Sweet!

On Friday, Aug. 13, Cascade Bicycle Club’s own Kat Sweet—Youth Program Coordinator and mountain biker extraordinaire—rocked the giant slalom course in Whistler, BC, winning the gold medal in the women’s event at the Crankworx gravity-fueled mountain biking games.

She was riding, for the first time, her dream bike: a Trek Scratch. Her mountain bike team, Dirt Corps, surprised her with the bike the previous week in recognition of her work in the community. That’s no small thing coming from a team with community involvement at the core of its mission (team members each do 80 hours of volunteer work per year). But Kat truly does go above and beyond when it comes to giving back.

At Cascade alone, Kat coordinates bicycling camps, after-school clinics and numerous events that introduce kids to the rewards and responsibilities of biking. She trains P.E. instructors to teach the basics of bicycle safety through our Basics of Bicycling program, ultimately reaching 10,000 kids per year.

Kat’s work with at-risk and low-income children includes serving as founding manager of the Seattle chapter of Trips for Kids, an international program that organizes mountain bike adventures for kids who would otherwise not have the opportunity. She has also worked with kids in transitional housing at Magnuson Park to create scraper bikes—cycles decorated with spray paint, duct tape, foil and candy wrappers—that are a source of pride and creative expression for the children. As if that weren’t enough, Kat leads mountain biking classes and camps for women, and she occasionally helps out with bike-trail building.

Whew! We are truly fortunate to have this dynamo of bicycle education on our staff.

Kat began downhill mountain biking in Tahoe in 1996. Downhill racing incorporates full-suspension bikes, body armor and steep slopes with lots of jumps. Kat competed on the professional level for three years before deciding to take a breather, move to Seattle and begin her work with kids. In time, however, the dirt called her back, and she was riding again. Dirt Corps discovered her skill and commitment, and soon after recruited her to the team.

And that brings us to August 2010, when confident atop her new bike, Kat raced the giant slalom finals in Whistler, competing neck-and-neck (and sometimes elbow-to-elbow) with a friend whom Kat managed to edge out in the end. In addition to her gold medal, she won a GoPro helmet cam and also took fifth place in the Air downhill event (49 jumps in one five-minute ride!) Did we mention she also won the Women’s Category 1 Northwest Cup this year?

Kat wishes to thank Dirt Corps and its sponsors, Trek and Gregg’s Cycles, for presenting her with the Trek Scratch that led her to victory at Crankworx. And we, in turn, extend a huge thanks to Kat for her tireless work with kids and the biking community. Congratulations, Kat, on your recent victory!