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Inside the Industry

With Kelsey Timpany, Pivot Athlete

From Athlete to Marketing – My Journey with Pivot

My journey with Pivot Cycles has been nothing short of transformative. As a professional mountain biker, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of the sport, and through it all, Pivot has been a steadfast partner. When I first started out in 2020, I was a fresh, keen bean rider. Little did I know, my path would twist and turn into something far beyond just riding a bike. Learning the ins and outs of being a sponsored athlete, I quickly realized the importance of marketing myself and my skillset beyond the bike. This unexpected lesson laid the foundation for a professional career I never anticipated. 

Pivotal Moments: Silver Linings Within Injuries

Injuries are inevitable in any athletic career, and I’ve had my fair share. They say everything happens for a reason, and I found this to be true after a particularly rough patch. I broke my collarbone for the second time in six months and fractured my T1 3 and 4. My math wasn’t mathing, and it was time for a shake-up. 

Side-lined with my injury and missing out on another Crankworx event, I was deep in the throes of injury-induced depression. Questions about my worth as an athlete and my career path loomed large. Enter Crankworx. A friend in production needed a marketing assistant to run Instagram stories for Crankworx Summer Series in Queenstown, New Zealand. With nothing better to do and a need to stay involved, I jumped at the chance. Little did I know, those three days on an iPhone would be the catalyst for my current career – and this was just a year ago! 

Back then, capturing and posting stories wasn't a typical role in event marketing.

Familiar with the athletes and the sport, I approached posting on the Crankworx platform as I would on my own, creating engaging stories that helped the audience connect with the athletes on a deeper level. This role took me to Rotorua, then Cairns, Innsbruck, and the grand finale in Whistler. Each event was a phenomenal learning experience, opening my eyes to a world beyond competing. At every World Tour stop, I added new skills to my toolset, ultimately leading to my role as Marketing Lead for Crankworx Rotorua’s 10-year anniversary. 

The best part? This didn’t feel like work! I was still riding my bike, partaking in film projects that resonated with me, staying in the mountain bike scene, and competing. I felt like I had cracked the code to a fulfilling career. 

Full Circle moment: Women’s Slopestyle

One of the most satisfying and full-circle was being a part of the organising committee for the first ever Diamond Level Women’s Slopestyle event at Crankworx Rotorua. In 2020, a core group of us Queenstown females were tight knit, pushing boundaries and given a platform with Mons Royale Future Ground. I was incredibly lucky to be part of this group, alongside riders like Robin Goomes, who won the first-ever Women’s Slopestyle event, Louise Ferguson, one of the first women to ride RedBull Hardline in Tasmania, Jess Blewitt, now a RedBull athlete, Emma Olofesson, a top female mountain bike influencer, and more! 

Back then, we were fresh faced, and ready to shoot for the moon. Looking back now, it’s incredible to see the different routes we’ve taken – me, a global marketer, Robin, a world Champ, and so on. It all stemmed from mountain biking in New Zealand, united by our passion for the sport. 

Key Learnings: From Outsider to Insider

Every athlete needs to spend a day in the office of an events company. Before being thrown into the Crankworx fire, I had no idea what went on behind the scenes. The seamless race days we athletes enjoy involve a massive coordination effort. For example, a half-hour schedule change at Crankworx can involve 30 people across numerous time zones, at least 50 back and forth communications before a decision is reached. This process, all for a half hour schedule change for the betterment of an athletes experience – the number one stakeholder, always! It is most definitely a new found appreciation for the professionals involved on the other side of the tape – hats off.   

Realizing this made me appreciate the behind-the-scenes efforts much more. The next time you feel frustrated by a lack of communication, think of the chain of command and the domino effect of even the smallest decisions. This awareness makes us more considerate, compassionate, and well-rounded individuals. 

The Future: Racing, Storytelling, Working and FUN!

Looking ahead, it’s all systems go. I’ve never been more excited about my career and the opportunities that lie ahead in the world of marketing and racing. If I’ve learned one thing from this experience, it’s that I’m a storyteller, a fun-time haver, and can apply all my learnings as an athlete into a career.  

Riding is first and foremost will always be number one, but as we get older, it is not always the most feasible option. How we can pivot and adapt to a new way of life and riding is the most important part. The mountain biking community has so many stories that deserve to be told, and therefore I feel I will always have a job that holds value to all.  

My journey with Pivot has been a remarkable adventure filled with highs, lows, and everything in between. From racing and recovering from injuries to capturing the essence of the sport through storytelling, every experience has shaped me into the athlete and marketer I am today. The future is exciting, filled with exploring, creating, and most importantly, having fun on my bikes. If this four year journey has highlighted anything, it’s that mountain biking is more than just a sport—it’s a way of life, and I’m so stoked that it’s now a sustainable career!