Tree Root Pierces Harriet Harnden's Foot at Round 1 of the British National Downhill Series

Apr 15, 2024
by Sarah Moore  

Harriet Harnden was competing at the first round of the British National Downhill Series at Rheola in Wales over the weekend when she had a nasty crash. She was just cruising down after a rear puncture when her foot clipped a root sticking out into the track and went though her shoe, flipping her over the bars in the process.

Harnden says that her bones are intact, but she did break a ligament in one of her toes. She isn't expecting recovery to take too long.

bigquotesNot the end to the weekend I was expecting.

Don’t swipe through the photos if you’re squeamish Was having a great time slipping and sliding at Rheola, until I had a nasty crash in seeding. After a rear puncture in the second corner I decided to just cruise down my seeding run, when my foot clipped a root sticking into the track. This root went through my shoe and into my foot, flipping me over the bars in the process ‍ Didn’t realise the extent of my injury until I cross the finish line and instantly realised something was definitely wrong. After a thorough scrub in hospital, a few stitches and a box of drugs, I’m back together. Fortunately the root missed most of the important stuff, all bones are intact.

However it did break a ligament to one of my toes, luckily very minor.

Looks like recovery shouldn’t take too long. Although taking it one day at a time, as hobbling around on one leg is proving difficult and very painful Funny how something so small can be such a nuisance ‍♀️

Thank you for everyone’s help

As finals ended up being cancelled I somehow managed to slide into P3, despite the most eventful race run of my life
Harriet Harnden

Harnden finished third in the overall standings for the 2023 UCI EDR World Cup and capped her season off with a fifth place at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup. We wish her a swift recovery and look forward to seeing her back on the race track again soon.

Author Info:
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Member since Mar 30, 2011
1,399 articles

  • 168 0
 Anyone else do a double take and think her muddy leg was a tree limb?

Hopefully she recovers quickly. Doesn't sound pleasant at all
  • 21 0
 yeah super weird looking photo
  • 31 1
 Who cares, the bike is clean. That's what matters.
  • 76 0
 I am groot
  • 1 1
 @DizzyNinja: damn, beat me to it
  • 12 0
 I was distracted by the red Zeb to be honest.
  • 7 1
 Quick don’t let the UCI see this they’ll end up cutting roots out of all tracks from now on and introduce new safety rules such as “steel toe cap MTB shoes are compulsory”
  • 3 0
 Yes! Took a few moments to figure out what I was looking at.
  • 4 0
 Enough time to clean the bike so the sponsors get their name in the pic though.
  • 3 1
 I don't know, all I could think of is all the mud in the wound and a root with who knows what on it going through a sweaty bacteria filled shoe. She sounds like a beast just casually waving off being properly stabbed by a prison shank! Legend!
  • 1 0
 Same! I thought the injury turned her leg into a branch.
  • 1 0
 @heavyp: i run shoes with d30 for that exact reason
  • 49 3
 That looks like it wood hurt...
  • 23 2
 On the plus side, the doc won't need much time to get to the root cause of the problem.
  • 13 2
 @mi-bike: I don't think she'd want to leaf it in there...
  • 12 2
 Still glad to see her branching out into DH, hope she has a few WCs on the calendar.
  • 8 1
 @Planetx888: She didn't want to stick to just one discipline.
  • 11 1
 That’s knot funny
  • 7 0
 @skiwenric: It's knot knot funny
  • 2 0
 Nailed it!
  • 29 0
 Oof, keeping that clean and infection free looks like a big task. Best of luck for recovery.
  • 29 0
 OUCH. Didn't the same thing happen to Isabeau Courdurier a few years ago?
  • 14 0
 First the Orcas, and now the Trees...
  • 6 0
 @mikekazimer: I wonder if it would have glanced off a shoe with a lace cover like shimanos. Instead of catching the laces.
  • 2 4
 @fabwizard: pretty sure the root came through the bottom of the shoe sole, not the top.
  • 2 0
 Oops. The picture only shows the top of shoe and foot, so I assumed wrongly.
  • 2 0
 @Twenty6ers4life: oops only pictures of top of foot and shoe. Didn't realize it came through from the bottom.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: a colleague used working shoes for riding once as he forgot to bring his 5.10s. He said the grip was suprisingly good. And they had a steel sole insert, too!
  • 1 0
 @Twenty6ers4life: then why don't they show it from the bottom,,,,,
  • 3 0
 @wakeandwheel: yah both this and isabeau look like through the top.

