Courtenay McFadden

Courtney McFadden taking a smiling selfie in her helmet and sunglasses

 

Current Location: 

Coast Salish, Nooksack Lands (Bellingham, WA)

Cycling Discipline(s): 

Cyclocross, XC Mountain Biking, Gravel

What sparked your interest in cycling? What do you enjoy most about it? 

I first got into cycling when I was in college. I grew up playing soccer, and I picked up running in college. I ran a couple of marathons and a handful of half-marathons, and wanted an alternative way to be active besides running. I started teaching spin classes at a local gym while studying Exercise Science and the members of the gym pitched in and bought me my first bike (a road bike). It took a couple of years for me to truly get into it, but once I started to appreciate the bike and cycling it turned into a major passion and something I can’t imagine not having in my life.

I'm not sure I can pick one thing I enjoy the most about cycling! Bikes have the ability to take me places I wouldn't imagine going otherwise. They're a great tool for exploring new areas and reaching new heights. They have this uncanny ability to challenge you both physically and mentally. I have a huge appreciation for both road cycling and off-road cycling and they each offer me something different and bring me great joy.

What's the most memorable place you've ever ridden?

My favorite place to ride is Cumberland, BC on Vancouver Island. We have a family home up there, so I spend about 2–3 weeks a year riding there in the summer. Those trails are my absolute favorite. The road riding, while limited, is great as well. The most memorable place my bike has taken me was to Italy for a Cyclocross World Cup. We raced about an hour outside of Rome (the course was actually really terrible), but I made sure to plan a trip to Rome the day after racing and that was the most memorable experience of my racing career. So, while the riding wasn't the most awesome, the trip as a whole was amazing.

Courtney riding a mountain bike on a dirt trail lined with tall wildflowers

What's your go-to ride snack?

Gummy candy is my favorite. Canadian gummy candy if we're being specific.

Tell us about your pets, if you have any.

I have a cat named Nugget and she is my favorite. We've had her since she was a kitten and she's my little dog cat. My husband likes to joke that I love her more than him.

You're a strong competitor in CX and MTB—do you have a favorite discipline?

I love them both, and they're so different! I really enjoy CX because it's so dynamic, fast paced, and you can truly only do CX when you race CX. What I really enjoy about mountain biking is how it keeps you entertained the entire time and you have to remain focused. At this point in my racing career, I think I’ll have to say mountain biking is my favorite.

Are you happier when you're out for a casual ride or pushing yourself at race pace? 

While I love racing and the competitiveness and challenges that come with it, riding bikes with friends can truly soothe the soul and fill my cup in ways that racing doesn't.

Any achievements you'd like us to mention (personal, professional...anything you're proud of!) 

  • 15th at the 2017 CX World Championships
  • 4th place at 2019 CX National Championships in front of my hometown crowd in Tacoma!
  • Getting my Masters in Exercise Science: One month in, I realized I didn't want to be there, but I pushed through and I'm really glad I did. Writing your own research is HARD work!
  • Lastly, overcoming two hip surgeries and getting back to racing at the top of the sport after each one. That took a lot of focused discipline and hard work.
Courtney riding her mountain bike on a dirt trail against roots and brush