Tokyo Olympics

Local Mountain Biker Kate Courtney Ready to Race at Tokyo Olympics

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

One of the local athletes to watch at the Tokyo Olympics is Marin County's Kate Courtney.

The Stanford graduate and professional mountain biker was No. 1 in the world before the pandemic hit.

NBC Bay Area caught up with Courtney at her Peninsula home before the games.

KATE COURTNEY: This past year has been a time for me to think a lot about the things that are in my control and out of my control. What's in my control is having the best preparation, the best attitude and the best support leading into this event.

RAJ MATHAI: What makes you tick? Why are you No. 1?

KATE COURTNEY: That's a very good question. I think there's a few things. My core, kind of, ethos as a person is to really balance joy and hard work. I fell in love with the sport just riding as a young kid with my dad getting blueberry pancakes, hanging out. For me, there's still that joy and freedom and adventure that cycling brings. 

RAJ MATHAI: When you're in the middle of a ride, in a competition, in a race, what's going through your mind?

KATE COURTNEY: Overall, I try to just keep it really positive and come back to what I can do in that moment. That's something that I practice in training, I practice in racing, and is a key skill, I think, in being able to perform incredibly on the days that are going well, but also salvage a great result on the days where maybe things don't go perfectly.

RAJ MATHAI: You seem like you're really enjoying this. 

KATE COURTNEY: Yeah, absolutely. That's another thing that I think we can all appreciate about the last year. You really get the opportunity to be grateful for just the joy of riding a bike.

RAJ MATHAI: OK, upside and downside of not having mom come to Tokyo with you, or dad or anyone that's in your inner circle?

KATE COURTNEY: Downside: my mom is the loudest cheerer of anyone. It actually sounds kind of similar to an ambulance or a fire truck because she's so excited that she can't make it into words. So that certainly will be a missing thing. 

RAJ MATHAI: We see you now. Very nice, very bubbly, very energetic. And what's the game/race face?

KATE COURTNEY: I actually had a joke at my training camp earlier this year that Beyoncé has a stage presence, Sasha Fierce. I feel like I have that for mountain biking. I love riding my bike and I love my competitors. I love the sport. But when I'm racing, I go to a different place, and I'm there to compete and I am ruthless and relentless. 

RAJ MATHAI: So you crush.

KATE COURTNEY: I try. I do my best. 

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