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Team Kenda-NoTubes: The Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick diary

Mary getting ready to drop Wild Cat Trail.

Mountain bike racing in the USA

By:
Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick
Published:
May 25, 2014, 15:45 BST,
Updated:
May 25, 2014, 15:57 BST

Ready for the Trans-Sylvania Epic stage race

Greetings from a campground on the edge of Rothrock State Forest, Pennsylvania!

It has been a busy past few months for Mike and me as we have attended some truly fantastic MTB cycling events in various corners of the continent. From the Pan American Championships in Brazil to the Sea Otter Classic in California, a road trip to race the Whiskey Off Road in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona, and now back to the East Coast for more excitement and racing.

It has been great to see how the Tribe of Bike continues to flourish in such a positive way. The fun, connection, and health, that the simple act of getting out on a mountain bike can bring, is constantly inspiring many, and we are glad to be a part, living this lifestyle.

So today is the beginning of an epic week. Mike and I are just getting ready to compete in a seven-day off road stage race - The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic! We will be racing and riding for hundreds of miles on trails and gravel roads, through densely lush and rocky forests surrounding State College, PA. We are both looking forward to the challenge as we put our bodies, minds and equipment to the test.

Mike has been busy dialing the bikes all week to be ready for the sharp rocks and super rugged terrain. In looking to get the most out of our bikes for trail performance we are set up with seat droppers and oversized sealant compatible Kenda tires - which will make a big difference in trail performance and comfort for the long haul - which is what this race is all about.

Rarin to go! Stay tune for updates, results, photos of the week, including the "Enduro" and "East Coast Rocks" segments here on Cyclingnews.

Best of luck to all of you in your summer adventures,
Mary and Mike
Team Kenda/Stan's NoTubes

Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug on their way to another victory racing the Trans Andes Challenge

Tuning up for 2014

By:
Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick
Published:
February 18, 2014, 16:42 GMT,
Updated:
April 09, 2014, 15:54 BST

A taste of summer in Chile

Our off season was a time of travel and transition amongst several communities that have become a favorite part of our yearly migration. It seems we have been expanding on our list of of favorite spots to the point where it often it feels like too little time in each place. Mobile continues to be our chosen way of operation, following the season, following the races and tending to the needs of our team program while forgoing many of the comforts of the white picket fence lifestyle.

The six weeks we spent in Northern California passed quickly as it tends to when the long training rides take up the majority of the short winter days. This year was the driest we have experienced in the state and although not ideal on the environmental end, it served us well in getting in the type of mileage we needed to get an early start to our mountain bike season. Riding in dusty conditions in the winter of Northern California was a strange but welcome departure from the norm that allowed us to spend the majority of our time riding where we prefer - off road.

Mary and I happily made the most of the rugged Sonoma County terrain that keeps us returning annually to this temperate coastal area. Here we experienced the winter in a time of extremes with the sun tracing it's lowest arc across the sky and the nights dropping well into the freezing range. Shaded pockets of land were hard frozen for weeks on end while the areas gifted with a view of the winter sun had already blossomed with signs of spring. Never knowing what was around the next corner (like an icy patch) on a 50-degree day made for some exciting riding and amazing scenery while out on the bike.

Mary and I got in a lot of solid training days amongst the holiday festivities - which made for some good endurance training themselves! Mary's side of the family runs deep in California with the majority of her 20 or so aunts, uncles, her parents, four siblings and their growing families all living in the immediate area. This is also where many of our dearest friends reside, so there were no shortage of ways to spend quality time. Lucky for us, many of our favorite Californians are talented riders, so we often had the opportunity for a combination of training while getting in a memorable ride together! Group rides with friends are such a pleasant change from being isolated on the road in another state, country or continent.

Just when we were starting to settle into the rhythms of the Golden State we made the move to Chile. However in our seventh trip here, in as many years, we are starting to feel pretty accustomed to life on the central coast of this long skinny country. We arrived on the first of the year to a whole new world of terrain, riding and opportunities for outdoor adventure in the height of the South American summer!

