Rachel Profile_Fotor

TSF 18: Rachel Atherton – World champion mountain bike racer

Rachel Atherton races mountain-bikes. She has just won the World Cup Overall Championship for the fifth time and she’s been World Champion three times.

Rachel Atherton Collage_Fotor

If you had a 25th hour each day, what would you do?
I’d sleep! Definitely. During the season when we are travelling all over the world, racing and training it’s hard to rest enough to let my body recover as it should.

Essential store cupboard ingredients?
Spirulina, quinoa, almond butter… And a bottle of red wine! 

What is your ultimate night in – or out?
I love to dance – after a race at some dodgy disco or at a ceilidh (my step dad John plays the accordion and calls the dances!) It doesn’t matter really – just a chance to let my hair down and act like a girl.

What’s in your handbag? 
Keys, lipstick, moisturiser, tissues, phone, dog chews, GoPro … and my boyfriend Olly’s wallets, Olly’s phone, Olly’s food… 

Any cuisines you love or loathe?
I love a good Indian, and sushi, in fact all the fresh flavours of Japan – I try to eat loads of fresh organic vegetables. I try to avoid gluten so I struggle when we’re travelling and racing in France it’s all baguettes, croissants… 

What’s your daily uniform?
Race kit for riding Downhill, lycra in the winter for training on the road or gym kit…

 Why does your job matter to you?
My two big brothers are pro mountain-bikers as well and between us we set up Atherton Racing, now we’ve got a Team Director, 4 mechanics, in-house communications, road manager, physio, film-maker, chef , it’s like an extended family. I started racing professionally straight out of school so it’s all I’ve ever known.

 Was there ever a time in your career where you thought ‘I’ve had enough?
Lots of times! Every time I get really nervous before a race usually (I still get sick sometimes it’s that bad). Also when I get injured badly (the worst time was when I got hit by a pick-up truck in training) and last year when I caught a glandular fever type infection in South Africa and just couldn’t shake it off…

 When you have a daily work slump, how do you snap out of it – tips?
Walk the dog, go for a nap, or bounce on the trampoline – hmm not sure any of those will work for people with a more traditional job! I love yoga and try to practise everyday it’s brilliant for keeping energy levels nice and steady. 

How did you achieve your current role?
Literally through blood, sweat and tears. Working so closely with your siblings is awesome but imagine how stressful it can be too – we are all World Cup winning athletes so there’s a lot of competition in the house. Until last year we all lived together as well as trained together – getting our own places has been brilliant!

 What would you have told yourself five years ago?
To ride more carefully!

 Who is your career inspiration?
Oh there are so many – in mountain biking Anne Caroline Chausson and Missy Giove, Lindsey Vonn ( I love skiing) and above all my big brother Dan who made me my first proper bike and who did everything first to forge a path for us.

 Favourite place for Brunch?
My mum’s kitchen on a Sunday mornings with the papers and loads of bacon and eggs! Or Quarry Café in Machynlleth which is an awesome organic veggie place…

 Favourite shops
I love the market at Machynlleth where I live because there’s so much amazing local produce, loads of it is organic – we go every week for a big stock up.

Best meal?
Home made curry with all the bits.

Favourite hotel?
I’m hopeless at remembering the names! There’s a cool place in Sauze d’Oulx where I stayed with the team a few years ago and I just went to St Lucia with my boyfriend Olly for his sister’s wedding – that was awesome. We stayed at Balenbouche Sugar Plantation, so beautiful.

 Most used app?
Instagram – or the weather forecast!

 Happy place?
On a mountain-top with the wind whipping past me or curled up in front of a roaring fire with my puppy Cayu trying to sneak on the sofa – anywhere my family and friends are.

 Wish list of trip destinations?
The Lofoten islands with my bike and a sea kayak, then Corsica and Sardinia

 Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Its not often I’d say this – in fact I’d NEVER usually say this ! But I think the best piece of advice ever has to be from my brother Gee, last year when I was struggling to get over a big illness and to get my strength back for racing, when everything felt so difficult he said ‘You know what, Rach. Maybe your body just needs to have fun and enjoy itself’ and he was so right! For once.

Has anyone left you star struck?
Yeah racing against Missy Giove this year in Windham was awesome – When I was a kid I’d follow everything she did.

 Who should feature next as a Three Six Fiver?
My Fellow Red Bull athlete the climber Shauna Coxsey. I love rock-climbing and Shauna is next level as well as being a total babe!

 What should people look out for?  
Twitter, Facebook
Instagram and our team page