News | Rider profiles

Rider Profile - Jan Stroek

Name – Jan Stroek

Profession - Police Officer

Uphill or Downhill? Hhhmmmm, tricky.... I love going downhill after a nice gruelling climb

Most epic day on a bike? Hands down The Whole Enchilada!!!!

I'm currently riding … a Toyota Camry (Giant Trance Advanced 1)

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - The Whole Enchilada in Moab, Utah!!

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Bored

One day I'll ride ... the Dolomites

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... My phone with Strava switched on because if it isn’t on Strava, it never happened.

My race highlight? 7th in the Police and Emergency Services Games, sometime around 1879....

What is in your backpack? Tools, tube, pump, first aid kit and last but not least..... toilet paper😬

Jan in boulder-mode at La Larr Ba Gauwa

Rider Profile - Daniel Hall

Daniel Hall
Daniel Hall in action at the Brackenbury Challenge

Name – Daniel Hall
Profession - High school
Uphill or Downhill? I go hard on the downhills and catch my breath back on the uphills, if that makes any sense.
Most epic day on a bike? The opening day of Harcourt mountain bike park.
I'm currently riding … An Intense Spider FRO 26
Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - I don't know if Harcourt counts as other than Castlemaine, but if not then Red Hill would be it.
If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Playing soccer and futsal a lot more.
One day I'll ride ... Rotorua.
When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... My phone and my multitool.
My race lowlight? At the super muddy Brackenbury Challenge I slid out on the CX course and crashed [very embarrassing].
What is in your backpack? I always have one spare tube, my phone, some snacks, puncture repair kit and a handpump.

Rider Profile - Flynn Culph

Name – Flynn Culph

Profession – Primary School student

Uphill or Downhill? Downhill

Most epic day on a bike? Summer 2017, riding from Everton to Myrtleford on a 40 degree day, and I missed the water stop.

I'm currently riding … Nishiki Bushwacker

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - La Larr Ba Gauwa, Harcourt; track 2 downhill, and track 4 because it seems all downhill.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... playing footy.

One day I'll ride ... all the rail trails from start to finish, on my new Cannondale

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... my helmet and my mate Angus. And Mum.

My race highlight? Pushing myself so hard in the last race (Round 5 of Central Goldfields Winter Series); when I finished I fell off and lay on the ground. I nearly vomited, but I won.

What is in your backpack? If I took one, it would be my lunch and water, but I don't take one.

Rider Profile - Nick Lewis

Name – Nick Lewis

Profession – environmental consultant transitioning to full time Dad

Uphill or Downhill? Bit of both…  
 
Most epic day on a bike?  Not as fancy as my last profile, but a last minute call by Nick Byrne to ride Muckleford trails from Castlemaine.  Knocked out all the trails, then a mixed grill and pots at the Newstead pub.  Bonked big time on the ride home, needing to stay in granny gear all the way home.  Still have the sun burn scars on my lower back where my jersey rode up…

I'm currently riding… less often that I would like (maybe as a full time Dad I’ll get out on my Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt a bit more frequently?!)

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -  North East Vic are great (Beechworth, Yack, Falls, Mount Beauty & Bright).  Rode Tathra recently, loved the ‘old skool’ feel of the trails, and finishing at the beach is always good.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... a little bit grumpier  

One day I'll ride... North Island of New Zealand (yep, still the same aspiration as my first profile 6 years ago!)

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... my helmet. Beyond that it is quite variable what comes (or gets forgotten)

My race highlight?  Redesdale 24 hour with a great bunch of blokes… 2 hour plus full team lap at 1am was a unique experience ….

What is in your backpack?  a tube, hopefully a pump, a few random tools that were useful in the nineties which I never really knew what to do with

Rider Profile - Michael Scott

Name – Michael Scott

Profession - Intergalactic space traveller with P.L.H

Uphill or Downhill? Equally bad at both. If I had to choose... uphill.

Most epic day on a bike? Riding (and walking :)) over a mountain pass connecting north and south Spain (Puerto de Pajeres). I was on a touring adventure and had to climb from the coast up over the mountains and down onto the plains. I felt like if I fell off, I'd roll down the mountain for kilometres and end up at the bottom of the ocean.

I'm currently riding… a Cannondale Trigger

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - yet to explore many others. I liked the You Yangs and went to Forest for the first time a few months back. I think we're pretty spoiled around here. So many great trails. Thanks to all the hard working trail fairies.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... seeking out the fourth dimension, writing old man letters complaining to various companies/government departments, gardening or fantasising about having super powers.

One day I'll ride ... all the way up the stairs of death, no walking, no dabs, nice and smooth.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... assorted snacks in a paper mushroom bag and a walkman/ mp3 player with inspirational, high octane music.

My race highlight? Coming second in a MTB race in Mildura. Yep, I hear ya, Mildura is very flat. I think it was the first official MTBA affiliated race in Mildura ever, it was held in the dunes by the river, the one place there is a hill or two (two feet hight) hahaha. There were 10 people in the race. Or... in a previous life racing myself to catch the train to get to work on time.

What is in your backpack? nothing that revealing, stock standard gear. Pump, tools, rain jacket, snacks, water, music and a pet Wonga cat.

Rider Profile - Jeremy Ryan

Jeremy at Bright
Buddha-hood trail, Bright

Name ... Jeremy Ryan

Profession ... Carpenter/Builder.  My interest in MTB helped develop a family business Off RoadCycling Adventures or ORCA. I was fortunate enough to teach outdoor education on mountain bikes for about seven years. We also ran MTB training camps for adults in the  '90s and early 2000's It was a great fun way to earn a living.

Uphill or Downhill? Definitely both. It's always a challenge to get fitter for climbing and to use the brakes less on the way back down. Descending Gully Run at the Cloverleaf is a real buzz and reminds me why I ride. 

