Cycles/No Tubes racers Mike Broderick and Mary McConneloug bring a
unique approach to high level mountain bike racing. A husband and
wife team, they live out an RV and race a mixture of stage races and
World Cups in North America, Chile, Argentina, Europe, and elsewhere.
and Mike were kind enough to take a few minutes to catch up with
MTBRacenews.com recently to talk about their unique lifestyle, team
stage racing, and why they're not at cyclocross nationals this
MTBRacenews.com: Let's start with cyclocross. You've both done a hand full of 'cross
raced in New England this fall. Are you planning on doing any more?
Is nationals a goal?
and Mary: Mike and I transitioned into the cyclocross racing
directly after (another) full international XC race season (2012)…
We raced the XC World Championships in Austria and 10 days (and a
few flights) later we were in Las Vegas racing CX under the lights…
know racing cross is a huge commitment both physically and equipment
wise. It takes a lot of energy and planning so we chose to
focus on 9 races and ended up doing 11. After sitting last
year out so I could fully recover from lymes disease, Mike and I
really enjoyed reconnecting with the New England cyclocross scene
this Fall. The NEPCX series ended up being a great way to get
back to our roots of racing locally and a solid way to bring more
exposure to our sponsors' awesome products.
the finals in Warwick were our last cross races of the season…
We took a short 3 week rest over the holidays and here we are -
beginning the base miles for the XC season and preparing for our
first event of the year - the Trans Andes Challenge (Jan 21-26)…
SO, unfortunately we will not be joining the fun at Nationals or try
for the Worlds Team…at least not this year!
MTBRacenews.com: What will your off-season look like?
and Mary: We always have a very full year, ebbing and flowing
with race calendars, training and managing our team… When we
are not out training, we are "in the office" planning our
season and managing all the little details that go into running our 2
person team program. Not sure there is truly an "off
season" for us since there are always a million things to do!
But we sort of consider this past Fall our "off season",
where we could stay at home and race locally in New England.
During this time we were surely training for the cross races, but
also adding elements of strength work and other activities into our
daily training. It was especially nice Not getting on
an airplane for a few months and being where we could catch up with
(some of our) family, friends & sponsors and ride our favorite
trails - which feels like a rest or a break for us.
MTBRacenews.com: With the Olympics out of the picture for 2013 will your season
look different that last year? Are there any events you're
particularly excited to include?
and Mary: We are looking forward to continue on a similar path as
years past. We are definitely excited for our season opener
here in Chile: the Trans Andes Challenge - which is a 6 day
off road stage race in the Patagonian region of southern Chile.
It is an event where Mike and I race together, as a MIxed Duo Team.
and Northern California (my native born state) have been our winter
training grounds for the past 5 years and we will be enjoying them
both again this year before we get into the European racing... SO our
migrational patterns will be much of the same for 2013.
are planning to race World Cups and other XC races across the globe
for 2013. We also are interested to include more off road
stage races into our calendar - to ride and race together as a team
MTBRacenews.com: You have a pretty unique lifestyle. What's you're favorite part
of living, and racing, out of an RV all around the world?
and Mary: My favorite part of our mobile lifestyle is the cool
places and people we get to meet via the bike. Flowing with
the moment and having everything you need right there in your vehicle
is more efficient and comfortable - especially if it is a camping
car. To be able to cook your own food and sleep in the same
bed every night makes all the difference in being grounded so we can
MTBRacenews.com: What's the biggest challenge when it comes to training,
traveling, and racing with your husband/wife?
and Mary: Hmm, where to start? I think we are getting used
to managing the finer points of traveling, training and racing all
over the globe… but it is never really easy. You just get
more relaxed about certain things.
hardest part I think is that Everything is so tightly wired.
We are self coached, manage all aspects of our 2 person team and have
other duties to cover on top of these athlete and managerial roles…
Mike is our team mechanic and does a phenomenal job of keeping all
our bikes dialed - cleaned, tuned & fresh. He is also our
R&D specialist and works with many of our sponsors on prototype
projects. Good thing he was an English major in college,
because he gets to think & write a lot - blogs and all.
SO when he is not training, there is more than enough to do!
Me, well, I'm the cook, laundry lady and logistical planner… so any
time I'm not training is spent in the kitchen and office.
is not easy to run our team program, but we prefer to be in control,
making all the decisions as to where we want to race, what our goals
will be and how we will piece it all together. It is
incredible to live this way but it is also a tremendous amount of
work and pressure… however, we consider ourselves lucky to manifest
this dream so far - HUGE thanks to our supportive family and friends
and all the awesome companies we are honored to represent - we could
not do it with out them!
suppose one of the more difficult issues is making sure we separate
the stress of our business from our personal relationship…. It can
be hard to find time to just be a couple when every aspect of your
life is so connected. We spend a lot of time together, and we
train until exhaustion and this can lead to crankiness. So
being aware of this separation is pretty important. We feel
lucky to be able to work so well together & share this dream…
So despite all the challenges, we step back and always appreciate the
MTBRacenews.com: When did you begin your current lifestyle of RV living and World
Cup racing? Have either of you ever raced for a traditional "trade
team?” Would you want to?
and Mary: Racing as we do now has taken years to
evolve into… We have carefully built our team program up
from our grassroots over the past 13 years.
