Rosalie takes on a Mountain Biking challenge.

Rosalie takes on a Mountain Biking challenge.
If you are looking for a hobby then why not take up cycling off road. That is certainly what Rosalie Newcombe from Bishop’s Castle did, and she is now into Mountain Bike racing!

Rosalie has been the Dealer Administrator at Greenhous Ford in Newtown for the past two years and around 18 months ago her exercise was done at the Gym with spinning classes. Things changed when Rosalie and her boyfriend Matt decided to participate in mountain biking on some of the trails which had beginner’s routes. Popular spots they used in Mid-Wales are Coed y Brenin, LLandegla and Nant y Arian.

With time Rosalie and Mat developed their skills and moved from hard trails to full suspension and now onto Enduro bikes.  They ventured out onto increasingly difficult tracks. Now, with a lot more experience, they ride at places like Minsterley, the Stiperstones and Hopton Castle and enter races.

Rosalie explains the racing format: “Some of the distance runs are between 40 and 60 Km, this can be either a huge loop or laps of a track through woodland or other natural terrain. There are not a lot of women taking part in mountain bike racing and I hope to see more take up the sport.

“I raced in deep snow in February at Coed y Brenin being only one of three women to take part in the 3 lap race.  It is a great sport and very challenging as well as exhilarating.  I had signed up for the final 3 races in the Welsh Enduro series this season, but a crash that led to over a week of concussion has meant I will be holding off on the first one of these. Most disappointing.  Each lap is around 16 Km with 4-5 timed downhill sections which gives your overall score.  I want to be on the podium! If not this year then hopefully I will be in 2019.”

Even though the numbers of women riders are small the quality of the opposition Rosalie faces is high and this drives her on to want to improve herself.  She is targeting all of the Welsh Enduro races next year as well as hopefully entering into downhill competitions.

The challenge of racing downhill at speed over rough terrain spurs Rosalie on as she explains: “Downhill racing is more extreme, travelling as fast as you can over rocks, tree roots, gravel, mud and other surfaces.  It is much steeper than most Enduro tracks.  Riders are taken to the top of the mountain and then descend as part of the timed race.

“I would like to do well and encourage other women to take up the sport I love.  I am determined to win a trophy. Every time I go out the ground conditions can be different due to the weather and that tests your skills each time you ride. Cornering in the wet is very different to the dry. The bike you ride is important and so for beginners it is good to try out a few different ones before committing to the expense of buying one, to make sure what you buy is the right bike for you. Lighter, stronger more durable bikes are very expensive.  I ride a Trek Remedy at the moment, but I’m sure when funds allow I shall be upgrading to the next level of bike.”