Most epic day on a bike?  
There've been a few close calls getting stuck out longer than I'd imagined I might.  Climbing hours from Missoula Montana USA in Autumn.  Arriving at a peak with patches of snow, the sun was fairly low on the horizon we really should've ridden back but chose to continue the planed loop.  The further we rode, the more trees were down across the trail, slowing progress.  We descended along a cliff edge above a snow speckled gully before running out of light on single track in the valley of a forest park.  There was no food left and the trail was almost impossible to see. The potential for accident or hypothermia was very real.  Fortunately the moon rose and provided enough light to get out of the forest onto road and home by 2:00 am after about fourteen hours riding. 

I'm currently riding… 
2016 Scott Spark 730 my first dual suspension bike.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine)
 -  Bright (Buddha-hood, Tombstone, Hero trails);  Howqua river trail from the back of Mt Stirling to Sheepyard Flat;  Byers back track between Blackwood and the Lerderderg gorge is good fun too.  Forrest in the Otways have a great trail network that's marked and the trailhead is next to the local micro brewery. I look forward to sampling the Yackandandah trails and the network at the You Yangs soon. 

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be...
 Telemark skiing in powder snow. 

One day I'll ride...
 Harcourt trail park;  Moab Slick Rock;  New Zealand single track;  a gearbox bike;  a long travel trail bike.

What is in your backpack?  
Water, banana, multi tool, chain breaker, spare quick link, pump, tube, wind breaker jacket.  Credit card and coffee/ snack cash.  Mobile phone if solo.

Rider profile - Ben Bailey

Name - Ben Bailey

Profession - House Husband

Uphill or Downhill? Downhill

Most epic day on a bike? It's on a road bike, does that count? Tackled many of the cobbled climbs and farming roads of The Tour de Flanders with a couple of hard-man Belgian friends. We had beers and fries with mayonnaise post-ride in Oudenaarde. It was the perfect Belgian road cycling experience  

I'm currently riding… Giant Trance - the standard Castlemaine-issue bike. 

Ben riding his mountain bike on some twisty, treed single track
Riding Misty Twist at Mt Buller

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Hard to say... Bright, Buller, Beechworth, Red Hill, Armidale are all great. Harcourt might top them all.  

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... playing tennis 

One day I'll ride... Moab, Utah

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... saying bye to Melissa, Dan and Alex. 

My race highlight? The Mont 24 Hour in Canberra with Nick, Nick and Andy. The riding was nothing extraordinary but competing as part of a team was a lot of fun. 

What is in your backpack? The usual - tube, tyre-levers, pump, multi-tool, phone, cash, banana/muesli bar, bandaids/small bandages and a kitchen sink. 

Rider Profile - Daan van Dorenmalen

Name – Daan van Dorenmalen

Profession - Project Manager

Uphill or Downhill? Downhill

Most epic day on a bike?  Most epic day on the bike was in Scuol Switzerland taking a chairlift and riding down a mountain for 35 minutes.

I'm currently riding… Scott Scale 930

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Probably Forrest....

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... A lot less fit.

One day I'll ride ... A dual suspension.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... Nuts.

My race highlight? Riding my first downhill race in 1996 on a Kona and crashing (of course) in sight of the finish line.

Rider Profile - Justin Ferguson

Justin Ferguson in race mode
Justin Ferguson in race mode

Name – Justin Ferguson

Profession - Builder of sorts

Uphill or Downhill? What goes up must come downhill

Most epic day on a bike?  The first day I learnt to ride 2 wheels 35 Years ago. It took all day.

I'm currently riding … 2014 Giant Trance

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Bright ... the beer is good too.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Thinking of getting fit, or eating my way to a healthy state

One day I'll ride ... At the front of the Wednesday night shop ride

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... Nurofen, for when the trail fairy’s send me over the bars.

My race highlight? 2017 Golden Triangle Epic (I finished, just!)

Rider Profile - Luke Stevens

Luke Stephens on his bike

Name - Luke Stevens

Profession - Research Data Management Consultant, Software Developer

Uphill or Downhill? A happy descender - downhill for the grins! I take it easy going back up to get my breath back.

Most epic day on a bike? Riding modern bikes at a demo day a couple of years ago and being inspired to get back into mountain biking after a 18-year hiatus - and to move on from my ‘94 Kona Cinder Cone. 

I'm currently riding … Specialized Fuse. Hear the rumble of those 3” tyres! (And a Marin Alcatraz DJ bike for down the BMX track with the boys).

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - The Lake District, UK, where I first got into MTB as a teenager. Barely ridden anywhere in Australia other than Castlemaine. Need to change that.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Even less sociable.

One day I'll ride ... A dually.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... Feeling privileged to have so many great trails so close to town - even starting right from my own back fence.

My race highlight? I’m not really a racer. Can I nominate the Poverty Gully water race? A blast down there is always a highlight.

Rider Profiles - The Jacksons

Daniel Jackson

Name – Daniel Jackson

Profession - Tradesman

Uphill or Downhill? Downhill

Most epic day on a bike?  Dual Gold at the Masters Track Games

I'm currently riding… Giant 

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Spring Gully 

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... fat

One day I'll ride... around the bay in a day

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... my helmet

My race highlight? Dual Gold at Masters Track Games

Emma Jackson

Name - Emma Jackson

Profession - Bank Employee Bendigo Bank

Uphill or Downhill? Downhill

Most epic day on a bike? 2016 Bendigo Epic smashing my pb by an hour. 

