Rachel Atherton Ride Clinic - Photo Epic

Jul 21, 2016
by Yasmeen Green  



Following an incredibly successful race season last year, Rachel Atherton reflected upon her year and success, and looking beyond her own achievements, decided that she wanted to begin to take action to encourage and support female riders like herself, in progressing and achieving success and fulfilment in their riding. As the current record holder for the most successive World Cup victories, often displaying dominating performances, Rachel found herself in the perfect position to be able to recall and share all of the hard work, expertise, and lessons learned through years of striving for success. By sharing this invaluable experience with other female riders she hopes that more women will be inspired and confident in their riding and pursue their racing and riding ambitions, and perhaps one day equal or surpass the success pioneered by Rachel.

This ambition resulted in the formation of the Jeep Rachel Atherton Ride Clinic. An open call for submissions from female riders required the submission of a short riding edit. From all of the entries received Rachel then selected 13 individual riders to come and join her, Trek Factory Racing Technicians, Fox Suspension, ride coach, Ally Campbell and strength and conditioning coach, Alan Milway, at the infamous Revolution Bike Park in North Wales for an intensive day of fun, learning and experience. The race proven venue provided the perfect training grounds for the varied skill level of riders, with a number of tracks to choose from, each packed with features varying from jumps, techy roots and ruts, flowing berms and high-speed compressions to smooth and floaty gaps. The dry and baked tracks gave plenty of opportunity for riders to test their abilities and knowledge, find confidence and speed and have fun.

Rachel Atherton Ride Clinic
Wales, the setting for the day.

By ten o clock there was a full house of female riders buzzing around the Trek Factory pits anxious to get started. The morning sun was scorching in Llangynog valley providing perfect conditions for the dusty shredding chilling between runs and demonstrations and talks that were about to begin. Here s how the day got on.
By ten o'clock there was a full house of female riders buzzing around the Trek Factory pits anxious to get started. The morning sun was scorching in Llangynog valley, providing perfect conditions for the dusty shredding, chilling between runs and demonstrations and talks that were about to begin. Here's how the day went.

Before the riding began the girls were taken through some basic bike checks to ensure their bikes were safe to ride. Tyre pressures basic suspension settings and the positioning of controls were just some of the areas covered to ensure that all were prepared
Before the riding began the girls were taken through some basic bike checks to ensure their bikes were safe to ride. Tyre pressures, basic suspension settings and the positioning of controls were just some of the areas covered to ensure that all were prepared.

Checking tire pressures and fixing any problems with bikes.
Checking tire pressures and fixing any problems with bikes.

King of the mountain getting the girls up the hill and providing plenty of runs.
King of the mountain getting the girls up the hill and providing plenty of runs.

Rachel encouraged the riders to inspect sections of the many tracks at Revolution Bike Park prior to riding allowing line choices to be demonstrated and riding technique to be discussed before setting off for the first run of the day.
Rachel encouraged the riders to inspect sections of the many tracks at Revolution Bike Park prior to riding, allowing line choices to be demonstrated and riding technique to be discussed before setting off for the first run of the day.

Trailing down the hill for the first run of the day.
Trailing down the hill for the first run of the day.

After each and every run the women excitedly discussed sections and features whilst the adrenaline was still coursing.
After each and every run the women excitedly discussed sections and features whilst the adrenaline was still coursing.

bigquotesI really wanna get the women racing so I thought I would do a ride clinic. Ally Campbell is a riding coach and she came to help out. We split into groups. We spent time going over line choices and technical ability. I'm pretty impressed with the girls. The first group race a bit. They were pretty competent so it was really hard to tell them what to do. The second group I could do a bit more with. They all rode this one drop they didn't ride before. It was pretty inspiring seeing them step up. The women's side of the sport is massive and it's great to see everyone. - Rachel Atherton

After getting a feel for the track and its features further changes were made to bike set up. Perfecting suspension set up with expert guidance from Fox technicians.
After getting a feel for the track and its features, further changes were made to their bikes. Perfecting suspension setup with expert guidance from Fox technicians.

Rachel Atherton Ride Clinic
Rachel personally helped to check each girls' bike, aiding with any further adjustment if needed, allowing for a better riding posture and more control for the rough and challenging tracks.

With bike set up sorted it was down for second runs.
With bikes sorted it was down for second runs.