The major focus of our visit was to compete in the Trans Andes Challenge - an epic six-day off road stage race in Patagonia. Mary and I once again enjoyed the unique challenge of competing and riding together over this shockingly beautiful terrain. We were really happy to have our hard efforts rewarded with our fifth overall victory in the mixed duo category and an overall incredible experience.

It is mind blowing to see how fast Chile is growing! On the more positive side of mass development, no area seems to be advancing faster than outdoor tourism. Mountain biking and surfing have specifically been embraced by the Chileans and for really good reasons as the country has some world class offerings in both departments. Clearly though it is the enthusiasm and general warmth of the people here that really makes Chile a special place to come and see for any number of reasons.

Chile has once again given us the chance to step away from the potential of brutal winter conditions in North America so we can better focus on our training. The summers in Central Chile offer up hospitable temperatures and there is is no ignoring how handy those extra 35 hours of light a week are to get some stuff done.

Whether it's the next town or the next continent, traveling is always a good reminder of the tremendous variety within the mountain biking experience. Most every riding area has its own unique character and as a MTB rider, it is of course preferable to sample a wide assortment of terrain. It's just plain fun to ride in new places and In some little way each new challenge conquered adds to the overall repertoire of bike skills and shapes us into more complete riders.

There is also a lot of opportunity to tune and set up a bike specifically to get the most out of the riding experience in any given area. When traveling, Mary and I keep an eye out for the equipment and tune that the locals are putting on their bikes to get the most out of their trails so we can integrate the same advantages. It's now just about impossible to ignore some of the amazing new products that you can bolt on your bike and straight up re-define what is possible with a similar level of skill and commitment. If you have gotten down with a dropper post you know what I am talking about.

Variety is also something that is on the increase in the mountain bike racing experience. Back in the day it was all about cross country or downhill - both on the same bike. Now there is a broad selection of off road events on any given weekend pretty much worldwide as well as bikes that cater to the specific applications. The alternative mtb events have helped stoke up a tremendous increase in worldwide participation. Great to see the sport thriving globally and people getting out on their bikes!

Hope to see you out there too!

Saludos,
Mike and Mary
Team Kenda/Stan's NoTubes
www.maryandmikeride.blogspot.com

Que la vida! Team work!

Back to Europe

By:
Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick
Published:
May 14, 2013, 19:35 BST,
Updated:
May 14, 2013, 20:38 BST

Early season racing in Argentinia, Austria, Germany and Italy

Greetings from Europe where Mary and I are settling into the latest chapter in another season of international racing. The next few months will see us continuing forward with a diverse and exciting schedule that is first and foremost about having another go at the cross country World Cups. Alongside this, we will be attending international cross country and marathon races in many a country while filling any remaining gaps with team and solo stage racing and or attending several of the larger European bike festivals, all while based out of our little mobile home.

Up to this point, our season has been on par with our busiest, with travels covering ground in Chile, California, Argentina, Massachusetts and three countries so far in Europe. Since all of this has come without ever really calling any place home for more than a couple days or weeks at best, it has felt a bit over booked. Perhaps it is not so strange that now here in this compressed living situation things seem to be settling into place. No doubt car camping has a certain confinement to it, but we always seem to be at our best as a team when we are back to our preferred mode of operations.

It is a struggle to consistently be "on the road" and away from the many comforts of home/hometown, but Mary and I are really happy to have the opportunity to spend the majority of another MTB season in this fashion. We feel that we can make the most significant impact with our long term commitment to be one of the few American MTB outfits to consistently attend the majority of our races outside of our home country, now for our 10th year! We continue to be a geographic anomaly where we travel, feel especially well received and are often utilized as an international feature in the race coverage and press. This is a reputation that we appreciate as Mary and I act as representatives and agents of marketing for our esteemed sponsors and any special attention translates directly to being better able to pull our weight.

