Category Archives: Adventure

Touring Italia!

The food coma started to set in… Only 10km from Pienza. We crawled into the small yet lively town. As our bikes bounced over the cobblestone streets, the atmosphere was lively. It was Saturday afternoon and the bustling markets were still thriving. The smorgasbord of Italian delights had overwhelmed us from our lunch stop. We preceded to find a shady spot under some trees and passed out next to our bikes.

Italy Touring route
Taking the back roads through Italy

After seeing some of Croatia 4 years ago, cycle touring through her neighbor Italy, has been a dream for some time. Every tour is a chance to experience and meet the locals and landscape while enjoying the food grown from their land. That extra meal and snack can always be justified when clocking up the kilometers each day! Hollie and I rode around 500km from near Bologna to the outskirts of Rome. 

On tour. The best kind of way.
On tour. The best kind of way.

What we didn’t have when starting out each day we picked up from local shops and markets. Food tastes better when it’s bought from the grower and the owners of shops – especially when asked for in another language. Yes, we mastered a few phrases! An instant level of rapport and connection was made when we used Italian to get what we wanted. Of course using your hands added to the experience!

Streets filled with history and delicious
Streets filled with history and delicious

An unexpected and favorite place we stopped for lunch one day was Grieve. Seriously the best Gnocchi and Ravioli ever tasted! A beautiful balance of flavor and texture washed down with some vino. Responsible amounts of wine, of course were essential so that balance wasn’t compromised. An Italian breakfast consisted of an espresso and cometto (Italian croissant). A fairly rich start to the day but a delicious one at that. “Keep right!” sounded strange at first but important nonetheless as we pulled out onto the roads after lunch with full bellies.

Transporting the essentials
Transporting the essentials

We continued along some incredibly beautiful countryside enjoying the smaller things that often made the difference. I remember clearly these moments, for example a smile and wave from a farmers tending their crops or a curious group of kids checking out the bikes and we had a few interesting looks! The chance of them meeting two Kiwi’s on tour was probably small, plus Hollie did look pretty good in Lycra. Sometimes it probably looked like an Icebreaker commercial as we peddled our way South. We decided to ride as far as Orte and catch the speedy train into the heart of Rome.

Transition points can be challenging
Transition points can be challenging

Rome was huge. It was not even peak season, however we got a good taste of the city as a whole including seeing the museums, art galleries, exhibitions, the Pope and local relics. Sometimes good old fashion people-watching was all the entertainment we needed as we ate lunch on the Spanish Steps. The shopping was pretty good! I resisted the urge to buy a leather fanny-pack and opted for the leather jacket and Italian suit instead. In the back of our minds we visualised how much space we had left in our luggage and how realistic it was wearing it all on the plane to save space!

We had the fortune of acquiring a crevice between a wall and an elevator at the base of an apartment building. It was perfect for stashing out boxed bikes while Hollie and I escaped the city for a few days and checked out the Almalfi coast. Air B&B was useful to find affordable accommodation in just the right location. Once we arrived on the coast we settled into a B&B and hired a scooter which was AWESOME! We clocked up over 100km exploring the narrow roads which lined the stunning coast. Colorful houses checkered the cliffs above small beaches

More art history than you could shake a stick at.
More art history than you could shake a stick at.

It’s incredible what two passionate adventurers can pull off! I challenge you, the reader to choose a bike for part of their trip next time instead of the bus or car. You might surprise yourself how much more full-filling your holiday experience could be. Stay tuned for the video… If you have any questions on cycling and touring, just ask. If you’d like to sponsor our next one, then that’s great too!

Cycling the West Coast

After a surprisingly sunny 50km ride from Fox to Bruce bay we stop for a substantial snack. Broni has driven ahead to prepare one of her infamous road-side buffets which bring smiles to the faces of hungry cyclists.

As I reach for a Tim Tam I hear Betsy, one of the 20 Americans travelling with us scream “Dolphins!” I look down over the beach filled with golden sand and drift wood and spot a pod of Hector Dolphins not far from the shore. I drop my shorts and strip on the spot and scramble down to he beach. As I run half naked towards the water I wonder if anyone is following me. Bounding into the surf, I confirm with myself that those dorsal fins are attached to friendly creatures with small teeth. Splashing around like an idiot making the sounds of a snork about 20 dolphins swim with me!

Continue reading Cycling the West Coast

A NZ Freeride Story Ep. 1

This will be a great story to follow as a great shred buddy of mine Colin Boyd prepares for the World Freeride Tour. Check out his summary of the NZ season while he trains at Treble Cone & Cardrona during the 2013 season here in NZ. Documented in style by Lachlan Humphreys, they paint a unique picture their journey together.

Treble Cone Banked Slalom

A celebration of friends, snowboarding and enjoying the mountains… The Treble Cone Banked Slalom was once again a day to look forward to. Athletes from all over the world including Bulgaria, Canada and France competed in the most infamous banked slalom in New Zealand.
Rob Fagan managed fastest male and Carle Brenneman fastest female. My second run put me in second place overall just a second and a half behind the Olympic Athlete Rob Fagan himself. As he came 5th in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in Boarder Cross, I felt pretty good with my efforts!
A nice early way to celebrate turning 31 which happens to be today!
Thanks to Carl at Neversummer & Candygrind for the continued support to myself and the other team riders. Without his support, events like these would never run. Events like these help remind us how awesome the sport can be, as it is as much a gathering of friends as it is a competition.
Here is a really cool edit made from the day from the guys down at Colab Wanaka.
And to finish the day… An epic wake surfing session with Mark, Colin, Lachlan, Rosie, Sofia and friends!
Official video

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Peak 2 Peak

A much anticipated event to link the two ski mountains in Queenstown took place over the weekend…

Individuals and teams of two to five people race by ski/ snowboard, mountain bike, kayak, foot and road bike from the top of the Remarkables Ski Area to Coronet Peak. Team RISKY BISCUITS entered during the last week of registration with an select few semi-pro athletes from Wanaka & Hawea. With the help of an amazing support crew we had an amazing time racing.

