Sunday, May 3, 2009

May's Featured Rider: Katie Holden

Katie Holden is a talented downhill and dual slalom racer based in Whistler, BC. Katie has quickly become a podium threat at North American races, and she has her eyes on top 10 finishes at the two Canadian World Cup downhill races this season. She's studying Destination Resort Management and will be working for Tourism Whistler this summer and through the Vancouver Olympics. But Katie isn't all work and no play, she's an absolute riot to hang out with, and she's always ready to ride.--FF

Name: Katie Holden
Home: Whistler, BC
Age: 24
Favorite type of riding: Downhill
Why you ride: I love it!
Sponsors: Specialized, Race Face, Sunline, 661, Leatt, SRAM, 5.10, Crankbrothers, Smith, Gamut

When I was young I always wanted to go to the Olympics for swimming or be a sled dog racer in the Iditarod! Although the sports are different, I feel like I am not too far from my childhood dreams.

In high school we had a week out of every year called Focus Week where we would get out of class for a week and go on a trip with a teacher. My trip to Greece and Italy was canceled because of September 11th. So, I had to pick another trip. All of the trips were filled up except a bike trip and a film festival. I can barely sit through a movie, so I chose to go on the bike trip. I had absolutely no interest in biking. I didn't even want to go, but I went and it changed my life. The camp was led up by Simon Lawton (formerly of DownhillNorthwest now with Fluidride) and Damien Smith (now a Yeti World Cup mechanic). They got me so stoked on riding. I was super into softball and soccer and I quit both of those shortly after the camp. All I wanted to do is ride. My life has revolved around biking since that week!

I rode Whistler for the first time at the end of the 2002 season, but I got hurt so that was the end of that. Luckily, it made me like biking even more, so the following summer I came back. I have been here for 2 winters and every summer since. I love it here, so it is pretty much my permanent home now. Whistler is hard to explain. I love it because I can bike, ski, snowboard, hike, go to the beach--basically I can do everything that I love to do. But beyond that, Whistler is rad because of the people. There are so many passionate, hard-working, driven people in this town that it really motivates me to be better at everything. In the summer, I'm pushed to be a better biker. In the winter, I'm pushed to be a better skier. In the gym I'm pushed to work harder than I thought possible. The sense of community here is incredible!

People give me a hard time about it all the time, but riding chainless has done so much for my riding. I ride chainless a lot. When you are riding without a chain you just look at the trail differently. You are looking at how the natural terrain can make you go faster. Not only do you gain speed in technical stuff but you have much better traction, because you are not concerned about braking. You are concerned about increasing your speed and keeping your rhythm. If you are having a hard time riding a section, take your chain off.

Another piece of advice is to ride with people who are better than you. Sure it can be intimidating but it will make you a better rider, I promise!

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