Getting to Know Hattie Harnden, the Youngest Elite Women's EWS Winner in History

Jul 15, 2021 at 13:42
by Alicia Leggett  
Photo: Boris Beyer

Hattie Harnden made history last weekend in the second EWS La Thuile race, joining Richie Rude as the youngest-ever elite EWS winner at 20 years old. Hattie isn't just an EWS racer, though. She's accomplished across three separate disciplines, making a name for herself across enduro, World Cup cross country, and cyclocross, and was the 10th-placed U23 woman at the Les Gets World Cup just one week before taking her first EWS win. While it may seem like she's just recently burst onto the racing scene, she's actually been chipping away at the process for the better part of a decade and started winning British junior races back in her early teenage years. Now, she represents Trek Factory Racing full time. We caught up with her to learn more.

Who is Hattie Harnden?

A 20-year-old girl who has grown up with three brothers that keep her on her toes.

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m from West Malvern, a small village in England and it’s still home.

Photo: Boris Beyer

How did you start mountain biking?

When I was about 8 my mum signed my three brothers and I up to the local cycling clubs (Malvern Cycle Sport) summer coaching, as something to keep us busy over the holidays. I was never very good, but when I was about 12 my older brother did a local XC race and so I was encouraged to have a go too. I came last but I really enjoyed it so I continued to have a go at a few more over the following years and very quickly got hooked.

Who are your sponsors?

Trek Bikes, Sram, Rock Shox, 100%, Bontrager, CrankBrothers, Osprey, ODI, MRP, WD40, JBL, Garmin, Cush Core, Unior Bike Tools, and Feedback Sports.

Photo: Boris Beyer

What bikes do you ride?

Trek Slash - Enduro bike
Trek Supercaliber - XC bike
Trek Boone - Cyclocross bike

What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day of the week is often different, however my favourite days of the week are the ones where I head to the gym for a few hours in the morning and then out on the bike in the afternoon. Usually on my Trek Supercaliber, with some sort of efforts within the ride.

Photo: Ross Bell

Not many people compete at the top level in multiple disciplines. What is that like for you?

It keeps me very busy (haha). There are lots of great things about it. I love that it means I get to race throughout the entire year. The best thing I think though is the fact that it gets/encourages your brain to think differently, depending on what bike you’re on. Each of the bikes I race are quite different from each other, but they all have skills and areas that overlap and transfer across. Plus I get to do what I love at the highest level and it doesn’t get better than that.

Out of cyclocross, cross country, and enduro, do you have a favourite?

I always feel like this is a trick question because (for me) there isn’t a right answer. I love them all. Enduro is unbelievably fun and I still can’t believe it's my job to ride down hills as fast as I can. However there is a buzz that I get from XC and Cyclocross that can’t be found in enduro. The buzz of being on a start line, the mass start and then being bar-to-bar giving it your absolute all.

Photo: Ross Bell

What riding accomplishments are you most proud of?

My first Elite women’s Enduro World Series win - EWS R4 La Thuile 2021
Elite Women's cyclocross National Champion 2020 + 2021
2019 U21 Trophy of Nations - Won
2018 Junior MTB XC World Championships - 3rd
2018 U23 Cyclocross World Championships - 4th
2020 U23 MTB XC World Cup Nove Mesto - 4th
2020 U21 Enduro World Series R1, 2 + 3 - 1st

What are your strengths?

I’m a hard worker, I believe you should earn what you want, no one will do it for you.

What are your weaknesses?

Peanut butter.

Photo: Boris Beyer

Where is your favourite place to ride?

I loved the trails in La Thuile, Italy. Fast, steep and techy.

What has been your worst crash over the years?

Touch wood, I’ve managed to get away without any big crashes. The worst was probably about 7 years ago. I had a big over the bars in training on my XC bike and broke my right shoulder socket, permanently stopping growth in that bone and leaving me with one arm shorter than the other.

Who or what inspires you?

People who are passionate about what they do and work hard for what they want.

What do you enjoy doing away from biking?

I enjoy cooking and baking. When I’m home I often make bread and always make sure there is dessert. Also using old bits of wood and nails laying around my dad shed I make nail threaded signs and artwork.

Do you have a favourite motto or saying?

My dad always tells me that “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”

Photo: Ross Bell

What you do think about the future of mountain biking?

I think that it will continue to grow and become more accessible to more people.

How do you want to be remembered?

As someone who finishes smiling, no matter the result because bikes are so much fun!

Photo: Boris Beyer

What does the future hold for you?

