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About Me

 Mt Buller

Do today what others won't so you can do tomorrrow what others can't.

Updating a blog is about committment, something I choose to do as often as I can, so its about time I wrote about where I am at now.

Its September 2013, I have won the World 24hr Solo Champs in 2012 at Finale Ligure in Italy and am about to contest the 2013 World champs in Canberra.

Whilst I am not as "hard core" about training and racing as much as the past years, I know what to do and how to achieve results quickly when the need comes.

I have now been married just on 22years to Norm, Saskia our daughter is 19, we have some amazing fun businesses we build and love and I still race and ride my bike as often as I like...oh and I turned 40 in February.

Life is good and still its about doing what I can, something is better than nothing, always moving forwards even if only by small increments.

I must admit turning 40 is and was scary, but now I also have a purpose to remain a strong female role model for all age brackets.  It amazes me what I have learnt in my 30's and how long that seemed to last in time, imagine what being in my 40's will be like?

Do not ever think you can't, you always can if you DO.

Its 2012 and I realised that I have not updated the ABOUT ME section since 2008!

Wow time flies – seriously it does. 

I am now into my 6th year since deciding to take on the challenge of becoming an ELITE female mountain biker. If someone had of told me back in 2006 that I would be where I am today, I would have felt it possible deep in my heart but still would have had reservations that I would or could follow through.

You may have heard me speak of my 1% rule before?

Back in January 2006, I did my first 8hr Enduro at Whittlesea with a friend Simone Bate. We raced around in female pairs, I rode some stuff and walked some stuff. I had cramps and certainly had bad nutrition for the race. But gee did I have fun and was hooked instantly.

From this day forward I made a decision that I really really wanted to get good at Mountain biking, beat the girls that beat me today and become an elite rider some day. 

What was my reasoning? I figured at 34 it was not too late, I was physically fit as a football umpire and personal trainer, I loved cycling and I had a very supportive husband in Norm.

At this point in time we were living in Geelong. 

My 1% rule went like this:

Get out on my mountain bike 1 time a week, if only for 1hr

Focus on improving 1 element of my riding by 1%

1 week at a time, 1 month at a time...

...and in 1 years time I would have to be better – right?

It was so simple it was fail proof. I knew that if I stuck to this plan the success would consolidate and 1%'ers would compound into 5% 'ers and I would have to sabotage the process to fail.

In 2006 I completed 26 races in 52 weeks, won or podium in 13 of them & by the time 2007 came around I made the decision to now ride with the Elite women, no longer in the Sport/entry level.

I knew that 2007 would be tough, but if I trusted the process and dealt with not winning for a year I would learn a whole heap more about racing and getting better.

It was this year that I got a road bike and started to improve my bike fitness away from the single track.

In 2007 I had started to enjoy the endurance side of racing and did a whole bunch of solo 6hr events. It was after being in a team of 6 at the October 2006, Scott 24hr in Canberra & seeing James Williamson win that I decided I would aim for that in 2007.

I came 3rd at the Kona 24hr at Reedsdale after sleeping for 1.5hrs and being a bit of a nana...what could I do if I didnt sleep and put in a bit?

I also started to do a whole bunch of 100km races, including Otway Odyssey in its first year. OUCH! 

2008 I won the Kona 24hr when it came to Forrest as a solo female. It was the year I realised that perhaps I could race the Aussie Champs at Easter and planned on that for 2009.

I also won the Scott 24hr Solo female category later that year in Canberra.

I was finding out that I was good at suffering for long times.

2009 we sold our house in Geelong and moved to Forrest. For many reasons but it certainly was a great move for our business MTBSkills.com.au and of course my aims of being an Aussie champ and becoming a better mountain biker.

I won the Aussie 24hr solo champs at Easter, and it was not all my way. Fighting Katrin all the way it was not until the morning that I had secured the win.

After winning this, I was told that along with my generous prize money I would have my airfares paid for to get the World Solo 24hr Champs in Canmore, Canada in July 2009!

Ok...I am now going to race the worlds best. That was NEVER on my radar but opportunities come your way, how do you say no?

My first time EVER overseas and a race that upon reflection, I did really well in, I did not give up and it hurt like hell. My end result was 4th best in the World in 2009.

The pain of missing out on a podium fueled me to render the result as it was announced that the World champs would be coming to Canberra, Mt Stromlo in October 2010. I now had 18mths to prepare.

The remainder of the year was not without failure and my first DNF in a 24hr at the Kona 24hr in November in Forrest. It just wasnt in me and I was feeling the first signs of burn out. At the end of 4 years of hard work, 3 x 24hrs in 1 year & I was keen to have a rest, even considering giving the game away. 

