Monday morning, I woke up with a little hangover. I had just finished the NZ Enduro, my first race of the season, and the New Zealand wine was flowing at the after-race dinner. I dragged my sore body out of bed, washed my bike, and packed up the car. As I drove across the mountainous countryside, and as my hangover subsided, all I could think about was Queenstown. I had visited the area seven years ago with my mom, aunt, and cousin, just after my father passed away. I didn’t have a bike with me that time and always dreamed about going back. I felt like it should be my next destination on my tour of New Zealand.
My boyfriend, Danny, who I hadn’t seen in months since he’s also a pro racer, was flying in to meet me on Monday night. We didn’t really have a plan, but we didn’t really need one—rest, relax, and actually get to hang out with each other. When I picked him up from the airport, we officially decided to continue south.
We arrived into Queenstown without a place to stay, and as we drove through town we noticed many of the hotels said “No Vacancy.” Hmmm… Maybe we should have looked into housing before we left for our journey. After hours of searching the internet at a local coffee shop, we found a small cabin on a dairy farm a few miles out of town. It was a quiet, relaxing place for us to rest up after all the racing and traveling. Danny was coming down with a cold and needed time to relax and recuperate.
A couple of my fellow EWS racers, Anita and Caroline Gherig, were in town and within a few hours, I was meeting up with them for shuttle rides on Coronet Peak. As we approached the top of the mountain we found small bits of snow, and I was glad to have spare gloves and a jacket with me. I did my best to hang on behind the Gherig sisters as they ripped down the steep terrain.
Over the next few days I rode in the bike park trying to get in as many laps as my arms could physically handle to get tuned up for the Enduro World Series. The bike park in Queenstown was amazing and I wished I had more time to take advantage of the secret trails. I guess there is always next year, right?
Danny finally felt good enough for a ride on the final day and I showed him around Coronet Peak. I had a couple good crashes as I tried to show him how to ride a few steep sections. Luckily, just head over handlebars slo-mo crashes and no injuries. We laughed uncontrollably as we rode back to our cabin through beautiful wineries and sheep farms. The next day we were flying to Auckland and driving up to Rotorua for the first round of the EWS. Our mini rest vacation was finished and I was ready to see what the courses of the EWS had in store for us.