Hellooo Canada…

So here we are, Mike and I met in New Zealand nearly 4 years ago, we battled through the highs and lows of a long distance relationship and now we were finally on the same continent.

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Things continued as usual, same old busy schedule, we were all over the map, staying in Vancouver, then to Revelstoke, then to Jasper, back to Revelstoke, up to Banff film festival and back to Revelstoke… all in less than a week!! Mikes film, Dream Ride was in the World Tour of the Banff Film Festival, so there we were representing Diamond Back and Dreamride! I was so proud of Mike, I’d seen how hard he worked putting this together, it was incredible to see his vision become reality and to see the video getting the reception it so rightly deserved.

DreamRide from Juicy Studios on Vimeo.

Once November hit, Revelstoke was pretty miserable, the sun seemed to set behind the Rocky Mountains by 2pm, it rained, and rained… and rained. I didn’t have a bike, and after injuring my back last year running was too painful. Whilst all the clued in locals left Revelstoke for most of November, Mike and I stuck it out. I had a job lined up but it didn’t start until January… It was admin time anyway, September – December is crunch time for locking in deals with sponsors for 2017, my proposal was dialled, a solid plan for 2017 was put into place, time to sell it like a boss.

I was in a great and conflicting spot, with 3 awesome offers on the table from different frame companies, leaving me torn, each sponsor meant something different to me with all reasons as good as the next. Finally I made the decision and signed the contract, becoming a rider for Diamond Back Bikes.

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From then on things started picking up, the snow seemed to arrive over night, I’d only done a handful of ski holidays before, so this winter was all about getting better at skiing.

I’d been in Canada for at nearly 2 months, which can only mean it’s time for my parents to visit; they’d actually booked their flights to come for Christmas before I’d booked my flight to move here in October #classic. Mike and I showed them around Revelstoke, I didn’t have the place figured out yet, but wanted them to see where I lived. I took dad skiing, we were like two kids at Christmas, Dad was the best ski buddy ever. Up for anything, smiled the entire time, and every crash (there were many) he’d jump/wiggle back up and kept on bombing down. Dad actually managed to get himself out of a lot crashes, just as we thought, for sure, he was going down, he stayed strong and rode it out. Which ended in nothing but nucks and cheers.

Mum wasn’t really into the idea of downhill skiing, so we went on an adventure to find a waterfall… turned out we were the only ones to make the trek since the snow fall, which increased the effort levels somewhat, even with snowshoes, but she did great and it was awesome to do with my parents.

Mike, my parents and I all headed to Rossland (Mike’s home town) just in time for Christmas. The parents met the parents… it was finally official. Of course, they all got on, making it a pretty awesome Christmas.

A vision I’ll never forget is taking Mum and Dad cross-country skiing. If Mum’s on anything other than her own 2 feet, she feels rather unstable, (after having a horrible road cycling crash a few years ago and knocking her teeth out, I can see where the issues stem from). However, she did great on the xc climb, she started to relax and things were looking promising for the way back down.

I wanted them to get the full Canadian experience, so we stopped off at a small little cabin on the side of the tracks, got the fire roaring and stuck some smokies in it.

On the way back down, Mum instantly became nervous, as she started picking up speed she panicked, not knowing a better solution, she forced herself to crash. She ripped off her skis in a huff and quickly had to start chasing after them as the bombed perfectly down the hill, even making the turn ahead.

We found a solution for Mum…

… She took her skis for a walk back to the car, and couldn’t have been happier.

I was sad to see my parents go home, but a couple of days after they left I started my job.

End of Part ONE

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My top 5 international riding spots

Thinking about it it’s actually pretty hard picking my top 5 riding spots, I’ve been fortunate enough to ride all over the UK, with killer spots in Shropshire, Wales, The Lakes, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand.. I could write a book of hot spots, but here is the short list:
Eastridge: Shrewsbury, England.
How can I not love my back garden, literally stepping out of my front door and into some of the most technical and raw terrained trails in the UK, however amazing an adventure I’ve had somewhere, I always love coming home.
Hopton: Shropshire, England.
This is where my first ever downhill race was, and the tracks are insanely fun, now with a full cross-country loop, where you can link in the downhill tracks, it would be rude not to.
Sunshine Coast: Canada.
I’ve been lucky enough to be guided around by the Coastal Crew boys, and not only do they have a sick bike park (Coast Gravity Park), they know all the hidden gems too, turning a logging road into the fastest playground I’ve ever ridden, riding flat out hopping over fallen trees and through Canada’s great Cedar.
Coronet Peak: Queenstown, New Zealand.
I’ve spent 3 summers in New Zealand and each year I explore the country finding a new favourite place.. But Coronet Peak still holds the ultimate trophy. With the QT crew constantly adding new tracks it’s only getting better, trails deaking off from every angle and being able to descend on some of the funnest tracks you’ll ever ride for a solid 30 minutes.
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Seven Summits: Red Mountain, Rossland, British Columbia, Canada.
35km of pure single track, taking you across Canada’s Alpine through 7 Mountains, and not one fire-road in sight! The climbs are beautiful, exciting, challenging, and then you get to the descents.. You earn every single rad descent. I feel like a kid again. The entire ride is exciting with constant stunning views of Canada, greeted by chipmunks, whilst warning off any bears; there’s also a continuous supply of wooden cabins, welcoming you in with a log fire and matches, take some sausages or cheese sarnies in foil and you’ve got yourself one epic Back-Country feast.