The courses encompasses snow covered mountains, steep gravelled and tarmac ski field access roads, State Highways and tarmac rural roads, public reserve, public walking / cycling tracks, and Lakes Wakatipu and Hayes.

The Race
Stage 1: Ski/Board 2km – Colin Boyd
High on the Remarkables Ski Area. A mass start – run down to skis. Actual start determined by snow cover

Stage 2: Mtn Bike 17km – Richie Johnston
Down Remarkables road to Frankton Beach

Stage 3: Paddle 7km – Bob McLachlan
Frankton Beach to Queenstown Bay

Stage 4: Run 9km – Emily Wilson
From Queenstown Beach, through town and out to Coronet Alpine Hotel

Stage 5: Bike 9km – Mark Williams
From Coronet Alpine Hotel to the finish at the Coronet Peak Ski Area base

Approximately 73 teams entered. We came 4th over all – even with a mixed-team which we were quite proud about! We won the mixed teams category which was awesome. A fantastic result that kept us buzzed well into the evening. A huge Thanks goes out to parents, friends and the fun excited supporters along the way that kept the day run smoothly. Looking forward to next year already!

Photo: GPS Results of the DH Bike ride:

GPS results from my leg
GPS results from my leg

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Treble Cone Opening Day

We were fortunate to enjoy some of the best opening conditions in ten years. Treble Cone put on a great day with lines stretching as far as the Motatapu Shutes. Enjoy the video below made by Jase at Basket Productions.

Treble Cone Opening Day.

Bike B.C.

“Pay Attention” I tell myself as I set off down a narrow path riding two wheels in the woods. I’m following a group of locals who know the twists and turns well, which inspires the growing confidence in me. These locals have become good friends of mine during my season in Whistler which has made my season even more special. What better way to finish a Winter by spending most days exploring the immense trail network in the Whistler Valley area. Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and even some Vancouver trails kept me entertained during the last weeks I spent in Canada.

Below are some of the photos I snapped along the way including maps of the area using my Garmin cycle GPS.

British Columbia has plenty of trails to keep a keen biker entertained. I was fortunate to get a taste of what the area can offer. Returning to B.C in the future is definitely an option and these days spent in the forest with friends has only inspired me to enjoy a Summer… Soon.

Squamish

Squamish
Squamish

Squamish2
Squamish2

Squamish1

Pemberton

Pemberton Crew
Pemberton Crew

Pemberton Map
Pemberton Map

Whislter
Whistler valley

LostlakeMap

Vancouver

UBC Loop
UBC Loop

Lost Lake, Whistler
Lost Lake, Whistler
Endless fun
Endless fun

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Now that I have returned to NZ the biking is still near the top of my priorities. Old and new trails while exploring with friends continue to get me stoked. This weekend some friends and I will drive North and fly into the Heaphy Track with the bikes! Watch this space…

The 16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom

Racing back to Whislter in a rental car from Squamish I do the math in my head. Will we be able to pick everyone up in time and make it out to Big White before ‘Check In’? It’s a beautiful Spring day which makes for great road-trips and we certainly did as 7 of us squeezed our boards, boots, bodies and bags and took off down the Kokahala Highway.

An epic weekend filled with excellent snow, friendly company and a competition which is like no other. This is my 3rd season participating in this event and I can honestly say it was my most favorite weekend of the season. As I won the Mens’ 25-34 category last season it was only appropriate that I step up to the PRO division and compete with the big boys. World Cup racers and Olympic level athletes strap in beside me as I prepare myself for one of two runs down a rutted, fogged in & hair raising course. Day one went very well as I placed 3rd however a crash on a berm day 2 lowered my place to 8th overall. Martin Juare and JP Fok landed themselves with a podium! 270 keen snowboarders and snowskaters of all ages and abilities participated in what is believed to be one of the most respected banked slaloms in the world.

Many thanks goes to Flynn Seddon and his event staff along with Big White for hosting another fine event. The sponsors were proud to be part of the event and were yet again generous with their schwag and prizes. Of course there is a huge thank you to the special group of friends I had the pleasure of traveling, living and riding with over the weekend… Let us aim to make this event bigger and better for the Whistler Crew next season!

16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

Whistler Blackcomb I.C.E. Awards

“Become ‘one’ with the sled…” I hear the assistant say to me as she sets my duct-tape-covered sled free. The ice 2 inches from my chin seems a lot harder and colder from this perspective… Within seconds I reach 99.5km/h down the Olympic track feeling up to 4G here in Whistler setting the fastest time and speed for the day. Memories of the Bob Sled experience a year ago flood back to me and I try to forget about the crash that happened on the same track a year earlier.

It was an honor to be selected as a winner of the 2013 Whistler Blackcomb I.C.E Awards. 3,500 employees are eligible and yesterday 16 of us were treated to a day filled with surprise and gratitude. Two weeks ago I was nominated by a couple of my supervisors as being I.C.E worthy. Inspiring Continued Excellence sum up the Core Values of WB and are an important part of the companies outstanding reputation. Mum happened to still be in town so the night was even more special with her there.

Russ Wood, one of my supervisors shared some kind words and stories. An unexpected surprise and a humbling time for me to be recognised this way. This award really is a reflection of the environment I am fortunate to work and play in. My colleagues become friends and it is awesome to be surrounded by many inspiring people here in the mountains. This way of life here allows us to freely let our passion for the outdoors excel us in many ways. It certainly is a privilege to be here.

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