GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Ginny McFall

Tuesday Toolbox: Ginny McFall

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 | 2:30 PM
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 | 2:30 PM

Endurance athletes are a different breed. Pushing their bodies to the absolute limit. I’d like to say I’m speaking from experience. However, no, maybe someday. I know, I know, “someday” isn’t a day of the week. Find me at the bench press or squat rack. That’s more my speed.

But I do get a front row seat throughout the year to see what these endurance athletes are capable of. And not just at GNCC. A few of my best friends back home spend their weekends doing triathlons, marathons ETC.

Ginny fits that mold perfectly. Pushing her mind and body to the limits and always looking for the next big thing. Don’t expect Ginny to throw in the towel after an injury either. In fact, when faced with an injury, she didn’t stop, she simply shifted gears (pun intended) and found a new purpose and passion. It’s safe to say, Ginny has an addiction to movement.

Photo: Shan Moore
Photo: Shan Moore Ginny, thanks for joining me today. To get us started, tell us about how you got started into racing and eventually running in the eMTB GNCC.

Ginny McFall: Thanks for having me! Well I grew up in St. Pete, Florida. I spent the last several years, 7 or 8, in Jacksonville, Florida up in the Northeast. I got involved in Tri-Athlete events, I was an endurance runner. Eventually I transferred into doing triathlons and from there started mountain biking. A friend of mine got me out of a triathlon slump and got me into mountain biking, which I loved. That’s where I really started to love the off-road side of racing.

Was that the end of the triathlons for you?

No, actually I used the mountain biking mostly to cross-train to prepare for my triathlons. I was very dedicated to the triathlons. At the beginning of 2020 I was doing a 30K running race, sort of half trail half pavement. I stepped off the pavement into some very loamy dirt and ended up rolling my ankle which transferred into my knee. This happened around mile four and running on that for about 15 or so more miles didn’t do great things for it. It lead to a significant left knee injury. But me being me, I was stubborn and kept on it, which is really what was the start of pushing me to the bike completely.

Wow! Was it difficult to make the transition?

Yes and no, running, and even walking was difficult with that injury. But biking didn’t seem to bother the injury and the mountain biking season was just kicking off in Florida so I just sort of decided to switch from endurance running to endurance biking. The injury did force me out of doing triathlons and focus on the mountain biking scene. Just a new chapter for an athlete.

Photo: Shan Moore
Photo: Shan Moore

Couple things, one my sister-in-law is from St. Pete. My wife and I visit as much as possible. And two, some of my best friends are big time triathletes in the Midwest with Tri-Loco.

What a small world! I guarantee we know some of the same people. My best friend in Jacksonville is from Evansville Indiana. They’re in tight with the tri-community up there as well as any of the Ultra Marathon runners. So, I’m sure there are some mutual contacts somewhere between us.

You’d think with me having so many friends involved in sports I’d be more fit myself. But here I am writing and talking into a microphone.

Oh I get it; I don’t blame you. I was very dedicated to my triathlons. Every 3-4 weeks I was doing a triathlon. I love the multi-sport aspect because it’s so challenging, physically, and mentally. You’ve really got to have things planned, especially when you get to the ½ Ironman distance. Which is what I loved the most.

After transitioning from the tris to mountain biking, GNCC eMTB Racing seems like a perfect fit. What led to you joining the GNCC ranks?

John Ayers of Gear Bicycle Sales played a huge part in that obviously. He’s got the store down here in Central Florida outside of Daytona. The store is only about a year old and he was looking to grow the business into the eMTB world. Down here it’s still very much in it’s infancy. Most of the avid cyclist down here still view the eMTBs as the “Cheater” bike or the “lazy man’s” bike. Which, both of us know from being at the GNCC, that’s far from the reality. So anyway, John reached out to us and we joined the race over at Gatorback Cycle Park. Which was a great place to have it in my opinion. Connecting the mountain bike world with the moto world. It was super successful, and I knew the southern rounds of GNCC weren’t too far away from me. So I went and fell in love immediately. The racing, the GNCC community, everything about it is inviting. The atmosphere of the races is amazing, there’s really nothing like it.

Your experience as a mechanic has benefitted you as well, right?

Yeah, for sure. I reach out to John to help out as a mechanic at the races. The service side at Specialized for the GNCCs was booming and I knew they needed more hands to help out. Working on bikes is as much a passion of mine as riding and racing. So being able to contribute to that aspect has been amazing. 

Photo: Mack Faint
Photo: Mack Faint

Wow, and among all this you still find time to race the GNCC. How’d your season go this year?

2021 season was great! Being able to do the entire series was hard and difficult but worth it. This was the “Year of the Mechanicals” for me. Seemed like every race something would happen. My bike would operate fine prior to the race, but ended up with a flat, or drive-train issue. I didn’t give up though. I was still able to finish every race without having to walk my bike off the track. The women I race against are awesome as well. They make it difficult to get up front every race, no doubt about it.

Goals for 2022?

The goal is to always love it. No matter how I do, I want to make sure I’m loving every second of it. I know that last round we had there were probably 3-4 new women that joined us. Seeing the sport grow in just the short amount of time we’ve been doing it has been amazing. And to speak to the other women and hear they’re coming back for more next year is great. I finished third in 2021 and would love to improve upon that in 2022. That and finish the races without any mechanicals.

Callie Horwath and Suzanne Bishop, huge competition there, what’s it going to take to get on top?

Without a doubt! There were several races where the three of us were wheel to wheel. Suzanne had her share of mechanicals as well and we’d all joke about Callie’s day was coming, but I don’t think it ever did.

You helped in the track building in 2021. What was that like?

Loved it! To me it’s just one more layer of being involved in the race. People coming off the track and telling me how much fun they had is such a good feeling. It’s been nice to help the tracks evolve into more of a mountain bike track, custom tailored to our style versus the dirtbike and ATVs. Being a part of that evolution is huge to me. Hearing people compliment a section of the track I cut in is really satisfying. I love seeing people fall in love with the sport.

Photo: Ken Hill
Photo: Ken Hill

So, when you’re not racing, working, or training, what do you do for fun?

I love exploring! Hiking is a huge passion of mine. Coming off the bike and exploring things by foot is what I love. I love to be able to just sit still with nothing to do. On top of working for Gear as well as the other things I’m involved with it’s nice to have some time to myself to sit still and reflect.

Ginny, thank you so much! Who would you like to thank?

Thanks for having me, this was a lot of fun. I’d like to thank Gear Bicycle Sales, Specialized Bicycles, Van.Bike.Go – Adventure Blog and Zboys Racing.