A quick recap of the past month or so takes us back to our travels to Argentina. Definitely can't blame those who chose not to attend the 16th annual Pan American Championships in Tucuman, Argentina, especially those who needed to make the travel by air from way out of town like we did. It was a long and arduous journey that presented many especially difficult logistical challenges.

It was still well worth the trip to attend what Mary and I consider the premier mountain bike event on the American continent. The Pan American event has been a perennial favorite of ours for the last decade and is undoubtedly one of the most flavorful racing specific experiences any mountain biker could hope to take part. It always makes the experience bit more special when racing for national pride and even more amazing to have the opportunity to race and explore areas that are completely off the beaten path. In these instances we find ourselves surrounded by like minded individuals that regardless of language or cultural differences clearly understand what we are all about as we share the bond of being deeply committed to the bike.

We competed high up in a desolate, open mountainous plain that makes up a large portion of the smallest province in Argentina, Tucuman. The area seemed to be internationally known for little more than being the place where Argentinian Independence was signed. It's proximity to the towering Andes mountains and impossibly dense rainforest/ jungle made for a unique and fantastic environment though the main tourism attraction seemed to be petroglyphs and other decayed relics from past civilizations, driving home the idea that this was a place that once was.

In stark contrast was the enthusiastic vibrant reception we received as traveling athletes from the people there. The impressive hustle of day to day life and the positivity of the people we met surely gave the impression that Tucuman is a place that has ambition to be something special. Many of the racers who attended surely left a deep impression on the young and old alike in this isolated region of Argentina. We had the feeling that perhaps the experience of hosting the Pan American Championships will inspire some to take sport more seriously or even help to develop a future champion.

After spending 10 days in a tiny flat stuck on the side of the hill above town, and riding little more than the cross country course and a few dusty dirt roads far better suited to the non-stop motorcycle traffic, we actually started looking forward to the 40 hours of airline bus boat and car that would bring us home. Having Mary take home her fourth continental title was more than enough to keep us smiling the entire way!

After an ultra brief five days spent mostly catching up with family and recovering at home, we again packed up the bikes and made the trip across the pond. After an easy red eye flight, we awoke in Munich where we spent a precious few days with our long time German friends rediscovering the culinary joys and social atmosphere of the outdoor "bier gartens" while we packed ourselves out of our storage unit (their garage) and into our mobile home.

We headed straight to"Bike the Rock" Festival in Heubach, Germany. A busy and exciting event that was well attended by spectators and by many of the best mountain bike athletes in the world. It felt kind of like a mini World Cup and this really drove home the feeling that Europe is the place to be to attend the highest level of mountain bike competition.

Heubach was still gripped in a wet late winter blast that made "Bike the Rock" festival an incredibly muddy experience! The type of conditions that made us choose to not even go out for a pre ride on the course. Lucky we had the right Kenda tires (Karmas) as well as the general course layout in our heads from racing here a couple of times before.

Mary really showed her early season fitness by making the top 10, even though in her own words she was "riding conservatively" and not taking the type of risks that are pretty much mandatory for a top result in cross country competition these days. I also rode OK for someone just off the plane, but suffered initially from my mid pack start position, unable to make the right moves in the critical first moments. All in all, a great reminder of what we will be up against for the duration of our time spent here.

Our next moves brought us a couple hundred kilometers to the south to one of our favorite mountain bike festivals - The Oetztal Bike Festival in Haiming, Austria. This event is a premier example of a high level race that is run "the right way" by friends, family and the incredible grass roots effort of the local HaiPower Bike Team. We were treated to some great weather for the majority of our time there and this really helped us to enjoy this event as well as the exceptional MTB riding around town. Its not that we particularly mind riding/racing in the rain, but the weather really plays a tremendous role in overall morale when living in the car!

