Monk steps up for silver fern action
24 June 2015
Amanda Monk will compete at the New Zealand at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in September. Photo Troy Baker
AMANDA Monk swapped reins for handlebars and it paid off.
The 25-year-old was announced last week as part of the New Zealand at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in September.
Previously an equestrian rider, Monk sold her horses four years ago to take up mountain biking and will represent her country in the downhill event.
Originally from Kawerau, the former Trident High School student said her rise to national representation started casually.
“My partner asked if I wanted to come out for a mountainbike ride. I laughed at him.
“I thought it would be really awkward because I didn’t like mountain biking.
“We went to the Redwoods and I really loved it and I was quite a natural.
“I had good balance from riding horses. It started there and my partner bought my first bike.
“It was something we could do together so it worked well. I thought maybe just the odd little fun club race.”
Monk said she was looking forward to representing her country but did not describe herself as a competitive person.
“I just enjoy riding my bike, winning is a bonus. But I guess I will get more competitive.”
The downhill discipline is a non-Olympic sport and sends riders down a course that includes jumps obstacles and steep sections, all in under five minutes.
“You have to be fit for, even though you are going downhill, you are sprinting. It is a different type of strength to the cross- country races.
“Once I got confident on the medium level track I went and tried the national track.
“I was told that the first time you do a track you have to ride it three times, one after the other.
“I was lifting my bike and walking everywhere, but by the third time I had most of it sorted.
“I still have a lot to learn. I never rode bikes as a kid really so I had to learn a lot of bike basics.”
Monk will compete in a world cup event in Italy prior to the world champs in Andorra.
“It is amazing to be able to represent New Zealand.
“There are not many girls that do downhill in New Zealand.
“I have to get over my nerves. Those girls I am up against have a good 10 years on what I have in race experience.
“My nerves still get to me, it takes about half the track to get it sorted.
“I was like that with horses as well. But the more I do it the better I am getting. I talk to myself a lot.
“I raced against most of them at Cranworx in March. They are real good, but they are human like the rest of us
Also competing in Andorra in the New Zealand team is Kawerau’s Matt Walker, competing in the men’s downhill section while Whakatane’s Karen Hanlen will compete in the cross-country event.
Source: Whakatane Beacon