17/04/2019 - Kate Potter - Women of Steel

Women of Steel

Kate Potter's story

You may have heard us mention the brilliant AQR Holidays before, or that time a Cotic was ridden at the World Champs (still getting our head round that!).

The woman behind these is Kate Potter. A talented Aussie who caught the eye of the National Team coach and took her Cotic Soda to the Thredbo World Champs 2009. She's still riding Cotics, only now in the glorious Pyrenees, guiding and coaching. We asked her if she'd like to be involved with our new group 'Women of Steel'. This group aims to encourage women into our amazing sport, and who better to inspire and encourage you than Kate?

Kate Potter

Portugal is where I discovered mountain biking, and met my future husband Ian, 17 years ago. I had booked myself on a mountain bike holiday without understanding what mountain biking was at the time. I was captivated by the glossy brochure of people riding bikes in the Portuguese sunshine and enticed by the idea of discovering a new country on two wheels.

However, what I didn't realise it that I'd be riding with two ex elite down hill racers! When the guide asked me what experience I had on a mountain bike I wanted to hide. I had to admit I didn't even know what a mountain bike even looked like, let alone how to ride one at the time! My fears were soon forgotten though, as by the end of the first day on a mountain bike I was hooked! I loved the freedom I experienced flowing down the single track, followed by the accomplishment of climbing a hill as there was always a fantastic view and a descent to follow on the other side.

I was also drawn to the social side of the sport; my first mountain bike holiday brought 10 strangers together. For one week I felt part of a very close knit group who never made me feel like my inexperience was a problem for them as I fumbled my way along technical single track. I really had no idea about suspension or what gear choice meant at the time. My mantra was ride straight towards every obstacle, pedal fast, hold on and see what happened. Thankfully it was only one crash before Ian taught me a few basic skills to stay upright...1 year later we married and I entered my first race!

Kate Potter

In 2009 the Mountain Bike World Championships were being held in Australia at Mount Stromlo located in Canberra. It was a really special day for me, not only because I was representing my country, but just as importantly I was representing Cotic. Although I was born in Australia, it was the UK where I developed my skills as a mountain bike rider. My husband Ian had taught me the basic skills of how to ride a bike, but when he was guiding in Greece and I was working in the UK, both Cy and Paul encouraged me to ride with their group on a Wednesday nights and weekends.

I remember at one of my first night rides seeing Cy turn up on a bike he designed, this was before Cy had even considered starting Cotic. I remember very clearly Ian telling me he was going to pester Cy for one of those bikes as he really loved how it felt when he rode it. And a few years later Cy designed my perfect race bike - The Cotic Soda! This particular Cotic Soda in this photo helped me achieve a British National Series title in both cross country and marathon racing, as well as my best results at world cup racing. I will never part from this bike and we have plans to hang it on the wall when our Luchon Bike Centre is finished. I would never have experienced such an amazing day on the bike if it weren't for Cy and Paul from Cotic. Racing a Cotic bike at the world championships in Australia was the highlight of my race career.

KATE WORLDS

Fast forward 17 years and I can look back on a fantastic career that included mountain bike guiding and racing all over the world. During this time I made new friends and hopefully played a part in helping other women get involved in mountain biking too. I have also seen huge changes in the industry in regards to the technology and the growing demand for enduro style bikes, riding and racing. When I started mountain biking it was either cross country or down hill...these days I just prefer to call myself a mountain biker as I like all aspects of the sport. What hasn't changed is the way in which mountain biking continues to create a community for people.

Kate Potter

I know Cotic also value the community aspect of mountain biking as can be seen in their support for the Sheffield mountain bike trails, their own race team and now the 'Women of Steel' community group. I must admit when I stopped racing I felt quite lost for a while as I really missed being part of the Cotic community. However I was burnt out and needed a change from the demands and pressure I put on myself to race to the best of my ability. When I stopped racing there was always a part of me that wanted to reconnect with the Cotic community in some way and to return to when I had the most fun on the bike. So I'm really thrilled to be invited to be part of a new community 'Women of Steel' and can't wait to connect with other female mountain bikers out there.


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