I'm currently riding… Focus Raven 3.0 

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Spring Gully 

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... racing Track 

One day I'll ride... the trails at Bright

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... music

My race highlight? Winning the 2009 Ararat Diamond Wheelrace

Tony Russell - rider profile

Name – Tony Gene Russell

Profession - All Sorts (including coffee roasting and retailing)

Uphill or Downhill? - Uphill

Most epic day on a bike? 1986 Australian Triathlon Championships; 80km in 2:01 hours

I'm currently riding ... Giant Anthem

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - only ridden on roads elsewhere

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... fatter

One day I'll ride ... Race the Train on my sociable tandem

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... my radio tuned to MAIN fm 94.9

My race highlight ... have not won Rocky Riders socks yet!

Jeremy Kessler - rider profile

Name – Jeremy Kessler

Profession - Nurse

Uphill or Downhill? - Uphill on the rigid single speed, and down on the Dually

Most epic day on a bike?  I won’t call it epic but spending a few days exploring trails around Adelaide. On the trails near Lynton I joined up with a group of local riders who showed me some great downhill runs near the suburbs. Afterwards we all had some beers in the town park.

I'm currently riding ... After riding the recent Dirt Crits on my single speed, I am going back to the Giant Trance for a while



Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - The Wombat Forest trails are great

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... playing around with Photoshop and other video editing programs

One day I'll ride ... a mountain biking holiday driving from trailhead to trailhead from Texas, through Colorado and into Utah (planned for when long service leave comes through)

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... IXS knee pads

My race highlight ... riding the recent Wombat Classic 50km race on my rigid single speed.  After a flat tyre I caught up to the field, blew through my energy reserves and tried to hold back the nausea for the last 10km. As another rider put it “...in the last 10k's or so I wouldn't go further than 500m before I came across someone on the side of the track licking the trees in agony with cramps."

George Stevens - rider profile

Name – George Stevens

Profession - Class 2 Student

Uphill or Downhill? - Downhill.  I go faster.

Most epic day on a bike?  Race the Train last year. I was really happy to make it from Castlemaine to Maldon without any rest stops.

I'm currently riding ... I got my Jamis X24 for my birthday in December. It was great to finally get some gears!

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - I haven’t done much riding away from Castlemaine. Not yet.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be ... Riding my mountain bike on the road.

One day I'll ride ... England’s Lake District where my dad first started mountain biking. And I’ll visit nana and grandad there too.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without ... Water bottle, helmet and gloves. And Dad.
My race highlight ... Hard to decide – winning Rocky Riders socks in my first two races, or drawing the prize for Dirt Crits round 8 and picking out my own name!

Sam Brown - rider profile

Name – Sam Brown

Profession - Social Worker

Uphill or Downhill? Both are great, can't go down without riding up

Most epic day on a bike? Touring along the Murray and forgetting that Gungower Forest is flooded in summer. Resulted in lots of riding and walking in a lot of mud..

I'm currently riding… Giant Trance, love it

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -  Every time I ride in Castlemaine I cant believe how good the trails on our doorstep are! Mt Buller earlier in the year was amazing too though!

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... Doing a martial art. BJJ is the best!

One day I'll ride... Tassie

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... Tool with chain breaker, it's saved me a long walk twice this year!

My race highlight? Finishing my first race this year. More to come I hope.

Bron Willis - rider profile

Name – Bron Willis

Profession - Mum and Writer/Editor

Uphill or Downhill? - Uphill. I like to get the blood pumping!

Most epic day on a bike?  9 July 2011, Casto Canyon, Utah, USA.  Flashflood! It started out such a beautiful day, crossing so many dry creekbeds that we didn’t even notice them – until the rain began to fall and the creeks turned into rivers of gushing water. Then we noticed them. We turned back and rode through the creeks until the muddy water, strewn with debris, rose higher than our wheel axles. We each took a turn at falling in, but I think it was the sight of (my husband) Terry’s feet sticking out of the river vertically and the rest of him submerged that prompted the decision to stop and wait it out. Our too-cool-for-school guide had forgotten to bring his emergency sat phone so for a while we were looking at a night out in the wilderness with no food or warm clothes. But the rains eventually stopped, the rivers subsided and we headed for home. Eight exhausting hours later we arrived at camp to find it packed up and the driver keen to get as far away from the canyon as possible.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine)...the ones I can take straight from my back door – old vehicle tracks through the foothills of Mt Alexander past the Oak Forest and back home

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be...in the veggie patch with Tez and our little man Sonny

One day I'll ride...to work again (when work isn’t 150km away)

When I head out for a ride I never (well, not often) leave without...one of the many fun-loving, upbeat, classy women of Castlemaine Womens Cycling who pick me up if I’m down or fly high with me when I’m up!

My race highlight...Alpine Classic 150km January 20I0. I wasn’t racing really and I wasn’t MTBing but I was road riding, Bright to Mt Beauty and back (yes, Tawonga Gap twice) and then Mt Buffalo up and back to Bright. Exhilarating. Exhausting.

Andrew Paterson - rider profile

Name – Andrew Paterson

Profession - Vineyard Manager

Uphill or Downhill? It used to be up but as I get older the downs are getting more appealing.

Most epic day on a bike?   While bike touring in France many years ago, my bank card got rejected and I couldn't get any money out. With no food and only a couple of euros left, I grabbed a baguette and rode 210kms to where luckily some family were staying in Normandy. I was totally shattered and starving by the time I got there!

I'm currently riding… Giant Trance

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -  Loving Mt Buller at moment!

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... over on the dark side, riding on the road.

One day I'll ride... The trails in the European Alps look good.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... knowing where I'm going.

My race highlight? These days any race I finish without hurting myself or a mechanical is a highlight.

Nick Byrne - rider profile

Name – Nick “Byrnsie” Byrne

Profession – Feasibility guru, but more importantly President of the Castlemaine Rocky Riders MTB Club.

Uphill or Downhill? I drop like a bomb, but recently I’ve found my climbing legs again.

Most epic day on a bike? Pairing with the Dalai Lama in a charity 6hr enduro. Nah, just kidding. It was only a 3hr, but we still shredded.

