Former “weekend warrior” Erin Criglington has transformed into a medal-winning machine since making her masters debut 12 years ago and is now setting her sights on more precious metal at the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland.
The 43-year-old Southland cyclist has enjoyed a glittering masters career, snaring no less ten medals including two golds at her two previous World Masters Games and also securing individual pursuit and points race gold medals at the UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championships in England last month.
Taking up cycling in her early 20s, Erin admits she performed solidly but without real success as an open category rider but since making her competitive age group bow at the 2002 World Masters Games in Melbourne “the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place.”
“I was aged 31 at the time and I thought I'd only be there to watch and that I was too young to ride,” she explains. “I then got the entry forms and found that I was eligible. I did five track events and medalled incccc all five.”
Seven years later Erin returned for her second crack at the World Masters Games in Sydney where she bagged a further five medals and since then the chartered accountant has continued to win countless masters medals on a national and global stage.
Yet of all the many events she has competed at the mum-of-two believes the World Masters Games takes some beating.
“They are a lot of fun,” she explains. “The whole event has a great atmosphere and great sense of camaraderie. Everyone is there to have a good time, but also compete hard and enjoy the experience.”
Erin, who trains 11-12 hours per week says the success she has enjoyed would not have been possible without the support of her husband and fellow masters cyclist Neil Jamieson, whom she describes as “Mr Mum.” While she also credits the role the state-of-the-art velodrome in her home city of Invercargill has played in her development.
Naturally excited by the prospect of competing at in Auckland 2017 - for what will be her third World Masters Games - she plans to compete in as many track events as possible in the 45-49 age group as well as compete in the road race and road time trial.
Yet even having won a glut of medals in a lengthy and successful career the masters maestro remains hungry for more success in Auckland.
“I'm probably more motivated now than ever,” she says. “After Sydney (2009) I thought none of these girls are any better than I am and once I got a taste of success, I just wanted to go better and go faster.”
So why does she feel she has had so much success as a masters athlete?
“Once you have kids you know to hurt,” she answers with a laugh.