Just recently, MBUK got to hang out with the current women’s downhill world champ and one of the most successful mountain bike racers of all time, Rachel Atherton.
When we met up with Rachel just before the Fort William World Cup, she was sitting pretty on a 14-race winning streak. Unfortunately, soon after our visit her run of victories was broken by a dislocated shoulder, sustained in morning practice before the World Cup finals in Fort William. Sorry if we were bad luck for you, Rach!
Rachel has had numerous injuries over the course of her career, and she admits that with each one it gets harder and harder to recover mentally and rebuild the confidence and race-winning speed that’s expected of her. Anyone as dominant as her in the sport has a huge target on their back and considerable pressure to keep winning. Rachel confessed that this gets worse every year, and if anything is going to prompt her to retire, it’ll be this. Thankfully for the 29-year-old, being back at home in rural Dyfi, Mid Wales, gives her a chance to get away from all the stress and recharge.
With burly terrain like this on the doorstep, it’s no surprise Mid Wales has produced so many top riders. Rachel makes light work of the rocks
Rachel showing our Staff Writer Ed the way through some of her brother Dan’s newest jumps
With serious skills on the DH rig, it’s no surprise to find out that Rachel is pretty handy on a trail bike too
By no coincidence though, Dyfi also happens to be one of the best places to in the country to ride bikes, and that’s thanks in no small part to Rachel’s brother Dan. For the past few years, he’s worked mercilessly, carving the rugged landscape into an incredible network of downhill tracks and jump lines, which as yet still remain almost secret. So, when the invitation came to go riding there and gain an insight into the mind of the world champ, who were we to refuse?
Our Ed in hot pursuit down the main downhill track in Dyfi
Helmet hair. Who wears it better? (Definitely Rach)
Rachel’s World Cup results and winning times from 2016: 1st, 1st, 1st… you get the picture
We were all knackered from a day riding, but Rachel’s dog Kyah still had plenty of energy to burn, plus he loves showing off his tricks
If you want to read our full-length interview with Rachel Atherton, you can still get hold of a copy of MBUK Issue 344 here.
You can keep track of Rachel’s road to recovery in the latest Atherton Diaries videos. We hope to see her back between the tapes at the World Cups soon!
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