Downhiller Rachel Atherton is a multiple national champion. She began BMXing at the age of 8 and mountain biking at the age of 11. She was The SundayTimes’ Sportswoman of the Year and BBC Midlands Junior Sportswoman of the Year in 2005.[
In 2007, Rachel Atherton joined the Animal Commencal race team along with brothers Dan Atherton and Gee Atherton.
In June 2008 Rachel Atherton became the first British woman to win the Elite UCI Downhill World Championship, defeating second placed Sabrina Jonnier by 11.99 seconds in the final.
After her very successful 2008 season Rachel was pumped to keep the ball rolling. Unfortunately, on January 18, during a road-training ride in Santa Cruz, CA she collided head-on with a pick-up truck. She severely dislocated her left shoulder and suffered from cuts and bruises. After multiple surgeries she is recovery and is super anxious to get back on the bike.
Q & A
Squats, press ups on my bike. I like to think I'm rather technically advanced and in life I'd like to think I'm a happy person to be around.
Ready brek with honey.
Up or Down:
Techno or Metal:
both, one for each ear.
Downhill or dirt jumps
crucial, and in your head
Can you call out a single career highlight and why?
Andorra 2008, world cup 2, me and my 2 brothers won our disciplines.
What's it mean to you to be riding for Oakley?
It means 30 tear off's and i can still see good! it means alot knowing i can be riding on my own in the forest and still be linked to riders all over the world.
Who makes you laugh?
Most people in their own special way
What's your favorite number and why:
If I had a younger brother, one piece of life advice I would give him is:
Follow your instincts
How did you start Mountain Bike riding? How old were you?
I started racing BMX when I was about 7 years old because my brothers were both racing. Then we all crossed over to mountain bikes a few years later. It was a natural progression...curiosity, speed! I was hooked from the start.
What have you learned from your brother and sister who are also professional mountain bike riders?
I have learned so much from my brothers, from how to first balance on a bike to appreciating the speed and joy of downhilling. I continue to learn from them everyday, how to deal with the pressure at races, how to read race tracks and even knowing my level of ability.... the list is never ending!
Movies: Snatch, Walk the Line, The Butterfly Effect, 8 Mile, Pretty Women Books: There are far too many to name...I love reading. The nightclimbers is an amazing and British book.
Heroes and why?
I recently read a book by Rosie Swale. She ran around the world and it took her 5 years. Enough said! Anyone who gets to the top doing what they love and stays there....
If you were not a pro mountain bike rider, you would be?
Hmmm, I'd love to be an English teacher, or a sprinter, or a stage performer. There are a lot of dreams!
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced?
I think dealing with and overcoming injury is the hardest thing I have dealt with. The thing about injuries is that time is a healer which is frustrating, and in sport, they never end...!
What is the best advice you've heard?
Learn a little something from everyone, everything, every day.
What is the best advice you've heard on improving in your sport?
What can you do TODAY, to get to the end goal?
Where is your favorite place to ride and why?
My home of Llangynog, with a few friends and my brothers. the ground is wet, but the sky is bright. You'll never have more fun. To race, Val Di Sole in Italy, the track is insane. The track is steep, technical, rocky and rooty, exactly how race tracks are in my dreams.
Do you have any other special talents?
Well, i am a women! I'm a pretty rad cook...i love it! I'd say i can hold my own on a motocross bike. In my head I have loads, but when you write them down...hmmm.
What are your goals for 2009/2010?
2009 was a tough year for me. I had an accident in January and I had to take the whole year out having various surgeries. So 2010 will be a big comeback year for me. Domination would be nice.
How do you get and stay inspired?
After having a year out through injury, I have perfected the art of bringing back the feeling of sitting trackside while the others race and win my races! It is a useful tool to have.
What are your strengths?
Technical stuff, gnarly, steep, rooty, but the ultimate is the RAIN!
What are you working on?
Any good stories from a day of riding or traveling to a contest? If so tell us about it.
A few years ago, we were all trucking to a race in Portugal. There were about 5 of us, we had a black van and no air conditioning. It must have been 1000 degrees outside and by the end of the drive everyone was stripped down to their underwear and my friend was bursting for a wee so she just leaped out and ran into the gas station in her underwear....it was incredible!