Here’s another chance to re-live and celebrate Rachel Atherton’s untouchably perfect 2016 race season.
This vid is light on raucous riding and heavy on talking and contemplation. Which is not to say that it’s slow or boring. Far from it. It’s a fascinating talky mini-documentary about how Rachel feels about her achievement.
In the vid Atherton reveals how she tried not to think about having the ‘perfect season’. She explains that the last time she thought about winning everything in a race season was during her recovery from injury. When she got back on a bike after this injury she instantly injured herself again.
So no more thoughts about a perfect season were allowed after that. She took every 2016 race as it came and dealt with them one by one.
Other revelations in the vid include: Rachel is total mare to live with the week before a race, Tahnee Seagrave coming close (0.7 secs) to beating Rachel in a World Cup made her “angry”, Rachel always worries that she’s not going to win the next race.
The scene of Rachel sat down in the chairlift hut (presumably visualising her run) with her eyes closed and weaving her head and hands around is particularly illuminating. Not many racers out there would feel as focussed and un-self conscious as that.
What the filmmakers say…
“Being perfect is hard work. Remaining completely focused every time you pin on your race numbers. Memorizing the flow of practice runs so you can nail your race run. Stayed disciplined enough not to get distracted by the carnival atmosphere at every World Cup. Avoiding punctures and mechanical issues. Continuing that winning run race after race after race. Rachel Atherton has been pursuing such perfection all season.
“With this World Championship win Rachel completes a remarkable achievement, a flawless record in seven World Cup races this season and now the rainbow stripes on her jersey. Together with last season’s run of victories that gives Rachel a winning run that stretches for 13 world cup wins.
“‘I keep myself busy trying not to think about having the perfect season … every race a new race… focussing… stay on your routine. After that first win at the first World Cup it gives you a lot of confidence but I never imagined that I’d win every world cup in the year. It’s crazy. Every race I think some bad luck must happen, I’m going to run out of luck. I’ll crash or puncture or something will snap on my bike. Every race it was perfect, it was amazing.’ Rachel Atherton.
“All year she won everything she could. Lighting up the Downhill World Cup, winning every race and dominating the overall classification. But still there was one more goal; the World Championships. Winning the rainbow jersey would make Rachel Atherton’s already amazing season truly perfect.”