Maxine Filby 2011 News Archive

Hadleigh Farm International, Olympic Test Event
31st July 2011

I was lucky enough to be one of a handful of British riders to be invited to participate in the London Prepares Olympic Test Event at the Olympic Mountain Bike venue Hadleigh Park. I was very pleased to be asked and was extremely excited at the prospect of riding the Olympic course in race conditions against riders who would be going to London 2012. It was an amazing opportunity and a huge thank you to Marytn Salt and LOCOG for inviting me.

Practice started on Friday after I had registered and as this was the test event even the registering process was as it will be in 2012; this was quite daunting as everything was so official but a great experience for when I get to bigger races. As I had been to the training day at the course after Dalby World Cup I knew most of the technical sections quite well and it was a case of fine tuning them for the race. From the available videos the course looks quite straight forward but there are many rock drops and switchback climbs that test even the best riders. Again I was lucky to be being looked after by the WXC team and felt very spoilt when my bike was cleaned and even my number collected for me. My practice laps went well; going round with the other British riders, Carla Haines and Jessie Roberts and honorary Brits Cait Elliot and Mel Spath really helped as we were able to bounce suggested lines of one another and generally discuss the course. The general consensus at the end of practice was that the course ticked all the right boxes but just lacked that edge of a ‘proper’ mountain bike course, how wrong we turned out to be!

Race day dawned and the atmosphere was electric, with Dan Jarvis and Chris Furber providing the commentary meant the nerves were running high even before the race started, add to that some 4000+ crowds and music that makes your spine tingle you can imagine I was somewhat overwhelmed; it was awesome! I got a great start and hit the first technical section in a good position, there were lots of elbows out moments which I love, it’s real racing. Once through Deane’s Drop I settled into a rhythm and soaked up the atmosphere, the support from the British crowd was fantastic, all the shouts and cheers really made me push harder. The course was great and flowed like a real course should, it was relentless in its demands constantly testing my skill and fitness. Unfortunately my concentration slipped for a nanosecond and the course punished me, I knocked my bike on the side of one of the rock drops and somehow managed to flip my chain over the crank arm. I tried desperately to fix it on track so I could carry on but to no avail, I had to retire. I was gutted; I was having so much fun and feeling the best I have in a while. It was an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the world’s best fight it out over the course in 2012 knowing I’ve raced over the same ground.

Once again a big thank you to my sponsors without which I would not be at the level where I am invited to participate in such fantastic events. Firecrest MTB, Whyte Bikes Limar Helmets, Kenda Tyres, Lake Shoes, Jagwire, Sponser Energy Products, AndyStand, Baines Racing and Working Bodies. A huge thank you to WXC team for providing such great support and to all the spectators who gave us all a shout of encouragement.

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British Mountain Bike Series - Round 3
12th June 2011

So far this season we have been extremely lucky with the weather, I have to think back to some of the really early races to remember racing in the rain. I certainly got reminded on how to ride in the rain today! Round three of the BMBS was at the very picturesque Wasing Estate, Aldermaston. The Southern Championships were held here this year so I was looking forward to revisiting the course. My practice lap on Saturday went well, the course being slightly damp but nothing too concerning; I was really looking forward to some good racing.

I awoke this morning to see pouring rain, not a great sight on the morning of a race but as I have ridden at Aston Hill in Wendover which is the scariest place in the wet I knew if I could cope with that I be ok here. The rain didn’t let up as we lined up on the start line, it was nice to be on the front of the grid and I got an amazing start and lead into the first corner. I eventually settled down in about 7th place not far from the leaders. Each lap seemed to be getting wetter and more slippery, it was great fun. I hadn’t forgotten how demanding riding in slippery conditions can be, but it certainly made me smile all the sliding around. I managed to pass Gabby Day on the third lap and move up into 6th place and I kept catching sight of Cait Elliot WXC and Mel Alexander but just couldn’t quite close the gap. I finished an extremely wet and muddy 6th which is my best BMBS result so far. I’m pretty pleased to be racing with the girls around me as this time last year I couldn’t see them for dust or mud as the case may be! Just a week's break until the fourth round at Margam Park, a course that has both demanding climbs and some awesome descents. I cannot wait!