Lindsay Hanley leads the way for the group whilst Rachel follows close behind able to observe riding technique and line choice in action.
Lindsay Hanley leads the way for the group whilst Rachel follows close behind, able to observe riding technique and line choice in action.

bigquotesI can't narrow it down to one thing that I will take away from this experience, to me it was the whole package from bike setup, the importance of fitness - well, the right type of fitness. The little coaching tips and just having a blast down the trails with a bunch of girls - Lindsay Hanley

Trek were present with a fleet of current bikes ranging from the Session 9.9 to Remedy in a range of sizes. Riders were free to take a bike of their choice and to have it set up and prepared by the Trek technicians.
Trek were present with a fleet of current bikes ranging from the Session 9.9 to Remedy in a range of sizes. Riders were free to take a bike of their choice and to have it set up and prepared by the Trek technicians.

Ruts...Rach encouraged the girls to try a more open riding stance on the bike to get more stability.
Ruts...Rach encouraged the girls to try a more open riding stance on the bike to get more stability.

Getting the girls to carry more speed through a difficult and momentum-sapping section of the track.
Getting the girls to carry more speed through a difficult and momentum-sapping section of the track.

Question time.
Question time.

Showing the girls some different line choices.
Showing the girls some different line choices.

 My favourite part was line choices. There was a high line and a low line and I did see either I just went through the middle. - Louise

bigquotesMy favourite part was line choices. There was a high line and a low line and I did see either, I just went through the middle. - Louise

Having recently held the British National Championships Revolution Bike Park provided the perfect facility for a day of progression and learning.
Having recently held the British National Championships, Revolution Bike Park provided the perfect venue for a day of progression and learning.


Trek Factory Racing s very own cook attended to keep riders fuelled. Podium Catering providing the girls with top notch healthy and energising food.
Trek Factory Racing's chef attended to keep riders fuelled. Podium Catering provided the girls with top notch, healthy and energising food.

Alan Milway got into expert detail about how being strong flexible and prepared will aid your riding and recovery.
Alan Milway got into expert detail about how being strong, flexible and prepared will aid your riding and recovery.

bigquotesWe wanted to give them an insight as to what me and Rach do over the winter but also try to help them improve if they're wanting to race. We've looked into some simple techniques that they can translate and take. We also talked about the fitness and strength aspect of it so the importance of being healthy, mobile, flexible and the fitness to underpin the riding. - Alan Milway

Warming up is a key component for Rachel. She sometimes spends up to an hour making sure she is warm before a race run.
Warming up is a key component for Rachel. She sometimes spends up to an hour making sure she is warm before a race run.

Stretching time. Alan took the girls through a range of mobile stretches to help reduce injury while riding. He also provided a range of strength exercises to try out.
Stretching time. Alan took the girls through a range of mobile stretches to help reduce injury while riding. He also provided a range of strength exercises to try out.

Throughout the day riders were able to talk to Trek Factory Racing mechanics about set up mechanical issues and how they may affect their riding and comfort on the bike.
Throughout the day riders were able to talk to Trek Factory Racing mechanics about setup, mechanical issues and how they may affect their riding and comfort on the bike.

Rachel Atherton Ride Clinic


Rachel Atherton Ride Clinic

bigquotesI just had the most amazing day. It feels better than Christmas day! I've felt like I've learned loads about pumping jumps, taking it a little bit slower to clear jumps. It was really good having Rachel just take that little bit of time to show you a cool line, and then I just had the run of my life because she slowed down in front of me so I could follow her all the way down. - Kat

On the run of her life.
On the run of her life.

bigquotesI'm no longer scared of people watching me if I come round a corner and there are loads of people there. Rachel said, 'Just ignore them, follow your line and you'll be fine,' On the last run I was fine. I loved it! - Molly

It was smiles all round from the girls after a full day of fun
It was smiles all round from the girls after a full day of fun!




