It’s biking time

Settled back in Scotland for the next 6 weeks had me organising the next Mission WOW event. I got asked by the Highland Perthshire Cycling committee for run the women’s part of the Cycling festival. Cat at SCOTT UK had agreed to support whatever event that I decided to run so they were on board for the festival too.

Once landing in the homeland, there was plenty to keep me busy and out of trouble with the event but I needed exercising. Otherwise I and everyone else around me, was going to go mad. And last weekend my chariot arrived in all it’s glory to meet me in Keswick.

I was presented with a practically new SCOTT Contessa Genius bike to borrow from the demo fleet.

From the moment I lifted it out the van, I was sold. It has a carbon frame so can be carried on your shoulder with no bother (lucky, as the adventures it was going to get to go on that first day were slightly challenging) And it wasn’t pink. Contessa is SCOTT’s women’s specific range of bikes, they have 12 different models just in the mountain bikes department, and then there’s road bikes, E-bikes, and hybrids. Check out the range here.

After a brief explanation of the various levers and a shock adjustment from Gareth we were off on the Boradale Bash, with a twist. Never having been to the Lake District when I can remember at least, I had no real concept of what we were about to take on. Basically we were going to circumnavigate Derwent Water, the lake that Keswick sits on, clockwise. But instead of travelling at lake level we were going to go along the hill tops.

This plan is one of Jaymie Mart’s favourite rides. The skills that this girl possesses on a bike are unmatched by many man or beast, so I knew we were in for a good challenge and a lot of laughs.

The day involved some definite hike-a-bike parts, technical decents and smooth flowing sections.

With my trusty Contessa hooked over my shoulder I happily ambled up the side of Catbells, stoked on the 27lbs weight tag that it shouts about.

The moments of gold came with the reactions we got from everyone descending from the mighty summit of Catbells as we climbing up the side. There were two major issues they were having with us:

1. The effort involved lugging a bike up to the top and what on earth were we going to ride down on the other side

2. There was a constant gale blowing at the top and surely we’d be blown off once on a bike on the top.

We thought about both these factors, the first one covered as Jaymie had ridden down plenty times before and had explained that we would need to carry bikes in sections. No problem.

The wind. A slight potential issue but since we were already a good chunk of the way up, we’d just keep going to see the views. 

So it became easier to tell people we were in training, for what they asked? ‘Kite biking to the South Pole’ we replied. That shut them up pretty quickly. Others just stared and stated ‘You’re bonkers’.

And so we continued on up to the top, were rewarded with stunning views and a gnarly ride down with a strong side breeze.  This is when my new noble steed stepped it up a notch or two. After the first descent I has forgotten to click the lever which changes the rear shock from 95mm (3.7”) to 150mm (5.9”).  So this time I was prepared with 150mm beneath me, off I went on the cushiest bike I’ve ever ridden. Stoked.

All in all, well worth the effort for an epic adventure, hours of entertainment and the look on people’s faces. Highly recommended. And as for the bike, an ideal day to challenge it’s make-up and it shone through. Sorry Cat, not sure how you’re going to pry this bike off of me. Thanks again.


SCOTT support

In September I got an email from Kathi at SCOTT Sports HQ in Fribourg, Switzerland stating that they’d like to fully sponsor my 2011 winter event series in Europe.  At this point in time I had just arrived back in NZ after 6 months away and was planning on staying put (for a while at least!) I also didn’t have a winter event series, yet. So I created one and changed my plans on what I was going to do with my life, again.

It was quite surreal sitting in Wanaka, ducking out for bike rides and lake swims while alternating with sitting at a desk planning and event that revolved around snow. But Europe didn’t seem to be getting any snow. They were having more sunny days than we were in Wanaka for summer.  I kept saying, as everyone else in Europe did, ‘It’ll come soon’.

It took 6 months of negotiating, locations being dropped and funding and logistic discussion, but eventually a contract came through from SCOTT. The next week my flights were booked, and I was Europe bound.

I arrived to Chamonix and it was immediately shorts and t-shirt weather. Bikes were being dusted off and trails were already dry and ready to ride. I didn’t really get into the groove of winter and the snow didn’t show up, even if it did, the ground would have been too warm and it would have melted straight away.

Lucky I wasn’t running a freeride camp requiring powder snow. A Spring touring mission was on the cards for us and that’s exactly what we got. There’s always snow up high, that’s where we went and SCOTT touring skis took us there.

Here is Charlie’s press release from the event “WOW press release


I got this email from an inspiring woman, Tomoko Kazama, who I met last year in Niseko, Japan.  She sorted out our motley crew, a gathering of friends from Scotland, NZ and Japan, with passes and contacts, to assist in our common craving for Japanese powder.

She wrote to encourage me, during my times of doubt, as to what on earth I was trying to achieve with Mission WOW.

“I personally think I would love to have people from all over the world and get united through the sports. So that we can communicate/share the culture and that is the way to bring happiness to everyone and want to have a theme of ‘no boundary’ between people/culture/religion/language and so on.

Have a simple and peaceful mind with exciting sports will do it!!!

Educate ourselves while having fun in nature is always the way to make people happy and we can appreciate the existence of ourselves living in such a wild planet.

Keep smiling and enjoy your program!!!!!


I now have the pleasure of knowing two Tomokos who have similar inspiring attitudes and energy, both having been in Japan last year but not actually meeting each other.

