Emily is like so many of us in the sport, the moment she found it she was hooked and hasn't looked back since. Riding from an early age, she got her first bike and would head into the woods with the boys. From there, she went on to race, most notably on the Downhill World Cup circuit and around the UK before finding herself guiding people in Morzine and Les Arcs. No longer a downhill racer, Emily can often be found at the odd Enduro World Series round. Settling in Les Arcs, Emily is one of the first British women to gain British Cycling's level three mountain bike leader award, and perhaps more impressively, the first British female to complete the new guiding equivalence test successfully, a qualification which means she can legally guide in France, where she's busy setting up her own company. We caught up with her to find out a little more about racing, her job and riding bikes. Who is Emily Horridge?
Just some girl who loves riding bikes, used to race downhill, accidentally became a mountain bike guide and somehow ended up living in France. Where are you from and where do you live?
I grew up in Street, Somerset, in the South West of England. I now live in Les Arcs, in the French Alps. Who do you ride for?
I think this is a good time to say a big THANK YOU to Intense Cycles UK for all their help this year! Where are you happiest?
On my bike of course! What’s been your favourite race/contest venue?
Finale Ligure EWS. Such a good vibe, amazing trails and of course ICE CREAM! Where are your favourite trails?
Finale Ligure trails are hard to beat for pure speed, but for big mountain alpine riding, Les Arcs and the surrounding area is mint. What are your strengths?
I'm pretty good at riding on instinct, which works really well for riding blind. Turns out I'm also quite handy at whips on 29ers. What are your weaknesses?
Ice cream in Italy, wine in France, beer in Belgium! What’s been your worst crash over the years?
In 2010 a few days before my 30th birthday, I had a massive crash whilst practicing for Innerleithen IXS cup DH race. I ended up enjoying a lovely 10-day holiday in Edinburgh Hospital with a split liver and a lacerated kidney. Fortunately, I made a full recovery without needing any surgery. What’s been your luckiest escape?
Escaping the rat race, for sure. I never wanted to work in an office, but I didn't know how to achieve that. Which bike from over the years, conjures up the best memories?
My Intense M6 which I had in 2010. I had an amazing summer season in Morzine that year, once I'd recovered from the liver injury mentioned above. There was a tight-knit bunch of 5 or 6 of us, all pushing ourselves to ride everything faster and better. Such a great season, mainly for the people, but I definitely loved that bike, and remember some good races on it too. What bikes are you riding right now?
An Intense Carbine 29er, which is definitely my favourite bike of recent times, it's so fast. Just love it. The M6 was the reason I went back to Intense this year, and I'm so glad I did. I also have a Cube Axial road bike and a Deluxe BMX. Who’s your favourite rider?
I have two friends who are so cool to follow, Martin Astley and Sam Hawkins - just skillful fast riders. They're hoppin' and poppin' all over the place and whenever I follow them I just try and copy. So much fun! Who or what inspires you?
There are a few girls on the scene at the moment who I'm finding inspirational. Miranda Miller is one, she just seems to quietly get the job done and smashes out awesome results in both Downhill and Enduro. I'm also enjoying the "behind the scenes" type interviews and videos that Rach Atherton has done lately, as finding out that the 4 times World Champion goes through the same pre-race thought processes as little old me is kinda a bit eye-opening, and proves you can overcome your silly little worries and ignore those niggling thoughts.
Riding with other women is also pretty inspirational. When you ride with guys you just take it for granted that they'll probably be faster or more skillful than you, but when you ride with girls if someone triumphs on a hard bit everyone is stoked for her, and it's inspirational to share that stoke throughout the group. It probably sounds a bit cheesy but I think that is the difference between riding with girls and guys, and it's something I'm only just discovering because I started biking way back when there were probably 3 girls at a race, and none on the trails. What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?
I'm never very far from bikes, but the usual alternative is rock climbing. I love figuring out the puzzle of a hard route and it's refreshing to do something so different from biking. What are you listening to right now?
Music choice is a bit lame right now, whatever Radio Les Arcs is playing! For a French station, it's surprisingly good, but I do need some inspiration (upbeat electronic suggestions welcome!). What’s your favourite movie/ TV show?
Arrow . What’s your favourite non-bike website?
Err... there are non-bike websites?!?! What’s your favourite motto or saying?
Oh, what an awful view! (when describing some particularly stunning mountain scenery). What grinds your gears?
People who've stopped in the middle of a trail, see you coming and just stand there watching you approach. How about getting out of the way douchebag?! What makes you happy?
When it turns out that the trail that looked good on the map actually is really good! Or just being out on my bike in the sunshine. If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?
I'd probably be a lawyer, wearing a suit, but I don't think it'd be boring. It'd just be indoors, and I'd be dreaming of being outdoors all the time. If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make?
People who skid around every corner on trails where there's no trail maintenance crew would be required to put in a certain number of hours per year of community service trail fixing. When you hang up your racing/ riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered?
As a fun person to shred sweet trails with. What does the future hold for Emily Horridge ?
Guiding people around the best trails in the French Alps - I'm just in the process of setting up a guiding business called The Inside Line. It's early days yet so check out facebook.com/theinsideline.mtb
and hit like to keep up-to-date with what's happening.