Mary and I made our return to Europe in mid April and were greeted by the bright early spring of southern Germany. We wasted no time in building up our bikes, packing our gear into a sweet little RV and heading directly to the races. Having lived out of short term rentals while traveling heavily for the early part of the season, Mary and I immediately felt a sense of well being as we moved into the comfortable confines of our little camping car.
RV travel and living is clearly not the "end all" ideal for everyone, but for sure it has become the favourite method for Mary and I to live and support ourselves throughout extended travel/race trips. To have the freedom to move with little hassle and stay without pre booking, luxuriate in preparing our own food, and keep our tools and equipment handy, all go a long way to keep us on a good track. The past years have given us a good chance to refine our full time camper living techniques and we are really happy to have the opportunity to put our knowledge to the test as we participate in some of the great MTB bike events throughout Europe.
Over the past six weeks we have taken part in a wide variety of mtb race disciplines in several countries, but still just short drives apart. An enduro in Germany, a Cross Country in Austria, a bike festival in Italy, another enduro in France and then the first 2 rounds of the cross country World Cup in Czech Republic and Germany. Clearly very different events but with the common thread of the bike as well as people being very passionate about their involvement.
It seems that just about every style of competitive off road cycling in the EU has grown in popularity and field size. It is incredible to see how mountain biking has morphed to accommodate the new technologies and equipment that are currently available. Some of the racing, riding and line choices that we now consider "fun" would have been pretty insane to attempt just a few years back. Modern equipment, components, and compounds have really come a long way in making every ride a bit more fast, safe and enjoyable! New disciplines shaped in part by the new equipment have really opened the floodgates of involvement and are getting more and more people stoked on riding!
Mary and I are especially excited to enter into the 2015 season racing with the title sponsorship of KENDA Tire. No matter what type of bike or style of riding, there is nothing more important than tires! Kenda's diverse offerings have allowed us to progress alongside the evolution of the sport and we are excited to be involved as Kenda continues to prioritize improving their outstanding premium tire line!
Our desires to stay up to date with the latest evolution of cutting edge technology on the bike side has led us to a powerful new partnership with INTENSE Cycles. Intense's bikes immediately expanded our horizons and have given us access to a whole new dimension of riding opportunities. The bikes have changed our perception of what is possible and have given us the platform to fulfill our desires for bike adventures both in and out of competition.
Our new alliances alongside continued support from our long time group of partners will allow us to broaden our horizons to contest a wider range of off road events. This season we are excited to include more Enduros, Marathons, Off Road Stage Races in addition to continuing with our long time focus on the Olympic Cross Country.
Evolution requires and an open mind and willingness to adapt. Our decade plus of partaking at the highest levels of the sport has cemented the idea that there is always something new to learn when you are seeking to refine your game. Learning can be humbling but is a necessary part of growth and a great way to keep things in perspective!
Don't hesitate to try something new or take on a new challenge even if it is outside your normal comfort zone - feeling like a beginner again is a great way to inspire improvement!
Hope you are finding time to forging a healthy lifestyle in general! Saludos!
Mike and Mary
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MTB "super-couple", 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 throughout 2009. Enjoy the unique, professional racing style of these two accomplished racers and world travelers.
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