On these pages, you will get to know a little about our family and what it means to us to pursue a life that has meaning, depth, and living out the commitment to always aim to make the most out of every day.
Mike grew up on the West Coast of New Zealand's North Island in Taranaki where he could climb a mountain in the morning and surf later that afternoon. He came to the States to run for Western State University in Gunnison, Colorado in 1998. After college, he ran professionally for Nike for ten years, competing in two Olympics Games in Sydney and Athens. After his track career, he switched gears and competed in longer and longer trail races running for Mizuno. When he had his fill of racing and running professionally, he fell in love with mountain biking and still loves to run and adventure every chance he gets. He started his own carpentry business and came to be known around our mountain community as the hard-working Kiwi who can make anything from a custom kitchen or a remodeled modern bathroom to a treehouse with a zipline. After a busy season putting in some long hours, he is ready to take a break and hit the road for a while, and enjoy some downtime with the family.
I am Christy Aish- the narrator of our story. I grew up in South Florida and was the first in my family to leave the flatlands after a summer camp experience in North Carolina. I went to college in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and fell deeper in love with the mountain lifestyle by the year. Always a nomad at heart, I studied abroad in Ireland and then decided I needed to move further West in the US to see what was out there. I moved to Colorado in 1999 and started my career working with at-risk children and families. I have since worked as a therapist with children and adults in many different settings from hospitals to schools and private practice. I plan to continue a small mobile practice from the road as long as possible. I took up running when I moved to Colorado and went from running my first marathon in 2003 to check off a bucket list item to running well over 50 marathons and dozens of ultra running races. Although I have been running for 20 years now, since meeting Mike in 2017, I learned through his coaching and his belief in me, that I can do more than I ever dreamt possible and have since been able to accomplish some big goals. Fun fact, Mike and I met as I was looking for training to run my second 100-mile race in Leadville. I had run it once before in 2011 ten months after my son was born (a very bad idea!) and barely finished. It took a lot of years and forgetting about that pain before I decided to toe the line again with a lot more fitness and experience in 2017. Mike agreed to coach me for this race and after 14 years of running long distances, I finally learned what it meant to really train for a race and work hard to go after big goals. This was a huge turning point in my unpaid and unnoticed running "career" and I took 7 hours off of my time and finished 3rd for women and 16th overall that year. The confidence I gained from that one long day in the mountains led to my ability to dream bigger and I ran my first sub-3-hour marathon less than four months later. I spent the next two years training hard to try to qualify for the Olympic Trials. While I never reached that goal, I learned so much from the experience of going all in and believing that big things can and do happen. This awakening has changed my life for the good and most certainly shapes how we live our lives as a family and ultimately has contributed to our willingness to undertake this next adventure together. To date, I still enjoy competing in road and trail races when the time allows and have some more adventures and races on the horizon. Last summer it became clear that there was no choice but to join the mountain bike craze in my family if I wanted to keep up on adventures and I look forward to some epic adventures with the family this summer.
Connor is 10 years old and is a kid filled with curiosity, excitement, and a love for adventure. He is a natural athlete and loves almost any sport that involves running, jumping, and competing. He has played non-competitive soccer with friends since he was five years old and has dabbled in the other elementary kid sports; basketball and baseball etc. However, his love for the bike is unparalleled and it has been incredible to watch him grow in this passion. While he learned to ride a bike at a very young age when Mike joined our family, Connor's interest and skill level took off and he has grown more in love with jumping at bike parks, racing downhill terrain parks, and playing on his dirt jumper at skate parks. He's also a super bright kid who sometimes is too smart for his own good.
Reese is our little artist who at age 7 and a half is possibly the funniest member of our family. She is sweet and feisty, dramatic and sensitive, and loves being with her family more than anything. While she can rip along well on her mountain bike, she is more drawn to the arts and currently dances hip hop, and is enjoying learning to play the drums. She also loves anything to do with water and is not so patiently waiting until she can surf every day when we move to New Zealand.
Goose the Blue Dog joined our family at 6 weeks old over the Christmas Holiday. He is five months old now and like any good Blue Heeler, has an excessive amount of energy and loyalty. We're pretty sure he found that perfect family for his energy level and zest for life.
So this us... Mike and I met in 2017, married and became a family of four in 2018, bought our mountain home in 2019, survived and thrived as a family in 2020 during a World Pandemic, and are now setting sail on an adventure that promises to make us laugh, will likely stretch our patience, and most certainly will teach us more than we could ever learn sitting back on the sidelines. Follow along as we live in our tiny house on wheels for six months before embarking on the next chapter of our lives; a move 7000 miles away to live near Mike's family in Taranaki, New Zealand for 15 months where we will continue to seek out the good life. Join us for some funny stories, trip reports, and life lessons that might inspire.
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