Meet Cata: Your Newest Juliana Ambassador.

February 13, 2024
Meet Cata: Your Newest Juliana Ambassador.

Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Catalina Norena came to the United States 17 years ago. After moving around a bit, she found her home in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s here that she’s spent the last 7 years cultivating community, working some pretty stellar jobs, adventuring, and riding around the beautiful Pisgah National Forest. 

Like many of us, Cata grew up riding bikes to school and around her hometown. While living in Washington, D.C., and New York City, she commuted by bike daily to work. In fact, during this time, she didn’t even know what mountain biking was. It wasn't until her move to NC that she was introduced to the magical world of mountain biking when she was invited on a group ride. Without any hesitation, she was hooked.

Cata has spent the last 7 years learning, progressing, and loving the sport, becoming even more passionate about it after purchasing her first full suspension bike five years ago. We had the chance to sit down with Cata and learn more about her involvement with the local cycling community.

How long have you been a brand ambassador for Juliana?

This is my first year! 

What is your favorite aspect of your local cycling community?

The community here in Brevard, NC, is incredibly mountain bike-oriented and passionate about getting more people on bikes. From the outset, I’ve felt welcomed and encouraged to get out on the trails and join local group rides – this quickly got me hooked. Now, I’m excited to share this love and passion with others, especially historically underrepresented groups. 

What local groups are you involved with?

I volunteer with several organizations, such as Riding in Color, which focuses on getting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color on bikes, and the Blue Ridge Dirt Skrrts, an organization dedicated to getting more women on bikes. Additionally, I'm involved with Club de Exploradores, a program by a local non-profit that aims to get middle school kids from the Hispanic/Latinx community out into public lands. In general, I love getting people out to show them the magic of these beautiful mountains on two wheels.

Can you share some of the community work you've been involved in off the bike?

I’m part of the leadership team at Riding in Color and have served on the Board at El Centro Brevard, a local organization that serves the Hispanic/Latinx community where I live. Additionally, I have participated in several panels discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and was part of the working group for the Outdoor Equity Fund that funded several local projects to advance the inclusion of historically underrepresented groups in Western North Carolina. I’m an advocate and co-conspirator for bringing more people out into our public lands to bask in the joy and reap the benefits of being outdoors. I have also participated in several trail work days during local events in Pisgah National Forest with Pisgah Area Sorba.

What has been the most impactful moment you’ve experienced while cycling?

Attending ROAM Fest was life-changing. I have volunteered as a festival ride leader twice and attended as a full participant twice. The event brought so much joy into my life and helped me understand and embrace the importance of affinity spaces. This experience prompted me to dive headfirst into Riding in Color and Club de Exploradores because providing experiences to people who haven’t felt represented, invited, or safe in the mountain biking world is crucial, and I have incredible stories and testimonials to share. I love facilitating and helping folks fall in love with mountain biking, and I recently got PMBIA certified to guide rides so I can continue growing this beautiful community of smiling people on bikes!

What are your thoughts on diversity within the cycling community?

There is still a lot of work to do! It’s been very cool to see how many more women are riding now since I moved to WNC, but we still need to keep working on bringing even more people from different backgrounds.

Have you noticed an increase in female riders, and if so, why do you think that is?

In my area, definitely. In the 7 years that I have been in WNC, I’ve seen a steady increase in female riders, and I think it’s a result of some very active and passionate local leaders that offer group rides for women, local bike shops like The Hub that not only offer workshops and female-oriented events but also have female mechanics. Then you have brands like Juliana that are changing the name of the game by tapping into the power of representation. I feel like, slowly but surely, women are taking up more space in the sport, and I love it.

How important is it to you to encourage more people to take up cycling?

Very important! Biking is my favorite thing to do, and it serves as moving meditation, exercise, and an avenue for an amazing sense of freedom, badassery, and happiness. I want as many people as possible to experience it.

Can we expect more Juliana group rides in 2024?

Absolutely! I can’t wait to keep creating spaces for female-identifying riders from all walks of life. It’s gonna be a great year. We have our first Juliana Ride Out at the end of February… the stoke is high!

Lastly, do you have a quick note of encouragement for individuals considering taking up cycling for the first time?

There isn’t a specific way to be a mountain biker. You just need to get out and ride a bike, and there you are! I promise it’ll be worth it. Give yourself grace and enjoy being out in nature; progression will come eventually. Connect with your local riding groups, specifically women’s group rides. Get out and have fun!

For the FUN of It!

What bike are you currently riding?

A beautiful aquamarine Furtado! 

If you could choose any location to ride, where would it be?

Pisgah National Forest 

Do you have a favorite local trail, and if so, why?

Tough question. I love it all in Pisgah and Dupont. Give me pedal-y, climb-y, followed by techy descents and I’ll be happy, happy.

What is your favorite flavor of mountain biking?

I love to earn my turns. Any steady, long climb followed by a beautiful mixed terrain with some tech and some flow!

Do you have any pets?

Yes! Two crazy dogs, a cat, and a bearded dragon.

Tell us about your most unusual talent?

I can move my ears and wink with both eyes.


Favorite Moto: “Nothing without joy”


Join us for a Juliana 'Ride Out' with Cata on Saturday, February 24th, at 1:00pm. Space is limited, so RSVP today to snag your spot!

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