Interview: Peta Mullens

Well I’ve just signed with the Wiggle Honda Professional Women’s Team which is one of the most successful outfits on the European road scene in it’s second year. It’s the first female team run and owned by an Australian in current Commonwealth Games Champion Rochelle Gilmore, which is a big step for Women’s cycling within our country and around the world. To me it’s special because the team allows me to juggle both my aspirations on the MTB and road, and because they’ve signed my partner Jarrod Moroni as full-time head mechanic for the 2014 season 🙂


As a British team based out of Belgium, will you be spending a lot of time in Europe?

My calendar is yet to be finalised but it looks like I’ll spend about half of my nine months abroad in Europe, with the remaining time spread across Australia, China and the UK.


What about on the mountain bike? Are you still on Target Trek?

To set the record straight and slash all speculation, YES, I will be continuing my partnership with the Target Trek MTB Racing Team. It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make- I had some great results this year, but it was testing times through my back injury and Rich Peil, Peter Dowse and TREK provided their full support the entire way. The team is even bigger and better next year with some exciting announcements coming up and some new signings for the season. Our team has also been a driving force behind change at MTBA and I want to continue to be a part of that to better the future of the sport.


What will your 2014 calendar look like? 

Busy! I’ll have over 100 race days for the year which is nearly unheard of! I’ll spend most of my season in Aus up until the National MTB Championships in March, and then join the ‘Wigglettes’ in Europe to follow the team race calendar for the majority of the season. I’ll step away for the MTB World Cups and pending selection, the Commonwealth Games and World Championships. Then come October Jarrod and I will have to weigh up whether or not Europe is for us, and decide whether to return home and support the domestic MTB season, or have a short break and do it all over again.


Will you be able to piggy back any mountain bike racing onto your road racing, or vice versa?

I’ll try my best to have a week off leading into the MTB World Cups and if selected, a good block of MTB’ing before the Commonwealth Games and again before the World Championships. It’s quite an easy transition from the MTB to the road, but the transition from road to MTB is quite difficult so I just need time to account for the differences in disciplines and find my place on the dirt again.


How do you see the balance between mountain biking and road looking for you?

The scales are definitely tipped in the favour of road, it’s about a 70:30 ratio. But I’m very open in saying that MTB is my priority for the season, and that my target races will all be on the MTB. I’ll be acting as a domestique on the road for Wiggle Honda so it’s more important that I’m fit, healthy and consistent the entire season rather than ‘pinging’ for every single race.


We see a lot of athletes move from mountain bike, to doing a bit of road and then finally moving entirely away from mountain biking (Steele Von Hoff, probably Jack Haig, Lachie Norris) – do you see this as a course you’ll likely follow? How can we please keep you?

Well I’m very flattered and you won’t be losing me anytime soon, I feel like I’ve only just jumped ship TO the dirt! I’ve been to Europe and done the road ‘thing’ before but it’s the curiosity of MTB’ing and a new challenge that has driven me to make the International leap again. Whether I am overseas or in Australia my passion lies with MTB’ing. On the topic of lost talent, it’s a shame to continuously lose our dirt talent to the road, but such is the nature of the beast and we have plenty more talent to capitalise on if steered in the right direction with the right support. The Target Trek team are real drivers behind these visions and are slowly but surely growing the sport of MTB’ing.


Do you think mountain bike and road can complement each other, or conflict with each other?

I think that in the right environment and with the right support network they do complement each other, but it’s a tricky balance. The calendars will always conflict, so it’s about compromising my race program in order to fit in my target races but represent both teams fairly. The sponsors will always clash, so once again it’s about negotiation and compromise on their behalf. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by sponsors, and team owners like Rich and Rochelle Gilmore, who put my own dreams in front of their interests because they are passionate and supportive of what I do.

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