As always thank you to my Sponsors; Limar Helmets, Kenda Tyres, Lake shoes, Jagwire, Baines Racing, Whyte Bikes, Sponser Energy Products and Firecrest MTB

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Southern XC - Round 3
5th June 2011

As I’d had a busy few weeks of racing I couldn’t decide whether or not to race at Crow Hill. It’s always a pretty good course and as Pete was racing too I decided I’d give it a go; if nothing else it would be a good training session. The course had a mixture of tricky singletrack and fast fire road sections and was a little longer than courses seem to be at the moment. I felt a little tired still but was looking forward to riding such a nice course.

There were only five Elite Women but this included Jo Munden and Carla Haines who I knew would push me hard all the way. I got a good start and a apart from a little slip going into the first singletrack I had a flowing first lap. As I passed the pit area Pete let me know I was clear of second place and to keep pushing. This I did for the remaining laps, enjoying the flow of the course and really having fun in the singletrack sections. I came over the line in first place, my first Elite win. It was a great feeling to climb up on to the top step of the podium again, now it’s back to training hard so it can happen more often!

Once again thank you to my Sponsors; Limar Helmets, Kenda Tyree, Jagwire, Lake shoes, Sponsor Energy Products, Baines Racing, whyte Bikes and Firecrest MTB.

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UCI XCO World Cup - Round 3
29th May 2011

To finish off a pretty hectic week I travelled to Germany to take part in the third round of the World Cup series, this was to be my first World Cup abroad so I was nervously excited. As Pete was busy working (glamming it up!) in Monaco I was going on my own which was very daunting but something that I was going to have to get used to if I want to do the World Cup series seriously. I travelled by air and had found a lovely hotel in the centre of Offenburg, as I speak a limited amount of German it was a relief to find that almost everyone spoke English and were exceptionally friendly. I arrived on the Thursday with racing on Sunday I had a few days to get settled and get plenty of practice in. As the course was only a ten minute ride away I thought I’d stretch my legs after the flight and have a sneaky check of the course. It happened to be a great idea, it gave me a chance to see some of the top riders in world tackle the course and see the lines they rode. It also gave me an extra day to get the course sorted in my head; it was going to be tough. It contained some very scary technical sections, I had watched the many YouTube videos of the course but they looked far harder in reality. Both Friday and Saturday were practice days so I had plenty of time to build my confidence in riding the tricky sections. I hooked up with WXC World Racing riders, Carla Haines and Cait Elliot who were a massive help practicing the course, it’s so much easier when you have people to discuss lines and scary stuff with! By Saturday afternoon we were all pretty happy with the course and I was beginning to get excited about racing.

Finally race day arrived, it is such a huge event it is hard to put down all the emotions that I ran through that morning. By the time I was on the start line I was back to being just plain excited and really looking forward to riding the course. Unfortunately I got caught up behind a crash on the start which cost me a little time and also meant I got stuck behind riders that ran up the first couple of climbs rather than riding them, now I really don’t do running so this was especially hard for me and I think cost me quite a lot of time. Once I was past this the course flowed beautifully, I just enjoyed riding my bike around such an awesome event. I finished in 71st place a small improvement from Dalby so I was quite happy with the result and have gained a lot of experience from doing such a technical course. Hopefully I’ll be back on the World Cup circuit doing Czech Republic and Italy in August, I can’t wait.

As always I couldn’t do this kind of competition without the help of my sponsors so a huge thank you to Limar helmets, Kenda tyres, Lake shoes, Jagwire, Sponser Energy products, Baines Racing, Whyte Bikes and Firecrest MTB. A special thanks to the WXC team for their very kind help for this event, I really couldn’t have managed without them.

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UCI XCO World Cup - Round 2
17th April 2011

It had finally come around, the most exciting event of the year to hit the British XC scene, the Dalby World Cup. The World Cup event is like no other cross country or enduro race, it has a unique atmosphere where the top riders in the world battle it out to become known as World Cup winners. I once again had the opportunity to race with the world’s best and was so excited I could hardly think of anything else.

