Here’s the latest from Hope ambassader Jamie Nicoll…
My five months away from New Zealand started with a journey to a new northern land for 4 long days riding under heavy packs in the Alaskan mountains, being watched by bears and moose, riding through wilderness, campfires and tents, repeated day after day with four hardy adventuring souls.
After some weeks in the French Alps, planning, researching and riding plus a wee 6 day Trans Provence race, it was time for late night Italian dinners in my beloved and ancient Finale Ligure on the Mediterranean coast, with the biggest bunch of international wedding goers – pro athletes and good Kiwi mates all creating the biggest group of hard n fast riders I’ve ever seen. Followed two days later with chasing alpine cheese history in Switzerland’s Valais Alps. This encompassed the longest night lying on a thin wooden floor just above a big ringing bell of a mothering cow, all after a wee 2000 meters of climbing over only 18 km in 10 hours. This 6 day trip was not for the faint hearted, within the group there were many hidden tears of frustration on the edges of dry, red, salty faces. This was big mountain country and steep rocky high passed where we shouldered bikes for sometimes hour on end…
Not even a week later photographer Gary and I were in the Arctic Circle of Finland pursuing dreams of northern lights and in-frequented trails, getting half frozen in horizontal snow storms and sheltering on rainy nights in log cabins with the comfort of hot open fires burning and tea brewed in wooden mugs. And now as the leaves turn to gold and orange, I look to the south and know it’s time to return home. Yes maybe I am a little tired, but boy I am full of the great times this world and my bike give me!
My thanks to the North. Jamie