Riding Bikes with Katy Curd
Those of you who’ve spent a bit of time on your bike, or who have looked into the world of coaching, 4x or even watched the fun and madness of Downhill racing will no doubt of come across Katy Curd. The lady with an infectious grin and bags of determination – I caught up with her for a chin wag and yes of course; we talk about dogs, because, why not.
For those of you who might not have come across Katy before tho, here’s a quick introduction on who Katy Curd is and where she’s from.
So Katy, introduce your self to the OTMM gang… “ Hi, I’m Katy Curd. Just a girl who loves to ride her bike”!
Katy has a great sense of humour and currently lives in the Forest of Dean, she adds, “it’s the perfect home for riding but I’m originally from Wiltshire”.
So, get comfy and join us as I chat with Katy.
When Katy’s not on her bike racing, she’s still on her bike through her day job as a mountain bike coach and owns her own business; Katy Curd Coaching (www.katycurdcoaching.com) where she coaches riders of all levels and backgrounds, from as she refers to it “our playground here in the Forest of Dean”.
Having had a coaching session with Katy too I can personally vouch for her wonderful abilities as a coach and human. She sparks with enthusiasm. She gets you at ease with not only your bike (or in my case, my friends borrowed bike. Thanks Andy) but yourself, which for me is my biggest hurdle. I doubt myself and my skills which holds me back but Katy has this approach that gets you out your own head and keeps you on the fun side of things and by the end of the session I was happily doing things I’d never done before including jumps and trails that gave me the confidence to then go on and try a race but that’s a story for another day.
Katy has been riding bikes ever since she can remember, and says she’s was “always heading out on my bike trying to jump the biggest jump or pull the longest skid between my friends and I”.
For me, it’s great to know that if you have the passion and drive to take something that you love to the next level and as Katy says “It was always a fun hobby of mine since a young age and nothing has ever changed” that you take that passion and turn into your day job and career — then that’s well worth it and I hope when I’m a grown-up I can do the same.
Racing has always been a huge part of Katy’s life and as she says “it taught me some of my biggest life lessons”.
I asked Katy about her fondest achievements and memories and here’s what she said “I think my fondest achievements have to be
winning 4X World Champs, stepping on the World Cup podium for the first time ever in Downhill at Fort William, Winning Fort William 4X World Cup against some crazy talented competition”.
I also wondered was it just about the winning or anything else and Katy said, “A lot of these results have been more about the journey and proving to myself I can do it even when you are being told it isn’t possible or others don’t believe in you, it just makes the result so much more worthy”.
Hearing that from a professional rider really boosted my confidence and provides inspiration for me to chase my own dreams and I’m sure it will resonate with many of you reading this article. So, never give up and just keep peddling.
Obviously I couldn’t talk to Katy without bringing up the subject of Dogs!
Katy’s doggo, Luna, (or one of her many nicknames, Lulu, Lu, Lunifer, Lully, Loony Toony, Princess, the list is endless!) is a wonderful little soul.
Katy actually found Luna in Spain whilst out there on coaching/mountain bike holiday, “she was wandering around the Spanish mountains all on her own and long story short thanks to Paws for the Cause dog charity, Karen had a new little dog come home to her in the UK”.
After many awws, I managed to compose myself and ask for more information on Luna, as we all know I’m a sucker for Doggos. Especially cute ones. “Luna is 3 years old and as mentioned, a rescue dog from Spain”. Her breed, “not entirely sure of her breed but we think she is a Spaniel x Terrier of some kind”! and Katy continues “She’s one of kind that’s for sure”.
I asked Katy to tell me about Luna more because, well I’m nosy and it’s a doggo and Katy was more than happy to oblige, and obviously as Katy spends a fair few hours on her bike I wondered about the trail dog^ side of Luna and here’s what Katy said, “Luna is probably one of the more chilled out trail dogs I’ve seen and loves to hitch a ride in her backpack”.
Now, if you’ve not seen Luna in her backpack you’re in for a big treat – it’s the cutest thing ever and something I’m perusing with my pup after being inspired by Katy and Luna.
Ready… here it is
What I love about the backpack and what Katy and Luna do; is it shows us all any doggo can be a trail doggo and you don’t necessarily have to have a trail dog chase you down the trails all the time to have fun, they can have just as much fun hitching a ride*.
But, now you’re wondering… so how does Luna have fun in her back pack?
Katy says, “Luna really is the most chilled out dog but don’t let the photos fool you those little legs will run some miles! Luna is a great trail dog, she will follow easily for hours but we have the bag for the long fast stretches of fire roads so she isn’t continuously running and also to cross roads or if she gets tired but 90% of the rides she comes on she is running around chasing us and squirrels!”
For me personally, my interest in the back pack stems from River only being a baby but still wanting her to enjoy the trails and have fun so I asked Katy what Luna was like once she’s on board… “Once she is backpack she is normal pretty content with her paws over your shoulder, head peering over and ears flapping in the wind!”
