Stepping up: Queenstown mountain biker Louise Ferguson at Crankworx pump track event last year


Queenstown mountain biker Louise Ferguson’s taking her riding to the next level,
quitting her job as a tiler to ride full-time.

Ferguson, sponsored by ilabb, recently landed a deal with Nukeproof bikes which will take her to competitions and events in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Canada this year.

‘‘[The deal] is a first, I’ve had bike sponsors before, but this one is helping me get  through the season,’’ she says.

It came from recognition of her performance in the Crankworx Summer Series last year,
where she won the downhill and Super D events.

Ferguson left for her first event in Utah on Saturday, the week-long Red Bull Formation.

That’s an all-women’s freeride event comprising 12 invited international athletes,  including Kiwi riders, fellow Queenstowner Vinny Armstrong and Robin Goomes.

Ferguson says athletes ‘‘build a line on the mountain, and then you ride it at the end’’.

‘‘You can create whatever you want, so you can have something really steep and technical or you can have something with loads of big jumps, and a lot of air time.’’

From there, Ferguson, originally from Fort William, flies to Scotland to visit family and try to qualify for her first World Cup.

‘‘I’m really excited, it’s gonna be really busy,’’ she says.

She’ll then head to Europe to compete in Austria’s Crankworx round and a few other races, then to Canada and back to NZ for Crankworx Rotorua.

Despite her big moves this year, Ferguson’s hesitant to say she’s ‘officially’ gone pro, but says she’s well on the way.

‘‘This is my first, like, foray into being a professional and I’m gonna try and be as professional as possible and see how it goes,’’ she says.

Ferguson plans to return to Queenstown in September.

‘‘The local [bike] scene here is just so supportive,’’ she says.

‘‘I feel like everyone who does well in mountain biking in NZ is basically just because of their environment and also their determination and drive.’’