We saw a video with Rachel Atherton commenting on her 2013 UCI World Cup Season and thought about writing it up. Hearing what rider’s opinions on their previous performance at events is great, especially when you can find a video of their runs online and comb over every fine details of their line choices.
There can be no doubt that the pressure on Stevie Smith, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minaar and Gee Atherton is huge going into the start of the 2014 World Cup season but for Rachel Atherton the 2013 season brought about her dominance and secured her place alongside the greats, Anne Caroline-Chausson, Sabrina Jonier, Tracey Mosely, there can be little doubt she is the rider to beat this year and everyone else will be measured against her.
The start of the 2014 race season finds Rachel back in hospital days, sharing a picture online just before the first round in PMB, South Africa leaving us all on edge, wondering whether or not she’ll make it to the line in time. Get well soon Rachel!
We are all hoping that Rachel can give us her usual level of ‘stoked’, ‘proper gnarly’ and ‘y’know’ in her race-winning interview, much like the interview she gave to Red Bull recently recapping last season which is transcribed below.
RA: Coming out of the 2012 season I felt amazing, you know. I’d won the series overall and that was obviously a huge high for me but by no means was that a perfect season. That winter we started working with our new coach, Alan Milway so 2013, I was really up for it. I knew that we’d changed a bit of stuff so I was really up for it and I knew it was going to be a good year.
Going into the first world cup in Fort William was a bit of funny time for me and I didn’t know whether I’d be fit, whether I could handle it and if that raw aggression that you need on the bike, on the track, I didn’t know if it was going to be there or not.
I wanted to win it this year more that I’ve wanted to win it any other year. My actual race run at Fort William was pretty special because it’s one of the only races where I can clearly remember hearing almost every single person that was at the side of the track, shouting my name or saying something, and I could hear it, clear as day.
One of the main things I wanted to say to everyone was, you know, thank you.
Going into the second World Cup in Val di Sol in Italy was really long and really, really physical and had absolutely no pedaling on it – so it really is opposite to Fort William. You’ve got roots and rocks everywhere and I’m thinking near the bottom if anyone’s beaten that then fair play to them; they deserve to win because I know I rode that fast.
World Cup number three was in Andorra. As the track was new on the World Cup circuit, Gee and I were some of the few people who hadn’t ridden it before. For me, it was a pure sort of pleasure you get from riding a brand new track for the first time. I think you need that in a world cup because I was buzzing the whole weekend and it was thick mud, there was mud everywhere. You could barely stay on your bike down the track and that made it even more fun.
It was a pretty cool experience to be having that much fun on my bike at a World Cup and I was like ‘Yeeaah! This is amazing’ and then you’re like OK, OK, I’ve got a race soon just… just chill out a little bit.
World Cup number four was at Mont-Saint-Anne in Canada. I’ve had good races there and bad races there. It was turning out to be this really intense race season. The weather conditions in Mont-Saint-Anne changed quite a lot through the weekend so they were slightly different to how I’d practiced them.
I remember coming down the first section of track absolutely pinning it, then into the first section of woods… and suddenly I was on the floor over the bars, bike on the back of my head and I was just glad that I’d crashed and not gotten beaten.
After the World Cup at Mont-Saint-Anne in Canada I knew that we had a couple of weeks to recover, to get yourself prepared for the world championships.
I went into it absolutely 100% certain that I could win. The pain when I crossed the line…I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t do a thing and everyone’s like “Why aren’t you celebrating? You’ve just won the world champs!” Well… I couldn’t move it was just agony in my whole body. But now I know I can hurt that much and still ride my bike; that’s a pretty cool thing to know.
After South Africa we had to get back into the World Cup scene and race the final two World Cups. The next one was in Norway at Hafjell and you know, you really have to be an all-round rider to ride that track fast. It was the wettest I’ve ever seen it, I knew that the track was going to be absolutely lethal.
I love the rain, you know, I feed off it.
I’m from the UK and riding in the rain all the time so I knew that I could ride the track faster in the wet than the other girls. It was the first race where I got to wear the world champs stripes on my jersey. I just got a little bit of an extra edge, a little bit more attack in me. It felt damn good.
The final World Cup of the year was in Leogang in Austria, and um, I’ve got a little bit of history there. I’ve never won at that venue before. There’s always been something that’s happened to me there. I was going in slightly nervous and I had to finish in the top 5 to get the overall, so it wasn’t certain for sure. Thinking that, potentially, I can be the double world champion this year.
I gave everything that I had in my race run but I just got hipped close by half a second or so. I came in second and Emmeline Ragot was first, which was a good way to end the year because I ended it being beaten and that gives you fuel for the winter. That gives you motivation I think. I got beat, the last race before the off season, I need to step my game up.
Is 2014 going to be as successful as 2013? I’ve got no answer to that but I would like to say yes it’s going to be, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be damn hard to do.
Rachel is clear, she gave everything last season to win, and has clearly been training hard all winter (much harder than us at any rate – what, it was raining?) Lets just hope the injury worries and pressure fall away when she clips in at the start line in PMB on Sunday. Be sure to catch it on the RedBull Live Stream.