After standing on the side lines watching the Pro-Sprint Elminator on the Friday night last year I decided this year I was going to give it a go. This is a Sprint race round the streets of Pickering, it includes tight bends, riding through a Graveyard, down some super steep steps and what seems like going through someone’s garden! There were five british girls brave enough to have a go, Annie Last, Tracey Moseley (Yes the Downhill World Champion!), Lee Craige, Lesley Ingram and I. First up is the Time Trial to set a time for the heats, I was quite nervous as my track record being on a mountain bike on tarmac isn’t great, I tend to believe that I have more grip than I do. For this quick spin through the streets I race Kenda Small Block 8’s as they’ve got a very shallow tread and wouldn’t squirm around too much. I played it safe but still pushed hard; it was amazing riding round the course with everyone cheering me on. I finished 22nd which wasn’t too shabby for a back marker! I was put in a heat with two very quick girls, needless to say they beat me although not by that much so I was pretty pleased. Annie ended up coming an amazing second while Tracey finished eighth, Lee Cragie in the top 16 and unfortunately Lesley had an argument with the bridge we went over and had a trip to A&E instead of the podium. It was a great night and I would definitely recommend anyone to have a go if they dare!

I managed to get some good practice laps in on the Friday and the Saturday morning and was feeling quite confident that I was going to be able to ride everything well. My sessions with Ian from Firecrest MTB have enabled me to feel like I can deal with most obstacles that I come across. Dalby is one of my favourite courses, it has the scary technical descending that I love with harsh climbs that I detest but it makes for a great all round course, a proper Mountain Bike course. I was gridded in 77th position so very near to the back which is a very nerve wracking place to be, the start tends to get a bit hectic and usually results in a few crashes. Luckily I made quite a good start, only to be thwarted half way around the start loop where I was promptly knocked off the singletrack and my bike, it only takes a few seconds but riders streamed past and the small advantage I’d had at the start was gone. I hopped back on and started again, the Fourcross World Champion Anneke Beerten from the Milka Trek team was in front of me going through the Dixons Hollow section, this is a little jumps circuit, it was quite surreal to be following her through a section she excelled at. She was so quick and smooth and I managed to follow her lines so gained a little advantage on the pack! The first lap is always a little frustrating, with that amount of riders on the track there are places where it becomes bottle-necked and you have to jump off and run, this is something I need to practice as my legs really do not like running so it makes it extra hard for me. I managed four of the fives laps, just getting pulled on the last lap. I was a little disappointed not to be able to complete the race but it was an amazing experience and I definitely learnt a lot. I finished in 74th place so made up a few places on my gridding which I was quite happy about. Next stop is the Third round of the World Cup Series in Offenburg, Germany the course looks fantastic so I’m more than a little excited to be going.

Once again a huge thank you to all my sponsors, Limar Helmets, Lake Shoes, Kenda Tyres, Jagwire, Sponser Energy Products, my team Baines Racing and Firecrest MTB.

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British Mountain Bike Series - Round 2
17th April 2011

Round two of the British Mountain Bike series took us to the UK World Cup venue of Dalby Forest, Pickering. This course is one of my favourites; it combines really technical sections with harsh, leg draining climbs so I was really looking forward to racing here again. Yet again it had attracted top class riders with Julie Bressnett in Elite women's race and Geoff Kabush among others in the Men's Elite race; it was going to be some fast and exciting racing.

