We can still remember our first interview with Katy Winton way back in 2013. Just 19 years old at the time, we announced that “Katy has her sights firmly set on the international enduro scene, and with her determination, focus and natural riding talent, she’s sure to go far”. So we were not totally surprised (though we were very pleased) when a press release hit our desks saying that this year she had signed her dream ticket with Trek Factory Racing, one of the most influential teams on the EWS Circuit.

One of the friendliest and most humble racers on the circuit, Katy Winton has always worked hard, racking up consistent top 10 results and showing that she has the pace to compete with the world’s best. But more than that, she has been a role model and inspiration to the kids and bike mad community of the Tweed Valley in Scotland where she resides. With her teammate Tracy Moseley now retiring (we will see?) from full time racing, Katy will be sure to benefit from the experience of the most successful enduro racer ever. Katy popped into the ENDURO office to let us know more about her plans for 2016 and what it feels like to join Trek Factory Racing.

Katy Winton Trek Factory Racing-8311

ENDURO: Hey Katy, congratulations, You must be very excited going into 2016?

Katy: Yes it’s amazing. It’s always a hard process changing teams, you get your CV ready and then try to find out which teams are looking for riders. For most racers this happens really early in the year so you feel like the season has hardly started before you are looking ahead to find a contract for the next one. Tracy Moseley was in my corner pushing for me which was incredible to see her pushing for a young gun. They have taken me on for a two year partnership and it’s a dream come true to work with such a huge bike brand with incredible riders.

ENDURO: Did you get a chance to try the bikes before you signed the contract?

Katy: Not really, I spent some time with Tracy in the Alps last summer, when Greg (Katy is one half of an enduro supercouple with Greg Callaghan) was injured, and I remember drooling over her red bike, red’s my favourite colour! But no, I had not ridden Treks before that. Ray (Trek Factory Racing team manager) came over in December which blew my mind, he flew over from America with my bikes and kit and helped me get fully set up. I am using different components now from what I’m used to so he made sure I was comfortable with it all. At the beginning of February we’re all going to meet up for a team camp to get to know everyone, shoot some photos and get the bikes setup perfectly.

ENDURO: Do you have any advice for other racers trying to get onto a big team?

Katy: I’m still new to the professional circuit, but for me it is all about building your profile and getting out there. This industry is all about who you know, so be yourself, chat to folk and work hard at what you believe you are working towards; in the end it will pay off. I have always worked so hard, plugging away the whole time and someone has seen that and taken me on which is amazing.

ENDURO: You have always been really involved with the local riding scene, do you think there’s a lot more to being a pro rider than just racing at events?

Katy: Absolutely, I think what teams are looking for is not just the results, of course good results are brilliant, but they are also looking for an ambassador for the brand who will talk to people without brushing them off. It helps if bringing on the sport is something you are genuinely interested in, for me that’s a huge part, and it’s great to still be in my local area, going to my local kids club at weekends when I can; that’s where I started! There are so many talented kids coming through that it’s great and motivating for them to see riders from their area doing well.

ENDURO: Trek make a lot of different bikes, which bikes will you be riding this year?

Katy: Well I currently have a 27.5 Slash and 29er Remedy, and when I first saw the Slash I was convinced that that was the bike that would suit me, it looks familiar and like the bikes that I normally ride; but it was the 29er that I felt immediately at home on. It was ridiculous how good it felt straight away. I feel really good on the Slash too but there is something about the stability of the 29er that just feels so good for me, it’s a credit to Trek that they have created a bike for such a small person that doesn’t feel big, it feels playful, fun and fast. Through the season I will be using both depending on which suits the terrain the best, it’s great to have a choice.

Katy Winton Trek Factory Racing-8362

ENDURO: But you really like the 29er?

Katy: I guess on the 29er you can get away with a little more, for racing this is very important as when you are tired after five days of practice and racing, any energy that you can save and conserve is valuable, and I believe the 29er will help me with that.

ENDURO: What about other bikes from the Trek stable?

Katy: Yes, it’s amazing, I will also be getting a Top Fuel 9.8 too, it’s really funny as I raced XC for seven years and this will be the nicest XC bike I have ever had, and I am not even racing XC anymore…haha.

ENDURO: At 5 foot 2 and a half (the half is important), what size do you ride?

Katy: I am on Trek’s 15.5 inch and they all fit great.

ENDURO:Will you be following Tracy by running a 2 x drivetrain?

Katy: Yes, I think with the bigger wheels it will be handy to keep the wheels spinning up the steeper hills, and we have an excellent chain device so derailments are not an issue.

ENDURO: You came from an XC background, Tracy has always been an advocate of trying other disciplines, will we see you crossing over again this year?

Katy: Now I have a sweet XC bike, why not haha..? To be honest I haven’t got plans for that yet, but never say never and maybe later in the year. In fact Tracy and I are racing as a pair in the Costa Blanca four day stage race at the end of this month, it will be long days and I will have to keep within two minutes of Tracy at all times, so that will be a great experience to learn from the top women’s racer.

