The Enduro World Series has begun, after a hugely successful launch in Punta Ala the stage has been set, performance benchmarks have been laid and everyone knows the score! Scrolling through the list of EWS protected riders is like a who’s who of mountain biking. Legends of the sport stand foremost, but there is also fresh young blood in the mix, the next generation of riders who have shown not only the commitment and determination to succeed but backed it up with notable national enduro victories. Scanning through the elite women’s list, among celebrities of the sport like Tracy Moseley and Anne Caro you will find the unfamiliar name ‘Katy Winton’. At only 19, Katy is the new kid on the international enduro circuit, but pushing her along is a highly distinguished and diverse riding career.
Coming from an XC background, Katy has raced in the Junior XC World and European Championships, taken two British XC Championship titles and two silver medals at both the Scottish Elite road and Downhill Championships in the same year. With such a varied career history it is no surprise that Katy was attracted to the new opportunities in professional Enduro. In 2012 she dipped her toe in the enduro pond and came away with a victory at the POC King and Queen of the Hill, and topped the podium at the Dudes of Hazzard / No Fuss enduro at Kinlochleven. Now racing for the Morvelo Enduro Team, and supported by Sweet Protection and Pivot Cycles, Katy has her sights firmly set on the International enduro scene, and with her determination, focus and natural riding talent, she is sure to go far! Katy takes a bit of time out of her busy training schedule to show us her bike, a lean and focussed Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon!
Katy Winton, a rider to watch on the International Scene
Enduro: Tell us about your bike?
Katy: About two weeks ago I swapped my wee XS Aluminium Pivot Mach 5.7 (aka. Pivot for a midget, because of it’s XS size) to an all new Pivot for a Midget Carbon race machine: the Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon, and oh my days, it has changed my life! Everything about the bike is better! As I take my first steps onto the World Enduro scene it was important to me to have a bike that reflected that level of performance, and, with the carbon frame and great components this bike does just that. I thought the whole ‘kashima shock’ thing was just a marketing ploy but I couldn’t have been more wrong, it was the first thing I noticed! The bike rides like an absolute dream, it just floats over everything! The back end has a through axle and that, combined with the Carbon, makes for a responsive ride allowing me to get a lot more feel and control on the bike. The stiffer rear end also helps it climb better especially with the fox rear shock ‘climb’ setting which reduces the bob to almost nothing. Getting up technical climbs seems to be easier too as the bike moves into the terrain and finds the grip to give you the traction you need, it’s so easy! I’m now set up with a dual chainring at the front which has been no problem thanks to the clutch mech at the back which has done a perfect job of keeping the chain on. I am having so much fun on this wee bike, it’s so fast and so much fun.
Enduro: Will you be making any tweeks to personalise your bike or is it race ready out of the box?
Katy: We only had to make a couple of changes to the ‘straight out the box’ bike to make it more suited to what I want it to do. First we changed the bars to some new Kinesis UK Strut carbon bars, and the stem to a blue DMR Defy. It took me a while to get used to the short stem (I’m used to 70mm compared to the 50mm) but once we’d cut the bars down from 750 to 730 I got the control back. We also changed the DT wheels to Kinesis Maxlight VI for a stronger tubeless wheel, plus I now have Maxxis tyres on board so I’m riding some sweet high rollers at the moment then swapping to some High Roller II before I head out to the first World Enduro!!
Katy’s hard work and determination are always evident in her riding
Enduro: There seems to be a lot of strong enduro riders coming out from Peebles and Innerleithen, do you think growing up in the Tweed Valley helped elevate you to where you are today?
Katy: Absolutely! There is no doubt about it. We moved into the area when I was 14, now 19 I am still finding tracks and sections that really challenge me – what more could you ask for on your door step? There is so much variation here and so many talented great riders to ride and learn with; all surrounded by a beautiful landscape I feel so lucky to live here! I love it!
Enduro: Do you think there are unique challenges facing female riders who want to progress to elite level ?
Katy: I wouldn’t say so. The secret is to have the right ‘can do’ attitude and spending a lot of time on the bike to become confident in your ability so you can trust yourself and the bike. That way you can move on wards and upwards, but, with everything, it just takes time. The other thing is we are lacking in numbers at the moment, certainly in the UK, but the volume of females out riding now is so huge it is only a matter of time before there is a surge in new racers!
Enduro: Coming from an XC background are you keen to experiment with wheel sizes in the future, you must be quite familiar with 29ers?
Katy: I am familiar with the 29er, however I am a midget so I don’t have much desire to ride a huge bike. I would be interested in riding a 650b though, just to try see what it feels like and how fast it can go without feeling like I’m a kid who’s ‘still trying to grow into their bike’! haha
Enduro: What are your racing hopes and expectations for 2013?
Katy: Well, unfortunately I had a pretty horrific winter which has set me up on the back foot coming into the season. So, at the moment, I am just getting the ball rolling again and trying to recover. The year is filled with the European rounds of the World Enduro Series (funds weren’t able to stretch to USA/CAN rounds) but there won’t be any miracles early doors so I am going to be like a sponge and soak up the experience and learn, learn, learn. Then, using what I’ve learnt, I want to get some solid performances before the season is out when I’m back to myself and show that I mean business to try and get more support for the following year! See you out there, I cannot wait!!!!
Enduro: What was it like racing in the first Enduro World Series event at Punta Ala?
Katy: It was the best thing I’ve ever done! The atmosphere, the people, the tracks, the format, everything about this discipline is right. I went into that race with no expectation, I was there to learn and ride my own race; the result wasn’t my focus – I didn’t even know who or how many girls were racing! It worked well as I stayed relaxed and enjoyed every minute of it! When I finished I was so buzzing from a great day of bike riding, I just wanted to do it all again!! I read a report from the race by Valentina Macheda who said this sport was ‘addictive’ I couldn’t agree more, Val d’Allos can’t come quick enough!!!!
Lightweight Fox F150 CTD Kashima’s and Kinesis Maxlight VI wheels finish the effective package.
Enduro: What makes Scotland a great destination for a visiting Enduro rider?
Katy: The riding diversity that Scotland offers – we have so much varied riding all over the country from the tight, steep, slippy, muddy, rooty descents to the rugged loose rocky mental highlands and everything in between there is something to challenge everyone. Not to mention the breath taking views you get whilst doing so! So get over here and find out what you’ve been missing out on!
Katy’s bike spec:
Frame: Pivot Mach Carbon 5.7 XS
Shock: Fox Float CTD Kashima
Fork: Fox 150 FIT CTD Trail Adjust
Headset: Pivot sealed bearing headset
Drivetrain: XT Chainset 2×10, XT Direct Mount front and XTR Clutch Rear.
Brakes: XT 180/160
Bar: Kinesis UK Strut carbon bars 730mm cutdown
Stem: DMR Defy 50mm
Wheels: 26” Kinesis Maxlight VI Tubeless
Tyres: Maxxis High Roller Tyres 2:35, LUST EXO Sidewalls.
Seatpost: X-Fusion SL Seatpost
Pedals: DMR Vault
Seat: WTB Vigo Race
Katy took a solid 16th place at the Round 1 of the Enduro World Series at Punta Ala, with her benchmarks set she will be chasing the top 10 hard at Round 2.
Katy will now be fighting it out on the international stage!
Interview: Trev Worsey
Photos: Ian Linton (Ian Linton Photography)
To follow Katy, check out her social media links!
Next up in the series we check out the bike of an aspiring weekend racer! If you missed part one where we looked at the bike of choice for an enduro guiding company, you can find it here.