Sponsored Athlete Profile: Katy Winton

Mountain Bike Park Design & Management

Select Contracts is excited to introduce to you one of our sponsored athletes, Katy Winton! Katy is a 25 year-old enduro mountain bike racer for the Trek Factory Racing Enduro Team hailing from Scotland in the UK. After starting out in cross country (XC) racing in 2013, she moved to enduro and has climbed the ranks to finish 3rd in the overall rankings for two years in a row 2017/18. With podiums and stage wins under her belt, 2019 was looking good to continue the upwards trajectory, however, crashing out of round two a lingering concussion has put a spanner in the works. With recovery on track we sat down with Katy for a Q&A session.

First off, let’s talk about how you came to be involved with Select Contracts.

I’m from a town called Peebles in the Scottish Borders (aka Tweed Valley) – this area is mountain biking heaven in the UK. A town-hall engagement was happening with regards to the proposed bike park and innovation centre in Innerleithen (town just down the road), so I went along to find out more about it. It was Chris from Select Contracts who was giving the talk on the proposed bike park. We’re big on bikes in the area but there are a lot of people that just enjoy our hills for walking or horse riding etc. I loved the angle Chris took on to sell the whole idea: it was all about getting people into the outdoors and making it accessible for everyone. I really respected that all-inclusive attitude, and as a lover of the outdoors and living in a beautiful place the more people out enjoying the land around them the better! So, I had a chat with Chris after and we were keen to work together – he offered to help support me on my quest to world mountain bike domination and I was more than keen to help him as much I could with making the Tweed Valley project a success – and so here we are!

You were just in New Zealand and you seem to travel there a lot! What keeps you coming back?

The weather… haha! Once I realised that I didn’t have to endure another Scottish winter I was out of there. Coming to New Zealand I fell in love with the place -– the land, the vibe, the riding. One of the most important things about Enduro training and racing is the necessity to ride a lot of varied terrain to keep our skills sharp and New Zealand has an incredible amount of variety for a relatively small country! With Christchurch, Queenstown, Cardrona, Alexandra, Nelson, Rotorua and with the new Porirua Adventure Park near Wellington there are so many great options to keep things fresh! The mountain biking scene in NZ is booming so it’s a great place to be!

You’re probably a pro at travelling, so what do you
pack in your carry-on?

Good question!! I’m usually travelling to a race so I always have a set of race kit and my bike shoes in my hand luggage along with my full face helmet to make sure if my bag doesn’t arrive I’m race-ready! If it’s a long haul mission I always make sure I have the refresh essentials – clean clothes, a good set of travel toiletries and flip flops (jandals for you Kiwis!). It’s so nice to be able to freshen up after each flight – it just makes the whole experience so much more comfortable!

You’ve recently had a bad concussion and posted about
the struggles of an ‘invisible’ injury. Tell us a little more about that.

Yeah, that has really opened my eyes to how people with similar injuries must feel. When everyone asks how you are all the time, it’s kind of them to show concern, but when the injury is measured on how you feel or don’t feel, it’s hard to analyse all the time. If you are looking for symptoms you’ll find them. The recovery is like a broken bone in a way too: you can feel fine and in no pain but it is still broken so you can’t just rip the cast off and carry on as normal. The head is like that too –  you might feel a bit better and people may think you seem ‘fine’ but you still need to take it easy because you’re still recovering and need to refrain from putting yourself at risk of another head hit for a while.

What’s your take on the current women’s racing scene
in enduro? 

I think we’re in a really good place right now. The racing is super tight as it seems the stages are much shorter than normal. Isabeau Courdurier seems to be running away with it at the moment but behind her it’s all to play for. I can’t wait to be back and racing with them all again. SOON!

If we could build you a bike park, anywhere in world,
where would it be and why?

I would have said the Tweed Valley but it’s already looking like there’s going to be one there soon so that’s a big tick off the list!

I spent a bit of time
in Tasmania this year and they definitely have scope for a chairlift in the
south. I was surprised driving into Hobart to find a MASSIVE hill – it would be
so cool to get a bike park in there. Then Maydena Bike Park is pretty much
there already but a chairlift could make it even better and make it more of a
destination not just limited to bike riders – it’s an absolutely stunning
area! 

What is one thing that has always motivated you? 

Becoming the best in the World! It’s been plan A from the start!

In 10 years, what do you think you will be most nostalgic about today?

Probably my nephew, he’s just 4 months at the moment, I’ll be missing baby cuddles! I’ve no idea where I’ll be or my circumstances in 10 years time, I just hope I’ll be nostalgic about how this was an incredible part of my life where I was learning heaps and enjoying the opportunity of being paid to ride and race my bike all over the world – to be honest, I hope that will still be the case in 10 years time!

To follow Katy on her journey to conquering the world by mountain bike, check out her Instagram @misswinton and Facebook Page. Follow Katy and her team at @Trekfactoryracingenduro.

Photo credit for this article: Matthew DeLorme @mdlormephoto