ENDURO: What will be your main focus for 2016?

Katy: My main focus will be the full EWS; but really my main focus is on looking to become more consistent and keep moving up the ranks; there’s a whole lot to learn, new bikes, new team, new everything, so I just want to keep working hard and take another step forward.

ENDURO: Over the last few seasons you have spent a lot of it living in a campervan following the racing, will you have a different approach this year?

Katy: I hope so, it will be amazing to have someone looking after the logistics. Normally when November comes around I start to worry about the next season, how will I get to the first race? How much will it cost? What flight do I need? Can I buddy up with people to make it cheaper? It’s a huge challenge when on a budget to make it all work and a huge weight on my mind, but this year Trek just sat me down and said “ we will do all that”, amazing! Taking all that away, all that energy can now be used on training which is fantastic.

ENDURO: The ladies field seems a lot more dominated by a few names than the men, what is it do you think that puts the same names so far out the front, is it fitness, technique?

Katy: The women at the top have a hell of a lot of experience and more miles in their legs, but it’s no excuse for us. All of us behind them are working really hard to break that domination and with more and more girls getting that support to take that next step forward, hopefully next year we will see more faces at the top. The end of last year we saw Ines and Isabeau getting in the mix, I can see that happening more and more.

ENDURO: Do you think that improved sponsorship for women will deepen the field and tighten up the racing at the top?

Katy: Definitely, there are riders that have come through without that support, but it certainly helps. More and more teams are realizing that it is good to have some girls on the team, and Trek are leading the way with a really strong female representation. With that support we will get tighter racing for sure. In the end with the international circuit being so widespread you need support to keep competitive.

ENDURO: What will you be changing this year going into 2016, what have you been focusing on?

Katy: I have been working a lot on cornering and my general mobility to improve downhill speed, in XC we always used the downhills to recover, but you cannot do that in Enduro. There’s no particular thing really, it’s more I need to improve everything so I will be working on all those little things to keep moving forward.

ENDURO: Who’s helping you with cornering?

Katy: Greg helps me a lot, taking videos of me and giving tips, which is pretty handy really, haha.

Katy Winton Trek Factory Racing-8433

ENDURO: What does your training schedule look like, can you talk us through your average week?

Katy: I have started working with Chris Kilmurray from Point1 Athletic Development and he has some amazing training advice and the programs are really varied. It’s been interesting the whole time and there’s so much variety I am buzzing from the training. We are still learning what makes each other tick, but I love grafting.

ENDURO: So what does your schedule look like?

Katy: It’s funny when you switch to being a full time athlete, your training is not like a 9 – 5 job, it becomes a lifestyle, you commit everything to it. Are you eating right? Are you sleeping enough? Are you getting enough rest? Are you stretching on the foam roller? It’s a total lifestyle change, it’s not like when you finish work at 5pm and then do what you want. But then there is so much freedom within that too, of course you have to work on sessions with preparation before and after, but if my body tells me I have to lie in longer to recover then that’s important too.

ENDURO: Will you be working with someone with bike setup on the Treks?

Katy: We will have FOX and Shimano at our team camps, so they will hopefully be there to help and get everything working to its best.


ENDURO: What do you think your strengths are as a racer?

Katy: I am very resilient, I won’t stop for anything and I will never give up. I thrive on pushing myself and working hard, pushing my limits and beyond and I hope that’s what’s going to take me further.

ENDURO:And what about areas you would like to improve?

Katy: Everything really, there is so much that goes into enduro. I am learning so much at the moment, how to keep properly fueled throughout the day, how to pace myself and line choice and how to carry speed. I have a lot of room to improve which I hope will help in the future.

ENDURO: You ride a lot with Gary Forrest and Greg Callaghan, that must help when working on your speed?

Katy: Yes I love riding with those guys, though when I say riding it normally means that I get punted out of the back. It will make me tough as nails though as I just get blasted keeping up with them, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s great for pace on the downhills, I try to keep with them for as long as I can.

ENDURO: How important is mental training to you, with top racers being so close now, motivation and focus must be more important than ever?

Katy: Yes, it’s something that I have been looking into over the winter, there’s something about coming into a season with such a change, there’s a lot of potential to feel more pressure and let it get on top of me. I have been talking to people and discussing it to find out how to take it all in my stride, a bit like Greg did last year, he showed me how he could change teams and get straight into it. I have also been working with the ZingUp App to help quieten my mind a bit. I may look into some meditation too and see if it works for me. I know what state I need to be in to get the most from myself, so it’s all about finding out how to access that.

ENDURO: Cheers Katy, we wish you all the best for the season and look forward to seeing you shredding on that red bike.

For more information or to follow Katy Winton, check out her Facebook athlete page.

Words & Photos: Trevor Worsey

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