I'm currently riding… a Trek, but I really love Giants.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -  You can’t beat the C-style. Why would you go anywhere else? But I do find myself at Mt Buller every second weekend.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... in a workshop, focus group or community meeting.

One day I'll ride... in Tibet. The Dalai Lama promised to show me some trails.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... checking myself first. Look good, go ride. His holiness taught me that.

My race highlight? Other than tapping it out with the Dalai Lama? Once you’ve received enlightenment there are no highlights….

Disclaimer: Responses to these questions may or may not have been prepared by Nick Byrne with or without his consent and/or knowledge.

Marlin Grupp - rider profile

Name – Marlin Grupp

Profession - Student

Uphill or Downhill? Downhill

Most epic day on a bike?  Queenstown heli biking at the Remarkables.

I'm currently riding… a Giant Trance Advanced

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -  My favorite trails would have to be rude Rock and queenstown bike park.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be...  taking photos and videos of mountain bikers.

One day I'll ride... Whistler bike park.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... I always take my phone with me.

My race highlight? My race highlight would be in Warburton when I got my first podium.

Sam Williams - rider profile

Name - Sam Williams

Profession - Grade 3

Uphill or Downhill? I love the climbs but then I can't wait for the downhill parts so I can have a rest!

Most epic day on a bike?  So far my most epic ride was the Muckleford Forest ride with my dad and Geoff Nevill this month. The best part was smashing my dad on Quartz Hill!

I'm currently riding… I have two bikes that I ride. A Fluid 20" and an Avanti 24".

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - So far it is the Spring Gully trails especially the narrow pump section.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... Playing soccer, riding my BMX even more or playing Tour de France on the XBox!

One day I'll ride... The Pineys because I hear people talking about it all the time!

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... Pulling the gate shut.

My race highlight? Wining Round 9 of dirt crits this year because my grandfather was very sick so I wanted to win one for him and he was so happy to hear about it.

Kim Whitehouse - rider profile

Name – Kim Whitehouse

Profession - Tourism Marketing Manager

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill, there is not enough of me to go downhill fast...

Most epic day on a bike?  Just one? So many great days in the saddle, so many stories. I think the saying goes, 'Go hard or go home' so ending up in hospital qualifies as an epic day I think. The day started as any multi-day stage race does, lots of food, chamois cream, sunscreen etc etc. Day one of five - so a start filled with excitement, adrenaline and the laughter of friends. We were off racing out of town towards the 'Hell Line'...the name says it all! Fast along a train track trail, out over some sandy (oh hell, here we go), over scrub (there will be thorns embedded after that effort to avoid more sand...best leave the thorns be and thank Stan), up steep rocky climbs and into the 'Hell Line'. The 'Hell Line', a rough piece of trail disliked but respected by locals however quite a bit of fun and very like some of the trails we ride around Castlemaine. Anyway, 16kms into the stage and 6km along the 'Line' I managed to descend into a hole superwoman style. It was one of those moments where you hear a snap and think 'let's hope that was a stick', hard fall, let's just do a body audit...mouth full of sand - spit, neck moving - excellent, try to press up out of the hole...hmmmm, not a stick but my wrist. Long story short...lay in the desert for a couple of hours with a couple of kind racers listening to the banter whilst in shock, who would have ever thought that the thermal blanket in the first aid kit would come in handy in the desert...

The sky is amazingly blue in Alice Springs, I had plenty of time to gaze at it whilst watching three beautiful wedge tail eagles circling in the thermals above, if I had been in South America they could have been vultures waiting for the next meal...Long walk out , friendly banter with a kind couple of riders who offered to walk out with me, strange 4WD drive pick up to the hospital and then 9 hours in Alice Springs emergency...the greatest test of endurance yet!  

The trails in Alice Springs are worth travelling for and  provide epic opportunities in every direction! I will go back one day to finish the 'Hell Line' once and for all.

I'm currently riding… A Titus Moto-lite - full XTR (trusty old paddle shift), Stans nice light wheels, beautiful Middleburn hubs, pink Chris King headset - the only bit of pink bling on this bike. 

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Forrest VIC, Wisemans Ferry NSW for epic adventures along the old Convict Trail, Welby XC course in the Southern Highland NSW for sandstone and the beauty of the bush, Vancouver Island for the breathtaking beauty of Canadian landscapes, G4 trail in the French Alps for switchbacks that might just take your life away!

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... paddling the kayak that is hanging in the shed...

One day I'll ride... a trail following my son's lines 

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... my phone (whatever happened to flares? They were so much more fun to set off when you were lost in the bush...).

Trefor Prest

Name  -  Trefor Prest

Profession  -    Sculptor

Uphill or Downhill ? -  Downhill, all the way

Most epic day on a bike -  Was when we accidentally came across singletracks in the pines, years ago

I'm currently riding -   2010 Trance 26"

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -    You Yangs are always good, going over the big rock on Boulder was a highlight.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be  -  Probrably dead by now

One day I'll ride  -  A day in the pines without putting a foot down, or getting off (or falling off), I'm really looking forward to it.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without - The anticipation of a good time. Not training or fitness or anything worthy - just fun

My race highlight ? - I'm a newcomer to racing so I don't have much to choose from. Back to the pineys last year was pretty good.

Matt Shears - rider profile

Name?  Matthew Shears

Profession?  Furniture maker

Uphill or Downhill? Used to be uphill, now steadily downhill.

Most epic day on a bike? 190Km on a fixie road bike that I’d finished building the day before and never ridden. Also it had a new Brooks saddle – ouchie! That was a long time ago and I wouldn’t be so silly today. Recent epic was most of the Queen Charlotte walking track in New Zealand in one day with Dave, Col and a big hangover. Wait, what was that about silly…?

