There are some really inspiring women involved in cycling. Despite the fact that more and more women are coming into the sport, we are still a relatively small number (compared to the guys), but more often than not it doesn’t stop us getting involved full throttle. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some amazing women from race organisers, media, professional athletes, breeze leaders, right down to those who just want to let others know how amazing riding really is, so to all of those ladies, keep doing what you’re doing, you are awesome!
This week we catch up with, Bex Baraona. A rider that’s realised that enduro is definitely a great way to get more riding in. We talk to her about racing, and how she got started.
1. Who are you?
My name is Bex Baraona, I’m 20 – from Manchester. Currently I am living the student dream at Manchester University, studying Civil Engineering. Got into riding about 4 years ago when my brother, Tom, took me to Moelfre to race (not to watch…to race!), that’s when I got hooked. Last season I raced in senior women for Team NCA (National Cycling Academy) and this season I am now on Gravity Bikes Racing in the Elite women.
[quote align=”right”]”Taking the win at 6 out of 11 races last season was a high of my riding so far- being on the top step of the podium always feels best.”[/quote]
2. What do you ride, bike (s) and discipline (s)?
Started off riding downhill, last year was my first full season which I actually did on an All-Mountain bike- Canyon Strive, however, didn’t hold me back- took the win at the 2013 Pearce Cycles Series! This year I am on board a new team, Gravity Bikes Racing, and riding a Transition Covert 27.5, so far so good with the bigger wheels. I also like to go down to Plattfields BMX track on my DMR Transition, keeps the legs pumping in the week.
3. What races are you doing this season?
I am focusing on Enduro this season, with UK Gravity Enduro in the calendar and Round 2 of the World Enduro Series booked. Slightly jumping in with two feet with the EWS but what could possibly go wrong?! It will be great to see where I am in comparison to the rest of the Elite girls. Hopefully I will fit some Downhill races in but the main focus this year is Enduro.
4. How do you usually prepare for a race?
Long term preparation comes in the form of RIDE RIDE RIDE, I don’t have a specific training plan for my racing, it is something that I would like to do but I’m still relatively fresh in the sport. Over the winter I get out on as many cold snowy Peak District rides as I can and generally remain healthy with a good diet and play football in the University Women’s 1st team.
Short term preparation for me is: organisation, if my pit area is tidy, all my kit is clean and I know my start times then I am good to go. I like to be in a jokey mood and be around my mates, I’ve found if I take it too serious I don’t perform as well.
5. What’s your fondest riding memory?
Smashing out Borrowdale Bash loop in the Lake District with best riding mates, Jenna Woodruff, Helen Gaskell and Sarah Newman on board my new shiny Canyon Strive last year. Was an amazing day out regardless of acquiring two huge dinks in my rims!
6. Do you have any particular women’s kit you like or use regularly?
WHACKJOB bamboo gear is awesome! Not women specific but Intrepid Apparel does really comfortable kit: light weight and colourful with plenty of adjustment on them. Shredly is a women specific mtb clothing company which do some crazy coloured shorts, again comfortable and could wear them for anything not just riding…check them out! (You can check out our review of Shredly here!)
7. What have been your biggest riding achievements to date?
For me winning the 2013 Pearce Cycles Series was the biggest achievement, as you have to be consistent and on your game at every round, winning on an All-Mountain rig also makes me pretty happy too!
Taking the win at 6 out of 11 races last season was a high of my riding so far- being on the top step of the podium always feels best!
8. Do you have a particular training regime, or do you find riding is enough?
I would love to have the time to be on a strict training programme but I currently have to devote myself to university studies during the week, however, come 5pm on a Friday and it’s all about bikes.
9. Do you think female riders get enough support from the industry when it comes to sponsorship?
I think for female riders securing small sponsorship is not too difficult, purely for the fact that there are a small number of us on the circuit so getting recognised isn’t the challenge. However, securing high level/semi pro/pro sponsorship is much harder as the main focus is on the men.
10. What are your plans for 2014?
Plan is to get faster and have a fun year! Wish list for 2014 is to ride abroad as I still haven’t been riding outside of the U.K.
Keep up to date with the Gravity Bikes team over on Facebook, and see how Bex gets on!
GP Honey Series, Round 1, Rogate
|1||4||Suzanne LACEY||1:08.75 (1)||1:08.02 (1)||1:08.02||–|
|2||1||Francie ARTHUR||1:18.58 (2)||1:18.49 (2)||1:18.49||10.47s|
|3||2||Erika EXELBY||Army CSR||1:31.13 (3)||1:25.93 (3)||1:25.93||17.91s|
|4||5||Joanne LEWENDON||Rogate Bike Park||1:32.95 (4)||1:31.53 (4)||1:31.53||23.51s|
|5||3||Julie FOX||Beyond / Specialized / WDMBC||1:32.98 (5)||1:45.71 (5)||1:32.98||24.96s|
|6||6||Rachel POWIS||1:52.75 (6)||1:55.38 (6)||1:52.75||44.73s|
One Industries, Mini Enduro, Round 1
|1||217||Rachael GURNEY||2:32.6 (2)||2:09.7 (1)||2:15.3 (1)||2:30.2 (1)||9:27.8||–|
|2||220||Rosie WILSON||2:34.4 (3)||2:30.1 (3)||2:19.9 (2)||2:35.6 (3)||10:00.0||32.2s|
|3||223||Laura GRIFFITHS||2:37.1 (4)||2:24.5 (2)||2:30.5 (4)||2:41.5 (5)||10:13.6||45.8s|
|4||224||Tyde D’SOUZA||2:45.2 (6)||2:48.3 (5)||2:35.3 (5)||2:39.5 (4)||10:48.3||1:20.5|
|5||225||Robyn WALTON||2:27.4 (1)||3:32.9 (7)||2:21.1 (3)||2:30.3 (2)||10:51.7||1:23.9|
|6||221||Alicia HOCKIN||2:42.7 (5)||2:48.2 (4)||3:11.6 (6)||2:47.8 (6)||11:30.3||2:02.5|
|7||219||Loe FREER||3:01.8 (7)||3:32.2 (6)||3:12.8 (7)||2:56.4 (7)||12:43.2||3:15.4|
|8||222||Ros HARPER||3:07.0 (8)||3:32.9 (7)||3:19.9 (8)||3:05.6 (8)||13:05.4||3:37.6|
|218||Megan WHERRY||3:23.2 (9)||4:09.3 (9)||DNS||3:10.3 (9)|
2014 Diva Descent Dates!
Diva Descent has a new website, and new dates for 2014!
- Coaching Weekend, Forest of Dean – 19/20th April
- Coaching Weekend, Innerleithen – 30/31st August
- Diva Descent Holiday, Chatel, France – 5/12th July
Enduro dates are coming soon, full details available on the website!
Featuring, downhill rider, Manon Carpenter as our latest cover shot! The print issue will be heading for the shops any day now, and the online version will be live next week!
Want to get involved? Got a women’s event coming up? Know someone we should feature? Get in touch! Lauren@wideopenmountainbike.com