Rider de­ter­mined to be top

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

Queen­stown moun­tain bike rider Alanna Columb has fin­ished her first World Cup sea­son in­jured but en­cour­aged. Fol­low­ing on from her first New Zealand ti­tle, af­ter win­ning the four-round New Zealand Cup down­hill se­ries ear­lier this year, the 25-year-old for­mer mo­tocross rider has spent the last few months in Europe com­pet­ing in the Euro­pean and World Cups. Of the six world cup events she reg­is­tered for five and qual­i­fied for four fin­ish­ing 25th over­all, fol­low­ing 19th, 13th and 14th plac­ings. In Nor­way, in the sec­ond to last race, she crashed dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing crack­ing an el­bow and open­ing her ham­string, re­quir­ing two stitches. She con­tin­ued on and was placed four­teenth. Dur­ing qual­i­fiers in Aus­tria shortly af­ter­wards the ham­string in­jury re-opened so she passed on her prac­tice round and launched straight into qual­i­fiers, miss­ing out on a place by two spots. Be­fore her in­juries she also had a sec­ond, third, fifth and two sixth plac­ings in the Euro­pean Cup. ‘‘I was sit­ting on third go­ing into the fi­nal round of the Euro­pean champs but couldn’t make it be­cause of my in­juries. I still think I ended up fifth.’’ Speak­ing from her

base

in Ger­many she said she was not dis­ap­pointed with how the sea­son went. ‘‘It’s not too bad. It’s just made me hun­grier and more de­ter­mined for the re­sults I want next year. It’s been a big learn­ing curve.’’ She has been en­joy­ing a break and some sight­see­ing in a Tran­sit camper in­clud­ing spend­ing time at the Mo­tocross Des Moines in France, where she had hoped to be sup­port­ing brother Scott, who missed out on in­clu­sion in the New Zealand team af­ter surgery. How­ever, she will be re­turn­ing to Queen­stown later this month where she will re­turn to work in the fam­ily com­pany Off Road Adventures and be­gin the hard work build­ing up to next year’s World Cup which be­gins in April and the na­tion­als, start­ing in Jan­uary. Train­ing and fundrais­ing will be top of the agenda. While many of her ri­vals are pro­fes­sional rid­ers Columb is un­sup­ported mean­ing she is work­ing on her own bike and meet­ing her own costs. ‘‘As soon as I get home I need to net­work. I didn’t re­ally come into this pre­pared. I had no idea what was in­volved,’’ she said. She would also be spend­ing as much time as pos­si­ble get­ting into shape. ‘‘To com­pete at this level with th­ese girls, which is where I want to be next year, their fit­ness is re­ally what makes them such good rid­ers.’’

Cel­e­brate: A high­light of the sea­son for Queen­stown moun­tain­biker Alanna Columb in Europe – cel­e­brat­ing third place in a Euro­pean cup event along­side world num­ber one Rachel Ather­ton (first) and world num­ber four Miriam Ni­cole.

Photo: sup­plied

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