Racing wise, Mary was really on in Haiming, she was motivated by the sweet, all natural, technical course and held her own among some of worlds the top contenders, posting a solid sixth place finish. After another less than ideal start, I was able to claw my way back into the action and fight some satisfying individual battles eventually finishing 29th on the day. More than anything we were happy to attend this great event (for the third year) and once again feel like we made a positive impression for our team/sponsors and as American representatives.

We shifted gears this past weekend to attend The Garda Bike Festival in Riva del Garda, Italy. We initially came just to make a team appearance, see some of our European sponsors and to check out what is known to be one of the premier festivals in Europe.

We quickly found that the north end of Lago di Garda is one of the most impressive and beautiful places that we have ever had the good fortune to visit with our mountain bikes in hand! We immediately took advantage of ride opportunities with some eager friends and got out to explore some of the vertically endowed terrain that towers over head in every direction from the north end of the lake. Perhaps not the most singletrack endowed place ever but this is a seriously STUNNING place to ride!

On Saturday evening after a fun day of catching up with many of our industry friends, Mary and I made the last minute decision (though we both knew it was bound to happen) to take part in the Garda Bike Festival marathon race. We initially entering into the experience with a laid back attitude and with hopes of getting in a solid training ride, mostly because we realized that we would be starting behind 500+ people due to our late entry into the race.

Over the course of the "mildly technical mostly muscly" 93km and 3,800 meters of climbing Mary and I clawed our way through the crowds and by the end of the day Mary managed to take the WIN in the open women's "Extrema" category! After an equally hard fought battle, I was quite happy to end up 20th in the overall. This extended effort pushed the limits of our cross country trained bodies but really turned out to be a positive experience. Passing over so much beautiful terrain so quickly in one ride made a deep impression in our minds and we are now looking forward to competing in a greater number of marathons style events as we can find the time.

Mary and I are now recovering RV style in a lakeside campground, not all that disappointed that the impressively wet spring weather is preventing us from getting in a whole lot of miles. We are beginning to taper down for the soon upcoming cross country World Cups and still find ourselves with plenty to do, much of it quite literally in our faces and at our fingertips, though the dirty laundry is doing a good job of covering everything.

Every day of living and racing from our mobile home here in Europe brings some sort of adventure that takes us out of our version of what we expect or want to happen and into just going with the flow to make the most of a constantly changing situation. The bike along with the familiarity and community that we find surrounding our sport and at the weekends races is often the glue that holds that whole program together.

Wishing you all good health, rides and adventures!
Mike and Mary

Michael Broderick

Home is where the car is

By:
Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
Published:
April 02, 2013, 20:40 BST,
Updated:
April 02, 2013, 21:41 BST

American couple spends time in South America and California

Spending the majority of the past decade in a mobile/ temporary living situation has pretty firmly altered our previously held idea of "home" as any single location to where we happen to be working out of on any given day. Home for us is now simply a place where the morning beverages are prepared, daily missions are staged from and returned to for recovery, and where we lay our heads down to re-up for the next outing. At this point, Mary and I have called a lot of places home.

It's not like we are happy posted up in the middle of any old place and in fact we are pretty picky about what we are looking for and where we spend our time. Lucky for us, we have come across places that meet the criteria spread across most corners of the world that we have found ourselves.

We are now well tuned in to the fact that our best times are spent when we are immersed in a community of like minded passionate individuals, athletes, outdoor lovers, conscious people and most on the mark - other fully committed mountain bikers! This has lead us to believe that these special places are numerous, continually expanding and can be found all over the world by following not much more than intuition and the word of other off road cyclists about where the good riding is.

It is clear that many of these special places have drawn in or altered the consciousness of the people who live there and happily the typical style of greeting out of town riders is to take in those who come to their neck of the woods without hesitation and proudly share what are increasingly (with days and years of hard work often by under recognized local riders) becoming more advanced and enjoyable trail systems. These are the places that act as surrogate homes for us and are the places that keep us stoked on traveling, training and continuing what we do! This is something that we don't see changing any time soon as we continue to figure the best path to feed our passions for off road cycling and make our way into 2013 once again as a two person all inclusive husband and wife team.

