The following comes from Specialized, and normally we don’t cover a lot of athlete news, unless there’s an accompanying video that makes us wanna get up, go ride, train harder (and smarter), and just go kick ass at something. And this one does just that. Enjoy, then go be awesome.
PRESS RELEASE: It began when Kate joined the local NICA High School mountain bike team as a freshman in the birthplace of Mountain Biking, Marin County. Introduced to the sport by her father, Kate was instantly hooked and within a short time it was evident her star was only beginning to rise. While still in high school, Kate joined the Whole Athlete elite development team, where she would go on to win many races including a UCI World Cup – the first ever such victory by a junior American Woman – before ultimately being signed to the Specialized Factory Racing Team at only 18 years of age.
Kate went on to win a number of races in her 4 seasons as an under-23 racer, steadily continuing her rise to the top of the World Cup rankings, and establishing herself as one of the fastest young American female XCO athletes. Kate’s final year as a U23 saw her emerge as the rider to beat. After an incredible season with 4 victories and the overall title, Kate went into World Championships heavily favored to take the gold. As fate would have it, luck was not on Kate’s side that day, yet in spite of multiple mechanical issues Kate never gave up, powering on to bring home the silver medal, falling just short of chasing down gold. Kate left the U23 ranks at the end of 2017 with a bigger fire burning inside her than ever before. Did we mention she did all of this while attending Stanford University in Palo Alto, earning an undergraduate degree in Human Biology?
Fast forward to 2018, Kate and teammate Annika Langvad tackled – and won! – the brutal ABSA Cape Epic MTB stage race – the first time an American had done so. The incredible result at The Cape Epic propelled Kate into a season that would continue to bring better-and-better results. She would go on to win the Elite Women’s USA XC National Championship and ultimately – in only her first year as an Elite, and at only 22 years of age – Kate Courtney would best a field compromised of the strongest women on the planet, taking home the gold at UCI Elite World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, making her the first American to bring home an Elite XCO Championship in 17 years, regardless of gender. This was the moment Kate spent the last decade of her life preparing for – and Specialized could not be more honored to have been along for the ride.
As 2018 comes to a close and plans for 2019 finalize, Kate has decided to make a change of direction with her program. We are extremely sad to see her go but also grateful for the many wonderful years we shared together.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s been one helluva fun ride, Kate! We wish you continued success in your every endeavor, and we have no doubt your star will continue to sparkle for many years to come.