MTB World Champion Kate Courtney – Ask a Cycling Coach 272

That was a superb podcast. Really enjoyed it, thanks.

Kate was great. Her maturity is off the charts for a young adult and on top of that her personality is very like-able and fun. The only thing I noticed was her team of experts might be difficult for the average person to relate to, but overall, I think she shared some really useful and achievable tips that made it worthwhile. I loved watching Amber’s reactions as it seems like Kate surprised her pleasantly with some of her nuggets of wisdom and inspiration.

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There were certain topics that we stayed away from in the interview based on conversations with Kate.

Some of that stuff is a competitive advantage for her or she didn’t have opinions on it.

Trust me, I want to know everything! :smiley:


Fantastic podcast. Extremely insightful view into how she operates, especially the mental side.

Kate comes across as one of the most “dialed in” athletes I’ve seen across many aspects of performance.

Even after all she’s achieved, she seems very driven to continue improving. She also appears to be enjoying the process and has a great team around her. That’s a dangerous combination for her competitors if she keeps on her current trajectory.


This +1

I’m about to head out to one of two 3hr sims this weekend before an 8hr race next weekend. I’m fitter and stronger than ever about her mental guidance is something I’m going to listen to again this afternoon and apply next week.

This episode has also helped me look forward to this ride rather than it being a training chore, as it now feels more purposeful as I add a bit of Kate inspired belief into it.

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It’s nice, I warmed to her a lot during the podcast. Previously I’d attributed her eloquence to being media trained/savvy, but over the course of the interview I realised she’s just an extremely natural conversationalist.
I got home and re-watched the La Bresse shorttrack. It was fun to watch it with some insight into how she felt at the time.
P.s. Nate, if you read this, keep on being you. As a fellow tremendously enthusiastic person, I was laughing at your barely suppressed excitement about having a legit Cape Epic source of information. I love how you openly mine every seam of information you can find.


She talked about an app for mobility workouts, what was the app?

The ready state

Her comments on the quality of courses was interesting. I have been shouted down locally about expressing concern that XC trails are being overtaken by the Enduro crowd. Suddenly trail builders are putting in gap jumps and other stuff that riders are having accidents on. If I try and talk about it I get the cold shoulder and get told to “improve my skills”. A lot of people don’t want to ride that way and it was good to hear a professional voice their opinions about what XC courses should be… not mini-enduro runs.
I know a lot of females locally that have tried MTB once and then gone over to road riding and never returned. It’s all because they were taken down trails that scared them and they’ve seen other have accidents. I think the Enduro trend is killing the scene and pushing people away from taking up the sport.

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The discussion of race course selection vs local trail difficulty is more separated than connected, IMO. Maybe there are parallels where new trail builders look to those large events to emulate local trails, but I don’t see that in my area.

Overall trail difficulty can be a touchy subject. Old guys like me (that learned on the toughest trails with what were essentially rigid road bikes with fat tires and wide bars) often rejoice in a trail that take some real effort and technique to ride. Some with a difficulty that leads to foot dabs most of the time make that one ride where you nail it “clean” a real accomplishment and super rewarding.

When possible, it’s great for trail systems to offer trails with all levels from green to blue and up to black. Proper signage is important as well, so people know what to expect on a trail. Pick and ride appropriately. I think people should be open to learning and pushing their limits and abilities to rise to tougher trails.

There’s nothing I hate more than when someone with no patience to learn proper skills on a high level trail, rips out an obstacle that I have worked on for over a decade to ride clean, just because it’s too hard. We’ve had a real problem with “dumbing down trails” in my area. These were made by talented builders who had great skills. As these semi-private trails became more widely known (and adopted by runners and hikers as well), some of my most cherished obstacles got removed. This was doubly bad since our access to the related land was based on a “no modification” stipulation to maintain the trails as originally built from 20 years ago. That’s a bit unique, but on par with issues I’ve heard in other areas where people take good, challenging trails and strip them down to ones that could be cleaned on a gravel bike.

Sure, super smooth and pristine flow trails are fun and generally accessible. But “hard” trails and related obstacles have just as much value for those that appreciate the challenge. I’m all for adding option lines for people to avoid the hard stuff when the trail system allows it. But that is not possible in all areas or trail systems. For those that are strict hard trails, I feel people need to ride them with the challenge, or pick trails with a lower difficulty level.


I agree completely. I’m fairly new to the sport and was a runner for many years before I made the switch to MTB because I loved trail running but my knees didn’t. As someone who doesn’t have the greatest technical skills, I love a good flow trail (I’m sure I’d feel the same if my skills were better though), but I also like trails with technical challenges because they give me things to work on and aim for. It’s incredibly satisfying to nail a new technical feature and feel like I’m progressing my skills. I want to challenge myself, so I’ll try trails that may be a bit outside my comfort zone tech-wise, but I have no shame in walking something I can’t clean, and sanitizing trails just ruins it for everyone.


We’ve had a similar issue here in the past. Trails significantly modified because they were too intimidating to ride, when it’s just that they were not designed as XC trails.

Mountain Biking is booming at the moment and i think that’s largely due to increased shuttle/lift access trails. Sure we can ride up to them and down them on an XC bike, but they aren’t designed for that purpose.

More Amber. Way more. Please. She’s got deep insight that goes into more than “what were you thinking when you won Worlds?” Try it.


Labeling issue from the sounds of it. Difficulty and direction of travel (if there is a specific direction) should be clear and followed.

No sense in stripping a climb if it wasn’t meant to be ridden that direction (aka down only trail).

I meant riding up the access road. Most trails are directional around here now, which is good, but some features on the intermediate trails are reasonably technical on an XC bike, but quite run of the mill for the users/bikes they were designed for.

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Damn, where do you live? I’ve never done any shuttle/lift trails but they sound like a blast but I don’t think I’ve ever lived within a couple of hours of any and they are usually at ski resorts that open to bikes in the summer

I enjoyed this one.

Also want to say that I like the new format/layout of the podcast on youtube. Not sure when this changed but I have listened to the last few whilst driving so haven’t watched them on youtube.

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They swapped to remote Zoom meetings (instead of live groups in one room) because of Covid around late March.

Just had a look at episode 271 and it is just 4 squares like a normal zoom call whereas on 272 it is a lot cleaner and crisper presentation with names, strava tags and insta tags over a background. Looks smart.


Ahh, got it. Not sure on that then.