Race day dawned with blue skies and warming sun, you could almost imagine we were racing abroad. The course conditions were fast and dry, even the Worry Gill descent was less slimy than usual. As the technical demands of this course are a lot higher than most UK courses my nerves were exceptional high although my practice lap had gone very smoothly and I was in a better position than some. I was on the second row of the grid and it was very quiet with everyone contemplating the task ahead. I didn't get the greatest of starts but managed to work myself into the top half by the time we were out of the first section of single-track. I soon settled in to a rhythm and began enjoying the fantastic course conditions. Heading into Worry Gill my heart began to beat extra fast, it is a rather scary drop-off with a tight turn leading into it, no matter how many times I do it it still scares me! This leads into a rocky descent which is great fun and fast, my Whyte 19 handled it beautifully and by the time I was at the bottom I had a big grin plastered on my face although it soon turned into a grimace when faced with a steep loose climb with a number of switch backs, it's a bit of a killer which takes you into another scary technical section, the infamous Medusas Drop. This is a steep rooty section which incorporates a couple of large drop offs, yet again my bike handled superbly and I cleared it cleanly and quickly, yet another grin appeared! A long fire road climb brings you back round to begin the last half of the course, it's steep and long and with each lap it seemed to get longer. I was very pleased to stay consistent throughout the race and managed my best placing this season in the national series of 8th. I'm now very excited about returning to Dalby for the World Cup at the end of May.

Once again thank you to all my sponsors; Limar Helmets, Kenda Tyres, Jagwire Cables and my the rest of my team Baines Racing.

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British Mountain Bike Series - Round 1
27th March 2011

Sunday saw the start of the British Mountain Bike Series; to me this marks the start of the season proper. Most of my training has been focused with this event in mind and is a good test of how far I've come from last year when this was my first Elite race. I was hoping I would have closed the time gap on the leaders a little and maybe even pick up a reasonable result. When I travelled up on the Saturday to do my practice lap I was a little disappointed to find that it wasn't the most technically demanding of tracks but it still held its own challenges with enough to trip you up when you were getting tired. It was apparent that it was going to be a race that was flat out from start to finish with no let up. With my strength being the technical aspect of racing this was definitely going to be a test of how much my fitness had improved.

I woke on race day with a million butterflies in my tummy; I'd forgotten what an awesome atmosphere these bigger races produce especially with the quality of riders in the Elite races. Both the women's and men's races attracted top international riders; Lene Byberg from Specialized Factory Racing was appearing in our race along with Annie Last and Lily Matthews. It is great that we are able to compete against this level of rider but it does nothing for the nerves on the start line! As I thought the pace was fast from the beginning and I got a really good start but knew I wouldn't be able to sit at such a high effort. I dropped back a little and began racing in a group with Mel Alexander, Jane Cummings, Gabby Day and Cait Elliot; these girls are quality riders and to be able to stay with them gave me a big boost in confidence. Mel and Jane began to pull away and I hung on to Cait's wheel, determined to stay with her. My new Whyte 19 bike was giving me such a fun ride, it's a bike that really does make me smile even when I'm pushing myself to the limit as I take every opportunity to ‘get some air' over roots and bumps. There really was no let up in the pace at all and we were both pushing ourselves hard as we came round for the last lap where I was still hanging on to Cait. It was just up the last little incline where she managed to pull a slight gap so I kept pushing but just couldn't quite close back up. I finished just eighteen seconds behind her and in 11th place. My gap to the leaders had halved from last year so all the hard work is definitely paying off. There are plenty of areas that still need to be worked on but overall I was pretty pleased with my performance and am looking forward to Dalby Forest in three weeks.

Thank you again to all my sponsors; Limar Helmets, Kenda Tyres, Jagwire Cables and my new team Baines Racing.

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Midland XC Series - Round 1
20th March 2011

With only a week to go to the first British Mountain series my training has been ramping up and the Midlands race fitted nicely in to the schedule to add some fun in with the pain. I was really interested to see what the course would be like. Having ridden the Chase the Dog and the new Monkey Trail at Cannock I was more than a little curious. James and his team did not disappoint and provided a great course; tight single-track, a rollercoaster fire road and a nasty little drop to test us a tad. It was good to see lots of women on the start line all raring to go. The Elite, Expert and Junior women were to go off all together, this made it to be quite a crowd of us at the start. I was there in my new Baines Racing team kit and I think it looked pretty snazzy and complimented by my Ultralight Limar helmet. A straight fire road start made a quick getaway essential; unfortunately I was a little slow off the mark but quickly made up a few places to sit on Lily Matthews' wheel. I was quite pleased I could manage to keep up with her pace, even if it was for a short while, as Lily is one of the leading riders in the country and is definitely no slouch! This event was the first outing for my new Whyte 19 Carbon Team bike and the course made me love it, I was even jumping the rain bars in the first wooded section, the bike giving me tons of confidence to push myself that little bit further and it also popped down the drop very neatly. The only disappointment of the race was getting caught up with the male categories that had started in front of us; I think most of us girls encountered some rather rude male racers that wouldn't let us pass easily even though they were clearly slower and not in our race. At one point the passing was made so difficult it even resulted in me hitting the ground with a bump, I guess that's racing though. I was really pleased to finish in third behind Lily and Mel Alexander, both girls are pretty quick and finishing reasonably close to them was quite an achievement. I can't wait until next weekend for Sherwood Pines with 17 Elite women already entered including the 2009 World Champion it's going to be a tough race!