This season is all about utilizing our past knowledge to chart the best course for the future. Mary and I started out 2013 with a considerable base period and extensive travels that included our participation in the Trans Andes Challenge Stage race in Chile. By this point, our fifth trip to the country, we have smartened up enough to spend as much time as possible around this exceptional race to get in the type of uninhibited training that is most easily possible in the embrace of a warm and dry summer that we have come to know in Chile.

We proceeded to trade in the long days of the Chilean summer for the winter/early spring of Sonoma County, California to ensure that we touched up on the type of environment that has all the necessary ingredients for what we hope to accomplish on the international circuit. Considering what many in the northern hemisphere are going through this time of year there was little reason to complain about the weather and we made sure to use any naturally occurring adversity (or straight up bad weather) to polish up the technical skills and test out the latest in tire and equipment choices.

As soon as we stepped into the familiar Epic-ness of Northern California, we knew it had been too long since our last visit. A couple of weeks later, Mary and I were well into our own version of the hardman/woman training camp, with this segment firmly aimed at riding our bikes loads of miles. In between dropping the saddles low to fulfill deep primal urges of "getting some" in the vertically endowed singletracks in the land of the redwoods, we made sure to enjoy the precision luxury of our road bikes on the oh so amazing, though often decayed, roads of Sonoma county. It was a great feeling to be back in such an exceptional area to stretch our limits.

We are still trying to keep it diverse by getting in the ocean a couple times a week, on the paddle boards if it is flat but always hoping for some incoming swell to light up one of the little known and seldom surfed B waves that shape the cliffs along the wild Sonoma Coast.

The cross country racing season is fast approaching and that means change and travel is soon on the way, but before that it means digging in deep to take advantage of all that this area has going for it and getting in some serious CHARGING.

Our first major cross country competition of the season will be the Continental Championships, and it is coming right up this weekend. Mary and I are happy to announce our selection to the US National Team and are excited to represent our country, team and sponsors at what is undeniably one of the most special events on our yearly calendar. Pan American Championships is always an exciting event to compete in, but even more it is a chance to be ambassadors of our sport at an event that showcases the talent of an entire continent while visiting an incredible part of South America - a fantastic opportunity!

Looking ahead, the ink is just drying on our tickets to Europe where we will soon be returning to our chosen style of RV travel and living. Mary and I will be launching our tried and true mobile World Cup campaign spending the spring crossing borders to compete in the highest level national cross country events across Europe. Here we look forward to the opportunity to compete with some of the best while taking the time to appreciate the different cultures that are so apparent in countries often separated by little more than a few hundred kilometers.

In our travels, Mary and I have learned to take advantage of the good things that are available right in front of us while shelving our preconceived notions of what is "good and bad". We know how good the beer is in Germany, but more importantly we know well enough that when in France it is time to switch up to wine to ensure that we continue on with the A game and experience the best that each culture has to offer.

Hope to see you at a race in your neighborhood sometime soon!
MnM

For more updates, visit our personal blog at www.maryandmikeride.blogspot.com

Volcan Villarica sits quietly

Mike & Mary Blog: Winning theTrans Andes Challenge

By:
Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick
Published:
February 01, 2013, 16:46 GMT,
Updated:
February 01, 2013, 17:01 GMT

Perfecting the nuances of teamwork while racing as a duo

It was all there for us once again just as we remembered it and just as we had tried to forget; no less fantastic and no less demanding. Now in it's summer finest - alarmingly hot, dusty, rugged, raw and beautiful - the ancient mountains and lakes that make up the "Lakes Region" of Patagonia, Chile host relatively few people, leaving the area less spoiled than most we are privileged to compete in.

The fifth running of the Trans Andes Challenge (TAC) gave all in attendance the chance to ride seldom used roads, singletrack and even a few first descents deep in the belly of this incredibly rich natural region. It was also a chance for Mary and I to compete side by side for six days, 21 hours, 250 miles & 31,000 feet of climbing over unfamiliar terrain, facing the challenge as a team.

