Beyond the podiums and test sessions, there is a lot of doubt and challenging moments of the mind.
Tahneé Seagrave is one of the most gifted downhill riders of her generation.
The Welsh resident learned to ride in the mountain biking mecca of Morzine. And her talent was evident from an early age, winning the junior World Championship in 2013.
Skilled and with an excellent riding style, Seagrave has been a trailblazer in women’s downhill racing. But the 26-year old has also made sacrifices. And not all of them have been obvious.
When the crashes keep happening
After an excellent year in 2018, with three UCI World Cup wins and a second-place overall, Seagrave looked set for a dominant 2019. Unfortunately, during that year’s Fort William event, she crashed heavily.
Recovering from a broken shoulder is always challenging, especially for an elite downhill rider, exposed to many terrain impacts.
Seagrave recovered from her Fort William crash, only to suffer a horrible training accident in 2020, resulting in a broken leg and dislocated ankle.
What a pro downhill rider really feels
The 2021 UCI World Cup campaign was her first season without injury since 2018. Seagrave managed to win at Les Gets and finish second at Lenzerheide. She finished fourth in the overall standings.
A heartfelt edit reveals the pressure that elite riders like Seagrave endure in a season. Many of the same insecurities, anxieties, and fear of failure that present with weekend warriors, also apply to a rider of Seagrave’s calibre.
In the end, from amateur to elite, the mountain always wins. And no mountain biker ever stops learning. Or being humbled by terrain – or the spectre of competition.