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For The Love Of It

Well hello there!

Welcome to my corner of the digital world, where I am proud to be publishing in the Pivot Womens’ community. I’m glad you made it here, this could be the start of something special. Like my Switchblade. That’s special.

There is a growing world-wide community of female mountain bikers who are wanting to progress, learn and express their riding talents across all styles. And that’s special too. With disciplines such as women’s Freeride gaining traction (thanks to a few key players), now more than ever it is so important to nurture these special experiences!

Photo: Jake HoodPhoto Credit: Jake Hood 

To start, a confession: I am no expert. I just love riding my bike. I’m 27 years old, from Queenstown, New Zealand. I work in Real Estate as a means to fund my adventures, with a side of racing and a wicked social life. I ride because I simply love it. That’s really my strongest resumé building as a mountain biker! Although you may have seen Pivots Cycles’ Switchblade release video ‘The Cellar’.

 

I cannot guarantee my acting has improved, but my bike riding and motivation definitely has! And it has brought me to this place and this purpose: to show and tell how riding bikes simply ‘for the love of it’ can really change your life. Seriously! I am beyond stoked to be given this space, where we can share a monthly dialogue that is relatable, helpful, and motivating. As female-identifying riders, we often create these safe spaces together.

A recent ‘funduro’ with an epic bunch of girls, all stoked on riding. 

I first got into competitive cycling at 14 years old when my hometown built the first indoor Velodrome in New Zealand. I was recruited by my PE teacher due to my longer than average femurs (go figure). After years of tears, road miles, headwinds and magpies, I realised the only times I was truly enjoying riding was cross training on my mountain bike. The ability to get out in the incredible backcountry of New Zealand and escape reality to a place where I was content and focused was a feeling I couldn’t shake and where my passion for riding was ignited.

Competitive track cycling in 2008. Might start wearing this aero helmet at a few MTB races… 

I lost touch with riding for about 6 years… University, growing up, a stint aboard Super Yachts, snow seasons, a few Camino’s, world-wide nannying, soul searching, soul destroying and more. I had been living in Whistler BC for three years when, in the summer of 2017, I saved $300 and brought a 2007 Kona Stinky Garbo edition from a kid in East Vancouver. My Stinky was quickly banned from every bike shop due to ‘liability’ but I was determined to make it work and literally rode it until the wheels fell off. That summer was a pivotal moment (get it ?) and the catalyst of great things to come. I was the only girl in our friend group who rode the Whistler Bike Park. I had to learn to keep up or get left behind. It was brutal. I terrified myself every day and there definitely a few come-to-Jesus moments. When I look back now I would not have had it any other way – the support and stoke from my friends set some solid groundwork for the rider I am today. Cheers boys for eventually accepting me as one of you and the endless banter and good times.

Some of the legends who strengthened my love of the mountain bike lifestyle. 

From that summer onwards I was fortunate to travel the world with my bike, adventuring and racing the odd race or two. Progress happened in leaps and bounds, but what really solidified my lifestyle was honestly the people. Ahhhh, the people! The friendships I have from mountain biking is on par with – if not better than – the physical challenges. At the risk of being mountain-bike-cheesy, is there anything better than sharing your stoke with like-minded people after a day of shredding over a cold brew or two or around a campfire?! This is a yarn worthy of its own blog which I will save for another day.

Where to now?

I’m living back in Queenstown, New Zealand. Surrounded by an epic Mountain Bike community, with so many friends and riders. This place is literally a breeding ground for up-and-coming talent, and every summer more and more women are out on the trails being nurtured in this incredible sport. This is what motivates me to progress and – yes – sometimes push hard. Seeing the top boys and girls hitting huge features, putting down wicked race runs I can’t help but think…. if they can, why can’t I? And if I can, why can’t you? I hope that little voice lives in every woman on the trail.

Photo Credit: Callum Wood 

Regardless of current travel restrictions and the uncertainty of race events, we are – in many ways – more connected with the world than ever, thanks to technology and world class content, much of which I see as challenging us all to be wholesome and motivated riders. This is where my story will continue, with my arsenal of Pivots; carrying on the stoke, on the racecourse or not, on backyard rides or big adventures, riding alone or in a group….but always for the love of it.

Photo Credit: Jake Hood