A MINUTE WITH: THE ATHERTONS
We talk family values with sibling downhillers Dan, Gee and Rachel who, between them, recently won Britain two medals at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Fort William
How important is it that you’re in the same team together?
Dan: That’s always been one of the main things — not to lose sight of why we got into this in the first place. Although we could split up and perhaps get more money, it’s not really about that. It’s cool to be able to share our experiences with each other.
Are there any downsides?
Rachel: Sometimes we have
arguments that get a bit tense, but that can happen with anyone.
Dan: There possibly is in terms of sponsorship clashes. Gee and Rachel also have contracts with Red Bull and I guess if another sponsor wanted to come in and sponsor me separately it could get difficult. It’s caused problems in the past with the pit set-up.
As the oldest, does Dan play the big brother role?
Dan: It started out like that but now we’ve got a team manager — Dan Brown — so there’s pretty much no responsibility on me at all. Although Gee’s younger and hasn’t been riding as long, I still learn a lot from him. It’s the same with Rach: the way she looks at stuff.
Do you all train together?
Gee: Not always. For road miles or gym work there’s not much point. That’s stuff you can do by yourself. Downhill, we spend a lot of time riding together. The same for motocross and BMX, but there’s usually other people as well as us three.
Is there a distinct Atherton style to riding?
Gee: Some people say we have very similar traits in our riding but, at the same time, we are also quite individual. Comparing myself to my brother, I’d say I’m a bit more ragged. On practice runs, our times are pretty similar.
Rachel: I benefit from following my brothers. I can pick and choose a bit. I follow Dan for his smooth lines but sometimes you need to be ragged so I follow Gee.
What about your music tastes — are they similar?
Rachel: I like old-school punk like Rancid but I also like pop music that I can sing and chill out to.
Gee: I listen to a lot of rock stuff like AC/DC and Black Sabbath, and a lot of hip-hop as well. I use Dre, 50 Cent and all that sort of stuff to warm up to before my run.
Dan: I like more mellow stuff than Gee’s aggro hate music.
That’s reflected in your riding?
Dan: Exactly. He’s all crashing down the course with Dre in his head, while I’m just rolling down, chilling out.
What are your favourite films?
Rachel: Music and Lyrics. It’s pretty romantic. A girly film.
Dan: That Baja 1000 film: Dust to Glory. It gets me psyched up.
Gee: Talladega Nights.
Rachel: That’s rubbish!
Rachel: A nice Waldorf salad.
Dan: Oooh, get you!
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