Meet The Riders And Their Rides: Kate Courtney

Meet The Riders And Their Rides

Kate dominated the US Cup at Bonelli Park, California, to kick off 2019. Photo by Brandon Castelli

Kate Courtney rocketed to the top of the mountain bike world last year. After a stellar amateur career, Kate Courtney joined the elite women’s ranks on the World Cup circuit for 2018 and started working her way up the pro ranks. She completed an impressive rookie year in the top women’s class in the World Cup series, then shocked everyone by winning the UCI World Championship title last summer.

You have to go all the way back to 2001 to find the last time an American woman—Alison Dunlap—won the UCI World Championship in the elite women’s cross-country class.

What’s especially surprising is that Kate hadn’t even made an elite women’s World Cup podium yet. She was right on the verge of doing that by the end of last year’s series, earning two seventh places and two sixth places in her last four World Cup races of 2018, but she had yet to place higher than that. She was getting faster and more consistent all season, but it was still a surprise when she took the lead at the World Championship and then went on to win the most prestigious race in the world for 2018.

Here’s a look at the bike Kate will be racing as she sets out to battle the top women in the world in 2019. It’s no secret that this could be a great year for Kate to get the experience she needs, battling for more big wins as she works on preparing for the 2020 Olympics. There’s no doubt she’ll be hoping to win a medal there, and it’s not hard to guess which one she’ll have her sights set on.


MBA: Where did you grow up?

Kate: Marin County, California

MBA: What kind of work do (or did) your parents do?

Kate: My mom is an attorney and my dad was an investor.

MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?

Kate: I started riding at a young age on Mt. Tamalpais but didn’t race competitively until high school.

MBA: When did you first start competing on a bike, and what kind of bike was it?

Kate: I started competing my freshman year in high school as part of my school’s mountain bike team. My first race was a NorCal League race! It has been amazing to see the growth in high school mountain biking across the country in the past few years.

MBA: How did you finish?

Kate: I won my first race in the Freshman category.

MBA: What have been your best national and international results?

Kate: The best performance of my career so far was winning the Elite XC World Championships in 2018! Other results include: two-time Elite National champion; 2017 World Cup Overall winner [U23 division]; four-time U23 World Cup Winner; two-time Junior World Cup winner; 1st US woman to win a Junior World Cup; ten-time Junior, U23 and Collegiate US National champion. For more results, visit

MBA: What was your major in college?

Kate: I graduated from Stanford in 2017 with a bachelor’s in human biology.

MBA: Did you earn any awards in sports or academics while in school?

Kate: Not beyond my results on the bike!

MBA: What other sports do you like to do now?

Kate: I am very focused on my career as a cyclist, but enjoy cross-training on skis, in the gym and doing yoga.

Tech Inside The Pros’ Bikes

Kate Courtney’s Scott Contessa Spark


Bike weight: “About 22 pounds with the dropper post, just over 21 without.”
Estimated price: “One dollar per sparkle.”

1. Frame: 2019 Scott Contessa Spark RC, size small, 100mm-travel front and rear, full carbon everything!

“I love this bike! The ability to manually adjust my suspension gives me more control over how the bike behaves in different situations. This allows my suspension to still be incredibly efficient while pedaling, but when I hit the descent, I can switch to fully open and active suspension. It is the best performing suspension I’ve ever used! The geometry is pretty slack as well, which makes it handle better—more like a trail bike—on steep and technical trails.”

2. Shock: RockShox NUDE Deluxe RLC3, 97 psi, compression at full open, one gray and one red volume spacer added, rebound two clicks slower than full “fast.”

“With the Scott TwinLoc system, I can adjust between fully open/100mm, Traction mode (which has 70mm travel and ramps up quicker—good for rough or rocky climbs) and fully locked out for pavement and smooth fire roads.”

3. Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate with Twinloc, 100mm travel with two volume tokens, 66 psi, rebound four clicks from full “fast.”

“One of the amazing things about the Scott-SRAM team is how much direct interaction we have with the engineers from SRAM and RockShox. Not only do they custom-tune and hand build each fork and shock the team riders use, they take trips and spend time with us individually to further refine our settings, make recommendations and help us get the absolute best performance out of the products they make for us.”

4. Tires: Rekon Race 170 tpi and Aspen 170 tpi, 29×2.25″.

“These are the supple ’race’ casings and are pretty wide, especially on the rims we use, so I can run lower pressures more safely. I choose which option depending on course conditions and weather but normally ride at 17 psi in front and 18 in the back.

“I really love these tires. They feel fast-rolling while maintaining a lot of grip. Additionally, they are more durable than other tires I’ve used and I have experienced fewer flats, which allows me to run 4-5 psi lower pressure. This also gives me better handling, better control and better grip!”

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