At 34 years of age, Truckee's own Katerina Nash is one of the most accomplished mountain bikers North America has seen and accompanies a sorority of racers with a realistic shot at an Olympic medal this weekend in London.
As a racing member on the longest-running, most successful single-sponsor team in the history of the professional sport, regardless of gender, the Truckee resident joins two others from her LUNA Chix Pro Team, Catharine Pendrel (Canada) and Georgia Gould (USA), at the Olympic Summer Games.
Men's and women's mountain bike competitions at this year's Olympics will take place along the gentle countryside of Hadleigh Farm in Essex London. All riders start together in seeded order, according to their world ranking, and must complete a set number of laps, with races lasting between 1 hour, 30 minutes and 1 hour, 45 minutes for both men and women. Feed and technical stations are set at designated areas where athletes can make repairs and accept supplies of food and water.
Born and raised to compete, you wouldn't know it by her warm and encouraging demeanor. Finding her love for cycling as a youngster, Katerina reminisces, and#8220;As little kids, we would always ride behind my grandmother's rural town, looking for wild blueberries and adventure. Once I began realizing I was a good rider, my grandmother would step up the pace, and I'd always have a difficult time keeping up.and#8221;
Katerina moved to the United States from the Czech Republic in January of 2000 when she received a cross-country ski scholarship to the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a marketing degree in 2005. Now living near Truckee's quaint downtown, Nash enjoys quality local races and training rides, organic farmers market and the bounty of remote Sierra in all directions.
Katerina heads to London as one of the most experienced Olympians across all sports, representing the Czech Republic at the first-ever Olympic mountain bike event in 1996 in Atlanta. She also competed in the cross-country skiing events at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and again in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, making up a very short list of athletes who have represented their country at multiple Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Katerina is best known on the bike for her deadly combination of sprinting prowess and exceptional technical skills. While the London course has limited technical challenges, its high-speed track and long finishing stretch will suit Nash very well.
Watch out for our hometown favorite. Having beat out Katie Compton on North American soil in recent years, she's found great success in Cyclocross techniques and strategies, earning a World Cup title, multiple National Championships, and USGP races and series. We are all rooting for you, Katerina!
and#8212; Team rider Forrest Huisman is the author of this week's Marc Pro-Strava Racing column. For more information, results and upcoming events from the Truckee-based cycling team, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.