Karen Hanlen

Kiwi mum after World Champs

12 Sep 2013
Congratulations Karen on your 22nd place at the World MTB Champs! Could you tell us a little about how your race panned out?
Thank you. I was pretty disappointed with my start as I had a pretty severe crash in my warm up, and a terrible first lap. My race then became focused on getting myself back into a respectable placing, so to finish 22nd was pleasing- however I definitely had my sights set higher.
You finished 8th on the Pietermaritzburg course at the 2012 World Cup. What aspects of the course do you like? What courses tend to suit you best?
I really enjoyed the long uphill climbs combined with the drop offs and log roll off technical sections. I've spent a lot of time improving my skills on rock gardens and find this is no longer a major weakness.
You are a working Mum! How do you find time to compete and perform to such a high level?
I am a physiotherapist and work 3 days a week, which allows me time to train during the week. My husband is extremely supportive and works as a Physical Education teacher at the local high school. Caleb is 6 years and in his 2nd year at primary school, and Aramia is 4 years and she attends a preschool while I'm working and training in the week days. We have both sets of our parents living close by, and they offer a lot of support with babysitting, so our kids are really lucky to have a close relationship with both my parents and Mark's. It is really hard travelling abroad, as I miss my family- but know it's only a short time in the bigger picture.
How long have you been mountain biking, and what got you in to the sport?
I first began mountain biking 3 years ago in 2010, when I took up multisport: trail running, mountain biking and kayaking. I really enjoyed it straight away, and as an attempt to improve that aspect of my multisport racing I decided to enter into some long distance mountain bike races. My first XCO race was in our NZ National series in 2011.
You didn't do any international racing since you took out the Oceania title in Tasmania before the World Championships.. Was this due to other commitments and priorities in your life?
Yeah- last year was very demanding financially and time wise away from the family and work, so I made a decision to train and save up based in NZ this year..
What are your goals/plans for the 2014 season?
My major goals are focused on qualifying and competing in the Comonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland next year. This will involve a strong NZ National season and Oceania Champs together with returning to the World Cup circuit for qualification and UCI points.
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