A partir du 1er Janvier 2021, le marquage des vélos neufs est obligatoire.  En savoir plus

Meet Caroline Washam

Pro Downhill Racer and Professional Mountain Bike Skills Coach

Mooresville, NC, USA

You might be asking yourself, “So, wait… she rides bikes for a living?”

Well, not exactly. I also think about bikes, talk about bikes and help create cool stories about bikes… for a living.

My life hasn’t always revolved around bikes, but for over two-thirds of my 33.5 years I have been obsessed with them. It started when I went all-in at 10 years old and spent my carefully hoarded allowance money on a BMX bike. I began rolling around the local track with one sole objective: beat all the boys in my age group. That developed into a love for gravity-fed mountain biking in college and led to a job in the cycling industry a few years later – driving a van full of bikes to events around the western United States for Liv.

Back then, I was just stumbling around saying, “yes,” to the things that made me happy. I never dreamed those yeses would lead to racing World Cups and World Championships, owning my own coaching business or working alongside a global team of inspiring people in the bike industry. I also never imagined I would have the opportunity to ride and train on a magical mountain bike that would allow me to float up to the top of a mountain with ease and ride laps to my heart’s desire – but here we are!

Caroline Washam, riding the Intrigue X E+

Throwback: 2017 was the year that catapulted me into a professional racing career when I stood on the podium next to my idols at the Crankworx Whistler dual slalom. Just a few weeks later, I rode an E-bike for the first time while coaching at an event. To be honest, I really didn’t want to. It was the early days of electric mountain bikes in the United States and I had inherited the negative perceptions that the majority of mountain bikers in my community held at the time: E-bikes were only for older people, E-bikes would cause trail-use issues, and E-bikes would certainly screw with my Strava QOMs. But less than a mile into our ride, me and my fellow coaches were literally giggling with excitement. The concerns and negativity melted away – it was just so freakin’ fun!

That first E-MTB was a bit clunky and there was an obvious lag between your initial pedal stroke and the motor kicking in, which made it less-than-intuitive. It was a far cry from the Intrigue X E+ that I ride today – it’s fast, stable, handles like a dream, and the pedal assist is so instant that sometimes I almost forget I’m on an E-bike… until I look at my heartrate and realize I just recovered on a climb.

Caroline Washam, coaching mountain bike skills

So yes, today my life revolves around bikes. It doesn’t always include riding, though. The majority of my time earning a living in the cycling industry actually involves sitting at a desk. I spend most mornings in the gym or on Zwift, most afternoons and evenings hunched over a computer, and most weekends either coaching, racing or exploring my favorite places. Just like everyone else, my time is short. I’m grateful for my E-MTB because it helps me make the most of my time. If I’m training for a downhill race and need to get more comfortable riding BIG jumps, the E-bike can help me get more runs, in less time, with less fatigue. If I need a workout, I can dial in the level of assist to match how hard my coach wants me to go that day, all while honing my bike handling skills. If I’m scouting a trail for an upcoming MTB skills clinic, I can familiarize myself with the trail and find features in half the time with none of the sweat.

And recovery day? Yeah, E-bike Mondays are a grin-inducing staple on my schedule.

All photos by Leslie Kehmeir.

Caroline Washam, professional downhill athlete

"I love that this bike comes with 140mm of rear travel and a 150mm fork – it’s a suspension setup that can really do it all. It’s fun on my local XC trails, but can also crush it at a place like Ride Kanuga, with technical downhill trails and big jumps!"

-Caroline Washam

"The Liv Shuttle Flats are the best flat pedal riding shoes I've ever had. I love the little pocket for the shoe laces, the sole which has just the right amount of grip and they are so comfy!" 

-Caroline Washam