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Racing and Riding

Hello ladies,

I hope you’re all feeling fit and fine – I know I’m not!

I’ve just had an operation on my shoulder to stop it from dislocating. I’ve known all year I would have to have the operation once my season was over. Racing and riding all year has been really tough, especially as to have that edge over the other girls you have to know in your head you can beat them, not be worrying if you hit that big gap your shoulder’s going to explode! I guess it’s the same in any sport that’s as mentally and physically demanding as downhill mountainbiking.

I have to stay in this sling for 6 weeks and altogether it’ll be 3 months before I can ride properly. It’s not the worst injury ever but it’s very frustating. What I’m getting at is although the weather is colder and it gets dark earlier blah blah dont stop riding! Get on your old clothes and boots, gather your mates and hike up the biggest mountain you can find. Dig and cut, rake and scrape, carve and pat, create something you cant WAIT to rip up then ride and ride. Ride until your body is numb from cold, you can’t see for the mud and you’re so tired you just fall off your bike and lay there laughing at each other! I cant wait until I can tear it up with my brothers and mates again.

I love the winter, when you really remember why you love riding, being at the top of a mountain in Wales, everything is silent and covered in snow. You’re sat thinking about the run down, how nature’s changed the track, how slippy the moss covered rocks are, how many times your going to feel your heart in your mouth, the smell of the damp soily ground when you land head first.

You just got to love it. Winter riding is so unpredictable you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

RACHEL ATHERTON

Team Animal Giant

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