Rider determined to be top
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
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.