You know those people that just seem to have it all?
Yeah. That’s our mate Katie.
Talented athlete. Super brainy. Ridiculously artistic. Funny as hell. And then just to cap it all off, she has one of those smiles that can light up a whole room. Of course, she would never describe herself that way, but that’s just fine. Because it stands to reason that a person with all those qualities would be humble to boot. Which makes it all the more fun that she doesn’t get to write this. We do.
Our founder, Debs, got to know Katie back in the days when they were both involved with bicycles and the intense, high-stakes pressure cooker that is elite sport. Back then, Debs was cutting her teeth in the world of data analytics (quite handy when you later decide to start your own business… but that’s another story) and Katie was fighting tooth and nail to make selection for the 2016 Olympic Games. Like any high achiever, Katie sets her bar very, very high, and despite all her incredible achievements as an athlete, missing the cut for the 2016 Olympic Games team was a tough pill to swallow.
Life can throw some pretty rotten things in your path, and our mate Katie has faced more than her fair share of those.
Katie started her sporting career in Athletics, quite literally sprinting her way up the ranks until her knees starting complaining that they just weren’t that keen on hammering along the ground at the break neck pace she was capable of. How do you still go fast but reduce the impact load on your knees? You ride a bike. Next minute, Katie was racing around on bicycles instead and it quickly became apparent she was also very, very fast on a bike. Ergo finding herself selected to race for New Zealand at the 2012 Track Cycling World Championships. Along with a few other gutsy women, Katie put Sprint Cycling back on the agenda for New Zealand Cycling as they chased Olympic qualification. But sometimes life can be as cruel as it is kind, and despite pursuing her Olympic dream with all she had, it wasn’t to be.
You know that old age that you can achieve your dreams if you want it enough?
Yeah. We don’t subscribe to that.
Sometimes life just doesn’t give you what you wish for. Sometimes it throws a sucker punch at you that you never wished for at all. Sometimes you don’t get what you want. That’s just life. Don’t get me wrong though. Life doesn’t just sucker punch you to the ground and then leave you there. Seems to me, that if you take a deep breath, life will go right ahead and give you a hand up from the dirt too. Although the next step might not be in the direction you had originally hoped for.
And that’s the thing about Katie. She got back up. Despite all the disappointment. Despite getting so damn close. She just didn’t stay down. She dusted herself off and found her next step forward. And these days you’ll find her elbow deep in research literature as she works to attain her PhD, using her experience and heartbreak as an athlete to support and encourage female athletes in the future. Which we think is a pretty darn exceptional Plan B. You’ll also find her doodling. You know, like drawing amazing little pieces of artwork on anything she can find and then selling them, because they are that good. You can find Katie's RAD doodles here and you can purchase T-shirts & Hoodies with her epic designs here.
Or you’ll find her out in the forest, riding her bicycle for FUN. Just for the sheer joy of getting away from it all, getting out amongst nature.
And we love that.
Our Towelies are all named after people that inspire us in some way. And anyone who can be knocked by setback after setback and still has the gumption to get back up, shake of the dust and keep pushing on? Oh yes. We are ALL about that.
Favourite Towelie? The Katie of course (chuckles at herself)… seeing as it was assigned to me, I’m rep’ping it hard! But I do love the colours too.
What gets you stoked? Doing something that you love. I am a total nerd at heart, so spreadsheets and research actually excite me. Seriously. As in, someone asked me what I was up to for the weekend recently, and no word of I lie, I shyly told them that I just couldn’t wait to get stuck into my data!! (cue more laughter)
The adventure you still talk about: I went hiking with my friend Char (Char Towel Poncho story to come!) up Mt Pirongia recently. Her boyfriend had told us it would take us 2 hours to get to the top, so from that point on we started looking for the summit. Two and a half hours in and we were still walking. It ended up taking us three hours and forty minutes to get to the summit. And we still had to get back. We had only packed enough food and water for a four hour hike, but all up it took us closer to 7hrs! We had to charge it back, and it is certainly funnier in hindsight, but it was a good lesson not to take route times from a 6”4 tall mountain goat…(yep, we are looking at you Cam).
The adventure on my bucket list: To live in Spain! For some reason I have always wanted to go there, be immersed in the culture and learn Spanish.
I typically use my Towel Poncho : all the time! Whenever I go mountain biking, when I go to the gym, when I go paddleboarding, and when I go the beach. Of course.
I am inspired by: My late dad (bless him); what light is fire and what he has taught me, which of was anyone you meet will have something to teach you. So, I find inspiration in any new person I come in contact with. Their ideas, their views on life, their passions, goals or ambitions. It’s funny, as once I was embarrassed by my dad talking to strangers, but now I find myself doing this! People have amazing stories so I’m inspired by all sorts!
I am fizzing about: Becoming an Aunty for the first time! I have a new niece and she is absolutely gorgeous. And because I am a nerd, I am fizzing about my research too, about getting into the next phase of it and getting the next academic paper published.
The sustainable initiative I am all about is: reducing my use of plastics. I am using reusable bags and reusable containers. I also am cautious of food waste so I use everything I can – I eat the cores of most fruits and how good is a whole feijoa (weird?). I’m using Eco friendly cleaning products. I took my Keepcup on the plane the other day. That got a few strange looks. But why not? Might seem a bit pointless, but it’s something right?
My favourite place to play is: Outdoors on a nice day, and anywhere close to water. And actually, being inside on a nice day too – I love finding a sunny spot and then getting lost in drawing, doodling and being creative.