Road Trip 1 Morzine, France – Val di Sole Italy

After picking up Gladys we only had a short time for pleasantries with her before packing up all our gear and heading out of Morzine on our first big trip away from “home”.  Val di Sole was our destination a solid 600km away and as Gladys wasn’t the fastest girl on the road we envisioned this trip taking quite some time, however what we didn’t know was that the crafty old girl had a wee surprise sitting under the bonnet for us in the form of a Turbocharger.  All of a sudden, slow Gladys was now not-so-slow Gladys and she ate up the miles with ease,  after filling her stomach with 70 litres of boost juice we were on fire and looking to set a world record 600km time trial for the commercial vehicle category.

Big waterfall, the water doesnt actually appear to hit the ground as a stream but rather as vapour.

Despite Gladys’s penchant for speed we still managed to spend a bit of time taking in the amazing scenery including Mont-Blanc and the infamous tunnel that crosses it’s caverns (pretty boring to be honest, 70km speed limit). Almost all of the vistas we passed were incredibly beautiful and most of them make New Zealand look like a pancake.  Once clear of the alps the roads straightened up about as quickly as the speed limit which was now sitting at a number that would have any speed camera in NZ licking it’s lips in excitement. That said, hooning along at 130km mile after mile made Gladys a little bit excited and she started drinking quite a lot so to keep her in check 105-115km was the chosen speed and off into the sunset we cruised. While we may have been pottering along, there were some people who certainly weren’t and to see multiple Porches and Audi’s cruising past at 160-180+km is a pretty  cool experience.

Loooong way up there.
Gladys laughed off the Mont Blanc tunnel.
There really are a lot of big mountains here!


A lightning storm welcomed us into the Italian alps, not a bad light show but nothing that Gladys couldn’t handle as we ploughed on into Trento after about 8 hours on the road with 2 F1 style pit stops that any team would have been proud of. A bit of street cruising later we found a quiet street in the middle of town and parked up for our first night’s sleep in Gladys’s arms. After my airbed deflated faster than a silicone implant and I spent the rest of the night trying (and failing) to make bed slat’s feel less like a cattle stop than what my back was telling me, we awoke to an old school town that looked like it hid our breakfast somewhere within its many winding alleyways and side streets.

Tower in the centre of town, be a good house for a house party!

A quick stop at the tourist information and a local bakery revealed two things, 1.) Italian Pizza bread is many steps above NZ Pizza bread and is classed as fine dining after eating Pate sandwiches and Bananas for 550km. 2.) Castles seem to be pretty much the only tourist attraction in the entire continent.  Not to worry though because we had some time to kill so we went and had a look at one of the local monuments built to honour a local hero who was killed in the second world war, pretty impressive but I was more stoked on catching a lizard on the walk up (Cue Steve Irwin joke).

Statue in the middle of town, don’t mention the war….
Guess they don’t want anyone getting too close to this thing….

After running a 10 second quarter mile out of Trento it was only a short 50km jaunt up to our current location in Val di Sole, we arrived and wandered over to the bottom of the track and met up with a couple of the other kiwi’s who are racing over here on the big  factory teams, pretty impressive setup’s to say the least, I will try and get a couple of photos tomorrow after walking the track to show you just how much money goes into a sport like this.  Caio!


Got Wheels??

Europe is a big place, like REALLY big, so big in fact that public transport (let alone biking) from race to race is not an option and so we need wheels, BIG wheels. With 2 bikes and a big gear bag  each, your little Econovan just isnt going to cut the mustard, we need proper transport!

So, without further ado here is Glady’s the Transit Van!

The van! Ford Transit

We were extremely lucky to have this magnificent piece of engineering loaned to us by  friends in Morzine at no cost for the entire season!!! A massive thank you to Jason and Aime for helping us out! this has made our lives soooo much easier!


She comes equipped with a bunk bed sleeping arrangement and under-bed storage, she also has a bike rack in the back half and enough room up the front for 3 people to sit comfortably. An Ezi-up and tarp are also included.

Plenty of room in here for bikes and people!

Australian Adventures “Gidday maaaaate”

In my last post I talked about all the help I have been given by my sponsors and in this one I’ll talk about how I managed to come up with the rest of the money that I needed for this trip as I have still had to do a lot of hard graft to get into my current position.