I'm currently riding? anything I find in my shed with 26 inch wheels.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – I’m not well traveled, but Stonefly and Dellatite at Buller are a blast. Also W2K Trail along the shore of Lake Taupo, NZ is pretty special.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... Sad and lonely and fat. Thank God I found mountain biking again, now I’m just sad!

One day I'll ride... A Giant. Ha ha ha, just kidding… Moab or Scotland, they’re so similar I can’t decide.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... My beard.

My race highlight? Last round of the Mountain Bike Club winter series in 1991/2, Forest of Dean. Here I am on the climb to the finish to take second place in the novice cat for the series. I cross the line, keel over sideways and puke last nights pasta all down my front. Happy days!

Notice: It's worth supplying a photo of yourself....... our Google skills find the strangest things!

David Bannear - rider profile

Name: David Bannear

Profession: Archaeologist

Uphill or Downhill: More an endurance cross country rider, I am. When riding with younger people I prefer uphill as I can usually keep up, I tend to lose ground on the down hill, alas

Most epic day on a bike: Riding the Queen Charlotte Track, south island, of New Zealand. Along with Big Cole and Bigger Mat we rode it in a day. Compounding the problem of the very very steep climbs, were Guinness-related hangovers and misty rain. We did meet a couple of NZ hunters, who were armed with what looked like a cannon. They were surrounded by hunting dogs, but despite the cannon, said they liked stibbing (stabbing) their prey. Big Col saved the day, but that was his epic and story to tell.  

 I'm currently riding: A Giant 27.5 Trance which I really think is a great bike and would like to publically thank Mat Shears for recommending the purchase!

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine): Lake Taupo trails, north island, New Zealand. Good flow and roller coaster-like. And there is always the lake for a cold swim, and its really cold 

If I wasn't mountain biking: I'd be gardening or drinking beer or minding my grand daughter

One day I'll ride: all the mountain bike trails in central Victoria and drink at all the pubs that have craft beers

When I head out for a ride I never leave without: my designer-label cleat-less shoes (as recommended by Big Col) and also my bike

My race highlight?  Prefer racing against myself, my highlight is always when a ride is a quicker time than previous rides. Its getting harder!

Frank Forster - rider profile

Name –  Frank "the Fishman" Forster

Profession - Business Manager at the Environment Shop, and part-time radio announcer at MAIN fm 94.9

Uphill or Downhill? - Downhill

Most epic day on a bike? - being shown the Baco trails for the first time, especially Marriners Run 

I'm currently riding… A Merida 140 3B 27.5 inch

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) -  Forrest for fun and You Yangs for challenge

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... skiing, possibly at the same locations

One day I'll ride... Durango to Moab

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... money for a long black coffee

My race highlight? - a top three finish in Round 5 of the Dirt Crits in 2013 

Brendon Munge - rider profile

Name - Brendon Munge

Profession - Lecturer in Outdoor & Environmental Education @ La Trobe University Bendigo

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill, it's my chance to get a break before the big boys come flying past on the downhill

Most epic day on a bike? Wild side 2002 last stage. Race took us down across the sand dunes and then along the beach with a cracking headwind and I found myself only going backwards. Got off the beach an up in the hills, tried to get a jump on a group in a downhill section only to find myself over cooking the corner and ending up in the blackberries, suffice to say the group went on and I limped the last 20ks into town. Overall a great stage race but took sometime to get over the last day.

I'm currently riding... Giant anthem x1 from 2009. Bought as an engagement present. Just had a complete overhaul in prep for the wembo 24hr. Some say mates don't let mates ride giants but until a mate gives me a better bike I'm content with what I've got.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Always happy to go back to Mount Beauty and nail cann in Albury, as it's where I first started riding. Time spent riding nice trails in SW WA are also highlights.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... camping

One day I'll ride... some great trails in NZ, US or Canada.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... The thought that this is so much better then doing work

My race highlight - 2 races actually stand out. One is finding Nick Byrnes under a tree in a 80k stage in Alice Springs and then proceeding to team time trial it for the last 40ks and having a great time or the recent 6hr in Wagga with my mate Dixon riding the race solo together laughing at each other's crashes and smashing each other up on the ups and the downs. I would love to claim some big wins but the wins to date are the times with mates.

Paula Ewing - rider profile

Name - Paula Ewing

Profession - Event Manager, UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill knowing the downhill is just over the top. I'm too cautious and rubbish at hairpin downhill turns as well. More work needed there!

Most epic day on a bike? Adaminaby to Corryong (via Cabramurra and Tumut Pond Dam) on the 2011 Chain Reaction ride from Sydney to Melbourne. Epic hills. Epic scenery. Epic sense of achievement. Absolutely loved it.

I'm currently riding... A repco refurbed single speed Chooka towny. Good points - makes me ride at a cruisy pace...and bad points - need a spanner when I get a flat... Apparently quick release wasn't an option!

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - hhhmmm. Tough to call. Castlemaine has some fantastic trails. We're so lucky to have such a variety right on our doorstep. I must say though that Slickrock and Poison Spider Mesa in Moab were memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... organizing cycling events!

One day I'll ride... Well.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... My bike.

My race highlight - As a rider: 6th at the Otway Odyssey 50km a few years ago with a freshly broken coccyx. As a spectator: watching Cameron Meyer take a lap on the field in the Points Race to become World Champion in front of an electric crowd at Hisense Arena. I still get goose bumps thinking about it.

Carrie Edney - rider profile

Name - Carrie Edney

Profession - Business Intelligence Developer

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill. I'm still learning to keep off the brakes on downhills.

