Welcome to Industry Insiders. Our new series that takes you behind the scenes in the cycling world to find out more about the people who work in the industry. We'll find out what people actually do, how they got to where they are and how they balance work and riding bikes. Our first insider is Katy Curd. She's an incredible athlete with a whole host of accomplishments to her name. Nowadays she's usually found coaching others, and it's hard to find someone more qualified to do so. Katy is a 2014 4X World Champion, a four-time National 4x champion, and has had multiple top-ten finishes in the Downhill World Cup and in other races.
It's not her successful racing history that defines Katy. It's her personality and passion for the sport. You'll very rarely see her without a huge smile on her face. It's hard to sum someone's past up in a short introduction, especially when it's as varied and full as it has been. Curious to know how it all got started? Here are the insights from Katy herself.
In your own words, who are you and what do you do?
I am Katy Curd, a 34-year-old living in the Forest of Dean, doing what I love surrounded by good people.
What is your job?
I am a mountain bike coach and mountain bike rider for Privateer Bikes.
How did you get into what you do?
I’ve been coaching since 2010. I started by coaching school kids at local BMX tracks and enjoyed it so much I wanted to do more so started looking into further qualifications and ways to gain further experience. It took a lot of years of trial and error but I am constantly learning and constantly developing.
How long have you been working in the bike industry?
I’ve been coaching since 2010 and racing since 2007.
How have things changed since you started?
There are definitely a lot more women in the sport now which is amazing to see and the industry is using and promoting more female athletes now which is boosting the following of female athletes but there are still leaps and bounds left to go.
Is there anything you wish you could change about your role/job?
No! I feel proud to have worked to where I currently am. I work for myself and every day I’m researching and learning new ways to work with riders on every level and really do love what I do. I ride my bike and share this passion with others.
What does your average week look like?
Every week is slightly different but normally coaching five days a week with 1:1 and group coaching, riding for fun two to three times a week, gym three times a week, coaching and training with Katy Curd Coaching Development team once a week and an important time for me is family time, time out away from the business and riding to reset and recharge.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to do your job/what you do?
Go out and get it. Speak to people in the same or similar job roles, find out their pathway, research the qualifications and experience needed and do what you can to work towards it. Everything is possible if you want it enough
What do you like most about what you do?
I get to share my passion for riding with others and more importantly, helping other riders reach their goals.
If you weren’t doing this, you would be?
Maybe a chef, maybe a photographer who knows!
What have been some of the highlights of your career?
In my racing career World Champion, multiple National Champions, and European Champion. In my coaching career, I have built Katy Curd Coaching to what it is now, starting the Katy Curd Coaching Development team, working with World World Cup riders in multiple disciplines and helping them work towards winning World titles, and working with British Cycling.
The industry is in a bit of a tough situation in terms of the cost of living. Do you see it recovering any time soon and, if so, what will brands need to do to stay relevant and afloat?
I wish I knew! I think companies are doing everything they can to cut back on expenses that aren’t needed, but speaking to a lot of different industries, a lot of companies are struggling especially in the leisure industry. I hope it picks up again soon.
Katy Curd Industry Insider , by Katy Curd
What do you dislike most about the cycling industry?
I sometimes feel like I live in my own little bubble and shut out the bad things in life so I’m not sure! I’ve always felt supported, appreciated and heard with every company and brand I’ve worked with. I guess my only thing would be riders and athletes having to negotiate with teams/companies at the end of each year and having to put a price on what they think they deserve for their contract, trying to put a price on themselves as an athlete is a hard thing to do and I know a lot of riders - especially female riders - struggle to do this.
How do you keep things balanced when your hobby becomes your job?
Sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes I really don’t want to ride my bike after a full-on week of coaching, but I’ve learned not to get stressed about this now. Sometimes I’m just exhausted and need a break! I love riding and I don’t believe that will ever stop, I try to ride in different places from where I coach, ride different bikes, pump tracks, dirt jumps, road, and various off-piste trails, and ride with friends just to help keep everything fun.
Katy Curd Industry Insider , by Katy Curd
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