Fresh from riding in the sunshine of Malaga, Katy Curd is in the process of gearing up for the 2014 race season. For the past two years, she’s been killing it in the discipline of Four Cross (4X) racing, gaining numerous victories including the National Championships, and overall winner of the 4X Pro Tour in 2013. But for 2014, she’s planning her return to downhill MTB.
We caught up with Katy to find out about her return to DH, her plans for the World Cup Series, how she’s preparing, and what else she’s got planned. From the sounds of it, she’s going to be one very busy woman.
"I’ve always wanted to get back into downhill, ever since I stopped. It’s where I began, really. So this year, I’m making the move. Although I really do love 4X, it isn’t getting the coverage that it needs, which is a real big shame.
Although I’m focusing on DH, I don’t think I’ll stop 4X completely, and I’ll still compete at the World Champs. But I just really wanted to give downhill a proper shot, and train for it professionally. When I rode DH originally, I just jumped on the bike at the weekends, and went down into the race. This year, I want to really go for it, and see if I can compete against Rachel [Atherton] and all that.
I’ve been doing a lot of fitness training over the winter to get ready. I’m moving my training from 4X focused to DH, so that means a lot of road cycling, cross country riding, and different gym stuff. My new coach, Andy Wadsworth, has set me a few different programs, so I’m getting stuck into that.
For 4X, training involved doing a lot of power work. It was all about getting out the starter gate first, and being really powerful in short bursts of energy. The downhill stuff seems to be a lot more endurance based, so being able to sustain effort for five minutes instead of forty seconds. I’ve also been working on getting my downhill skills back up to speed, because I’ve not really ridden downhill for the last 2 or 3 years.
I’ve got about 2 weeks until the first national race, then a month or 2 before the first World Cup race I’m planning to compete in.
I want to get myself feeling like I’m really ready for it, rather than feeling like I’m jumping into the deep end!
I’ve given myself a pretty jam-packed season this year, doing three of the national downhill rounds, then as many of the World Cups as I can fit in. I’m missing the first two rounds because they’re too far away, plus my training was set back because I had surgery at the start of the year. Oh, and I’m also doing 3 of the Enduro World Series rounds as well, so I’m getting stuck into everything!
I've got some new sponsors on board. Spank will be providing me with components, which is cool. There's also RAW Sports who are helping with clothing; they are based just down the road from where I live, so I can just go and chat to them. And I've got X-Fusion Suspension - I took some out to Malaga to ride with and got on with it really well!
Come May, I think I’m going to be racing nearly every weekend, which is possibly a little too much. I obviously have no idea, results wise, how this year will pan out. I couldn’t tell you whether I’d be barely qualifying for World Cups, or whether I’ll be up there at podium level.
For the nationals, I’d like to podium at every race, and just see what level I’m at compared to Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter. When it comes to World level riders, the field is so strong that it’s hard to place myself up there! But in the UK, Rachel and Manon are definitely the ones to try and beat, that’s for sure!
Hopefully I will be able to get a podium at World Cup level – that would be the ultimate goal. That, and qualifying for the World Championships at the end of the year. And I want to have a little bit of fun and enjoy myself on the Enduro World Series. Then in 2015, I’m going to get my head stuck in with the downhill.
My first Downhill World Cup race of the year will be Fort William. It’s the best world cup out there for sure. It was my first ever World Cup race; it’s special and I’m really looking forward to it. I think I’ll be racing both 4X and DH, so it’s going to be a busy weekend!
My move back into downhill was motivated a bit by me, and a bit by my sponsors, Rose Vaujany. I’ve always said to them I wanted to go back over to downhill, and they are really pushing it too, so I think they are really happy about it.
We’ve got a full enduro squad this year, and I’ll be part of the team. They’ll be traveling around for the Enduro World Series, and I’ll be matching up with them for some of those races in France and Italy, and doing my own thing for the downhill.
They’ve also got a new downhill bike out this year - I can’t wait to jump on that, and I’ve just got my brand new enduro bike too!