A champion Queenstown-born downhill mountain bike racer is training in the resort after a stellar 2012.
Canada-based Casey Brown – competing in the Queenstown Bike Festival’s Super D Enduro and DirtMasters Downhill – won the Canadian women’s downhill championships, the Canadian Open and came fourth for a podium finish in just her second World Cup race, in Norway.
The 22-year-old – whose aunt is local musician Nikki Lindsay – was born in Queenstown and raised in South Westland and Central Otago.
At the age of 11 she moved to Canada with her parents and took up mountain biking at 14.
Brown says she was inspired into a riding career when training in Queenstown two years ago with the world-ranked Atherton siblings, Dan, Gee and Rachel.
“Last year was the first year I started training properly and going to the gym.”
Brown believes her gym work, by increasing her strength, has been pivotal to her success.
This year she plans on racing the full World Cup circuit.
While podium finishes are important, she says striving for the perfect run is her priority.
“For me, if you do a half-arsed race run and you come first, it doesn’t mean as much as doing an awesome run and coming sixth or seventh.”
Like most downhill riders, Brown has suffered some horrific injuries.
Two years ago she was in intensive care after splitting her liver as well as breaking two ribs. A year earlier she broke her pelvis.
Undaunted, she says she likes the pressure the sport puts her under: “It’s good life training ’cos a lot of the stuff you learn is not just for racing.”
In Queenstown till next month, Brown says she’s following a strict training programme including downhill and gym work as well as cross-country which she says is good for her cardio.