Five questions with Kate Courtney
You’ve hit some massive successes early in your career. What are your targets in 2021 (specific WC events, Olympics, etc)? And for the next 5 years?
Returning to racing in 2021 is going to be a very special experience. After a very unpredictable race calendar in 2020 and the cancellation of all races in the United States, just being able to line up to compete is a huge motivator for me. My key focus for this season is the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I qualified for my first US Olympic team in 2019 which means I can fully focus on giving my best performance possible in Tokyo. Over the next five years, my focus is certainly on World Cup and World Championship events as well as the next Olympic cycle.
You can’t podium at every race. How do you deal with the highs and lows of racing?
Highs and lows are a part of our sport. As a young rider, you learn quickly that during your career you will lose many more races than you will win. That means that winning can not be the only motivation - you must ride and race in pursuit of your best and in pursuit of a lifestyle that you love and believe in. For me, being a part of the Scott SRAM MTB Team has made a huge difference in allowing me to see the bigger picture. I can appreciate that the ups and downs are all a part of the experience. With the right team around you, the lows are more easily tolerated, and the highs are more excitedly celebrated.
How have you stayed sharp over the last 12 months (mentally and physically), with the stop-start nature of bike racing and all the uncertainty around travel?
One of my favourite parts about cycling is that there are always ways to progress - whether technically, tactically or in terms of fitness. Over the past 12 months, I have had the opportunity to really focus on developing every aspect of my performance. While there were certainly challenging times, it was also a great opportunity to reconnect with the aspects of the sport that continue to spark my fire for competition.
Coming from California, what have been some of the biggest/most difficult learnings racing in Europe?
There are some pros and cons to being from California! Growing up in Marin I was exposed to a wonderful cycling culture that helped me to fall in love with the sport. Traveling to Europe as a Junior, however, revealed that I had a lot of skills I needed to develop in order to compete at the top level. Over the years, I have been able to gain European race experience as well as identify the areas that I needed to train to have the skills to compete on the more technical courses abroad.
What’s your favourite ODLO kit?
My favorite pieces of odlo kit are of course my cycling gear which I spend most of my time in. Off the bike, I especially love the merino wool base layer and Cocoon N-Thermic Light Insulated Jacket and pretty much live in my Zeroweight Running Tights (although I do not run in them :))