If you think about it. From the bottom would blow you foot off the peddle and likely not go through. But from the top it could trap your foot on the pedal and momentum of the bike would push it into the foot.
  • 1 0
 @wakeandwheel: I guess you’d have to ask the photographer. I imagine it’s easier to just show both holes from the top. In both crashes, it came in through the bottom. You’d have to be almost upside down for it to go through from the top.
  • 1 0
 @Twenty6ers4life: look at the isabeau pictures in Kaz reply. Looks like straight in top of foot. Otherwise if it came through bottom it would have been from the back of her foot.
  • 22 0
 Fiddle-di-dee, that will require a tetanus shot
  • 4 0
 always have upvotes for Simpsons references
  • 16 2
 I don't think this is what folks had in mind when they said they were rooting for her.
  • 2 4
 Too soon
  • 5 1
 @Dogl0rd: almost never too soon for puns
  • 2 1
 Her foot is rooted
  • 2 0
 I mean, I almost puked in my mouth, but I laughed too. Up vote for you.
  • 11 0
 Mud. Thick oozy mud, we can't go over it, we can't go under it, oh no, we got to go through it! Anyway, heal up!
  • 5 1
 Yikes. Glad it wasn't worse. Consider this a friendly reminder to seek outdoor-focused first aid training, and stay up to date.
  • 7 2
 Get well soon, but more importantly where can I buy red Zebs?
  • 3 0
 …not long
  • 1 0
 and a red PIKE... soon
  • 5 1
 Bizarre. Didn't the same thing happen to Isabeau Cordurier last year or so?
  • 2 0
 Saw a dude at OMC on Saturday who had to fly to harbor view for a hip fix. They just cut off his fancy new leatt leg armor. Dh racing is $$$.
  • 4 0
 Get better soon!
  • 2 0
 Who'd have thought a black smiths working boots with steel toe caps could be a thing in mtb. :-)
  • 2 0
 So don't miss the British weather and that's coming from a Brit that now lives in the PNW.
  • 3 0
 Getting mad de ja vu.
  • 2 0
 Full results on
  • 1 0
 Groot is taking the downfall off race coverage because of discovery out in the riders, change needs to be made!
  • 2 0
 Thanks Instagram for this update.
  • 1 0
 Best to buy a life flight pass if your gonna be going big on the peninsula.
  • 1 0
 What shoes was she wearing?
  • 1 0
 How's the tree doing though?
  • 1 0
 literally stepping on the roots of her problems.
  • 1 0
 This is literally my biggest anxiety, except in the torso.
  • 1 0
 yellow press... that is a scratch
  • 1 0
 It's always the most innocuous crashes that are the worst
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Yup. A good day for a tetanus booster.....
  • 1 0
 Should have been riding a Stigmata.
  • 1 0
 Must be an ad for pierce cycles
  • 1 0
 Ouch. The red ZEB looks cool though.
  • 1 0
 I would have let out a piercing howl.
  • 1 0
 Lynne I've stepped on a spiiiiiike. Heal up!
  • 1 0
 jeeezzz heal up!!
  • 1 0
 And still came third?
  • 1 0
 The weather was beyond awful and there were loads of injuries so apparently they stopped it
  • 3 0
 @korev: Sometimes theres like 20 years worth of trail degradation from one race, when conditions are like shit.
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