Mountain biking star back in NZ

  • 25/12/2013

You might not recognise the name Kelly McGarry, but there's a good chance you've seen his work.

The Queenstown-based mountain biker's back flip over a 22-metre canyon in Utah has attracted more than 15 million hits on YouTube.

He's now back home for the Kiwi summer.

The view from McGarry's Queenstown house couldn't suit him any better – the surrounding hills practically beg him to jump on his bike.

As an eight-year pro, the 31-year-old has a few in his garage to choose from.

"I have five bikes that I ride throughout the year – one for every different application," he says.

Originally from Nelson, this year McGarry became famous around the mountain biking world for his back flip. It was a back flip over a 22-metre canyon that no one else would dare at freeride mountain biking's premier event, Redbull Rampage in Utah.

"I knew it was in my capabilities, so I just had to stay calm and remember I had a lot of time up there, not to spin the flip too fast, and it worked out really good."

It earned him second place and the People's Choice Award, and in two months it has had more than 15 million hits on YouTube.

"It's pretty awesome for a mountain bike video for sure. [I'm] pretty happy and it's been pretty good for my career and everything has been going cool."

That kind of following's important in a sport where exposing your sponsors' names is a major part of earning a living.

From May each year, McGarry spends six months in the Northern Hemisphere on the freeride world tour, where athletes are scored on big tricks, creativity and technical proficiency. Put crudely, it requires balls.

"A few people have said that, but I've just been doing it for a lot of years. I've started small and worked up to big, so that's the way it works."

His love of adrenaline hasn't died in 15 years in the sport, even after a couple of broken legs and three broken collarbones. 

"I like scaring myself a little. But you know the whole scene's really cool and there's a lot of cool people involved, and I've made some really great friends from riding bikes."

Some call it living on the edge, but in McGarry's case it's living off it.

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source: newshub archive