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Two Local Mountain Bikers Gear Up for World Championships!

Posted: 2012-09-06


Mountain bikers Lucas Newcomb, 17, of Nicasio and Kate Courtney, 16, of Kentfield take a short break while riding in China Camp in SanRafael, Calif. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012. The pair will be competing in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships next month in Austria. (Special to the IJ/Sherry LaVars) Sherry LaVars
Click photo to enlarge
Mountain bikers Lucas Newcomb, 17, of Nicasio and Kate Courtney, 16, of Kentfield take a short...


When Branson School senior Kate Courtney won the MCAL cross-country running title her freshman year, observers of the Marin sports scene speculated great things were going to come from the high-schooler. They were right. It just turns out they were wrong about which sport she would achieve them in.

Earlier this year, Courtney became the first U.S. junior woman to win a cross-country mountain bike World Cup race. World Cups are a series of high-level international races governed by the international cycling union. Now, Courtney will join Drake senior Lucas Newcomb as two of the six juniors (four men, two women) representing the U.S. at the World Championships in Austria from Sept. 7-9.

"Both kids are extremely mature, motivated and responsible," said Dario Frederick, who coaches both as members of the Whole Athlete team.

But, both didn't start out as cyclists.

Courtney, a Kentfield resident, was looking for a spring sport her freshman year after running in the fall. Mountain biking was something she had done with her dad growing up, but never considered a competitive endeavor until she found the high school NorCal League. "I thought, 'OK, I guess it's a sport,'"

she said.

It was a sport she took to right away.

Newcomb, of Nicasio, was a competitive skier, traveling up to Tahoe to race regularly, when his older brother started encouraging him and his

twin, Johnny, to try mountain biking at Drake.


"I was actually pretty good at it," Newcomb said.

While both Newcomb and Courtney started out racing for their high school teams and honing their skills in the NorCal League, they quickly progressed and joined Frederick's junior development team at Whole Athlete.

Whole Athlete, based in San Anselmo, houses a cycling studio, yoga classes, nutrition consultations and coaches for a range of adults and kids, but it's best known for its junior mountain biking development team.

Three of the juniors representing the U.S. at the World Championships are Whole Athlete teammates (one is from Southern California) and the team has "sent kids pretty much every year," said Frederick, though not always from Marin.

That means once a local kid starts showing promise and wants to get serious about mountain biking, they often find themselves referred to Frederick. He then focuses on making sure they're ready for national level racing both on and off the bike. The kids learn about nutrition, training, time management and mental preparation.

For the full Marin Independent Journal story written by triathlete Kelly O'Mara, click here!

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