‘Tough as’ just as she likes it

Moun­tain­biker hits Ital­ian alps

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

Erin Greene could be de­scribed as a pint­sized masochist.

The three times New Zealand 24-hour moun­tain­bike cham­pion likes her races as tough as she can find. That was why she re­cently com­peted in the Ital­ian Iron­bike – an eight day staged race in the Alps over some 700km, in­clud­ing 22km of climb­ing.

‘‘It sounded like it was my kind of race. It was the hard­est I could find. I’m a bit silly like that,’’ the tiny Coro­net Peak ski pa­troller said.

‘‘Any­thing more than six hours and I feel like I’m a bit more in my el­e­ment.’’

The an­nual event at­tracts about 100 en­trants but only half sur­vive the course. Un­til this year only one fe­male was an of­fi­cial finisher.

With the goal in mind of fin­ish­ing, she raced for up to 11 hours a day, wear­ing the leader’s jersey for the first half but ul­ti­mately fin­ish­ing sec­ond of the three women com­pet­ing.

The win­ner, she points out, was there with a support crew, which def­i­nitely would have helped.

‘‘They are long days and then you have to get your bike washed and fix it, pitch a tent and stand in a queue for a shower.’’

This after days of rid­ing be­tween 65km and 140km with a mas­sive amount of climb­ing – one day in­cluded a 4500m climb – that is 2.5 times higher than the Re­mark­ables.

While she loved the up­hills the des­cents were less en­joy­able – rang­ing from rocks to mel­low four­wheel-drive tracks re­quir­ing lit­tle of the skill she hoped to use and not as much fun as a rugged moun­tain­bike trail.

She did not come home empty handed, hav­ing won a few bot­tles of Ital­ian wine and eaten more pasta than she imag­ined pos­si­ble.

Greene is hope­ful that hav­ing part­ner Tom Lamb with her when she con­tests the 24-hour-world cham­pion ti­tle in Scot­land on Oc­to­ber 11 will help. Although they com­pletely pay their own way – her only spon­sor­ship is prod­uct from En­dura, de­spite be­ing a three time na­tional cham­pion.

Two pre­vi­ous shots at the world ti­tle have seen her fin­ish fifth but at 31 she is now mov­ing into the age where many long dis­tance rid­ers ex­cel.

From there she will be look­ing for the next one.

‘‘There’s so many races out there and I still feel like I’m search­ing for the per­fect one.’’

Photo: DEB­BIE JAMIESON/FAIR­FAX NZ 629826489

On pa­trol: En­durance moun­tain biker Erin Greene at her day job as a ski pa­troller at Coro­net Peak.

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