So I looked up what Tomoko means and Wikipedia came up with:

“Like many Japanese names, Tomoko can be written using different kanji characters and can mean:

  • 友子 – “friendly child”
  • 知子 – “knowing child”
  • 智子 – “wise child”
  • 朋子 – “friendly child”
  • 皆子 – “beautiful girl”

They all ring true for the two Tomokos that I know. If these two are anything to go by, I’m looking forward to meeting more.

Maybe next year Mission WOW will land in Japan. With support from NZ and Japanese bases Tomokos, we’ll be sorted!

Sarah Kay- watch, listen, think, do

very inspiring lady,
take the time to
watch her
listen to her
think about it
go write 10 things you know to be true

life is complicated, sport is simple

life is complicated
sport is simple
play is the medicine man.

Thanks Howies and Chris Fecher

You’re not designed for office life
You’re not designed to just sit there
You’re a hunter- gatherer, damn it
That urge to get out there goes back a long way
You need to feel the four winds
To tell stories around a shared camp fire
To see stars that will be famous for more than 15 minutes
To leave the hubbub, humdrum and hoo-ha behind
To listen to the stream trickle by To go places 4×4’s only go in TV ads
To put some distance between you and your work
To forget everything for a while
To make some molehills out of mountains
Play is best when not done to a deadline of a finish line
Play is a multivitamin, play is a detox, play is yoga for your mind
Play is the natural enemy of stress
Play is good, play is great, play is brilliant
Play is splashing in puddles, climbing mountains
And riding across them
Play is juvenile, pointless and dumb
And frankly, all the better for it
Work is complicated, play is simple!
Go play!


check out howies brainfood blog here


The new activity for the young, and young at heart, in the Wanaka area is the Aspiring Trampolining centre which Catherine Pell has opened in Hawea Flat. The set-up includes a double mini tramp into a foam pit, sprung with a trampoline underneath it, 2 Olympic trampolines and a 3rd black mat trampoline.  Catherine is a remarkable teacher, who has broken down ski and snowboard tricks into a simple progression, so even those with no air awareness at all can learn to fly.

photo: Neil Kerr @ Paradox Media

Classes and open sessions run Mon-Fri afternoons and evening but you need to book  in advance as she is choca block with folk wanting in. Check it out on Facebook at Aspiring-Trampolining. Soon to arrive and be hung from the rafters is a harness and a trapeze.

Whether you’re aspiring for Cirque du Soleil (see video below),  X-Games or just for fitness and fun, it’s all here for you. Be prepared to sweat hard and shock yourself. Challenge mind, get inverted and, if you’re not made of rubber, remember to stretch well afterwards, as you’re going to hurt!

Challenge your mind and body to jump @th

Challenge your mind and body to jump @theairbagNZ

Epic MTB trails @ Skyline Gondola, Queenstown

There have been a variety of tracks ridden in the Ben Lomond Forest Park for years, but it was always a grunt of a ride and push of the bikes up to the top.

The long awaited Gondola opening day finally arrived and hundreds of people lined up.  Season Pass holders got a special preview day on Sunday, with a complementary pass for a mate to come too. We decided that Tuesday was the day for us to sample the goods. Glowing reports had been flowing over the hill and down the Cardrona Valley to us so we knew it would be all on.

Expecting crowds, we made sure we were there early, but there was to be no worries.  The morning was super quiet, no stress about people coming thundering behind us.

We tested most of the trails, starting with the user-friendly Hammy’s trail- 6km of smooth running goodness with bermed corners and some optional wooden obstacles for added excitement.

Next up was the Vertigo trail- steeper yet still smooth with plenty of flow. We weren’t sure what to expect when we launched into Ant’s track and Armageddon, but soon found out why they were marked as a ‘double black diamond’. Best advice- just keep your feet on the peddles and don’t stop.

There is a variety of wooden ‘North Shore’ features throughout the trails, a courtesy peddle past on the first run intrigued us enough to go back and try them out. The cornered wooden structure on Thingamajig is easier than it looks- give it a try- just keep rolling and look ahead!

The trails all meet in the middle so you can chop and change from steep and techy top section to a smooth, flowy bottom section of vice versa.  There are lots of offshoots off the trails that are well marked so keep your eyes peeled if you’re feeling adventurous.

Vertigo bikes has a shop and rental area at the top of the gondola so if you don’t have the downhill gear then you can rent it there.

The half day pass works from either 10am till 3pm or 3pm till 8pm for $40- 5 hours of riding. We got 9 laps in with a stop for lunch in the middle.

Go play!


WOW ‘Waves’ in the Catlins

Porpoise Bay Jan 14-16th 2011

10 top lasses hanging out at the beach

9 Hectors dolphins playing in the bay

8 km to walk along the beach and back

7 Yellow- Eyed Penguins  on the fossil forest

6 sightseeing stops on the journey south

5 gourmet meals and many snacks too

4 maté tea drinkers sipping away

3 splendid surf sessions on private waves

2 yoga classes for mind and body

1 tremendous Tomo to coach us through

Huge Thank you to Tomo at for her patience, enthusiasm, encouragement and smiles.


$40 half-day pass for MTBikers at SkyLine Gondola, Queenstown

SkyLine Gondola, Queenstown are opening for mountain bike uplifts from 24th January 2011 for four months until May 29th 2011 from 10am – 8pm every day.

After pressure from local riders over the hill in Wanaka, they have adapted their pricing structure to include a half day pass for $40 (10am-3pm or 3pm-8pm). The 5-day pass (adult $250, youth $200) is now usable over a 2 month period rather than the original 1 month.

Thank you for listening to the riders SkyLine