Alanna: ‘I’m still on this earth’

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Today marks a major milestone for former New Zealand mountain bike champ Alanna Columb – it’s one year since her horrific bike crash.

The 30-year-old Queenstowner suffered a severe brain injury after crashing at the Gorge Road Jump Park, not far from her family home.

Placed in an induced coma, she was choppered to Dunedin Hospital.

“Away with the fairies” for about three months, it also took almost that long till her right eye opened after its optic nerve was badly smashed.

One year on, Columb says she’s “a lot closer to the being that I am”.

“I love being fit and active but I’m a long way from being back to that … like 50 per cent.”

Still, she’s back mountain biking “but I’m not exactly pushing it”.

Before her accident she’d got back into motorbikes after pulling the pin on a downhill mountain biking career that included three NZ titles and a best World Cup placing of 10th.

She’s back into motorbikes, too – “my partner is a top enduro rider so it works out quite well”.

As to how she’ll feel on today’s anniversary, she says: “It’s quite emotional but at the same time I’m still on this earth so I’m very happy.”

–PHILIP CHANDLER