Most epic day on a bike? Last year I spent 2 months bike touring through France. My first bike tour ever! A day that sticks out particularly was climbing the Col d'Aspin in the High Pyrenees. Lugging 20kg of Kona Dr Dew and loaded panniers up one of the 'smaller' cols of that mountain range was a great achievement for me, and sitting at the top devouring a snack amongst some local grazing cows was pretty amazing. My current screen saver is a photo from a view I had during that climb. Spectacular! The Col du Tourmalet was also on that day's proposed agenda but luckily for me it was still too early in the season and the Tourmalet hadn't been opened for traffic yet. Maybe next time!

I'm currently riding... Good points and bad points - Specialized Fate 29er. I love the bigger wheels. They make me go faster for sure! And the hardtail is so much easier to clean that the dualy I had before.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Melrose in South Australia. The locals have put a huge amount of time and effort into their trails, and it shows. The folks from the local bike shop 'Over the Edge' were all really friendly and helpful (we even got an impromptu guided tour of the trails) and the whole town is 'pro MTB' since it seems to be their major tourism drawcard. When I was there they had just finished building a pump track at the camp ground, right near the main trailhead. All done with locally volunteered manpower and equipment.

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... Hiking. Multi-day hikes especially. Some of the bigger ones I've trekked include the Inca Trail in Peru, Kokoda Track in PNG and Jatbula in Northern Territory.

One day I'll ride... Italy. The Dolomites are calling.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... During winter, I never go out without my booties. Getting frozen toes and wet feet is just not fun.

My race highlight - This year's Interwinter at the You Yangs. Amazingly, I made it into the final of the Women's Eliminator!! The stage format and amazing weather made for such a fun day. Normally you just 'turn up','race','head home'. With the breaks between the races, there was plenty of time to chit chat with club mates and other competitors you wouldn't normally get around to speaking with. It was a great day.

Christian Lloyd - Rider profile

Name - Christian Lloyd

Profession - IT Sales

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill.  Completing the challenge of a big uphill always satisfies me more than riding down it.

Most epic day on a bike? This one is actually going to be a road bike answer.  A group of us did a big ride in the Victorian Alps a few years back that was basically the route of the 3Peaks ride + Mt Buffalo.  It was 320km and 5500m of vertical.  The weather was spot-on and we timed it perfectly so we saw sunrise while climbing Mt Buffalo and saw sunset while riding across the Bogong High Plains, complete with a band of brumbies galloping past.

I'm currently riding... Good points and bad points - BMC SpeedFox.  It’s a great duallie and therefore makes me ride better than I really am, but it’s now a few years old, so the N+1 instinct of a bike rider is definitely kicking.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua, New Zealand.  I’ve ridden a fair few places in Australia and OS now, and I still haven’t found a place that matches Rotorua.  It’s not just he trails and the quality of their design, but the soil and drainage, the forest, the pronunciation and everything about Whakarewarewa that makes it top spot for me.  Of course, more than happy to keep looking for something better!

If I wasn't mountain biking I'd be... Skiing.  I spent a few years as a ski bum in North America before taking up the MTB in earnest.  I was on a ride on the MTB 10yrs ago with a fellow skier when I was very much more a skier than a rider.  The other skier said, “You know I’m less interested in skiing now, I prefer to get on the bike and ride”.  At the time I scoffed and almost disowned him.  These days I haven’t been on skis in almost 5 years.

One day I'll ride... A long way.  My friends know me as someone who likes long rides already, but in answering this question when I say a long way, I mean a really long way!  One of these epic multi-day/week/month rides you hear about people doing where you hit the road and/or dirt and just enjoy the journey.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without... data.  I have a recording of every ride I’ve done since 2003 when I purchased my first Polar heart rate monitor that had capabilities to download onto the computer.  I have since adopted the Garmin and I don’t leave home on a bike without it.  This is my personal passion (cycling) colliding with my professional passion (computers) to make me a data junkie.  I love services like Strava, and particularly the innovative things people can do with that data when it’s available through public APIs like raceshape.com and jonathanokeeffe.com/strava/

My race highlight – Undoubtedly the 2010 World Solo 24hr Championships in Canberra.  I got myself on a training program prior to the race and was quite disciplined in my approach to training for the first time in my life.  It paid off with a great result where I achieved my objectives.  I was really pleased to be able to ride the race continuously and still end up punching out my fastest laps for the race right at the end.  The photo above is from that race that was taken at the 22hr mark.  Still having fun!

Martin Dzioba - Rider profile

Name – Martin Dzioba

Profession – I'd like to think I’m a jack of all trades, master of none.

Uphill or Downhill? I know everyone can ride down hills at various speeds, but I get a bit of a kick when I hear the challenge “drop it back” meaning there is about to be a serious incline to have a crack at. I will not rest until I’m up.

Most epic day on a bike? That’s a hard one, but to think back, id have to say the it would have been the 2003 Great Victorian Bike Ride from Mt. Hotham to Mornington over 9 days with Darren Kruger and Justin Chapman. Larry lactate & chafing. Nasty.

I’m currently riding… I’m on a Giant Anthem X, and I’m realizing quite quickly that this bike has become like the Commodore, or should I say Commondore, everyone’s got one.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine). Now that I’m on the Central Coast NSW, two pearla tracks are the Orimbah MTB park and the AWABA MTB park in the Hunter valley. Both are sensational, fast tracks, but way overridden by gumbies.

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… Again, living on the Coast, every man and his dog are down in the surf, so if I was not in the mtb scene, id be having a crack in the water.

One day I’ll ride… Jason and I have been talking about it for years and years and years – New Zealand!

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… Just like carrying a spare tyre around in your car for years and years without using it, im running the same mentality at the moment, I know it’s a fine line, but im fully reliant on my tubeless tyres and stans to get me through. The day I fail at this, is the day ill revert back to carrying all the essential bike repair items.

My race highlight - Finishing Wildside MTB in 2006, and riding back through the crowd, riding my bike in reverse (sitting on the handlebars and peddling backward) all whilst I’ve got a Smirnoff can in one hand sipping away as I’m riding and reminiscing on the fun times had.