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Gorrick Spring Series - Round 2
6th February 2011

The second round of the Gorrick spring series took us back to Crowthorne woods as a the original venue was unavailable, it seemed a bit of a shame as I'd never raced at the planned venue and was really looking forward to some new challenges. However the Gorrick team had outdone themselves once again and put on a fab course, 90% different to last round with lots of tricky sections to get you thinking. I had entered the Expert Female category which was four laps and as I signed on it was good to see there was going to be five of us which would make it an interesting race. I headed out on to my practice lap to see what was going to be in store. The course was great and reasonably dry, my new Kenda Nevegals were providing fantastic grip and were great in the berm sections. There was a little of everything, short sharp climbs and twisty singletrack combined with fireroad climbs and tricky downhill sections; just the kind of course I love to ride.
Standing on line to start I felt really smart in my new Limar Ultralight helmet; it looked good and was comfortable too, this thing is really light! The start at Crowthorne is a little difficult as you begin on an uphill gravel section which then narrows into a fireroad descent; I tried to position myself in a grippy part of the track so I could get a good start. The gun went and we were off! Well everyone else was; my planning hadn't worked, my rear wheel found a really deep section of gravel and slipped which made me totally miss my pedal. What a plonker! I finally got clipped in and raced to catch up, luckily I hadn't lost too much time. I made up quite a few places on the descent, as we hit the first climb I felt pretty good and hit the front. I could hear chains rattling and heavy breathing behind me so I knew I had to push hard in the single-track and not make any mistakes. I managed to get into a rhythm and the course flowed beautifully. I sensed the other girls weren't far behind me so kept pushing until the final lap. I was really pleased to finish with a win; it was a great course and great racing. I can't wait for the next round!

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Gorrick Spring Series - Round 1
16th January 2011

After my first skills session of 2011 with Ian from Firecrest MTB I was ready for the first xc race of the season. The Gorrick team always put on a great event with a lovely atmosphere and some fantastic courses, Crowthorne did not disappoint. A practice lap with Pete and fellow Baines Racing member Mash proved the course was going to be great, it had coped with the downpours of the previous week well and wasn't too muddy although a little slippery in places. There were lots of little tricky twists and turns to keep you on your toes and of course the infamous Corkscrew, a very rooty technical section that is always ready to catch you out. After seeing Pete and Mash through the feed zone on to their last laps, both looking like they were enjoying the race, I was on the start line looking forward to riding the course at racing speeds. There were only two other girls in my category which was a shame as the numbers of women racing the enduro series has gone up. I was expecting the same here although I knew I had still had a race on my hands. We all stayed very close together on the opening fireroad section, the laboured breathing and burning legs that come with a race start was a bit of shock after a winter of low intensity training. Natasha Barry of Progression Fitness was pushing me hard as we entered the first section of single track; I managed to get through in the lead position and started to enjoy the flow of the trail. I then got into a great rhythm and just loved how the course flowed and rode so well. We had four laps to complete in all and as we were doing around 30 minute laps and hadn't started until 2.30pm the last lap was beginning to get rather dark! I was wishing that I had my lights on especially coming down the final descent in the woods which was almost pitch black; I couldn't see a thing and it was more down to luck that I stayed upright. It was great to come over the line in first place, a fun race to begin the 2011 season. Thank you to the Gorrick team for putting on such a fab race and I can't wait for the next one.

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