MENTIONS: @trekfactoryracingdh / @trek / @BellBikeHelmets / @iXSsports / @shimano




69 Comments

  • + 78
 Rachel, if you read these comments... Then thanks for putting this on. I have a 7 yo little girl who loves to ride. We're from Pennsylvania so it's all rocks and roots. She has an older brother who also rides and does nothing but make her feel like crap about her riding ability. I showed her the winning entry videos and it really boosted her confidence. Now she wants to enter the contest next year!! Anyway to get a poster of you?? She really admires you a lot. Thanks. Tim.
  • + 17
 Tell her,her brothers a jerk and one day she'll kick his butt, just like Rachel would 99.9% of the guys out there
  • + 15
 Pack up the family shuttle rig and drive up to Quebec for the next round or world cup dh! Rachel is so cool and down to earth, your daughter could talk one on one with her.
  • + 10
 Smack your son upside the head for me!
  • + 2
 I'm from PA. If you guys live near pittsburgh I know of a few female riders who would be happy to take your daughter under their wing. One races for a adventure race team so she's got a ton of experience under her belt and has coached other girls, mostly teens.
  • - 5
flag anchoricex (Jul 22, 2016 at 17:14) (Below Threshold)
 Rachel come to Crankworx. It's the tits.
  • + 4
 @Wesley-Swipes: That's very cool. Thank you. Unfortunately I'm in the Phildelphia area so I can't take you up on that offer. We just signed her up for Little Bella's in August.
  • + 25
 Scouting or not everyone will have benefited and improved. The UK women will continue to dominate dh with this kind of input ...
  • + 21
 Such an awesome person! Always has time for anyone & always willing to stop, chat & help out in any way!
  • + 1
 2nd that. Never met her but she seems down to earth and very approachable
  • + 22
 @slowrider73: all of them are approachable, you just have to treat them like human beings, not Gods from Olympus. That involves not coming up to them and expecting autograph/conversation when it is quite apparent that they are busy. And busy also means standing on the world cup track and figuring out lines. LOts of people here completely misuse the term approachable, expecting pros to engage in an eleborate conversation at ANY time.
  • + 20
 The Atherton's are very active in the mid wales community,attending schools and local races,always happy to take a pic and chat. Nothing but praise and admiration for them.brilliant ambassadors for the MTB community. Keep up the excellent work Rachel!
  • + 9
 @WAKIdesigns: I am nearly 39 years old, and have met Steve Peat twice, and chatted with Josh Bryceland once over the course of the last two years. Both very friendly, passionate and cool. Me, on the other hand, turned into a twelve year old fanboy by the end of all the conversations! I tried to stay composed, but failed. I also completely agree with your point on the Athertons being great ambassadors for the sport. Hard-working, professional, and willing to give back to the sport through things like this.
  • + 1
 @malv173: I got chatting to Ratboy last month in France, i'd had 4 or 5 pints so i must have got on his tits,
he's a great laugh, if a little hard to understand, told me about his canal boat Smile
  • + 2
 @pigman65: I'm always interested in slanguage - can you explain "got on his tits" to a yank?
  • + 6
 @malv173 - I'm unable to perform any conversation with such person, at least one longer than 3 sentences. I met Loris Vergier a few minutes before he dropped into Val Di Sole track on the day of finals, and just said: "You made an incredible run in Windham, it was amazing to watch, good luck today" and I did it only because I saw him trying to chill out before the run, I thought it would make him smile. He just stood next to me with his mechanic, they were throwing some small ball and chatting and having laughs (surely to calm down). It was spontanous and I said it with clear mind with no vaseline. On the bottom I told Troy that it was amazing to watch him fly through the rock garden like a Kangaroo, and told many superlatives to his parents. But I wouldn't be able to come up to Peaty who stood next to me with Page for 15 minutes, and start talking to him how much I admire him, because the only emotional thing I have related to him was watching his run in Canberra on Freecaster.

I am paranoid about being natural and not licking anyone's arse because I know no cool guy expects that. On that World Cup in Hafjell when Stevie Smith won and Brannigan got second, I saw some 30 year old dude talking to Sam Hill in the middle of the pits and he was raving on how amazing rider Sam is. And I saw it in Sam's face expression how embarassed he is and how much he wants this thing to end. Sam just said "thanks for the support, I appreciate that", in "please disappear" tone. Everyone has their own approach and pros react differently. Important thing for me is always to respect their privacy and their business. I stood for 30 minutes in Spec tent in VDSole and I saw some ugly scenes on how fans behave. Troy had a broken finger and some dudes saw it, they still wanted an autograph, even though he could barely write and was in pain while doing it. He was fine with it, but still. Half of people were coming up and asking for a jersey or anything, then saying quick cold thanks and going away as if they were on a round tour trying to get as many free belongings of racers as possible. I did a selfie with Aaron Gwin but only after I saw he was in the middle of doing just that with the fans. I left him alone when he was resting and chilling out. It's been cool, but fk, I wish people treat them like human beings, not puppets.

