A few words with Conor Macfarlane:
CR: Coming all the way from New Zealand to Whistler every year seems like a big commitment. What draws you to Canada every year?
CM: The search for the endless summer, although the more summers I chase it the more I miss skiing as it was something I really enjoyed growing up. But I figure there are plenty of years left in my life where I won’t have the chance to have endless summers so trying to make the most of it while I can!
CR: Describe the endless Summer
CM: After the NZ summer I do get a bit of Wintery goodness but pretty much when the ski fields open is when I fly out, straight back into the Northern Hemisphere summer. The last few years I have been on the road overseas for about five months a year so when I get back to NZ spring is well and truly in the swing of things so it’s really only from now, until mid-June, that I have to get my fix of wintery conditions.
CR: Most people would say that you’re living the dream. While that may be the case, what type of sacrifice is involved to make this a reality?
CM: The grass is always greener on the other side. For me the biggest thing is living out of a suitcase, or more realistically, a bike box for months at a time and being apart from those I love. I would definitely love to be able to go home between northern hemisphere events, video shoots etc but financially it doesn’t stack up for someone who lives at the bottom of the world. The other big sacrifice is my spare time, while in NZ I work a full time job (Huge shout out to my boss Reon for understanding what I do and giving me whatever time off I need!) to help pay for flying around the world which means that a lot of my weekends and spare time is taken up with digging, filming, photos etc. This is fine as I enjoy filming etc but it can feel like I have a lack of spare time over the NZ summer.
CR: What have been the most challenging and rewarding aspects of pursuing a riding career?
CM: Seeing end products in the form of videos or photos is pretty rewarding especially if you have spend hours on the end of a shovel making a feature. Also having people say you have inspired them or motivated them to do something is pretty cool! The most challenging part of a riding career I believe is dealing with injury and time off the bike. The mental game here is a huge part of it, I had five months off not long ago with scaphoid issues then was only back on the bike two weeks before I snapped my collar bone and required more surgery and more time off the bike. So for me, the biggest challenge is going to be to get my head in the right pace to ride at the same level as I did before as there will be a part of me saying to chill so I don’t get injured again. Over the years I have seen plenty of professional athletes go through this and it is never easy so I reckon that it is one of the most challenging parts of pursuing a riding career, something I am just about to go through but can already see it coming.
CR: What type of advice would you give to those looking to create a lifestyle that revolves around mountain biking?
CM: You just need to make it happen, so many people talk about it but never actually make it a reality. For me moving to Queenstown was the key as it allowed me to walk out my door and within minutes be dirt jumping, trail riding or down hilling. Stop talking about it, get out there and make it happen!
Whistler Mountain Bike Park
*Produced with the support of TELUS