Maxine Filby is one of the UK’s fastest women at elite level cross country, and this year is taking on the World Cup series on board her Velocite Flux. Maxine only started riding mountain bikes just over two years ago, but soon became hooked after discovering the competitive side of the sport, and winning her first race! This weekend she’ll be competing in La Bresse as they host their first XCO race, but for now, sit back and find out how she got on in Nove Mesto.
Round three of the UCI XCO World Cup Series took us to Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic. As the current Men’s World Champion hails from this part of the world we were promised a crowd of epic proportions and a fantastic course, neither disappointed. I won’t bore you with details but our journey and first night in the Czech Republic didn’t quite go to plan, late flights and hotels shutting early caused a little stress but soon we were down at the course ready to have fun playing on bikes with the worlds best.
For this round I was sharing hotel and travel with South African rider Sam Sanders, she’s a pretty fast rider and her technical ability is fantastic. It was a gorgeous day, 27 degrees, it felt lovely to ride in a short sleeved top and shorts. We headed out on to the course which was technically demanding both on the descents and climbs. There were drops, BMX jumps, big rock gardens and lots of roots everywhere. Following Sam’s lead I rode all the big sections and began to feel confident hitting them at speed, the nerves fell away and lots of fun was had. Once we’d finished on the course we watched the Eliminator which had a British interest in Tracy Mosley and Moda riders Imogen Buick and Erica Zaveta. Unfortunately they didn’t get through to the final but put up a great fight and it looked entertaining!
Saturday was another practice day and race day for under 23 and juniors. It wasn’t quite as hot, in fact you couldn’t have got more different. It was cold and wet not at all pleasant. This changed the course quite significantly, roots became very slippery and lines changed. I did a couple of laps and felt confident that I could ride sections as well in the wet as the dry. We watched the Juniors race, an extra well done has to go to Alice Barnes and Beth Crumpton who had their bikes stolen the night before the race and had to compete on borrowed ones. They looked as confident as ever racing round and you would have never have known that they were on anything different from usual, impressive rides. Imogen Buick had another storming ride and was flying through the big technical sections. We also gave Carla Haines a cheer in the under 23.
Race day dawned and thankfully there was no sign of rain just very cold. We had the help of Moda Bike Magic Team manager, Mike in the pits. It was very generous of him to help when he had his own riders too, a huge thank you to him for that. I warmed up but didn’t get all that warm, it was just so cold I was struggling to retain heat even though I had a fair few layers on. We were called to the start and although we are gridded once you’ve been called on to the line you can move forward, this causes a bit of a crush! The start gun went and within a couple of seconds there was the sound of bikes hitting the tarmac with one girl flying through the air past me minus bike, it was complete carnage. I managed to get through staying on two wheels only to come across yet another crash on the first corner again I managed to stay upright. As my aim for these races is to complete the full race distance hold ups like these cost me valuable time to stay in. As I completed the start loop I had managed to pull myself up a few places, I began to settle into a rhythm.
I caught Tracey Mosley (former Downhill World Champion) on one of the climbs just before a section of jumps with a big gap jump at the bottom; I knew she’d jumped it as the crowd went absolutely wild. It made me smile through the pain of pushing myself hard! I continued racing with Tracey for most of the race, I’d pass her on the climb and she’d fly by on the descents. Unfortunately the time I’d lost at the start cost me dearly and I got pulled out with one lap to go. I finished in 68th place which is a slight improvement and I was second British girl. I am disappointed not to have completed the full distance but pleased with the way I rode, lots to work on though! I now just have a few days to get my bike and kit clean before heading off for Round four in La Bresse, France. I almost feel like a pro!