The simple function of human brain is to admire someone, but when that turns into a worship, things get weird, because in order to worship someone you must put yourself down. You must rape your own sense of dignity, to put another human so high, and that is never healthy. It leads to issues like needing affirmation of your worship, than means looking for likely minded peers, which consequently and inevitably makes your brain look for enemies...
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I made ACC feel awkward once, and have refrained from Pro interactions since. Except for super-normal ones like Zink.
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: there are different forms of it, some light,right up to leading up to violence ,basically it means irritate
  • + 2
 you can also "get on someone's wick","someone's goat",there's probably more but it's beer o'clock lol
  • + 1
 @pigman65: Ah I see - we get each other goat over here. I'm cracking bottles in 3 hours. Friday bottles at that. Cheers
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: If something "gets on your tits", it's means it annoys you. So he thought, being drunk, that he probably annoyed Ratboy.
  • + 4
 @endlessblockades: "Got on tits" = "Got on his nerves"
...I only understand as my wife and I are expecting our son any day now and through reading various materials on birth partners I've reached the logical conclusion having someone "on your tits" is not always the most pleasant experience.
  • + 7
 Some of the girls in the pictures already race in a lot of UK race events , so that kind of blows the cynical theorist out of the water that Trek are scouting for new talent... people do sometimes do things for others to motivate and spread knowledge they have.. without a hidden agenda.. and thumbs up to that i say.
  • + 5
 So when's gee doing one? He can teach me how to ride rock gardens like they aren't there.Gets a lot of stick but you can't knock the guys ability.Hope he gets a podium this year.
  • + 0
 He's not because he has better things to do. What I find unusual is that a WC DH rider is teaching people to check tire pressure. You think they would have restricted by skill level a bit more to coach people who would most benefit from it and put it to use more.
  • + 1
 @poozank: Haha that's a super naive comment to make, you might think you have your tyre pressure perfect but you would still learn a lot from Rachel if she tutored you! Pros take every detail to another level, their bike will even roll much faster than yours down a tarmac hill, everything about their setup is better!
  • + 5
 They need to move the Jeep to the end. "Rachel Atherton ride clinic sponsored by Jeep." Not, the Jeep Rachel Atherton ride clinic. Rachel has achieved these things before Jeep or trek team
  • + 5
 Jeep is paying the bills. Thats how it works.
  • + 8
 My 77 Jeep Cherokee Chief Sport had a 401 with a forged crank and connecting rods. I miss you, baby.
  • + 4
 I'd pay money to attend a one-day event like that (no matter what pro, as long as he/she is literate). Heck, I'd love to have one of the pro-race mechanics at my service for a day.
Are they on craigslist during the Interim time? ;-)
  • + 1
 https://www.facebook.com/cgfuncamps/ Keep an eye if it comes close to you
  • + 4
 This was a great clinic that Rachel put on by the pictures of the event. When I raced the O-CUP DH series the women only had 8 riders and I wish I would have seen more. Women riders that can ride DH and trails well are sexy in my books along with girls and cars.
  • + 1
 There was a bit more of a turnout last year for females at the races at blue but not much. Even at the Canada cup back in June there weren't many girls. It really sucks too because it's a great sport and earns them a lot more respect than not playing sports at all. It would be cool to see some clinics like this at blue. With that said a girl at the CC at blue was the youngest female to ever start a CC race!! Mad props to her haha
  • + 1
 @TBLeldarado: That's amazing! I will be starting in the Canada Cup in 2017. I did O-CUP DH in 2009 and 2010 but then it just died out. It is an amazing sport and wish it was more popular.
  • + 1
 @norco5dh: awesome! It's a load of fun for sure. I see you're from London. We should get together and ride ride sometime
  • + 1
 I agree that it would be excellent to see more women riders in competition and on the trails and I believe we have a generation of young women and girls who have been allowed by society to be more physical than in past generations and will lead to many more riding and racing. However referring to them as sexy because they ride is not doing anything to encourage them. They just want to be riding nothing else.
  • + 2
 @TBLeldarado: I'm always down for shredding. Too sad Meadowlilly is not the best anymore. Know of good trails?
  • + 2
 @madocreg2: indeed I agree with you on your statement of myself calling them "sexy" isn't helping and I retract my statement. I have been teaching my daughter more or riding and hopefully get to see her enjoy the sport as I still do.
  • + 3
 Very cool of Rachel to reach out to aspiring riders and taking time out of her busy schedule. Such a class act and awesome role model for ladies young and old looking to get into the sport.

