Ever fancied finding some other awesome mountain bikers to ride with? What about joining an organised mountain bike group? In this week’s rider series we spoke to Megan Costello who has done just that!
Megan, now based in Gisborne, is no stranger to mountain biking having grown up in Comox (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada). Riding with friends during their school lunch break, after school and on the weekends, Megan has been racing since 1999. Megan tells us that riding in New Zealand is a bit different to what’s she’s used to though (which was mostly cross-country) meaning she hadn’t seen a built berm until she arrived in Rotorua!
Megan has previously raced events in the Whaka 100, Winter Forest Festival, Xterra, Spirited Women’s Race, Whangamata Adventure Race, and the Women’s Tri (Tauranga) as well as Aussie races.
This Whaka 50km will be a bit different though.
Megan tells us, “about this time last year the idea of Trail Vixens was realised over a few long rides shared by ladies of the Gisborne Mountain Bike Club committee. The intention of the Trail Vixens was to create a group for women and girls who want to share in the love of riding trails. All being about getting more ladies on bikes.”
We wanted to know where the name ‘Trail Vixens’ originated from too. Megan tells us this came about as the group is based in and around Gisborne’s Whataupoko Mountain Bike Park - nicknamed “Fox St” - hence, the Vixens.
So how does this impact her Whaka ride? Not only is Megan increasing the distance she’ll be riding, there are also 8 other “Vixens” riding the Whaka 100 with her, including 3 doing the Whaka 100km. Plus, Megan’s setting a great example for future generations, bringing along both daughters to take part in the kids events and supporting her at “another one of ‘Mum’s Races’”.
So what benefits has Megan found from riding in a group?
Firstly, just that - riding in a group! The Trail Vixens do group rides most Sundays and even when they’re not out on an organised ride they often “see a Vixen or two out on the tracks” meaning if you want it, you always have company. Plus, they love riding events together and cheering each other on (like the Whaka 100)!
The Vixens have continued to go from strength to strength. Megan tells us “the group since its establishment has been super successful, with 125 members, multiple group rides and Pre-ride, Re-ride, Free-ride Sessioning with an event held for International Women’s Mountain Biking Day”.
To finish, we asked Megan her top tips for entering the Whaka 100 for the first time.
“It’s a pretty cruzy vibe – fellow riders will cheer you along – or support you. I found I was playing leapfrog with a group of about 4 or 5 riders – so you almost make friends during the race and it was great having so many women on the course last year. Plus….take cramp stop!”
Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions Megan - we’re looking forward to seeing you at the Whaka 100!