and I met at a bike race in Northern CA in 1999. We shared a
similar passion for the great outdoors, mountain biking, travel and
competition - which bloomed once we joined forces. At first,
we did not have sponsorship and were pretty much fueled by passion
for our sport - although we were both lucky to have university
educations, vehicles to drive and families who did not mind us living
with them occasionally… We worked odd jobs that (sort of)
fit into our training schedules, earning just barely enough to buy
food, pay off student loans and put fuel in the tank to get to the
and I continue to focus our lives around being fit and getting to the
races - it can take ALL our time and it is how we've wanted to
LIVE/spend our time. We truly love riding and racing our bikes
and the lifestyle that comes along with it - travel to new incredible
places with a dedicated mission and a community of super cool, down
to earth, motivated people to go with it. Also the feeling of
pushing our physical boundaries in the race and completing something
we set out to do is perhaps this is the truly addictive part.
have always been motivated to work with the resources we have to get
to the races and have managed the cost of travel by camping out,
which is always a good affordable option. Back in the day, we
camped out either in a tent or in our cars, we made food on a camp
stove and took solar showers. We raced the domestic NORBA
circuit together for many years and scrapped hard to pull it off…
still with our frugal ways, going into debt… a little. I was
starting to get noticed as I made podiums at the national level…
and Mike was posting awesome results as Pro racer and as our team
mechanic. It was at this time and that we started to connect
with some sponsorship. In 2001, Seven Cycles offered us
beautiful custom bikes and some money to race… it was incredible to
be given some resources which inspired us to work even harder.
Our results continued to improve and more companies became interested
in signing on. The next few years we made contact with a few
more product sponsors who have come to be the core supporters of our
program today - Kenda Tires, Stan's NoTubes.com and SRAM
being at the top of our list. One by one, we have nurtured
these relationships and our support network has grown beautifully.
We are honored to be representing over 20 great companies in our
long time ago we we spoke briefly with one of the big domestic trade
teams - but they wanted to limit my racing to the domestic circuit
and hire Mike as the truck driver… :-( We quickly ended that
conversation and set out to work with our own resources. The
next year (2004) we pulled all the stops with our grass roots
program, rented an RV in Europe for the first time and, long story
short, ended up going to the Olympic Games!!!
we had accepted an offer compromising our ideals, we would have never
began this path. Keeping things in our own hands has turned
out to be a good thing. Also taking risks and stepping into
the big unknown can be the best thing anyone can ever do for
themselves. Dreaming BIG is perhaps one of my specialties (as
well as logistical planning) - and thank goodness Mike is so
practical and realistic - because together we are making
truly are grateful and feel lucky to manifest a team program which
has supported us and allowed us this unconventional lifestyle we have
come to know and love. With our minds set on reaching our potential,
figuring a realistic plan, believing we can do it and working
together are all key components. We could never have made it
this far without each other or the support of so many people who care
- family, friends and some of the finest companies in the industry.
think at this point a traditional trade team would not suit our
styles… unless we dreamt up our own version and started it.
MTBRacenews.com: Can you talk a little bit about team stage racing? What
strategies separate that discipline from simply going out and doing a
long, hard ride together?
and Mary: When we do a long hard ride together, we often separate
and regroup. Mike is much stronger than I am and in order to maximize
his training for his personal race goals, he needs to climb the hills
and ride at his own pace… so he goes ahead and turns back to
regroup, reclimbing the hill again or practicing whippy tricks on his
bike while waiting for me.
stage racing, we need to be very in tune with each other because
every little move can make a difference. Drafting especially is
important… and if Mike goes too far ahead, those moments I am
trying to catch up will be slower than if we were working together
(me in his draft) . SO he rides at whatever pace I can maintain and
supports me to ride faster by being there at all times. Assisting
with a push is not considered illegal at the stage races we've done,
so he will put a hand on my back and expend twice the watts to help
my pace along (something we don't do on long hard training rides). He
is also the pack mule so I can carry less. If the pace is too fast, I
risk blowing up, so I have to be very careful to ride within my
limits, and communicate to Mike how I am doing… It is pretty
humbling for me b/c I know Mike must put aside his natural pace and
tune into mine… It takes a pretty special and unselfish
relationships to come out smiling after an epic team stage race.
Staying positive and giving your absolute ALL becomes the goal.
Working as a team like this is a very bonding experience for sure!
MTBRacenews.com: Do you typically train together, or do you do separate rides?
and Mary: We spend so much time together, we try to train
separately. But when we are in foreign lands or unfamiliar areas, we
train together. It is a challenge we have becomes more relaxed about.
NOT knowing where to ride when you have a specific workout in the
plan is sort of difficult… so I do a lot of map studying and we
tend to revisit certain places just because we know where to ride and
what to expect. It is always a relief to return home or to familiar
training grounds so we can do our own thing.
MTBRacenews.com: I've heard you do a lot of cross training. What do you see as the
benefits of that?
and Mary: Being strong and balanced is something both Mike and I
strive for. We don't just ride the bikes. We enjoy mixing up the
riding routine at certain times of the year. Other activities we
enjoy to stay strong and balance out our cycling specific bodies are
paddle boarding, hiking and running. We would also xc or back country
ski if we had the opportunity. Mike's other passion is surfing - so
he tries to squeeze that in where and when ever he can We also
spend as much time on the yoga mats as possible and have created
strength workouts that do no need to happen at a gym, but can be
carried out anywhere we are.
MTBRacenews.com: What one thing you couldn't live without while traveling from
race to race in the RV?
and Mary: EACH OTHER!!! (oh and our 300 count cotton sheets,
pillows and yoga mats).
visit our personal blog for more stories and to find out who our
sponsors are. http://www.maryandmikeride.blogspot.com