He's not just the most successful male downhill rider ever
Steve Peat retired World Cup racing at Vallnord last Saturday. By the time we’d dried our eyes and cleared away a mountain of snotty tissues we decided it was time to pay homage to the great man.
No matter where you are in the world, Peaty will always be cheered more than the rest of the field put together. Peaty turned 41 last year and while there are no sign him slowing down he decided the sport was taking too much of a toll on his body to continue.
The Sheffield Steel has been racing at the top of the sport for twenty years and is one of its most loved figures. Here’s eight reasons why he’s a bloody legend.
17 World Cup wins, 52 World Cup podiums, one World Championship, two European Championships and nine British Championships. It’s an unparalleled record in men’s downhill. Only Greg Minaar can match him for victories, having won his 17th World Cup at Fort William earlier this year. Let’s not forget that Steve was winning when other legends like Nico Vouilloz and Cedric Gracia were at the height of their powers.
Steve is a winning machine and will go down in history as one the greatest riders to swing his leg over a bike.
Old school attitude
Despite all his success, Peaty has never developed an attitude or superstar-complex. He’s always presented himself as approachable and friendly to everyone. More than anything though, he knows how to work hard and play hard.
Peaty’s reputation for partying is legendary and it’s a side of professional mountain biking that seems to be fading. Whether or not that is a good thing is not for us to say, but one thing’s for sure, Peaty won’t let it go without a fight.
Still going strong at 41
Peaty raced all seven rounds of the UCI World Cup last year and a few rounds of the Enduro World Series. He managed to get a seventh at Cairns and he finished 24th in the overall rankings. He also managed to get a podium at the IXS European Downhill round on his Lenzerheide track.
Peaty is out with an ACL injury at the moment, but from the Syndicate video series, it looks like he’s training hard to keep racing this season and beyond. When will he stop?!
He supports his local scene
Steve Peat is nicknamed the Sheffield Steel for one reason, he loves the city he grew up in and lives there to this day. He is also instrumental in keeping the Sheffield riding scene thriving.
Perhaps the biggest part of this is the support he gives to the Steel City Downhill, one of the most fun looking races in the UK downhill scene. It normally sells out almost instantly and draws a massive crowd.
Sheffield now has some great up and coming riders such as Josh Lewis and Craig Evans, and some of their success can no doubt be traced to Peaty’s influence on the city.
That World Champs win
In 2009 most people had written off Peaty’s chances of ever winning the World Championships. It was a blot an otherwise flawless career. After being so close for so many years, it seemed like it was Peaty’s curse to never wear those rainbow stripes.
In Canberra, Peaty proved everyone wrong. He tore the course apart and although he only won by 0.05 seconds, it was enough. The crowd went wild and Peaty finally showed the world he could be considered as one of the greats. The run was so good, it made it into our most legendary downhill runs ever.
He’s a doctor
If we had to be technically correct we would have referred to Steve as Dr Peat. Peaty was given a doctorate in 2008 from Sheffield Hallam University for sporting excellence and charity services. He managed to do it without thousands of pounds of debt and living in a hovel for three years as well.
He’s mentored the next wave of British talent
Always keen to ensure that the British downhill scene remains strong, Peaty has mentored some of the most promising young riders and turned them into stars.
Peaty also mentored Brendan Fairclough and although this hasn’t yet translated into World Cup victories, Brendan is one of the most stylish riders around and has even competed at the last two Red Bull Rampage events.
He’s in some of the best films in mountain biking
Won’t Back Down was a biographical documentary that chronicled Peaty’s 2009 World Champs success, however, his career is so expansive that it became more of a history of mountain biking. It’s one of the most emotional and incredible mountain bike movies, and if you haven’t watched it yet, we highly recommend that you do so.
Peaty is also in a load of other great films such as Seasons, the Sprung series and his very own, This is Peaty.
This is far from the end for Peaty. Sure he won’t be gracing the race tracks of the World Cup circuit anymore but, as this list shows, he’s always been about more than that.
He said in his farewell video: “I am constantly blown away by the adventure that two wheels gives me. The fun and adventure that two wheels gives me will continue forever.” We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this legend of our sport. Cheers Peaty.