Dan Atherton Talks Hardline 2017
– How do you actually prepare for something like Hardline? Is it more mental than physical?
I’d say both are equal. I struggle every year to be properly rested. Physically the weeks and months leading up to the event are gruelling, I’ve been digging at 4am, at midnight so by the time the race comes around my body is in a right state!! If I slept for a week it probably wouldn’t be enough!
Mentally it’s so hard too – some of those jumps I’ve built scare me! Luckily we all spend a couple of days sessioning the track together – it’s a good chilled vibe and sometimes feels more like a jam than a race. It’s hard to put on my racer head when I feel such responsibility for the event, for the other riders tackling this thing that I’ve made. A couple of years ago I took a big hit testing the track and broke my shoulder into 3 pieces, I was just glad that it was me.
– What’s the key to putting in a winning run at Hardline?
When you arrive at Hardline its all about being in the right frame of mind, you have to be willing to lay it all on the line, It’ll be interesting to see some of the boys from different disciplines and how they tackle it – it’s not just the big individual features is the succession of features one after the other and all the technical terrain in between that makes Hardline unique.
– Do you think the current crop of World Cup courses should reflect the sort of stuff that Hardline offers up or is this better as a one-off unique event?
No World Cup racing is all about speed, and for me that’s what racing is about, speed. Hardline is about incorporating big features into a gnarly downhill track and whilst its easy for the public to relate to big features I think World Cups should always be about speed.
– In terms of designing the course do you have a fairly tight plan in mind or does it evolve as you start building out on the hills?
I let nature design the course as far as possible, working with the land. I don’t sit at home and draw a plan I walk down the mountain, mostly battling through the undergrowth, once the first rough clear is done and some of the natural drops and outcrops exposed the plan starts to take shape!
– Is Hardline more demanding of your bike handling and physical skills or your ability to ignore your sense of self preservation?
From the moment we start practicing it’s all about self-confidence, there is nothing to warm-up on, everything is huge and you feel so exposed on the mountain, its easy to let self doubt creep in but all the riders we have here are amazing riders and always step up to the challenge.
– With no names mentioned have any invited riders ever declined to take part in Hardline because of the sheer brutality of the course or is everyone always ‘up for it’?
Of course a lot of people’s focus is on World Cup racing, that’s the way it should be so anybody who turns out for Hardline and lays it on the line like they do deserves a huge amount of respect.
Find out how you can watch Hardline live HERE