You see for the last 7 weeks I have not been calling Wellington home, instead I have been living and working in a little country town in South-Eastern Queensland, Australia  called Kilcoy. There isn’t a lot to do in Kilcoy other than work and session the local skate park so the time has flown by and the money has flown in . Some of you may wonder what work there is in Kilcoy if it is such a rural little town?  Well In 2010 I replied to an internet advertisement on a Kiwi Mountain Biking website and was lucky enough to be accepted for a job in Patagonia, Chile digging mountain bike trails for a company called NZ Trail solutions.  This turned out to be an amazing 3 month long experience and for once I returned home with more money than I went away with.  Between the money saving and riding on average 2 1/2 hours a day to and from work it was the ideal job for a bike bum, and as it was so effective I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to email Jeff at NZ Trail again in February this year to see if he had any contracts that might suit my needs. A couple of emails later and lo and behold the job placement in Kilcoy popped up for the time leading into Europe departure. So I packed my bags and jumped on a plane to Brisbane completely unaware of the epic adventures and experiences that would occur over the next seven weeks.

View from the top of the property, one of the highest points around

As I sat in Brisbane airport typing this I couldn’t believe that I was actually alive let alone in one piece,  I don’t quite know where to start with some of the stories but highlights would be fulfilling a childhood dream of catching a wild snake in the bush Steve Irwin style (without the pesky stingray).  Unfortunately for my life preservation chances (which I don’t think exist anymore), I didn’t just stop at one and proceeded to catch a total of 4 snakes over my time in Kilcoy, 3 of which are on the “Highly Venomous” list, luckily I escaped with no bites or missing limbs and in all honesty will probably attempt to catch several more in the future because the adrenaline rush/satisfaction is amazing! however these encounters were just minor incidents compared to what happened on my fourth week of digging.

Me with a red bellied black snake, note the scratch on my nose from falling out of a tree.

On one fine Monday afternoon at about 1.40pm , I was busy building a little drop off on my section of trail and decided that I really wanted this particular rock for a support pillar. I knew it was heavy and took extra care in lifting it up to a comfortable height and started over to where I wanted to place the rock. I got halfway to the drop off point when my left foot slipped on a rock and gave way, this forced me to try and heave the rock off the side of the track before I fell over. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough and only succeeded in dropping the rock onto the end of my pick axe, this then catapulted the mattock end (wide steel end)  up and it hit my head with some serious pace.

While not the offending tool, Terrance the spade knows about the dangers of trailbuilding hence the “saftey tags” .

I stumbled briefly as the impact left me very dizzy, but regained my composure enough to let my crew-mate know I was alright, I then felt a warm running sensation moving down my head and put my hand up to see what it was. When my hand came back down covered in blood I knew things were not good and walked up to the smoko tent and sat down for a bit while one of my crew-mates attended to it as best he could. I then got up and the two of us walked 20 minutes back down to the onsite caravan to have a proper look at the wound. What we found was a gash about 2 ½ inches long, an inch wide and straight down to my skull for the entire length of the cut. It was a bit weird seeing my skull popping out like that.  We jumped into one of the guy’s cars and wandered on down to the hospital only to be told that if I wanted stitches there and then it would cost me $60 Australian but if I waited until 5pm I could get them done for free. Now I do like to think that I am a pretty tough dude (Read: probably just a wimp) but I was quite surprised at how little the whole ordeal hurt so instead of paying I went home for a few hours and relaxed before going under the knife. We arrived back at the hospital at 5.30pm and after a lengthy wait the doctor came over  to check out the wound “oohh yea, that looks tasty, guess we’ll get the big needle for this one”.  One BIG needle later and I couldn’t really talk properly anymore and my head was being sewn back together like a ripped soft toy, 10 minutes later and I was looking like Frankenstein 2.0 and feeling not much better,  however after a week of looking like a mummy the stitches came out and the cut has since healed up perfectly and I now look fairly normal again.

My head after the “Incident”, choice as!
My head post hospital. Looking a little bit like Frankenstein!

However it has not been all snake bites and head bashing here, I have had an amazing time, I meet some awesome people, got into more mischief than I ever thought,  learnt some new skills, smashed myself into the ground training for the upcoming season and had more than one lucky escape.  I will be putting up a couple of photos of my trip up on here and will also put a Facebook link up from my user gallery so if you like you can see all the other  stuff we got up whilst living out in the middle of nowhere!

