UCI Downhill – Leogang, Austria & Rachel Atherton vomiting


UCI Leogang headerThe sixth round of the 2016 UCI Downhill World Cup saw Aaron Gwin extend his lead over the mens field and Rachel Atherton stamp her name in the record books.

Loic Bruni

With Loic Bruni out after fracturing his collar bone in a training accident, Aaron Gwin seized the opportunity to go 160 points clear in the overall standings.

<for the full Leogang mens result click here>

Rachel Atherton dominated the women’s field again and broke the record for the most consecutive world cup wins (10) previously held by Anne-Caroline Chausson. Rachel took it convincingly finishing 8.52 seconds ahead of Tahnee Seagrave.

<for the full womens result click here>

Missed the race?  Click here to see it at Red Bull TV

Not only did Rachel demonstrate she’s top of the pile however, she also gave us an insight into how she has got there when she revealed that she’d been so nervous before achieving that 10th consecutive win that she’d vomited.  The key point about this isn’t Rachel being sick but is her ability to control her emotions to the degree that she can go from being so nervous she’s vomiting to bottling that and turning it into controlled energy that she uses to win the race.  She knows how to place herself in the Zone.  Tim S. Grover talks about this in his book Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable.  He describes the Zone as ‘….that deeply personal space where you can quiet your mind until you have no thoughts, it’s just you and your instincts, focused and unemotional’.  Want see it in action?

In 2004 England and France were playing in the European championship semi-finals. The teams were drawing 1-1 when, a minute from the end of the game, England conceded a penalty. Watch the video clip at 3:28 as Zinedine Zidane places the ball, vomits, composes himself then stands up and scores the penalty that puts France through to the final.

In a similar vein watch Wayne Rooney turning anger into excellence. Rooney can be seen, arms spread wide, arguing with referee Neale Barry because he was incensed by decisions the referee had made. Watch him take all that anger, bottle it and then channel it to score a wonder volley.

The difference between the best and the rest more often than not comes down to psychology and mental preparation/toughness.  Rachel is renowned for doing what others can’t, consistently producing performances that far exceed her peers.  Her ability to do this is due in no small part to her ability to place herself in the Zone and it’s something all of us can learn from and develop in ourselves in order to perform better.

Take away message?  If your going to take the time to practice…..practice like the elite.


If you want to learn more about mental preparation you could try….

Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable


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