Endurance to the max
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
HAVING only recently moved to town, mountain biker Justine Leahy has taken no time to put her name up in lights around the Coffs Coast.
On the weekend, the development control officer with the Rural Fire Services competed on her own for the first time in a 24 hour endurance race when she tackled the Scott Mountain Bike Championships in Canberra.
Far from being overawed during her first solo stint after three efforts in a team, Leahy was one of the elite riders among the field of over 2400 when she claimed second place finishing behind German rider and race favourite Alexandra Kiendl from Melbourne.
Leahy actually formed a part of Kiendl's success by allowing the eventual winner to share her support crew throughout the event.
Completing 19 laps of the challenging Mt Stromlo circuit which has just been re-opened after being ravaged by bushfires, the former Bendigo resident admitted that the move north helped her preparations for the event.
"There are some good training areas at Pine Creek where the national marathon championships were held," she said.
"It's a mountain biker rider's paradise here."
It may be a paradise in Coffs Harbour but the freezing conditions in Canberra during the night made life difficult for all competitors with Kiendl admitting that she was wearing everything that she owned to stay warm throughout this period.
Overcoming such conditions is all the more reason for Coffs Coast residents to quickly claim this rider as a local.