We grabbed a few mins with yesterday's Fort William World Cup winner
It’s fair to say that Rachel Atherton dominated the race day at Fort William. Atherton may not have posted the fastest seeding time – Manon Carpenter took pole – but Atherton’s race run was twelve seconds(!) quicker than 2nd place.
Her Fort William win was Atherton’s 9th consecutive World Cup victory. That is fairly wow.
We collared her at Fort William and lobbed a few quick questions at her.
Rachel and Fort William
Rachel Atherton: “I’ve been racing there for a long time and I used to hate it and it was the worst track for me. So having the years of not doing well makes you work on your weaknesses and work harder, and then suddenly it turns around and you do well there.”
“In the past I’ve been second six times and before that not as good as second, and so you learn from your mistakes and you learn what you need to do it win. And it’s just a really physical track.”
“But it’s always been an amazing experience to race there, and experience the event and the fans.”
Describe a day in the life of Rachel Atherton
RA: “I guess I’m pretty lazy! This time of year, mid season, we’ve been home for a while so we’re back into training but also taking it pretty easy.”
“I get up at about 8am — I’ve just moved into a new house with my boyfriend Olly and we have breakfast outside in the garden. I say ‘garden’ but it’s mostly just brambles at the moment! Then I take the dog for a walk and I’ll head over to the gym and office.”
“While I’m training Olly will go and work with Dan [Atherton – Rachels’ brother] at the bike park because that’s their thing at the moment.”
“Then I’ll go for the training ride, probably just from the house and ride XC. I judge XC as trails you have to wear kneepads on so I guess people would call that enduro! I’ll spin up the fireroad and then do timed runs on the descents.”
“Then I’ll normally go to the café in the local village for lunch, then either go home and hang with the dog or do some laundry at the laundrette — we’ve not got a washing machine yet.”
“Evening. It’s tricky because when you ride for your job you have to wait for everyone to finish work before you can do a ride, like hitting the jumps. Or we’ll go out paddle boarding in the estuary.”
“Normally I prefer to eat at home, you get better food and you know what you’re getting. When it is market day in the village it is a big Really. Big. Deal . You’ll see everyone wandering around with the organic meat and veg.”
“We take a chef with us when we travel though, and that really helps. But I can remember we used to have to try and find food after racing — in the days when there was 4X we would be up till midnight and then we’d have to go out and try and get something, usually a curry or a pizza. I can’t imagine doing that now, it’s just not what you need after racing.”
“The chef is Tim Morris from Podium Catering. He does a lot of running events and he’s a pretty keen road cyclist.”
“Night. My sticking point is I need to be in bed by 9.30 but that never happens, and it usually ends up being 10.30 which is way too late. I usually take a warm bath because it helps me recover much quicker than a cold both – I’ve tried cold and it doesn’t work for me.”
Above video: Watch Rachel Atherton overtake 91 riders at the Red Bull Foxhunt
What do you think about GB having no XC riders at the Olympics?
RA: “I just saw that. We don’t really have a lot to do with the XC, more so at the Worlds. But I had always just assumed they were getting on with it and doing things right.”
“Last year at Andorra I got talking to the XC coach and he was saying British Cycling are paying more and more attention to the downhiller because we are doing so well. And he said the’ll try and look at what the downhill side of things are going to try and improve the XC side of things and if there could be any help there, any kind of cross-over.”
“On the women’s side of things, the next generation of the girls will be really good in the future though, there’s a new generation coming through.”
“It’s all a bit frustrating at the moment though as the world judges mountain biking as just as XC and all the headlines are about: GB is no good. But of course we are, at downhill. I really think downhill should be in the Olympics, it’s a really exciting sport, it’s a great spectator sport and people want to watch.”