Getting to know Briony Mattocks

Briony is a regular at just about any bike race in the greater Sydney area on the road or mountain bike, and also at just a out any major road or mountain bike race around the country as well, especially as she moves into her second year with Specialized Women's Racing (SWR).

Age?  35
Years racing? 6 (ish)
Disciplines? Mountain Bike (XCM, Stage), Road and the odd Gravel Race
Strengths? Singletrack and the back end of stage races!
Favourite terrain? Sydney’s hand-cut sandstone trails
Race result you’re most proud of? Won the Convict in 2019, wanted to have my name on that list since I started riding
Bike spec rundown? Specialized S-Works Epic with Shimano XTR 12spd drivetrain, Fox 32 Stepcast forks and Pro cockpit
Favourite training snack? Megabake bars are delicious, also love dates ESPECIALLY if they have peanut butter in them
Favourite bike gadget? I’ve just got a new Wahoo and am really enjoying getting to know it
Why the Cape Epic 2020? 
I view the Cape Epic as the toughest, most competitive and most challenging mountain bike race on the planet. It’s been on my bucket list since the day I heard about it. I had a crack at it back in 2018, but it ended rather early when I broke my collarbone – so I absolutely cannot wait to get back and even up the score. I love pairs racing, testing yourself day in/day out and racing the fastest people in the world. It will be epic.

What is your goal for the race? 
Not die. But also, a top ten finish and some good stage results would be awesome. I also want to show that it is not beyond the realm of possibility for two women with full time jobs and full time responsibilities – I think both Imo and I want to see more women at top tier events, so hopefully we can inspire some others to give it a crack.

Briony was part of the winning women's pair at the 2019 Cape to Cape - amongst other races! Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

Do you have a day job? What’s it like?
I do – I am a Product Owner at Telstra. If you have heard of (or are one of the 1.3m people who have signed up) to Telstra Plus, our loyalty program, that’s me! I run a team of eight people across Sydney and Melbourne who do design and build work. It’s quite consuming but really energising – I love bringing ideas to life, working with smart people, facing into complex problems and having something that generally keeps me on my toes and out of trouble.  

Tell us about your training for Cape Epic?
What’s a normal week day look like for you? I mostly train before work, which does mean the 4:00 alarm is pretty common. I have the option of riding road or MTB here in Sydney and can often tie a training session to a commute in to the office – anywhere from 90mins to 3 hours. The day is spent eating and in meetings (concurrently in most cases) and I’ll do some yoga and stretching in the evenings. I actually love it, it’s hard to get up each day but the roads are quiet (for at least the first bit), you are energised by the time you get to work and it’s great for managing stress.

What keeps you going when racing and training gets tough? 
I am a little bit OCD and if a session is on my program, I’ll mostly do it (or give it my best shot). I try to organise to ride with different people or groups to help me get out the door in the morning and to ensure I enjoy the time on the bike. Recognising that not all training sessions will go to plan is important too – sometimes your legs just won’t cooperate, but they will probably come back in a day or two! Don’t get too hung up on numbers – stay calm and follow the process. Chairs with wheels are the best when your legs are cooked.

Share with us a trick to make stage racing more comfortable? 
I go for all the marginal gains but as I don’t run them as independent controlled experiments I can’t actually tell you what works! Coconut water and heaps of hydration, stretching, foam rollers, as much food as you can eat (keep it healthy), elevated legs, ice baths (or cold water) – have also been known to hit the beetroot juice and take magnesium. In terms of comfort directly – can’t have enough Ride Mechanic chamois crème.

Briony at The Pioneer. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

You two have raced against each other before, but not together. How’s that going to pan out!? 
I think it’s going to be great – no doubt there will be up’s and down’s (there always is), but I think we are quite a well matched team and have strengths that complement each other. I bring a sense of calm, humour, strong enjoyment around washing the bikes and a cute little chipmunk noise as I fall asleep.

You’ve got quite an Instagram following and you’re known for your spoofs of glamour bike shots – how did that come about? 
Under it all, I believe that female athletes should be taken seriously for their strengths and achievements and not for posing next to a bike in a bikini.

Mostly though, I’m just a bit of a larrikin and personally find it quite entertaining to mock some of the trends we see on social media and show that behind the filters, we are just normal people. All the photos I “recreate” are actually nominations – people send them to me as requests. I don’t mind having a laugh at my own expense generally and it seems others enjoy laughing at me too!

You can follow Briony on Instagram and Strava.