The TAC is a six-day mountain bike stage race that requires a combination of fitness and strategies, as well as a whole lot more to maximize your chances for success. There are times to sit patiently in a dusty paceline or make alliances with other riders to best manage the effort while remaining vigilant and always ready to move to the front when you get an inkling that it might be time to enter into a clear section of singletrack.

Our past years in attendance gave us clear insight of how to prepare for what was our fourth TAC. We diversified our training prior to the event to include a wide variety of cardio and strength-building exercise rather than just a lot of riding. The results seemed to be pretty straightforward as both Mary and I felt better able to manage the specific stresses of this style of racing, allowing us to have our best experience to date.

Knowing what to bring to the event as far as bike build, spare equipment and comfort items to get the job done right is absolutely critical. What to pack each day is of equal importance and varies according to stage specifics. There are of course essentials that you can't do without but it is critical to be a minimalist and keep it light and fast if you really want to handle business with the best time.

Mary and I focused on working together this year and sharing the common goal of going as fast as possible as a team was definitely part of the fun. We rode mostly without talking, communicating through body language and quiet verbal cues to dictate the pace and strategy. Each day our skills sharpened and we felt more and more lethal as a team.

The event staged out of some amazing thermal complexes that allowed riders to soak in pools and incredible glacial rivers but for Mary and me, taking care of the bikes and bodies usually took up the remaining hours of the afternoon. With any spare time, Mary and I would opt for a leg soak in one of the always local rivers or get caught up talking to one or more of the exceptional people who were in attendance as staff or racer. Evening podium ceremonies were fun and festive as tired riders shared stories of the day and sipped amazing Chilean wine and local craft brewed beers before another night of short sleep.

The physical requirements aside, Mary and I feel we've built a mental callus to the demands of multi-day events. Knowing that we can accomplish and recover from consecutive long hard efforts and still tolerate one another at the end of the day has given us confidence to try more of the same...

This race offered up some amazingly scenic, fast and fun filled miles. If you like to ride your mountain bike and are up for an incredible adventure (solo or with a good friend), a race like this is an experience not to miss!

Salud and good rides,
Mike and Mary
Team KENDA - Seven - Stan's NoTubes
www.maryandmikeride.blogspot.com

Mike Broderick rides in the snow

Quality time at home in New England

By:
Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick
Published:
January 07, 2013, 16:56 GMT,
Updated:
January 07, 2013, 17:15 GMT

'Cross racing and local projects fill the "off-seaon"

Winter in the the Northeastern US can be fickle grounds for any outdoor enthusiast. The sun tracks low in the sky, giving off little more than a suggestion of warmth before shrinking away from another long night. Storms have bared the trees and left our trails littered with decomposing memories of another miraculous fall. Now inhospitable weather has become something more of a daily reality than a mere threat.

For the dedicated cyclist, there is a new importance to being in tune with the local micro climates and to timing outings accordingly, since getting caught out in increment weather unprepared at this time of year can quickly end the fun of any outing.

There are a good number of alternative activities that can help to meet the training needs to get through the worst days, but there is no denying that there is no substitute for getting out and riding. Holding out for a good window in the weather can mean that same rainy sub-30 degree (Fahrenheit) morning might transform into a cheery 40-degree afternoon when the sun breaks through at the right angle. Keeping in mind of course that 30-degree morning could be the best window to hit some trails before the thaw and when conditions are fast and fun. Keeping your head up and being flexible with training times can really help make it easier to get in that same hard work out.

Looking back on our fall in New England, Mary and I have really enjoyed the chance to catch up with a good number of our family and friends while refreshing our perspective on what it's like to live in a house without wheels. The past several months have been a grounding time and essential part of what allows us to operate on the road as we have for the better part of the past decade.