Now in 2010, I completed my 4th Otway Odyssey, won the Aussie Solo 24hr Champs again at Easter and was turning my 1% rule into a daily ritual in the search of becoming the World Solo 24hr champ this October.

Could I do 1 more push up? I should go to bed 10 mins earlier. Just put in 1% more this training session. Get out on that ride even though its raining.
Do today what others won't so you can do tomorrrow what others can't.

I think I was a bit painful to live with, so focussed and in control of my life, but thats what you have to do to beat the worlds best. Everyone is awesome, its the 1%'ers that get you over the line first.

The 2010 world 24hr champs saw a massive field of 400 solo riders and a fair percentage of women too. I remember looking at the field and thinking that there was at least 10 contenders for the win and that it would be a race of attrition, waiting for people to make mistakes leaving the final selection for the battle. Often this isnt until the next morning, battle for position for 12hrs, settle, then race the last 6hrs.

As it was, there was a race on between 4 of us, 2 Aussies(me and Jodie Willett) an American and a Swiss rider. All within 5 minutes of each other. It was not until 11pm that night, 11hrs into racing that I made my move and from then on put time into all of them. Stayer, Katrin Van de spiegel came through and passed them all into 2nd position. The final 6hrs was a game of her trying to put time into me, me trying to lap consistently with no mechanicals or mishaps.

I won by 13 mins!

My mantra the whole race,” You deserve to win, you have done the work that others haven't. Be strong and believe it to be true. 90% of winning this race relies on you believing in yourself. 24Hrs is a short time really...just hurt, just believe, just go with it and you will win. Every hill, dont go that easier gear, go 1% harder, get out of the saddle, push! Every second you put into them now will equal a win. All you have to do is imagine that you are putting in a meter, a second each time you feel like resting. You cant rest, they are trying to catch you! Do you want to be a world champ? Then you have to fight for it, for ONE day of your life! No regrets.”

This just went on and on in my head all 24hrs long.

I did not talk much to anyone on the course, I was too busy thinking!

Norm and I were a great team that day. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. 

Post race, I took October, November & December “off any training” but still rode, only for fun. I was really depressed and had no idea what to do next. I never wanted to do another 24hr again and was touting retirement from this part of the sport.

2011 was another year where turning points were made.

I had my 2nd 24hr DNF at the Aussie champs at Easter and openly retired from 24hr racing.

A lot of pain, more depression but eventually I found the energy to re invent myself and have some fun again.

I came 5th at the Otway Odyssey, came 1st at the Alice Springs multi day MTB event, raced and won the Croc Trophy in October and did a bunch of road racing over winter. I also won the inaugral Forrest Festival stage race.

I guess you could call 2011 a year of consolidating, having a bit of fun and not really focussing on anything specific.

Over summer of 2011, it was touted that perhaps I do another 24hr ...who knows, I wasnt ruling it out, but it had to be for different reasons.

I know now how to win, but I also know that it takes a lot of energy time and effort to make it so.

Being older wiser and more experiened I am not willing to waste this on just anything for the sake of racing.

That brings me to 2012.

I am 39.

Saskia my daughter is now 18 and has her licence and has started work.

My one dog, Socks AKA Fatty is now 12 and the only pet left.

Norm and I have celebrated 20 years of marriage.

We have been living in Forrest for 4 years and are in our 5th year here.

I only race because I want to. Its part of my job – yes, but there has got to be something worthwhile about it.

I raced Mt Buller national round, because I love Mt Buller, the new 3 day schedule of Super d, XCO & Point to point had me excited.

I raced Wildside, who wouldnt? I came 2nd to Jenni King and ended up having a great time and had some great training in mind and body.

I then raced whats now known as the Kona Odyssey and for the first time ever, felt so good that I could actually come 3rd or 2nd, but little did I know how good. Peta Mullens came 1st and I came in 2nd 1 min & 16 seconds behind her!

I am back to following the program of a coach, I am back to applying some 1% 'ers again but I call this stage of my racing like my 2nd child. I am a lot more relaxed, I know whats going on. I am more experienced and can deal with it so much easier.

Of course like any good athlete, I couldnt do this without the big support I get.

Mountain biking at an elite level or any level is an expensive sport. Even the big bucks you sometimes get from winning a race is still “even Stevens” money – but I do it because its fun.

Giant Bikes

Bicycles Inc

Shimano

Schwalble tyres

Fox forks

Jet black products

Oakely sunnies

Nak hair products

Oh and Norm Douglas enterprises. (we argue heaps but he is my main sponsor!)