Hopefully a long career in whichever discipline(s) I end up pursuing. I also hope to qualify to represent England at the Commonwealth Games next year for XC. The dream is to one day earn a set of rainbow stripes. Most importantly I hope I forever have fun riding my bike.

Photo: Ross Bell


  • 109 16
 ‘What’s you average day look like?’

Clicking on PB every hour wondering when the paywall is coming up.

As soon as it does I’ll close the door behind me
  • 4 34
flag CheryBomb (Jul 16, 2021 at 1:13) (Below Threshold)
 While everyone is so pumped up for the upcoming Pinkbike's challenge with Beta MTB when both teams will be racing those extreme head tube angle Dick Pound bikes, you keep complaining about Pinkbike's taking things to the next level.
  • 17 1
 this is not getting odd for at least the next six month Smile )
  • 11 0
 @rockstar02: I´ll blame it on autocorrect instead of me using the wrong word
  • 14 0
 If we were smart like redditors we should stage a clean mass exodus from PB to another platform for a few months until they ensure it’s not going to change.

I’ve gotten on PB every morning I can remember since 2003 ish. It’s going to be a big change in my routine when(if) it becomes a paid site.
  • 2 0
 @meathooker: for sure
  • 4 0
 @meathooker: Or we can buy it back ! A riders owned magazine !
  • 16 2
 As far as I can tell, that door behind you is going to stay open for a long time... Please keep clicking every hour, though.
  • 49 2
 What does the future hold for you?

'People not being able to read about me unless they subscribe'.
  • 21 0
 What a star. Cross discipline athletes are so impressive. + Tracy Mosely seems to be as impressive as a talent spotter as she is as a rider.

I wonder if her dad is Billy Ocean?
  • 6 0
 I think then her motto would be "Get out of my mind and get into my car"
  • 21 1
 I remember watching the 2018 World Cyclocross Champs. I think it was the first or second year the U23 Women actually had their own race. There was still no Junior race, so U19s were forced to race up if they wanted to be at Worlds (male racing has had Junior/U23/Elite for decades), so it was pretty shocking when the U23 event was led out by a 16 year old Harriet Harnden. She put on an absolute clinic for several laps eventually finishing fourth.

The best thing is she didn't look like every other athlete. There's so much body-typing in our sport, especially the endurance end of things. It was great to see this young power house just throwing down and holding on. It was pretty clear if she could continue to deliver performances like that, she was going to be successful whatever discipline she took on... and here we are now.

Great story!
  • 15 0
 What riding accomplishments are you most proud of?

I once did a wheelie
  • 7 0
 one wheelie? you already made one more than me
  • 8 0
 @Vicenbici: one crank turn is a wheelie yes?
  • 1 0
 @fatduke: wait what!!! of course! I hope you made a gopro video. Man..30 years riding, not a single proper wheelie done
  • 5 0
 I once did a sick skid
  • 9 0
 @dogboy1066: In your underpants no doubt
  • 10 0
 If you want to be a top MTB-er (and Cyclocrosser) , it helps of you're from Malvern.....

I think what Hattie is proving, is, that riders early in their careers shouldn't concentrate on one discipline, but try a few. Being versatile is an enormous help. We shouldn't straitjacket them too early.....if at all.

In my opinion, the best cyclists are those that multi discipline......and are successful.
  • 7 0
 "What are your weaknesses? Peanut butter." Love that girl!
  • 7 1
 What's she got against downhill and road racing?
  • 6 4
 Concerns about a paywall seem unfounded. Outside purchased a successful established business model of maximizing reader/viewership, and monetizing our data and attention, and it seems much more likely that they’ll build upon it, rather than radically change it. I’d actually prefer paying a small subscription for high quality independent mountain biking content, but it seems most people are fine with being fed endless advertorial and being exploited as the product, just as long as it’s free.
  • 5 0
 What makes you think that wont continue aswell
  • 8 7
 "Hope you enjoyed the article. Your free trial ends in 7 days, after that you will be charged $7.99 per month to access more articles like these."
  • 1 0
 I take serious issue with seeing peanut butter as a weakness, it's a damn super power. Nutricious and delicious in one chunky, sticky, lovely package.
  • 2 0
 Awesome rider ! Everything seems so easy for her.
  • 2 1
 And girls, they wanna have fun Oh girls just wanna have fun...
  • 1 0
 The future's bright..
  • 7 9
 Sooo... When's the paywall?
  • 12 0
 Today's Zoom meeting will cover "How to respond to commenter's fears about the upcoming paid content shift"

This meeting is mandatory for ALL Pinkbike Editors, Presenters, and Moderators.

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