go at some amazing things. As I said the World Series Enduro stands out as a highlight, it was the toughest riding I’ve ever done and I was pretty scared the whole weekend but I did it and was very proud of not giving up! I also raced on the road a bit and raced in front of Buckingham Palace which was a surreal experience. I also went on the Cycle Show, again another highlight. I made lots of new friends and got involved in new projects I guess overall 2013 really wasn’t too bad!
Do you think women are more relaxed about body image within mountain biking, or is it an issue?
Body image within sport seems to be a hot topic at the moment. I’ve been lucky enough to compete in a few sports at a high level, each differing slightly in their approach to this issue, in the horse racing it was all about being as light possible so you could make the weights of the races. That I found to be really unhealthy with people starving themselves days before racing. Cycling I think in that way is far healthier, you can’t starve yourself and still be fast on the bike, you need energy. I was extremely muscular when I rode horses and was very conscious of not looking very feminine but as I’ve got more into mountain biking and perhaps a little older I really don’t think about it that much. I am however very conscious of my weight, I want to go faster on my bike both up and down hills this means ideally I need to be light yet still strong. Rather than being skinny I want to be strong and lean if that makes me look unfeminine I really don’t care, I just want to be fast!
How did you find progressing from Senior, to Expert into Elite in XC, is competition more fierce?
It’s a lot faster that’s for sure! It happened very quickly for me I’d only been racing a year when I moved up to Elite. That first year was a complete shock, I had my legs ripped off each time I raced but I persisted and slowly got better. what is really nice in mountain biking is that everyone from Sport to Elite are super friendly and really encourage you to progress.
What do you think of the cycling/MTB infrastructure in the UK?
Personally I think for racing there is a far better infrastructure on the road and on the track. Mountain bikers seem to get forgotten a little. As for general riding I think the emergence of the trail centres is fantastic, I love going to them and seeing the amount of different riders there are. Young and old, men and women it’s great.
What do you do when you’re not training, racing or riding?
I work in a bike shop so I get to talk lots about bikes to people after that I walk the dog and sleep lots!
What’s the best advice anyone has given you in regards to riding that you’d pass on to others?
My skills coach always reminds me to look to the sky! Those four words have saved me on a mountain bike quite a few times. Also to remember to enjoy it sometimes in racing it can get very serious but you have to be enjoying to go fast!
What are your plans for 2014?
I’m really excited for 2014 as I’m riding for a new team with some great team mates and amazing support. I’m going to be competing in the British XC Series and a few World Cups as well as the National Champs. I’ll be doing a couple of Enduros and might even scare myself and do a World Series event again. I’ll also be doing some Crit races on the road to keep my speed up! I’m involved in a few exciting projects, Street Velodrome and Xcalibre Mountain Bike Stage Race. I think it’s going to be a year of fun!
There is still time to vote in the first ever, Total Women’s Cycling awards! The deadline has been extended until, Sunday 26 January. The awards have been launched in association with the London Bike Show and Velovixen. The awards give voters the chance to support individuals and organisations who deserve recognition. There are 16 categories including; bike brand of the year, pro-rider of the year, unsung cycling heroine, cycling initiative and many more! To find out more about the awards, and to vote, visit the website for more information.
This video was sent to me via Twitter. At only twelve years old, Hannah Roberts is killing it on a BMX! I’m sure she is going to be a name to look out for in future!
Second vid, is of Gemma Corbera, pink haired wonder, doing her first ever backflip. The ladies are stepping it up..