She might have won, but Fort William was a tough weekend for Rachel Atherton. Tahnee’s crash, brutally wet conditions, a challenging track and – as she alludes to – some trouble with bike setup. All of those things added up to an emotional weekend of racing.
We spent a bit of time in the Atherton Racing pits after the podium to ask Rachel about how her weekend went and how she’s feeling. We aimed to ask her a few questions but “how are you feeling?” seemed to pretty much cover it! Thanks Rachel.
“Um… It’s mental, it didn’t really sink in until the podium when you’re stood up there.
It’s so emotional. Everyone is there in front of you. It feels mad because it’s a British bike, a British bike company, on the British World Cup top step. I just never thought it would happen after qualifying. I got smoked.
I just thought “what is happening, I’ve forgotten how to ride my bike”. Then we changed… It’s hard. It takes a long time to set a bike up for World Cup racings and get it perfect. I’ve been changing between air shock, coil shock, changing between this and that, even today I’ve been changing, changing, changing. And we found the perfect combination for the suspension and it makes a big difference. It was a real team effort, everyone working so hard.
The weather has been atrocious. I can’t remember a worse World Cup. Real poor vision, wind, dangerous at the top. Tahnee getting hurt freaked me out a bit and reminds you that you’re mortal and the top people can get hurt as much as any old person.
It’s been a gnarly old weekend, that’s how I’d describe it, gnarly. The track’s gnarly, it’s fucked, holes everywhere, everyone crashing. It’s mental.
But yeah, buzzing seeing Dan Brown’s face at the finish. I feel like that’s what I do it for because his face just lights up. He’s not a very emotional man and you’ve got to make the most of it for 10 seconds, he’s so buzzing on that win. It’s mint.
It’s been such a good weekend. Everyone’s come to see the bike, it’s a relief that first win on the new bike. It’s a good bike and… here we are”.
You can check out all our Fort William World Cup content here.