Bring on Beijing

Hi from a very hot and humid Beijing. This is just to let you know that I'm blogging during Games time here. Check it out sometime.

Almost a Year

I've almost been with the NZOC for a year! Time has flown. And thus the lack of updates to this blog. That, and because I'm no longer racing there's not so much to write about but here's a brief update...

Firstly - highlights of 2007. Yes I know it’s well into 2008 now but during our new year celebrations a friend asked what were your highlights of 2007 and my first thought was what a fantastic year. My top three moments were...

Helping the Wellington Womens Hockey team win the National Hockey League and in doing so win Wellington Team of the Year;
Getting an amazing job at the New Zealand Olympic Committee; and
Running the Great Wall of China Marathon.

I'm loving my job which still seems pretty new.... I'm still learning lots and forming new relationships. I'm fortunate that I have some great Masters to learn from in Dave Currie and Tony Pops - we have an awesome team. Work is definitely not work. Things have been ramping up for awhile now with some long hours at the office. We head to Beijing in less than 2 weeks.

I finished two papers at University last year but had to pull the pin on the Mandarin with the new job. Bit of a shame really but I'm really glad that I started and would one day like to pick it up again. I'm coaching 4 women mountain bikers, continue to run the Capitelles women's group and I'm back on the PNP Club Committee so there's still plenty of involvement with cycling. I resigned from the Board of the YWCA as I didn't have enough time to make a difference in the organisation and I'm still doing the odd speaking engagement.

The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants sponsored my Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in 2006 and wrote an article about my build up to the Commonwealth Games. It was fantastic to have their support so that I could continue developing myself professionally and retain my membership and qualification while also continue to compete. They wanted to do a follow up now that I've retired which you can read here. It focuses on my role as Team Manager of the Wellington Women's Hockey Team and my Marathon on the Great Wall of China.

With little time spent on the bike I was out for other adventures. 4 of us decided to run/walk the Southern Crossing - 25km or 10 hours from Otaki to Kaitoke. 2 started at Kaitoke and 2 of us started from Otaki, met in the middle and exchanged car keys. It was hellishly windy so we were literally crawling along the tops hanging onto the tussock. I can laugh now about how many times we were blown over.... but at the time, it was pretty scary! Here are some pics from the Southern Crossing

My first time at the Wellington Rugby 7's was an absolute blast. We were the Evanjandalists!

I did my first rogaine with Paul Chaplow and Barryn Westfield as team itchy & scratchy in February. The Eastbourne Rogaine was a unique "any 12 hours in 18." We started at 7pm and were doing pretty well in the first 6 hours planning on only being out there for 8 hours then coming back in for a nap before finishing it off in the morning. Our plan which would gain us maximum bonus points never came to fruition, instead we lost 250 points by being 24 minutes late and only just missed disqualification! Anyway, it was quite an experience being my longest race ever and thanks to the guys for letting me tag along and for putting up with me!

Later in February five of us headed away to China for my first, but the Planning group's, 3rd and final site visit. China was looking good - infrastructure well in place and Olympic Villages almost complete. It's so important to meet face to face with our Chinese liaisons, to plan our team space in the Village, to arrange our team function and understand what other issues we may face at Games time. We spent 10 days visiting Hong Kong (Equestrian Village), Qingdao (Sailing Village) and Beijing and the hospitality was fantastic. We were extremely well fed - which wasn't good for the waistline!!!

At the end of our site visit I headed off on my own to Xian to see the amazing Terracotta Warriors and in search of some down time on Mt Hua. Mt Hua or Huashan is famous for its egregious granite cliffs, thousands of years old. The area consists of five peaks which look like five petals of a flower. East Peak is 2,090 meters high and is also called Facing Sun Peak because the top of the peak is the best place to watch the sunrise. I stayed overnight in the grottiest accommodation just to see this amazing sunrise. It was well worth it. West Peak is 2,086.6 meters high and is the peak formed by a huge rock, hence it's very steep. South Peak at 2,160.5 meters is always considered to be the head of the peaks also houses the temple for God of Mt. Huashan. North Peak, which was called Clouds Stand by ancient people, looks like a flat platform in the clouds. The peak is the smallest at a mere 1,614 meters. The final peak is Middle Peak. In the past, many emperors came to pray and sacrifice to the god of Mt. Huashan. Mt. Huashan is also a holy mountain of Taoism. It is said that Lao Zi (Lao Tzu), the founder and patriarch of Taoism, once lived and gave sermons here. Now, many Taoism temples are also located on Mr. Huashan. Here are my Mt Hua photo's

On ANZAC weekend we took the mountain bikes and headed to Roto-Vegas for the NZ Single Speed Championships. Well, I conveniently left my SS at home and took my geared bike as I knew my fitness wasn't up to the race and I purposely didn't enter the race (entries closed a week before).

But low and behold I turned up and Tama from Vorb sussed out a bikeand sorted me an entry.
SSing is sooooooh much fun. I love it. The freedom of no gears, the smoothness, the quietness, the simpleness, the pain of the climbs, the physicality of it - you can't be lazy. Big ups to Graeme Simpson for lending me his primo bike. Here I am with fellow Scott riders Kat Lawton and Jim Murray.

In May Matt Chisholm & Close Up did an article on my job with the NZOC and returning "home" to China... I talk about my ancestry and how special it is for me to go to China. It's amazing that from about 3 hours of filming over in the Wairarapa we get 4 minute air time. Here's the blurb and a link to the video.

Olympian returning home
The Olympics kick off in August with thousands of athletes converging on Beijing to test themselves on the world stage. For most it is the biggest event of their lives. For little known former Olympian mountain biker Robyn Wong these games have huge significance despite retiring from competition two years ago. Working for the New Zealand Olympic Committee she is not only responsible for getting our team to Beijing and creating an environment for it to win, but she is also going home - back to the country her ancestors left for a better life more than 100 years ago.

Robyn Wong will also be instrumental in getting some others to Beijing as well. She is on the panel which decides which athletes get to bring two family members or friends along with them. Johnson & Johnson is stumping up the prize and you can take part as well by nominating the team members you think deserve having a little support in China with them. You could also win a little something for yourself.

Close Up Story, TV One, Wednesday May 28, 2008
Click on "Going home with the Olympics" under Related Video

We've since selected the families that won the J&J packages and it will be aired on Close Up this week.

The Wellington Sports Awards were held in May and thanks to Accor I was thrilled to be there to see our Hockey Girls win the Team of the Year award. Suze, as always, spoke very well and I was very proud of our team.

"The Wellington Women’s hockey team produced one of the great turnarounds in New Zealand hockey in 2007. After narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon in the 2006 National League competition they came back to take the gold medal last year after their 4-0 win against North Harbour in the final. The team, under the guidance of coach Chris Leslie , only recorded one loss in the whole 2007 season."

It was Olympic Day on June 24. I felt privileged to speak to the Olympians Club in Christchurch which was very inspiring for me. 40 Olympians from 1964 through to 2006 gathered to celebrate the founding day in 1894 when Pierre de Coubetin re-established the Olympic Games.

Well with the chilly weather that hit the country this weekend it sure has been an ideal weekend to catch some sport on Sky - AB's had a great win over South Africa in the Tri Nations, the Wimbledon finals continue tonight and Valverde took out Stage 1 of the Tour de France. And it's now only 32 days until the Games begin!

I will be blogging during the Games - you'll be able to follow these here. There'll be some great read on the Team Blogs so check them out.

Until then, take care, stay warm and Bring on Beijing.