Mountain biking: Greene building up to world champs

Erin Greene will compete at a world champs for the third time. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Erin Greene will compete at a world champs for the third time. Photo: Gerard O'Brien

Short, cold days; long, cold nights - winter conditions in Queenstown are perfect for mountain biker Erin Greene (32).

Greene is training for the world solo 24-hour mountain bike championships in Scotland on October 11, when she expects temperatures and daylight hours will not be much higher or longer than they are in Queenstown now.

It will be her third time at a world champs. Both times previously she finished fifth.

Greene told the Otago Daily Times this week she expected the Scottish course would be about 13km-18km long and the race would have ''quite a few hours of darkness and was probably going to be quite wet''.

The race is being held at Fort William, at the foot of Ben Nevis.

Greene said the hardest time during a 24-hour race was in the early hours of the morning.

''The first bit of night is kind of exciting and then after midnight you are still kind of all right and then you really start to struggle.

''From 3am til 6am is pretty hard.''

It helped to have a good support crew, good nutrition and other riders to chase, and the cold meant she ''just did not want to stop''.

Originally from Dunedin, Greene trains 12-15 hours a week around her day job as a ski patroller at Coronet Peak.

''On days off I get out for a longer ride but after work it's either a run, or go to the gym, or on the trainer at home, or ride up the top of Skyline.''

Part of her preparations for the world championships will include an eight-hour race in Invercargill on June 21.

Then on July 26 she will compete in the eight-day Iron Bike event at Piedmont, Italy, over a distance of 700km. It features

22km of climbing.

Greene won the New Zealand 24-hour race at Rotorua at Anzac Weekend for her second time. When she first won the event, in 2013, she beat the whole field - men and women.

Greene said she did multi-day adventure races when she was younger but she preferred mountain biking and 24-hour events in particular because she was ''pretty good at going and going''.

In 2009, she was hit by a car in Dunedin,

suffering a cracked pelvis and broken hip and could not cycle for four months. However, she said the injury did not bother her now ''unless I do something crazy''.

The other New Zealand woman competing at the world champs is Kim Hurst, of Wellington, who finished second in the event last year. Greene said they had had ''some good battles'' and she had beaten Hurst at one New Zealand event.

Greene said she had always been told competitors in long-distance events peaked in their mid-30s.

''There are definitely people who are still competitive at the world champs who are late 30s, if not early 40s.''

The current world champion is Australian Jess Douglas, whom Green beat in an eight-day event in Mongolia last year.

''She was fourth and I was third, so that was pretty cool.''

Greene is coached by Val Burke, of Wanaka, and despite being a two-time New Zealand champion, she and her Scottish partner, Tom Lamb, will pay their own way to Scotland.

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