Corey Nichol - rider profile

Name – Corey Nichol

Profession – Kid

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill

Most epic day on a bike? 1st race in MTB at the Australasian School Cycling Championships at Mount Major, Shepparton. I was very nervous as it was my first race outside of the Dirt Crits in Castlemaine. I dropped my chain twice, got cranky but completed the race.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points. I’m currently riding a Specialised Hard Rock, courtesy of Santa.
Good points: it handles well around corners and isn’t to big for me
Bad Points: it’s brakes squeal a lot

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine). I haven’t rode many but at this stage it would be Redesdale.

Corey Nichol at the Dirt Crits

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… riding my road or my track bike.

One day I’ll ride… in the Tour De France.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… a tube or pump, as this is one of the things I have learnt since joining the Rocky Riders.

My race highlight - my first ever win

Dylan McKenna – rider profile

Name – Dylan McKenna

Profession – Student

Uphill or Downhill? Definitely up! I love climbing and I am good at it because I am light.

Most epic day on a bike? My first 6hr enduro it was my first ever MTB race and I rode over 30km.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points – A Specialized EPIC comp carbon (from the Bike Vault) It has a brain which I really love because it is stiff when I am sprinting and climbing and it has awesome small bump recognition. The only bad thing I can think of is the fact that I can’t ride it all the time.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – Redesdale and the You Yangs, on my old hard tale I couldn’t ride at Readesdale without getting a sore back and bum. Now I have an EPIC I can ride all day without getting sore.

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… Road racing and wishing I could ride my mountain bike.

One day I’ll ride… The world XC champs and the Tour de France.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… MY BIKE

My race highlight – Winning the XCO at the You Yangs in the final round of the InterWinter.

Grant Schuster - Rider profile

Name – Grant Schuster

Profession – There have been a few – take your pick – physicist, sustainability guru, risk manager, bureaucrat

Uphill or Downhill? – Tough call. Uphill in terms of the one I think I’m better at – nothing’s better than a good slog to get the heart pumping. But downhill for the thrills – the more air time the better.

Most epic day on a bike? – Probably the face plant at the You Yangs would take the cake. It was one of those downhill moments where I was going for air time on a track that I wasn’t too familiar with and with a blind horizon line. Luckily its never far back to the car at the Youies.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points – A Santa Cruz Superlight with a random mixture of components that I’ve added to over the years. Good points are that it can handle the abuse I through at it (I’m not gentle on equipment) and soaks up the landings and bumps in comfort compared to the good old days of riding a hard tail. Bad point is that the fork is too large for the frame and the front feels a bit too high (I really should get a 4 inch fork one day).

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – I reckon you can’t go past the You Yangs with its mixture of tracks for a good day out. And despite its proximity to Melbourne, I’ve never really found it overly busy.

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… waiting for rain or snow to go white water kayaking or skiing. You can’t beat MTBing for a sport that is highly weather independent and doesn’t always come with a 1000kms of driving.

One day I’ll ride… in New Zealand, both North and South islands. I’ve heard great things and will get there one day. Then again, the kayaking is great there too, so its a hard call which equipment to take.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… a chain breaker! Since breaking my chain out in Forrest and realising how stuck I would have been if it wasn’t for someone carrying one, I now always take it.

My race highlight – stacking right in front of the timing tent on a 6 hour enduro at the You Yangs. It is highly unlikely that I get a mention from the commentator due to my speed, so this was an effective way to get the commentator to mention me!

Fiona Lewis rider profile

Name – Fiona Lewis

Profession – Teacher

Uphill or Downhill? Lots of both (as long as they are not too big!)

Most epic day on a bike? The 100km Otway Odyssey in 2007. I’m still waiting for the retrospective fun to kick in.

I’m currently riding… A Womens Giant Anthem X1.
Good points: It’s small enough that I don’t need to have the seat all the way down.
Bad points: I don’t feel ready to hurt its feelings by talking about any bad points.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – The Howqua track between Mt Buller and Mt Stirling

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… much more grumpy

One day I’ll ride… through South East Asia

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… some money for a refreshment afterwards.

My race highlight – Competing in the first “Kristy Cup” at Beechworth in honour of a great friend, Kristy Chisholm.

Rider profile - Louis McKenna

He’s our reigning Dirt Crit champ and since the World Track Championships has Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendalton as mates. He’s Louis McKenna.

Name – Louis McKenna

Profession – My profession is TBC (Louis is in primary school)

Uphill or Downhill? Uphill – I’m scared of downhill

Most epic day on a bike? The day I got 25 stitches in my leg. (Courtesy of a chain ring)

I’m currently riding a: Giant Boulder 1

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Some of the trails in the Otways

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… road riding

One day I’ll ride… track

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… my water bottle

My race highlight - YTC (Yet to come – hopefully)

Andrew Bos - rider profile

Name – Andrew Bos

Profession – Architect

Uphill or Downhill? No preference. I’ve fallen off on both.

Most epic day on a bike? 2009 Otway Odyssey. I’ve run a marathon and this race made running 42km seem like a walk to the shops.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points. Just purchased a Giant Anthem X Advanced. Can’t find a bad thing to say about it. My previous bike was set up more for racing and was not particularly well suited to my less than graceful riding style. The Giant climbs better, descends better, corners better, is more forgiving and feels like a more robust bike. If there is a downside it’s that it sometimes gives me a false sense of security…and with my track record that’s the last thing I need!

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) - Rode most of the trails up at Mt Buller recently and had a blast. The descent from Mt Stirling on Stonefly was possibly the best 10 minutes I’ve spent on a mountain bike. Oh and If you happen to be up there with Ben Bailey don’t listen to him when he says “Wow! Check out the view!”. One of the first mtb tips I received was to look ahead to where I want to ride rather than at the ground immediately in front of me. When you’re on the side of a mountain at 1500m above sea level the “view” is not the place you want to be pointing your bike!

