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MOUNTAIN BIKING: Katy and the golden smile
BOX mountain biking star Katy Curd says that concentrating on the fun side of her sport was the key to one of the finest victories of her career, as she became a European champion last weekend.
The 23-year-old was first over the finish line in 47.7 seconds at the 4X European Continental Championships in Szczawno, Poland, on Saturday, narrowly beating World Cup series champion Anita Molcik and London 2012 BMX competitor Romana Labounkova.
Last weekend’s competition was also a European Championship debut for Curd, who was named British 4X champion for the third successive year in July.
Hher new fun-first attitude to competition came after injury robbed her of an appearance at the 2011 World Championships in Switzerland a year ago.
“It happened on August 5 last year – I missed a jump at a World Cup event in France and slammed into the track, breaking my arm in two and my shoulder,” said the Wiltshire rider.
“I was out for six months and missed the World Championships and when I came back, I just wanted to try and ride for fun and enjoy it as much as possible.
“Last weekend was a great race and there were so many people there – I’d raced on the track in the World Cup before so I knew a bit about it but I was still a bit nervous when I saw people like Romana Labounkova and Anita Molcik at the start line.
“I’ve had a long time out but enjoying things has paid off and it’s definitely one of the biggest things I’ve ever won, although being British champion will always be special to me.”
Curd is currently gearing up for this year’s World Championships, which begin on August 31, and her preparations have been boosted by her new base in the Netherlands.
Since April, Curd, who rides for the international Rose Vaujany Gravity Team, has been staying with her team manager Joost Wichman in the Dutch town of Lichtenvoorde and the European champion thinks that she’s benefitted from being abroad.
“The team usually just meet up at races because there are three Dutch riders, one German, one Belgian and I’m the only one from the UK but after a team trip to Italy in April, I decided to stay abroad,” she said.
“We’re usually racing every weekend so it helps to be able to go out for training sessions in the week with my manager and then compete – it’s been good but the only problem so far has been the language barrier.”