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New Zealand top cyclist Kirstie James rides the Timber Trail

Official website, approved by DOC and Waitomo District Council

Kirstie James is a Kiwi track cyclist with an Olympic Dream. SHE RODE THE TIMBER TRAIL AND TALKS ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE...

I’m Kirstie Klingenberg (née James) and I am a professional cyclist. I ride for the New Zealand national team on the track and for an American team on the road called The Meteor / Intelligentsia. Growing up I tried many different sports and then stuck with rowing for a few years before changing to cycling about 5 years ago. I absolutely love the sport and really enjoy the many different codes and events it has to offer. 

I live in Cambridge with my husband who also enjoys cycling recreationally alongside his full-time job and at the moment we are renovating our house which is a new challenge for both of us. 
Otherwise I’m studying on the side a Master of Science in Psychology and doing my thesis on Athletes with Endometriosis. 



How did you find out about the Timber Trail?   And why did you choose to ride it?

Some of my friends rode this trail a few years ago and I volunteered to drop a car for them at the end of the trail and ride my road bike back up to the start on the road to pick up their car. Little did I know the road ride was gradually uphill the whole way, and I said to myself, next time I’m going to go down this hill on a MTB not up it! They highly recommend the ride and so I couldn’t wait to give it a go. 
I asked my coach about the ride and he had done it and loved it too so we tried to find a time that it would work with my training program. We decided May would be a good time as I was just coming back from a break after a busy track season with Worlds and the Commonwealth Games right after each other. 


What was your highlight on the Trail?

The whole ride was a huge highlight for me. Both my husband and I had never really been MTB before so it was a totally new experience. The swing bridges in particular were such a great way to see an amazing view of the nature all around us. Seeing that kind of beautiful, untouched and pristine scenery makes me so proud to be a kiwi and so happy to call New Zealand home. 
My husband loved the fast down hill sections and (being an engineer) thought the tunnel was pretty neat too. 
I kept saying to my husband ‘this is so epic’, ‘why haven’t I ever done this before’. I really enjoyed it so much and can’t wait to have another go at it sometime in my next off-season. It was a good balance of challenging and enjoyable. 


4. What are some tips you have for others to maximise their enjoyment on the timber Trail?

Use the shuttle service, it save a lot of time and the driver gave us really good tips about the trail specifics. Be prepared with lots of snacks and warm gear and some basic tools just in case, bring a camera. Plan for extra time to stop and take in all the scenery. Make sure your bike is well serviced and safe and if not make use of the hire bikes. 


5. Whats next?

Right now I’m training a lot on the road preparing for the road cycling season in the Northern Hemisphere. I head away to race on the road for a few months overseas before coming home and starting the track season. This season we are going to the Track World Cups in Paris, Milton and also one right here in Cambridge which is a great event to come and watch. The season for us ends in Poland at the Track World Champs. 


Want to follow her?  Check out her social media handles below:





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Great Rides App


Specifically designed for New Zealand's Great Rides this app is used by mountain bikers, runners and walkers. It aims to provide location tracking to find amenities, attractions and local information while riding the trail. Once downloaded, the trail information is fully available offline.

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