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… running still. But my knees would’ve probably given up by now.

One day I’ll ride… and not fall off.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… my GPS. My obsession with maps is a bit worrying.

My race highlight - 2009 Otway Odyssey. Being new to the mountain bike scene I was rapt just to finish.

Al Gribble rider profile

Name - Al Gribble

Profession - Teacher at the Coastal School for Student Leadership

Uphill or Downhill? Definantely uphill for sure. I am a bit of a wuss on the downhills and Courtney is sick of buying me new helmets (recently bought my 4th helmet in about 1 year)

Most epic day on a bike? 24 hour races always epic, the mud at the Garmin 24 was pretty brutal but in terms of epicness it would have to be one of Dave Whyte’s death marches through the famed “pipeline” and “bastard hill tracks” in East Gippsland. Mainly epic because he tells you the ride will be about 2 hours yet 7 hours later you crawl home after only consuming 2 muesli bars.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points. – A Niner SIR Single Speed. 32-20 gearing.
Good Points: Bottom bracket does not creak or move. Servicing the bike is very easy and more riding and less fixing things. Also, the steel reynolds 583 tubing makes for a comfy ride and is very light for steel.
Bad Points: When you get tired having only 1 gear doesn’t help much. People think you’ve escaped from the psychiatric ward because your on a SS, which is probably true but the stereotype is not fair for the other SS riders out there.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – Rotorua, NZ. Mt Stromlo, Canberra, Forrest

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… Probably adventure racing.

One day I’ll ride… The Colorado Trail Race, Ride the Divide (Banff to Mexico), The A-Line at Jubberland.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… My Rocky Riders jersey.

My race highlight – Training and racing in 24hour races without getting injured.

Aaron Davies rider profile

Name – Aaron Davies

Profession – Storyboard Artist, Home Renovator, Stay at home Dad

Uphill or Downhill? – Uphill. I’m a chugger. I’m not fast but enjoy the challenge and don’t have to crash my brains out to get better at it.

Most epic day on a bike? – 14 hours in the Japan Alps on a fully loaded touring bike. Hung over form a night out on the town with a friendly dude from California I met in a bath house the previous day, I vastly underestimated the distance I needed to cover to get where I needed to go. I climbed two alpine passes and made it to my hostell just before nightfall. This was in the days before I discovered chamois cream. It was 3 days before I could sit on my bike again.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points. – A retro Orange sub 5. I like single pivot bikes for reasons many find difficult to comprehend. Sure it’s a little dated (the frame is at least 9 years old) and may not track as well as modern “super, magic, imaginary, god partical, pivot ” designs but I like how it rides and I love its blocky war machine aesthetics.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – Hmmm. Since having children I don’t get out much. Woodend is nice and I love Sparrow hill in Canberra with the single speed.

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… Miserable most of the time. Possibly divorced with my fingers stained yellow from chetos, breath stinking of redbull and spending 25 hours a day playing video games that provide little in the way of entertainment or satisfaction for the sole purpose of passing the time. Then dead before the age of 40 from a marsh mellow and cheese overdose. My children would be raised fatherless and would spend their lives with their heads bowed in shame from the knowledge that that carried 50% of my genome. Where before they would have gone on to become great humanitarians and leaders of men they would now only aspire to be the guys making tea for the annoying Indian tellemarketers who try to scam you with fake tech support. It’s a bleak picture that my wife is, by now, painfully aware of.

One day I’ll ride… The north shore in Vancouver and Moab.

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… Shoes , Helmet , Gloves. Shoes , Helmet , Gloves! Shoes , Helmet , Gloves.!! Shoes , Helmet , Gloves.!!!…..My mantra.

My race highligh – Racing singlespeeds with my little brother at the MTB XC nationals at Eildon. Our closest race ever with lots of passing and neither of us letting the other out of our sight it was shaping up to be an awesome battle to the finish. Sadly my little bro flatted through transition going into the final lap. Although it was a huge disappointment that the contest ended that way, that close competition with my best friend and brother was the most fun I’ve ever had racing mountain bikes.

My race lowlight – Crashing on a straight clear down hill and breaking my collarbone with 2km to go at the 2005 Hiddenvale 100km Epic.

Nick Lewis rider profile

Our recently retired club secretary made the perfect candidate for our first ever Rocky Riders Rider Profile!

This will be the first of (hopefully) many rider profiles that’ll showcase the people who make up our club.

Name – Nick lewis

Profession – Environmental consultancy services and retiring Rocky Rider committee member

Uphill or downhill? - Uphill, cos i’m slow as a wet week going down (not that i’m any better going up, but at least I can beat Jake).

Most epic day on a bike? – Hmmm….. Hard to choose…. Solo 12 Hr at Gravity, riding in pairs at Canberra 24hr when my partner feel asleep on the side of the track at 4am, trying to ride 300km in a day in North East Victoria…. Favourite epic is riding up Hotham on the road, changing to mtb then riding back down past Mount Loch, Red Robin Mine, Blairs Hut up to Tawonga and out towards Snowy Creek.

I’m currently riding… Good points and bad points. – Very rarely. But a sweet carbon Giant Anthem when I do.

Favourite trails (other than Castlemaine) – Secret single track around Bright

If I wasn’t mountain biking I’d be… Probably still living in Melbourne… Very happy not to be.

One day I’ll ride… North island of New Zealand

When I head out for a ride I never leave without… Saying good bye to my girls

My race highlight – Finishing Gravity 12 Hour solo

My race lowlight – Crashing and breaking my knee cap in my first (and subsequently only…) race with Felt Racing Team.