This brings me such joy as Luna, in general, seems naturally enthusiastic and quite at home running about, just like River.
Probing for more tips I asked Katy about how Luna was introduced to trail riding and running. Katy said, “Karen had Luna from about 7 months old so at that age, it was slower paced walks but once she was old enough it was just a case of taking her out riding and letting her do her thing and, since getting together with Karen we are out riding a lot more frequent so Luna is getting to come to play a lot more”.
I was curious if Katy and Karen faced any difficulties and to my surprise, Katy said, “Luna isn’t really a huge fan of bikes, they scare her a little so she won’t ever run in front of your wheel or get in the way but she loves to chase you down or run by the side of you”.
This got me thinking and I really need Luna to have a word with River and tell her to chill a bit. River is a Jack Russel so, similar in stature and enthusiasm to Luna and they need a play date and chat.
Luna gets to go on most of Katy and Karen’s adventures, whether its paddle boarding, riding, running, van trips, or anywhere they can take Luna, she will go and she adapts super quickly. “She’s a very smart and chilled little pup.”
As well Katy’s love for riding bikes and racing she also posts some super sweet photos of her other loves and passions and will be soon adding a new member to the family.
So, again, being super nosy, I asked Katy to tell me more… “We went for a well needed holiday out in Bali the week before lockdown started so we ended up getting stuck in Bali for 6+ weeks rather than the two we had planned!” But, Katy relates “it was a blessing in disguise though as we found Suki.”
Katy and Karen headed out in a day trip, riding around an hour on a little moped and finding a waterfall and river and “had an amazing morning as it was truly stunning.”
As they were setting off to head back to base, Katy relates, “literally no more than 10 seconds into the trip home we found this little puppy on the side of the road trying to find food off a bone she had found. Karen shouted stop and I knew at that moment that dog was coming home with us!”
Karen proceeded to scoop her up, with Katy feeding her a boiled egg. They rapped her in a towel, popped her in a tote bag and they all rode back to the villa, happy as larry.
Katy said, “I think it was 48hours before we had her vaccinated, a passport given to her and booked her in for a microchip and rabies jab.”
There are so many stray dogs and puppies in Bali, it’s heartbreaking and with lockdown and Covid-19 out there even more dogs were becoming homeless as people struggled for money.
Katy continues, “We would have brought her home with us, but it takes about 3 months for the blood tests to be sent to the UK to be tested and accepted for rabies and once this has been approved she can come home.”
So, they found her a lovely little independent foster home for the time that she was waiting for lab results to come back and she is ready to fly home to Katy and Karen.
Hopefully she will be with them very soon and wondered if they’d be doing anything special to mark the occasion, Katy enthused “I literally can not wait for Suki to be with us, it will be so nice for Luna to have a new play friend too. I don’t think we will be doing much to celebrate her coming home but I’m sure there will be plently of cuddles, walks and trying to settle her in as much as we can.”
Katy has said “Get prepared for a crazy amount of Suki photos when she arrives back home with us!!” — I personally can’t wait either.
Both, Katy and Karen have a very strong bond with Suki from their time with her in Bali; and dogs just tend to get it, how we need them. They offer so much to us humans right from the very moment we see them and they capture our hearts. They help us through the day, they comfort us, make us happy, and distract us with cuteness and if you’re probably working at home atm you’ll notice this more.
Our dogs have a very special bond with us humans and I wondered how having Suki for Katy and Karen, who now at this time we’re stuck in Bali due to lockdown, how much it meant having a dog around.
Katy tells me: “Suki was amazing company in Bali for both Karen and I, it was lush to spend a month with Suki when she was so young, watching her grow and for her to trust us to look after her. I did get very unwell in Bali and Suki was amazing company for me as well as Karen, we really do miss her so much right now. Luna is the same though, anytime we are unwell or simply even feeling down Luna will be right by us offering cuddles or company, exactly the same when we get excited or anything, they seem to know and react to our moods and feelings too.”
When Katy told me this, I thought she’d hit the nail right on the head, dogs do SO much more for us. Our fury little companions are everything rolled into one, wether we are happy, sad, having fun or chilling.
I got Katy to tell me what they do, off the trails. ”We are a pretty active family, if we are not riding we are walking, running, yoga, stand up paddle boarding down the River Wye or simply going on an adventure somewhere. We love trying new activities, we just like moving and being active.”
So, in conclusion, firstly a BIG thank you to Katy, Karen and Luna for letting us into a little behind the scenes. We can’t wait for Suki spam.
And, from me personally, what I’ve learnt is whether we love to be outdoors, chilling, exploring or having fun being in nature, just do it with the ones you love.
Till next time — Thanks for reading
^If you are in anyway unsure if your dog can cope with the work of running on the trails or are having issues with training. Speak to a qualified and professional trainer or your vet.
*We are by no means experts; simply dog lovers sharing stories of other dog lovers