Earlier this month, 22-year-old Kate Courtney won the cross-country mountain bike world championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Courtney, the youngest competitor in the field, was also the first American women to take home the title in 17 years.
— UCI MTB (@UCI_MTB) September 8, 2018
For those who aren’t familiar with professional mountain bike racing, here’s a first-person glimpse via Courtney’s Instagram of the kind of riding it often entails:
A Stanford University graduate with a bachelor's degree in human biology, Courtney grew up in Marin County, California, the birthplace of mountain biking. For the next year, she’ll have the honor of wearing the world champion rainbow jersey.
When pain turns to champagne 🌈🙈🍾 What a feeling. Thank you for all of the love and support! pic.twitter.com/AxXjdUG6PF
— Kate Courtney (@kateplusfatee) September 9, 2018
Prior to capturing the world title in just her first full season of elite racing, Courtney spent much of 2018 optimizing her training with WHOOP.
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Strain score: 8.2 💪🏽📈 I’m currently spending a bit more time in the gym and cross training as I work towards bigger volume on the bike. My @whoop uses heart rate and HRV to generate a strain score for each workout, allowing me to quantify performance and track all of my training on and off the bike 🚲🏋🏼♀️🏊🏼♀️🧘🏼♀️ #roadtorecovery #unlockyourself #progressnotperfection #sponsored
"WHOOP was a huge part of helping me manage an insane training load this season and arrive at worlds ready to go," Courtney told us.
Below is a three-month chart of her daily recovery, culminating with a 96% on the morning of the world championships (Saturday, September 8):
Notice the distinct lack of red from late-July on. Courtney cites meditation as a huge factor in improving her sleep and recovery.
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Hit pause ⏯🧘🏻♀️ Daily meditation helps me find a few grounded, calm moments in every day and is a huge part of how I maximize recovery. With @whoop sleep tracking, I have data to back it up! When I meditate before bed - my sleep data shows I fall asleep more quickly and get more deep sleep. Usually this means I wake up with a lower resting heart rate, higher heart rate variability and overall a better recovery score on the app - so I know I’ll be ready to hit it hard in training the next day! 📈 #inthegreen #unlockyourself #whoopthereitis #sponsored
Take a look at the downward trend in her resting heart rate over the month leading up to her victory:
Courtney's HRV also peaked at a personal-best, 188, on the day of the race. Her body was primed for an epic performance, which clearly she delivered.
WORLD CHAMPION 🌈🇺🇸✨ What a feeling. Thank you to all who played a part in this. pic.twitter.com/FX9C7yB6hi
— Kate Courtney (@kateplusfatee) September 8, 2018
Feature image photo credit: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool