Name: Catherine Vipond
Hometown: Oshawa, Ontario
Sport: Cross Country Mountain Biking
Current Location: Somewhere between La Bresse France, Ste Felicien Quebec and Canmore Alberta
Best Career Performance: 31st 2011 World Championships, 2011 Canada Cup Series Champion
Goals for next season: Top 25 World Cup Finishes
Q. How did you get started in your sport? What made you decide this was your sport?
A. In grade 8 my brother convinced me that I should buy a bike as it would be a good way to train for cross country skiing, which was my favourite sport at the time. I quickly got tired of being on the sidelines and started racing as well. Through high school I competed in both skiing and cycling and it wasn’t until first year university that I admitted I couldn’t do both. The seasons were overlapping too much and I made the choice to stick with cycling. I loved the challenge of the technical aspect of the sport and skiing was just too cold for my hands!
Q. Who inspires you to keep going when you feel like giving up?
A. Sometimes with sport you can get all caught up in the politics, the results and criteria for selections and for me that makes things too serious and takes the fun away from it all. Going out for a ride with some up and coming racers, or local friends who ride for the joy of riding remind me of why I started riding. They give me the fire to keep doing what I love and to push myself that much more.
Q. Do you have tips for girls who don't have many female training peers or role models?
A. In Canada we don’t have to look too far to find amazing female role models. Canada is the number one ranked Women’s team in the World and it is pretty cool to know that some of the World’s fastest racers grew up and developed doing the same races that you and I do. For those who don’t have female training peers I think it is important to take advantage of what you do have. If you only get to ride with the guys then use them to make you faster. Challenge yourself to stay on their wheel just a little longer down a downhill or follow them off a rocky drop. I know chasing the guys has been one of the keys to developing my technical skills.
Q. What goals do you have for the future?
A. To keep improving and pushing my limits as far as I can, in everything that I do.
Q. What do you do to unwind?
A. For me it is important to do other things than always ride a bike. During the fall and winter I definitely enjoy cross training and getting out in the mountains as much as I can, this gives me a needed mental break from cycling and leaves me ready to attack the coming season. During the season unwinding is more just taking a walk and playing games with friends and family.
Q. What do you know now that you wish you had known at 13 years old, especially with respect to being a competitive athlete?
A. I know now that I should not believe everything my brother tells me. He did get me into the sport so I’m definitely glad I listened to that one but not all his advice was the best. Prepping my bike for a race one weekend he told me I’d be a lot faster if I put wax on my rims and brakes. I sure was fast, but stopping was a bit of an issue.
Q. What does it mean to you to be fast and female?
A. It is a pretty cool opportunity. I get to travel the world, seeing amazing places and meeting great people all while doing something that I love.
Compiled by Nancye Rahn.