Kate Courtney is a professional mountain biker, Red Bull athlete, Team USA athlete, and world cup champion. As a young girl, she was extremely active, ambitious, and played a variety of different sports, which ultimately led her on a path to mountain biking. She grew up near Mount Tamalpais in Northern California, where the canyons are deep and the elevation is high. As a high school freshman, she was a member of the mountain biking league, which enhanced her love for the sport.
From the beginning, she gained experience from her peers that were high level bikers. Setting small goals made her feel proud of her progression within the sport and pushed her to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Courtney admired ski racers and fellow Olympians, like Lindsey Vonn, who value hard work.
“I love riding my bike. It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. It has been a way to strengthen my relationships, see the world, and explore new things.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Courtney questioned whether or not she should keep racing. In the fall of 2021, she was physically and mentally exhausted from overworking herself and training extensively for the Olympic Games.
“[I] had a moment of well, I don’t want to do this,” Courtney says on the Voice In Sport Podcast. Ultimately, she came to the realization that she genuinely loves what she does. Her experiences have shaped both her career and her life immensely, which pushes her to keep riding.
For rest and recovery, Courtney utilizes wearable technology to track her sleep and heart rate variability, which pushes her to set good habits. Whether it’s leaving her phone outside of her bedroom at night or ensuring she has healthy on-the-go snacks, having a solid baseline sets her up for success. She emphasizes taking a break, spending time with family, and getting sleep to help put her mind at ease. Along with her training experiences, wins and losses have helped build her mental toughness. She goes about managing her data by meditating, acknowledging data trends (red, yellow, green zone), and staying in touch with her body.
Using the habits she’s developed and the data she gathers about her own recovery, Courtney will continue to make tremendous strides in her sport and bring more VISibility to the mountain biking community.