Our weeks spent at home were carefully crafted around weekends of local travels, mandatory pilgrimages really, aimed at reconnecting to our traditional fall racing pursuit of cyclo-cross. The 'cross scene in New England continues to impress, with a great number of events that consistently offer up nothing short of the best courses and competition on the continent. Just when we thought it might be possible to take a little bit easy - perhaps show up to a race "just for fun" and or even call this some semblance of an off season... well, New England cyclo-cross has other ideas! The competition here is HOT and the racing is as good here as it is anywhere we have seen in the world.

As fun as it is to watch, cyclo-cross is not a spectator sport as much as it is a sport of participation in New England. The intense and relatively short race efforts attract a huge number of age group and amateurs keen to get into the action. 'Cross seems to be the preferred discipline for the "average" sickly driven New England Cyclist who can still manage to find the time to hone themselves into a lethal barrier jumping machine despite the constraints of other real world obligations.

For Mary and me, the training has continued to diversify and morph with our environment. Having access to the ocean has allowed us to get back into paddle boarding, surfing and get a taste of going to the beach, something we often dream about when land locked. In general Mary and I take advantage of this time of year to incorporate lots of non biking activities into the schedule. Yard jobs - like digging that grave sized hole to repair a busted out well head, or the steady grind of processing wood from standing dead trees to kindling to feed the ever hungry wood stove - are going a long way to add to the general preparation for our bodies to handle the punishment of another big season on the bikes. These thinly disguised real life workouts are a great way to lay waste to any muscles that have been neglected by the cycling and come with the bonus of actually getting some work done!

With Mary putting her healthful culinary skills to the seasonal test in the kitchen, it would be a mistake to take much of a pause in the activity for any long period of time.

I have to admit to spending a bit too much time outfitting our newest wheel estate investment (A Winnebago Brave) to be the perfect race attack vehicle. The payback has been pretty rewarding however as we have been rolling in unrivaled comfort while contesting Saturday and Sunday race weekends without a second thought about where the good food and quiet place to sleep are coming from. Being an all American RV, this is a vehicle that could be considered painfully expensive to drive, however keeping in mind the overall picture and style of "RV'ing it" we feel it is a critical upgrade for the team. It has already proved to be a million laughs - more or less eclipsing any darker points that occasionally accompany driving your house.

We are full of gratitude for the support we received from our family, friends and sponsors over this amazing season! Mary and I look forward to representing once again as we step into another exciting season of international racing in 2013 and will be starting things off once again with The Trans Andes Challenge in Patagonia Chile January 21-26. Time to head out and train!

Best wishes to all for Good health, Positivity and a Happy New Year!

Mike and Mary

Additional thoughts relating to the death of Burry Stander

As I was working on this article we got the tragic news of of Burry Stander's passing. This coming on the heels of an equally disturbing and similar tragedy - the death of Spanish cyclist Inaki Lejaretta. Such devastating news to the cycling community! Mary and I wanted to express our sincerest condolences to their family and friends as well as to members of the bike community that like us will no doubt be affected by this on some level for the rest of our lives.

I was hit by a car myself while out riding this fall - seriously enough to end my 'cross season and give me some mental and physical trauma to overcome. Though it hardly bears mention in the light of these tragedies, it does further outline the danger and reality that we all face daily when out on our bikes riding anywhere near automobiles.

Whether driving or riding please be sure to take the greatest precautions for yourself and all our cycling family. We believe that cycling is capable of bringing a lot more positive good than negativity - although it is hard to say this when one of our people is killed. We feel the loss and bear a burden of our brothers and sisters who have been taken before their time.

Author
Team Kenda-NoTubes: The Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick diary

MTB "super-couple", former US National cross country champion Mary McConneloug and Mike Broderick live together, train together, travel together and race together. They also share this diary on Cyclingnews.

Follow their adventures as they race the World Cup cross country circuit and take on other adventures. Enjoy the unique, professional racing style of these two accomplished racers and world travelers.

You can also follow them via their blog at www.maryandmikeride.blogspot.com.