Kate Courtney's Cape Epic

Photo: Red Bull/Paris Gore

Ordinarily a cross-country crusher, professional mountain biker Kate Courtney had quite the finish to her first endurance mountain biking campaign at the end of last month. Teaming up with her Specialized teammate from Denmark, Annika Langvad, the two absolutely dominated the Cape Epic field winning the prologue, 6 of 7 stages and the GC. 

We caught up with Kate just last week as she was getting in such much needed rest and recovery at her home in Marin Country, while looking towards the season ahead and reflecting on her experience in South Africa. 

How did you feel, mentally & physically, heading into race week?

Leading into race week, I was feeling mentally and physically ready to get going! There was a week between the XCO World Cup in Stellenbosch and the Cape Epic which meant we had quite a few days of easy spins and getting ready for the big event. By the time the prologue rolled around, we were all very ready to transition from thinking about the Epic to just doing it!

What did you learn about yourself during a new experience like the Epic 8-day stage race?

It’s hard to pick just one thing! The Cape Epic is such a journey both as an individual and as a team. One of my biggest takeaways from the Epic as a whole was the power of setting really big goals. When I set out to race the Epic, I wasn’t sure I could even complete the race successfully, let alone compete for the win. I realized, however, that as a life philosophy - I would rather try something and fail than live wondering what I might have been capable of. The Cape Epic pushed me to the edge of my capabilities, but it also showed me what is possible and what may be possible in the future if I continue to push outside of my comfort zone.

Photo: Michal Cerveny

Can you describe the feeling of winning, but not solo, and instead with a fantastic teammate like Annika?

I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to race alongside Annika Langvad who is one of the most experienced and talented racers in our sport. Throughout the week, an incredibly strong partnership developed and we were able to work together as a team to maximize our strengths in every stage. In the end, it was a true team effort and the victory became so much sweeter when it was shared not only with Annika but with the entire Specialized staff that made this race possible.

How did you use PR Lotion during the week of racing?

When you are pushing your limits in training and racing, small details can make a big difference. The first time I used Topical Edge, I noticed a significant difference in how I felt on the bike. Since then, it has helped me push harder than ever before through some pretty challenging blocks. With Topical Edge, I have even more confidence that when the moment is right - I will feel ready to attack.

I used PR lotion before every stage of the Epic. With so many tough days of racing in a row, my legs were definitely getting progressively more fatigued and the PR Lotion helped keep me feeling race ready day after day.

What's next on the calendar for you?

Next up I will be racing quite a few weekends in my home state of California! First up is Fontana Pro XCT.

How did Kate train for the grueling eight days of racing at Cape Epic? Read more about her buildup on CyclingTips, where she documented her massive month of February rides in the Bay Area. 

Photo: Michal Cerveny

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