November 30, 2023


You are Your Only Limit

“I Gambled Anything to Come Right here”—Tracing Robin Goomes’ Extraordinary Career Trajectory

6 min read

A year ago, Robin Goomes was at a crossroads. With 5 yrs of support in the New Zealand Army as a weighty machinery operator, she needed to make a decision regardless of whether to progress her army career or make a significant wager on herself to crack into the international freeride scene. Even while she’d under no circumstances competed exterior of New Zealand, she rolled the dice. 

“I basically gambled almost everything to appear listed here (Formation 2021). Last year, I put all of my discounts into touring and using bikes,” Goomes, 25, claimed on Tuesday early morning as the wind whipped atop a ridgeline close to Virgin, Utah, where by she was packing dust on to a step-up that would established her up to drop into her total line at Formation, an invite-only, weeklong large-mountain session created to elevate the best women’s freeride expertise in the planet. 

In Might 2021, Goomes flew to Utah, her very first-ever trip to the U.S., to be an alternate and a digger for Vaea Verbeeck at this celebration. A few months previously, she’d drawn notice for throwing a backflip at Future Ground, a similar women’s freeride progression session in New Zealand arranged by Mons Royale. With Formation on deck, the Mons Royale folks attained out to Formation founder Katie Holden to make sure Goomes was on her radar. Holden prolonged a very last-minute invitation. 

It is all smiles about Robin Goomes and her dig crew, which includes Juju Milay (still left) and Kelsey Timpany, as they condition dirt and rocks in the Utah desert on Tuesday.

“They put a bug in my ear,” Holden said. “Not just that she’s so good, also that she actually lifts all people all-around her, that she’s genuinely collaborative and wants to press [freeride] ahead for absolutely everyone. 

“She arrived out, equally her and Haz (Harriet Burbidge-Smith). I feel like they equally took so a great deal financial threat. They set all their eggs in one basket, and said, ‘This is our option to just commit.’ They have been in this article, then they went to Europe following and were just like, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ They each worked so tricky at Development past 12 months, then their full summer months was just unbelievable. It is so wild.” 


Goomes (left) and Louise Ferguson, a further Development first-time athlete, get ready for a probably career-transforming 7 days.

Following Formation, Goomes scored a wild card invitation to Crankworx Speed & Fashion in Innsbruck, Austria, where she became the to start with lady to land a backflip in competitiveness, then went on to be element of the 1st group of women to be invited to Audi Nines, wherever she gained Women’s Ruler of the Week and Very best Trick for throwing a backflip-can. Her momentum carried into this calendar year, when she was amid the initially females invited to Darkfest in South Africa, then manufactured history when she hit the significant 90-footer as she soared by way of one of the greatest soar traces in the globe. Sponsorships followed—and she went from possessing domestic assist by means of Mons Royale and the distributor Huge Open NZ in 2021 to a whole world wide program, supported by Yeti Cycles, Suntour, 5 10, Enve, Goodyear and POC.  

It’s all really surreal for Goomes, who’s only been driving mountain bikes for 5 several years, and just around a year ago, regarded herself a weekend warrior balancing a complete-time, superior-determination career with outings to Rotorua to race DH. 

“It feels genuinely rapid. Naturally it’s taken a extensive time to get my using to in this article. I did not just sit on the sofa then finished up listed here. That element took a extensive time and that was not difficult due to the fact that was just me acquiring enjoyable performing what I really like. But the last 12 months feels like yesterday, it’s absent so damn speedy. It’s unbelievable. I just highway-tripped down in this article with Casey (Brown) and all those ladies. I’m sitting in a vehicle with Martha (Gill) and Haz and Casey, I’m like, ‘How did I even get listed here with these crazy chicks?’ It’s nonetheless so unbelievable. I excursion out on it every single working day really, but right here we are.”

Not terrible for a kid from the Chatham Islands, a tiny archipelago 800 kilometers off the east coastline of New Zealand, that just acquired cell cellphone reception very last year. There, Goomes grew up riding filth bikes and dabbled in BMX. Even then, she gravitated toward a looser fashion of driving. 

“I raced BMX but truly just liked the jumps. I was at the BMX track seeking to do tips, trying to do a 360 out of a berm as an alternative of striving to go quickly. I guess I was just usually far more fascinated in the air time than likely speedy,” she said.

The last year feels like yesterday, it is gone so damn brief. It’s unbelievable. I just street-tripped down here with Casey (Brown) and all all those girls. I’m sitting in a car with Martha (Gill) and Haz and Casey, I’m like, ‘How did I even get listed here with these crazy chicks?’

Goomes moved to the mainland for significant university and entered the Military when she graduated. All around that time, she uncovered mountain bikes—a mash-up amongst the dust bikes she’d liked as a kid and BMX bikes. It did not consider her lengthy to get hooked. She started off moving into races and promptly racked up a handful of to start with places: Crankworx Air DH in 2019 and 2020, Crankworx DH in 2020, Gravity Enduro Sequence in 2020. But she hadn’t shaken that familiar pull to master and throw tips. 

“I thought I had to be a racer if I wanted to journey bikes so I was racing DH and enduro in New Zealand, and that is what I signed up to do a pair EWS races very last year. Upcoming Ground variety of designed me go, ‘Oh, freeride’s a detail.’ It was there, but it did not feel obtainable for ladies. Potential Floor did one thing awesome, then Formation was occurring. Even then, whilst that was happening, I was like, ‘I really do not know how to get to Formation. I’m not great more than enough. I do not know what the system is to get from right here to there.’ It appeared as well significantly absent. I was just heading to go race and stuff, ideally get some recognition from racing to do freeride. 

“It feels like anyone feels the identical when they commence. I never know how you just turn into a freerider. I was just carrying out it at household. I was just a bike rider and I liked executing tricks and discovering that kind of things. I guess I was accomplishing it before I genuinely comprehended what it was.” 

When Formation rolled close to this 12 months, there was no problem in Holden’s thoughts that Goomes comprehended what it was, and must level up from digger and alternate to a single of the 12 headlining athletes. 

“I’m psyched to see what she does below,” Holden mentioned, standing underneath the iconic Utah cliffs, wherever Goomes and her crew were being etching in her line. “With her type, it’s possibly so she can trick stuff in the center of the operate. It feels like it’s actively playing to her strengths in that way. She’s clearly an crazy complex rider much too, but I consider Robin brings the progressive tricks, so her probable route tends to make it so she can throw people mid-operate.”

There is of system chat of Goomes backflipping this weekend through closing operates swirling around the venue, but on Tuesday, the next of a few Formation dig days, she was participating in it conservative.  

“I have not carried out significantly driving in the dez. I didn’t want to overdo it. I desired to produce one thing that was heading to be enjoyable and anything that would be terrifying the initial time, but following that, you can get comfortable, you can start off steezing it. I want it to search pleasurable, be exciting, I don’t want to be passengering down this calendar year. I wanted to produce something that would be a great time.” 

1 issue for certain—she’s thrilled to be back in the put that began it all. 

“It’s great to [dig] for an individual else and be listed here and get the working experience, but then this yr it’s like there’s so much more reward in it. You’re generating a thing that you’ve visualized and it’s what you want to journey, and fits you. You just really enjoy the full approach since you know at the stop of the day you are heading to get to rip down this matter.” 

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