Interview: Tahnee Seagrave on Her First Season as an Elite Rider

Young downhill mountain biker Tahnee Seagrave talks about how her first season in the Women's Elite category is going.

Professional mountain biker Tahnee Seagrave is mid-way through her debut year in the elite category of the MTB Downhill World Cup. She ended 2013 on a high taking the Junior World Championships win, but now she’s squaring up against seasoned racers like Rachel Atherton and Emmeline Ragot.

At the end of 2013, she was eager to get training and ready for the challenge ahead. We caught up with her again at the Fort William World Cup to find out how her off-season had gone, and her aims and ambitions for 2014.

How did your winter training and preparation for the season go?

It went really well actually. I pretty much went straight onto my training program from the end of last season. I did three months of that and felt really good! But then I went on my first riding holiday to get some bike time on my new Devinci and ended up damaging the ligaments in my ankle.

That injury meant I was off the bike and couldn’t train – it was so frustrating because it was just before the season. I just had to put my feet up and rest. It felt like all the hard work I’d put in with training was all for nothing. But at the end of the day, I’m here and back racing, and I’m happy.

How was the start of your season?

It was alright, it hadn’t been great I’m not going to lie. But everything around me seems so good, with so many people ready to help me do the best I can. I almost felt a bit disappointed in myself ‘cos I knew I could do this, that it was there to grab.

I didn’t have much luck in the first couple of rounds, so hopefully I can put it together for the next few rounds. I don’t want to get my hopes up but I’ve always aimed for a top five finish, for a place on a podium step.

What do you do to get in the zone when you are preparing to race?

I used to listen to music, but I realised that that doesn’t work for me. It puts me into a zone, and gets me super hyped up. But that means when you go to the start gate, you can’t listen to the music and that world where you’re super-fit and beating everyone drops away. I used to feel really lonely, like all the powers I had while listening to the music had gone.

So now I don’t listen to music – I just think about the track in my head, and go through it perfectly.

I also try to remember to enjoy it. I’m just grateful to be here – I think so long as you’re having fun, it’s great!

How are things in the team?

The support I’ve been getting from sponsors has been amazing. This year we’ve got Sarah, our new assistant manager who also runs Diva Descent. That makes life so much easier! It’s a lot more professional and organised. We don’t get stressed out like we used to. It’s still a little team but we’ve got everything in place. I couldn’t ask for better support!

So what are your goals for the rest of the season overall?

I think my main goal this season would be to get an overall top 5 – that would be perfect! But sometimes things just don’t go right for you. I’m still aiming for it, and I think I might still get a shot at it. I just need to keep a positive mental attitude.

But other than that – every race is such a big lesson for me. It’s amazing traveling around and doing what I do for a living.


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