A world-class mountain biker, based near Machynlleth, has released “brutal” footage of his crash while filming the third ride in a series of ’Big Mountain projects’.
On 18 June, while filming The Knife Edge, near Dinas Mawddwy, Gee Atherton suffered a “horrific crash” that led to a two-week stay in hospital, with a broken femur, broken ribs, fractured eye socket, broken nose, broken radius and ulnar, as well as a concussion.
The Knife Edge is the third challenge in a series of big mountain projects Gee has taken on, the first being The Ridgeline and the second The Slateline.
Gee said: “These Big Mountain projects are really important to me; they take a lot of physical and mental effort and they carry a lot of risk.
“It’s easy for people to forget that when there are incredible athletes pumping out perfect edits week after week, not just in mountain biking, it’s the same in all extreme sports.
“Looking back over the previous edits in this series I’m talking about how afraid I feel. That’s not a performance, it’s very, very real.
“It’s important to me to show the reality behind this kind of project; when I talk abut waking up in the night it’s the possibility of this level of injury that’s haunting me.”
Gee and his siblings, Dan and Rachel Atherton, are all world-leading mountain biking professionals. Gee alone is a multiple national and World Cup champion and 2008 and 2014 Downhill World Champion.
While Gee lives in Llanrhaedr ym Mochnant, he trains at the Dyfi Bike Park, a bike park opened by Dan in 2019 in the Dyfi Forest.
The three siblings launched their bike brand, Atherton Bikes, on 25 January 2019, with the business headquarters and manufacturing facility at the Dyfi Eco Park, in Machynlleth.
On the Big Mountain project, Gee said: “All of the challenges in the series have come about in their own unique ways, they emerge differently.
“This one started with me driving past the location again and again – thinking ‘no, it’s not on’. But it’s an important part of who I am to feel that doubt but do it anyway. If I stopped every project when I first got scared there would be nothing.
“Every ridge has its own particular appeal and its own difficulties. You discover its particular personality and its problems, you get your head around it and figure out how to overcome them.
“This location was defined by how exposed it was. We learnt from the first hike up that we needed to check every step. We were constantly looking behind us.
“I knew the risks and fully accepted the level of injuries that were likely if it did go wrong. I had figured out every detail and I knew 100 per cent that I could do it.
“People think that I’m wild but I couldn’t have survived this long without being super calculated. There’s a process; walk, scout, build, review, adapt, ride.
“Even now, six weeks on I can close my eyes and picture every rock on that ridge.”
To watch the video, go to The Athertons channel on YouTube.
Gee said, in an Instagram post at the time of the crash: “Completely buried myself this week with an absolute pearler of a crash! With a broken femur, broken ribs, fractured eye socket, broken nose, broken radius and ulnar, and concussion it was a big one.
“Love to everyone who spent so long on the mountain getting me lifted off, traumatic time for all!”