A mountain bike guide, an ER doctor, a bird scientist and a hydrologist – they may have very different careers, but they’ve got one big thing in common; a love of mountain biking.
Led by the intrepid Anka Martin, Enduro World Series racer and mountain bike guide, they set off on a week-long adventure through the epic and mind-blowingly beautiful New Zealand back country that Anka is lucky enough to call home.
So grab a cuppa, meet the adventurers and watch the video. WARNING: this film may make you want to jump on a plane to NZ.
Meet the adventurers
Harriet Harper: ER doctor, downhill racer and all-round shredder
My name is Harriet, and I love to ride bikes! My obsession started around age 4, and I had to steal someone else’s bike to learn on. I started racing at the end of university simply because it was an excuse to ride more. Downhill riding was my first love, but I have also dabbled in XC and Enduro. I am a doctor and I am working towards becoming a specialist in Emergency Medicine- a good career choice for someone who loves challenges and hates getting bored. I have met so many amazing people through biking and I wouldn’t give it up for all the world!
Anja McDonald: Bird Researcher, Multiple NZ SS Champion & long distance maniac
What can I say….
I’m no specialist. I have a few strings to my bow and I have a pretty varied life – both at home and at work, much like my riding. I ride a lot of bikes in a lot of different ways. Epic endurance rides, exploring new landscapes for days on end. High octane cyclocross. Single speeds. Finding my working edge and hoping to hold it all together ’till I reach the bottom. Alone or with friends. A Jack of all trades, master of none. But I like it like that.
Brenda (Bob): Hydrologist, NZ Single Speed Champion & another long distance brevet riding maniac
Also known as Bob, I’m a washed up cross country racer, who enjoys mountain biking for its freedom, exploring and socialising. On the rare occasion I find myself racing again, it’s either single speeding or on my fully at Super Ds and Enduros. To fund my mountain biking habit, I work in rivers and on the mountains as a hydrologist, which also provides a chance to scope new rides out.
Enduro World Series racer, Juliana Bicycles rider, mountain bike guide and all-round adventurer.
“The Juliana trip went down between January 30th – February the 6th in beautiful Nelson, New Zealand and the surrounding areas of the Nelson Tasman district.
We planned a proper backcountry adventure with a few of my friends on our Juliana bikes, starting off with one of the toughest tracks in Nelson (and in my opinion one of the best tracks) Peaking Ridge.
It has a bit of everything, but it’s most famous for being super technical. It’s riddled with roots and they are relentless, very, very steep and RAD. After getting our adrenalin fix, we headed over for something a bit more mellow; the Coppermine loop. It’s a great way to end off a hard days riding, take in the stunning ocean vistas and catch up with your mates.
The following day we headed out to ride the Nydia Track – another stunning area in the Marlborough Sounds area. This place is paradise. You ride alongside the turquoise waters of the Pelorus sounds with the Native forests & mountains surrounding you in every direction you look. In saying that, the track is not easy; it’s another very rooty, very technical track, that can get you going over the bars at any given moment going up or down the track.
Our plan was to ride all day, then sleep over at On the Track Lodge and catch a water taxi back out to Havelock where we left our van the following morning. There is nothing more exciting than riding sick tracks, with your friends, ending the day with beers & delicious food. Perfection.
Once we got back to Havelock and to the van, we started heading back home to Nelson; but we had one more stop to make. One more stop to ride one of my all-time favorite tracks in the world – Wakamarina. It is really out there. NZ backcountry at its best. You work hard for your descents, but it was oh so worth every drop of sweat and hike-a-bike push.
Beautiful, ancient, beech forest, with flowy, fast singletrack trails that seem to never end. Bliss! Exhausted, exhilarated and knackered, we loaded the van one last time to head back to Nelson and back to the real world and our other lives. We were content. Happy, satisfied and loving our lives. This is what life is all about. This is living. These are the memories that you create with your friends & the moments that will keep you going until the next adventure.”
Thank goodness for bikes!
Fancy an adventure like this yourself? Anka and her husband Sven run mountain bike trips in New Zealand with their Ride Housemartin company.