 

Archived "About Me"

The year goes by quick when you are having fun...and totally busy.

It is now November 2008, nearly 11 months since my last update in this section.
Nearing the end of my 3rd year racing I am starting to find my niche and get smarter in my racing and training. Some great successes and some awesome people I have achieved and met.

A new sponsor alongside of Torquay Cycling Factory has come on board. Hi Giant, Hi Darren Rutherford. Hi Jo Hall. Thanks for seeing how I fit in your team. Looking forward to some great riding and a fun relationship.

The year so far:

January: Australian XC championships at Mt Stromlo - 19th in Elite Women
Australian National Road Championships at Mt Bunningyong - Open women, finished 5 laps with bunch, did one more and then DNF. what an experience.

February: Ouch - a - rama. The Otway Odyssey hurt like crazy and my brain did not want to play. I think I finished 15th in Open women.
Had fun all Feb doing the Friday night races with GMBC at the Youies.

March: Did a Tri X race at Lysterfield on a cranking hot spell day, got sick the next day. Had 2 weeks off the bike. Time to reconsider my training and my reason for entering races.

April: Back on the band wagon. Feeling fitter. Did MTB Tour guide course at Bright for a week. Had a great base training week doing this. Started a four week block of track, just 3 hours on a sunday for 4 weeks. Awesome for speed and power. Feeling Strong. Did the 50km BMC Classic at Woodend and won it, came 4th overall, feeling bloody awesome. How did I do that!? All on one Torq Bar and one bidon of Torq drink.

May: A few fun enduros, Geelong 6 hr, Anaconda Enduro @ Lysterfield, You Yangs Duathlon and a club road race. Mixed in with our first MTB Skills camp at Anglesea with the most mud I have ever ridden in.

June: Another Anaconda Enduro, A fun Stage Race at the You yangs and a lot of cold rainy winter days.

July: Colac Road Race, 30km loop race at You Yangs, and a 6 hour Enduro at Lysterfield. Starting to kick goals again! Yey.

August: Some long training rides coming on now on the roadie. An Adventure race with Liz and Christy in the snow at Daylesford, A road race, and a horrible Castlemaine 6 hour enduro(just was not my day)..and our RDS weekend camp at Forrest.

Sept: More long road rides....quite a few. Some tough work with Sally coming to stay and many hours spent riding. Bendigo 6 hour which I won convincingly and had a fun time with our gang. And training with Calum who is more than half my age...some good training had!

Oct: The last of my long rides culminating in a 220km very long and hilly road ride. Just over a week later...Scott 24 hour - "I won!" Oh wow...I can win a big race like this?! Then 2 weeks later I won the Surf Coast 6 hour...crazy! Then off to Bright for some riding and R& R with Jeff, albeit sick as a dog.

...and that brings me to November.

Nov: 4 days of MTB climbing up in Bright with Gen. Gravity 12 hour in female pairs (a win ) with Jac. And now with just over 2 weeks to go until I will be on my bike racing the Kona 24 hour.

This week (10th-16th Nov) has been crazy-

  • about 5 media committments
  • winning the Colac Sportsperson of the month award(go to dinner next month to recieve award)
  • a new sponsorship deal with TCF and Giant bikes
  • ...and just loads of love and friendship from so many people.

What on earth is in store for 2009?...

 

January 2007 is when I wrote to following...

It is now January 2008 and it is amazing how time flies.

This will be the beginning of my 3rd year riding and racing continuously and I am about to turn 35!

My daughter will be turning 14 only a few days earlier and Norm, well he is now 37, may as well round that off to 40 eh?

Anyway...my story still remains the same...

As a child, I was a “bookworm artistic type”.
Sport? Competition? What the?
However, I still loved my bike always.
Being the eldest child, I was quite happy to make my own fun.
I used to plan long trips on the bike with a picnic in my back pack.
There were no mobile phones for my mum to call me and ask where I was…just me, a trail and my bike…ALL DAY LONG!
This was to set a trend in my life that I did not realise until later in my life.

As a teenager, I encountered a bit of a hiccup.
In 1987, I was 14 and diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. A form of cancer.
“No Problem”, I thought. Just a little distraught at the thought of losing my hair with the chemotherapy, that’s all.
After my treatment was over & I was in the clear I convinced my family to join the local leisure centre where I began to nurture my passion in health and fitness.
It was not much longer after this in 1988 that with the help of a few keen teachers we managed to organise a school trip on the Great Victorian Bike Ride.
Once again, building upon my “cycling trend” for the future. The ride was so much fun that I went again in 1989.
As a 16 year old, doing year 11, I kept 2 casual after school jobs to save up to go and also buy a new bike.

