We speak to Kate Courtney

The Sea Otter Classic is one of the biggest cycling events in the world, and is the home event for one of MTB’s biggest stars: Scott SRAM‘s Kate Courtney.

We caught up with her to talk to her about her plans for 2020, her home event and how she can stay in peak shape throughout a long year.

Garmin: You’re competing for a lot of the year, with key events and certain times, how do you manage your training to make sure you are in peak shape for the World Championships and Olympics?

KC: While there are always many races in a season, we make sure to set clear goals at the beginning of the year and structure my training around those key events. This year, of course, the Olympics are the primary focus and my training and racing will build towards having my best performance on that day. 

Garmin: We’ve seen on your Strava that you’ve been out on a road bike a lot this winter. How is road cycling affecting your MTB performance and training?

KC: I enjoy cross training on my road bike, particularly in winter when trails often need time to dry out. The road bike is a great option for long base mileage!

Garmin: You also do a lot of gym work; how does that help your riding and does the functionality on the watch support this?

KC: I use the Garmin Fenix 6S in the gym to help monitor the training load that my strength program adds. For me, strength training is a huge part of what prepares me for technical courses and the physical demands of World Cup racing. 

Garmin: What’s your favorite feature on the Garmin Edge?

KC: My favorite aspect of the Garmin Edge is the fact that everything is so customizable to an athlete’s preferences or training goals. Depending on my workout I can very easily change the screen to reflect the data that is most important for that particular day. 

Garmin: What’s your default screen settings on your Edge when you’re racing?

KC: When I’m racing, I typically just have power and time showing. 

Garmin: You rode at Sea Otter last year, what are your ambitions this year and were you tempted to do any other events?

KC: Given it is one of the closest races to my home in California, I have been racing the Sea Otter Classic since I was a junior. It is always a great event and an opportunity to put on a show for my local community. This year I will stick to mountain bike racing, but I have participated in road events in the past. 

Garmin: What are your aims for this year, as a whole?

KC: The Olympics, World Championships and World Cups will be the key focuses of my season. 

Garmin: You recently celebrated National Girls and Women in Sport Day, how do you think women are represented in cycling?

KC: I think it is an exciting time to be a female cyclist, particularly on the mountain bike. We race on the same courses, with the same prize money and on the same weekend as the men. There is equal coverage of both the men’s and women’s races thanks in large part to the Red Bull TV streaming. In addition, social media gives female athletes an opportunity to share their voice throughout the season and authentically connect with fans. There is, of course, still work to be done to ensure that women are represented and compensated fairly in our sport, but I think mountain biking is well on its way to achieving that as a discipline. 

Garmin: What’s your favorite playlist pre-race?

KC: I make a new playlist every year! A few songs remain the same but I always enjoy having new music to motivate my season. 

Keep up with Kate’s races throughout the year on Garmin Cycling’s social channels.