Good on her sponsors (Jeep, Trek, and Fox) as well for supporting her and making this clinic a reality and what seemed to be a top-notch event!
  • + 2
 So I was standing in line behind two girls to sign up for a Fontana winter series race. then I noticed Gee Atherton and Eric Carter at the table signing their papers. Then I suddenly noticed the two girls in front of me were Rachel Atherton and Melissa Buhl. I was speechless - and I am sure they were thankful for that. Rach was recovering from injury and didn't ride, so not sure why she was in line.

I know, I know "Cool story, bro." Point is, living where I do, I actually encounter quite a few pros I admire, but I never say anything unless it's natural. I don't want to intrude.

And I would LOVE to follow Rachel down a trail if she would ride it at half speed. I could learn a lot.
  • + 2
 I would love to take part of a Master-Class like that with Rachel beside the fact that she is stunning (IMO) it would be great just to hear her dilemmas concerning line choices and general race game plan.
Well done Trek i wish this is only the beginning.
  • + 5
 Emily Batty XC co-ed clinic please!
  • + 1
 Most big name pros are pretty cool. Remember, we're all humans! I met Peaty at Windham, such a fun guy! I've run into quite a few big names and everyone has been fantastic. As long as you're not a complete jerk they're fine.

Rach is a heck of a lady. So passionate and giving. The world needs more individuals like her. Maybe someday I'll get lucky and have a chat with her (probably about food).
  • + 3
 I'l surprised I don't see any of her competitors in this clinic. You'd think Carpenter and Seagrave would be jump on any chance to learn from her. Smile
  • + 2
 Right? She's probably trying to get more women racing because she's tired of riding all alone 5-10 seconds in front of everyone else!
  • + 1
 I wish Revs did an extra uplift at the start of the day for people who turn up early so they could do a track walk. Could maybe charge a couple of quid extra for those that want it?
  • + 0
 We should get an whole hr extra for the price, 6 hrs anit shit.....That way we cud have decent breaks instead of rushing thinking i dont wannt miss any\or many runs.
  • + 2
 What an invaluable experience for those 13 riders, and nothing but respect for Rachel for putting this on. Plus those taco salads looked damn delicious.
  • + 3
 Rachel, please go international with Ride Clinic! Maybe Slovenia is a bit too small at the moment, but Austria is fine!
  • + 3
 I'm slower than probably many of these girls; can I attend the next Rachel Camp?
  • + 2
 "There was a high line and a low line and I did see either, I just went through the middle." - Louise

Louise sounds like a girl after my own heart.
  • + 3
 Nothing's better than seeing a lady show up the boys
  • + 1
 Ooooh, Jeep is paying the bills! I was wodering why the uplift was kriss looking jeeps instead of the dirty old banger land rovers Smile
  • + 2
 Great effort by Trek and Rachel, but what about us guys ? Don't we deserve this sort of treatment ? Not jealous, much !
  • + 1
 Rachael's obviously an exceptional athlete - we all know that - but she seems like a genuinely outstanding person as well. Great role model!
  • + 2
 Glad to see her promoting our sport!

- Hunter
www.mtbtoday.com
  • + 2
 Rachel Atherton is such a good egg.
  • + 1
 so stoked to see happening, looks like a ton of fun! stoked on all the female shredders out there
  • + 2
 Great initiative , how do i sign up my 9 month old daughter?
  • + 0
 Rach: Ok girls, listen up! Rule #1. If you want to be faster stop washing your hair.
  • + 1
 Very cool idea and great to see it happen!
  • + 1
 Linda, tenho muita adimiração pelo trabalho dela.
  • + 1
 We need more women MTB riders! Go Rachel!
  • - 2
 That is one ugly chic in the group photo (back row-center) with bald head!
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