Facebook link to Auzzie pictures:


As I am sure you are all aware, travelling halfway around the world to race for 4 months requires a fair chunk of investment and this year I have been lucky enough to have some great people helping me out,  I have been extremely grateful to receive some serious monetary funding from John Foord  international. This has had a deciding hand in actually making the trip possible and I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Greg and Graham so I would like to extend a massive thank you to both of them.

I have also had a massive boost from Darryn Henderson who is the team manager of my New Zealand based race team Monster Energy Specialized to the tune of a top of the line Downhill race bike which I am currently riding. For the last 2 years Darryn has been funding and running the “Monster Team” and his continued support has been invaluable so a massive thanks to you Darryn for supporting/continuing to support me.

Also I could not have planned/paid for this trip without a massive help from my Mum and Dad who have been instrumental in keeping me and my bikes up and going through the endless breakages (both bike and human) that are inevitable in this sport.  These 3 sponsors have provided me with the necessary funds that are required to make such a trip and as such I am extremely thankful and grateful.

If you have the time please check out the websites/facebook pages of Specialized Bikes, John Foord and Monster Energy Dh.


John Foord:

Monster Energy:

Specialized Bikes:

Introduction to Europe

With my Departure date looming large in front of me the last 8 days have been nothing short of a colourful blur as I have tried to organize myself for this epic adventure. Packages appearing, bikes arriving, people visiting and organizing last minute funds were all a part of my daily life and it seemed as if the mountain would just get bigger and bigger . However (through sheer chance or plain dumb luck I’ll never know) everything  somehow managed to fall into place and before I knew it I was winging my way over here to my current location of Morzine. I will write a detailed post of the trip and my first few days here once I get a more reliable internet connection (currently outside under a big shelter sponging off someone else) but in short, both my bikes and I made it to Europe and have survived our first day on the hill and are looking forward to our first race in 3 days time at Val Di Sole in Italy.

Here is a photo from a mission I did yesterday up the hill on my Cross country bike:

View from 2/3rds of the way up the hill, not a bad view!

Hello world!

Hi there,

2012 National series Round 5, Wellington, 5th place Pro-Elite

Seeing as this is my first ever blog post you are probably all wondering who I am and why I have decided to begin an “online diary”, so here is a snippet to give you a glimpse at the person behind these ramblings. My name Is Bryn Dickerson and I am a 20 year old Elite Downhill Mountain bike Racer from Wellington, New Zealand. I’m starting this blog to help chronicle all the crazy stuff that I get up to on my adventures around the world and hopefully give outsiders an insight into what it is like to literally “Race for my Dinner” as an athlete in my rookie season on the World Cup series.

2012 National series Round 5, Wellington, 5th place Pro-Elite

Being a rookie whilst racing at such a high level can be considered as both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, a rookie can feel the pressure of being amongst the fastest racers in the world and all the hype that surrounds the World Cup circus, this can play heavily on the minds of the inexperienced and forces mistakes out of even the most prepared rookie. But on the other hand however he is a completely unknown quantity, with no previous results, he has no level that he needs to build on, no pre-conceived idea’s of what happens at these events, he is a bright eyed, excited, raring to go racer who just wants to ride his bike down ridiculously steep hills as fast as he can while trying to keep the ship upright. He has no expectations of how he will do and with no eyes glaring down on him he is free from outside pressure and is able to focus solely on his own riding and what needs to be done to try make it big in this highly competitive sport.

The trusty steed, 2011 Specialized Demo 8, National Champs, 3 place Pro-Elite.

The main reason behind this blog is to update my family, friends and sponsors on what I have been doing while I am going to be overseas this year.  As I explained at the start, I am headed over to Europe to race 4 out of the 7 World cup races, this will involve me being away from New Zealand for approximately 4 months, I am going to be visiting 9 countries and will be doing over 12,000km of driving while I am there. I will be accompanied by two of my teammates from my New Zealand based Monster Energy Specialized Race team. Richard Leacock is a fellow pro-elite downhiller who has raced at a few world cups in the past and has good experience at racing at the highest level. Sarah Atkin is a female pro elite downhiller who swept the New Zealand national series this year and is looking to make a name for herself on the world stage and try set up a factory ride for next season.

2012 National Champs, Nelson, 3rd place Pro-Elite

I will endeavour to update this blog as often as possible and will be putting up photos and pictures of my travels as they happen.  I will also upload a couple of video edits that I have had the privilege of being a part of recently to help showcase what I do to people who have never heard of this sport before.