After leaving school I did the unthinkable and got married at 18 years of age.
Married life took me to Sydney from December 1991 to November 1992. My husband was in the Navy and I completed 6 months of Uni.
Whilst in Sydney, we both bought new road bikes and got rid of the car. Cycling was the best form of commuting in Sydney. We did also do a few longer trips north and south of Sydney.
November 1992, after my husband Norm left the Navy, we moved to the Gold Coast.
Soon after we got involved in the cycling scene and used to compete in club criteriums on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I was also unemployed and used to go to the then CES(Centrelink) in the morning(of course on my bike). If there were jobs to go for, then I would not ride, if there was nothing of interest, I would plan a ride anywhere between 50-120kms long, often in the Hinterland behind the coast. Aaaahh…what a life!

As winter approached of 1993, we were introduced to the mountain biking scene by my husbands brother, Rick Douglas. My first ever ride was in Nerang State Forest on a fully rigid frame. As scared out of my skin that I was, it was not long after that I entered my first race and had my first Mountain bike.
It was a weird way that I aquired my first mountain bike. I had a friend who had one and wanted a road bike, I had the road bike and wanted the mountain bike. We were both the same size, height etc…so we swapped bikes and shoes!
So Mid 1993, I had done a few races and a 3 hour enduro. However I was now 3 months pregnant. I continued to ride for as long as I could, but eventually in about October at 6 months, my belly got in the way so I resort to swimming and aqua aerobics(boring!).

January 1994 saw the birth of my daughter, Saskia.
By the end of February I had a new road bike and did a few crits again as well as some local Mountain Bike races. Post baby fitness was non existent and I suffered heaps, but still kept riding!

June 1995 and we moved back to Geelong where I am from.
This is when we lost contact with the cycling community and spent some time being parents. You know, riding along the river with the bike seat, then progressing to walking along the river with your kid on a 3 wheeler, then eventually convincing them to have a go without the training wheels.

So after many years I think I must have forgotten about the cycling bug, until in December 2005, me and a few friends went riding at the You Yangs. Out came the fully rigid bikes and that blurred vision as you descend for the first time in 10 years.
Anyway, we were hooked and was born the first challenge.
Fat Tyre Flyers, Hard Day at the Office 8 hour enduro! What a challenge! I went in a female pair and my husband in a male pair. By now we had gone out and bought our first entry level hardtail bikes from our local bike shop, Tri 2 Cycle.

In 2006 I amazingly completed and competed in 24 races around Australia. That’s nearly 1 a fortnight. I have an account of all the money spent and let me tell you, its more than some people would spend on a round the world holiday of a lifetime!
During 2006, I upgraded my bike from a Scott Reflex 20 to a Scott Genius RC. Bought so many new kits that I can wear something different every day of the week and still have choices left at the end. I have also spent some time and money on improving my fitness and skill on the bike with various coaches such as Donna Rae-Szalinski, Rob Faul & Rob Eva.
This investment in myself has allowed me to progress from the level of Sport Women through to Expert Women. I have also completed many solo enduro events from 6 hour, 12 hour to 24 hour. All with podium finishes. Actually I managed 13 podium finishes out of 24 races!

2007 is going to be a bit tougher. People expect more, I expect more! It will be hard work to achieve as many podium finishes again as I pit myself against some of Australia’s best who have been riding and racing consistently for up to 10 years.
However, I am looking forward to participating, learning and improving, which in turn will allow me to have more fun than ever!

...2007 was tough with lots of podiums and a realisation that I am more suited to endurance events rather than olympic format XC racing. I also had some fun with road racing and am starting to like this aspect of cycling too. I like the mind games and tactics where as racing MTB is more about an individual effort of hard yakka the whole time.

I was able to complete the year winning the female SOLO category at the Kona 24 at Forrest on Dec 1st and 2nd. This enabled me to qualify for the WORLD SOLO CHAMPIONSHIPS at Canmore, Alberta in Canada late July 2008.

This year will be a new level of hurt again.

I am enjoying being a role model to other cyclists in general and hope to build on this as I gain greater credibility in the world of cycling.

Many people have told me now that I have done 2 years, that is the minimum time required to get your legs and body used to cycling. Sort of a mini apprenticeship. I suppose now I have another 2 years until I am "fully qualified!"

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Jess has not only first hand experience in coaching, but is a qualified fitness coach & cycling coach. She is a 3x Australian and 3x World Mountain bike champion and loves helping people be the best they can be.

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