You might remember Charlotte Batty from her video she did for Shred Girls on log hopping (you can watch it here, her advice is on point!). But I also wanted to feature her—especially as a new women’s ambassador for Trek—as a Real Life Shred Girl. Charlotte went from being a super serious ultra-competitive racer to finding an awesome balance of life and bike love. I really appreciate that she’s tried the racer lifestyle, decided it wasn’t for her, but held on to the love of riding. I hate seeing girls who try racing and don’t like it, and give up bikes altogether… There’s so much more fun to be had than just racing!!
Anyway, let’s hear from Charlotte, shall we?
Why/when did you start riding bikes?
I grew up riding bikes around our small town, cattle farm chasing after my three older siblings, just like any other kid. It was when my oldest brother was around the age of 12 that he found the competitive side of mountain biking, and before we knew it, he was hooked enough that he decided to start racing. The rest of us kids naturally had to join the events as spectators on the weekends, and it wasn’t long before the want to start racing trickled down through. I began racing at the age of 10 (the minimum age to race in Ontario), until I was 18. It was my first year of Cadet (U16) that I became much more serious about my racing, and worked with a professional coach.
What was your favorite part?
There are many aspects that I would consider my favourite part; but I really enjoyed the traveling. It was such a great opportunity to see and ride new places around the world, as well as the unique people you met along the way. I also really loved having a challenging feature on a course/trail, and then picking and working away at it until I was able to ride it successfully.
What was the hardest part? (And how did you get past it?)
There were a few things I found difficult about being a competitive mountain biker, but the hardest part was diet. I was a bit heavier than your average teenage female and so it always felt like I was in a battle with myself to eat less calories and try to lose those couple extra pounds. I guess I have my raging sweet tooth to thank for that. Unfortunately I can’t say that I moved past this constant fight until I gave up competing altogether. I still to this day struggle with my body image, but I have learned to embrace what healthy looks like and what curves are. The best piece of advice for other girls on this, is to NOT compare yourself to others. You are uniquely you.
What made you decide to step back from racing?
I absolutely love riding my mountain bike – but one day I just had the thought that I could still ride my mountain bike and not have to train and race and it would be okay. It felt like I had just grown out of racing and it was time to find my own identity in the sport (after years of chasing after my older siblings in their footsteps). I am now a Level 2 Professional Mountain Bike Instructor (PMBIA) and am making a living as an instructor, and having just as much, if not more, fun on my bike.
You’ve gotten into more extreme MTBing lately, what prompted that? Was downhill racing more fun than XC was, or just different?
It really all stemmed from a move to Collingwood 5 years ago that sparked the desire to ride more downhill and freeride. It’s so very different from XC. I love riding technical features and getting air on my bike – all at speed, things that XC just couldn’t provide enough of. I like to think of myself as an ‘all-mountain’ rider – there’s no pressure on how fast you ride up the hill, but pure fun and adrenaline as you race and ride down the hill on the other side.
What was the best tip or trick you’ve ever been told (just a favorite, easy-ish one that a new rider could grasp)?
Eyes on the prize…an easy reminder to keep your eyes looking where you want your bike to go. Your eyes are your most powerful tool to help you be a successful rider in any discipline.
To have taken my years of experience racing and then making the leap to opposite side of the sport – instructing. I was worried I would lose my passion for the sport that gave and taught me so much growing up. But, here I am teaching and providing the same skills l learned so many years ago to the next generation of riders.
Goals in cycling?
To race more Enduros. The new’ish discipline has been on my radar for quite some time, and we finally had one of the Canadian National Enduro Series stop at Blue Mountain (Collingwood) this summer. It was the toughest and wildest experience I have had on my bike yet…thanks to some seriously greasy and muddy conditions. But it was a true test of being an ‘all-mountain’ rider which I really liked, and want to pursue more of. I am also a big advocate for getting more women on mountain bikes through my business Minii Adventures, and so that is my main focus when I’m not dreaming about racing an enduro.
Advice for younger girls interested in riding?
Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do. When I was young I felt as if I had an obligation as a Batty to be a ‘competitive mountain biker’. Therefore the constant training and dieting eventually got the best of me. Training still needs to happen, but If you don’t feel like doing intervals that day, then just go ride your bike and have fun! If it’s not fun, then what’s the point?
LOVE everything about this. Thanks a million to Charlotte for chatting with us—and make sure you check out her Minii Adventures!