Gee Atherton Releases new Video about his Crash

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A few weeks back, Gee Atherton released more information about his horrific crash. Gee suffered serious injury and was lucky to walk away. Now on the path to recovery, he’s released the video they were making, but with a twist.

To highlight the dangers of the sport, and to talk about the bad as much as the good, this video goes into the risks. Check out the video and read what Gee has to say about the whole experience.

Gee Atherton: On a Knife Edge

These Big Mountain projects are really important to me. They take a lot of physical and mental effort and they carry a lot of risks. 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 about waking up in the night it’s the possibility of this level of injury that’s haunting me.

I feel like when we’re demonstrating an unending line of successes the risk gets lost in the celebrations so I just wanted to pause for a moment and take a look at when and how things go wrong.

Gee Atherton
Gee Knife Edge

Behind the Scenes

I’m keen to show the process behind this series. Creativity is definitely something I’m drawn to and the potential to perfectly match the challenge to the very limits of my ability. I’m attracted to the boldness that’s necessary to push to that point. For me, it’s all about overcoming an obstacle and someone just happens to film me, I don’t set out with a film in mind but I do constantly seek out opportunities to do things that nobody has done before, to go beyond my comfort zone. Without that drive, nothing would change. It’s something that I recognise in Dan and Rachel too, that passion to pour huge amounts of yourself into a task, no matter the difficulties or the setbacks.

The knowledge that it will take absolutely everything you have to succeed is a huge motivation. I want to show that I went into this with my eyes open. There are sections in the film where I think it’s really obvious that I’m anxious. And that the crew are on edge. But that’s no different to the feelings I had at the top of the Slateline, or riding the Ridgeline, both had similar potential consequences and ridiculously small margins for error.

Gee Atherton
Gee on location

Not Impossible

I think it’s important to show that this wasn’t an impossible line to ride, it was very technical, very intimidating and it was right at the limit but in fact, I successfully rode every section, several times for most parts. There is enough footage there for us to have edited together a complete clean run. But it wouldn’t be real.

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% 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.

Gee

Planning Ahead

The mindset is not so different from racing. In both cases, an athlete needs to put himself or herself in a position where if everything is done to the maximum of his/her ability the outcome will be good. You have to deliver to come out the other side successfully. It’s how we’ve approached our entire careers. I guess a World Cup track is slightly more forgiving, if there hadn’t been a massive drop inches to my left I’d have probably gone OTB, dusted myself off and gone again.

The section that I crashed on was savage, there’s no contesting that but it was no more technically difficult than six or seven other parts of the line that I rode with no problems. But it just goes to show, however much you plan, however great your support crew, your bike, your preparations, when you are riding at the edge nothing is 100%. I made a mistake, got slightly offline with a bit too much momentum and everyone knows the rest. It went wrong but I don’t regret trying. I’m knuckling down, doing my time. It’s going to be a long recovery but I’m so grateful for the crew who supported me on the hill, the Coastguard, the Air Ambulance, the surgeons at Stoke. They all did an absolutely brilliant job and gave me a head start on the road to recovery.

Red Bull hooked me up with the very best aftercare and I will always be grateful to all of them. I can honestly say that being injured hasn’t put me off this kind of riding. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. The thought of more of these challenges is the light at the end of the tunnel, the reason I’ve pushed on with physio so early, it’s what helps me face the daily grind of painful rehab. It’s my goal. I’m passionate about the projects and I plan to do more as soon as I can.

Gee
Knife Edge

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Viewing 38 posts - 1 through 38 (of 38 total)
  • Gee Atherton Releases new Video about his Crash
  • Premier Icon Gribs
    Full Member

    It doesn’t hide the crash at all. Don’t watch if you don’t want to see him ragdoll down the hill.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Full Member

    Really is quite incredible someone would consider that stuff rideable, then actually ride it, successfully, as we see in the video. But as for rag dolling down those rocks… I think I prefer the version that cuts out!
    Wonder how Gee feels seeing that happen to himself…

    Premier Icon sobriety
    Free Member

    lucky to walk away.

    Airlifted to Hospital != “walk away”

    Premier Icon beamers
    Full Member

    I still have shivers running down my spine thinking about my off earlier this year when I summersaulted over the bars at 25mph, landed on my shoulder and fractured my collarbone.

    Tame indeed compared to the above. How he didn’t sustain more injuries, or worse, was a miracle.

    I wonder how he is mentally after that off.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Love the juxtaposition of the cool, chilled muzac vibe of an Insta-banger run with the total ragdoll clusterf*ck of the crash…

    Premier Icon Kneebiscuit
    Full Member

    Christ……

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Full Member

    Yowzer

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Eeee-man that’s not comfy viewing is it!

    Props to the team that rescued him. I think you’d need to be pretty mentally strong to even consider riding that sort of stuff again. I don’t think I could

    Premier Icon dickydutch
    Full Member

    How he walked away from that is beyond me. Harrowing footage.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    That ragdolling was the worst I’ve ever seen, froze watching it in fear so couldn’t look away or stop the video.

    If I had seen that footage without knowing the outcome I’d have him down as dead. It was obviously a really big shock to his system though as he looks very frail and wasted away round the face and his voice is very weak indeed.

    Premier Icon Kayak23
    Full Member

    Incredible he didn’t die. That was hard to watch.

    Premier Icon Kneebiscuit
    Full Member

    he looks very frail and wasted away round the face and his voice is very weak indeed.

    That really struck me too actually. Not surprising given the extent of his injuries, but he’s always appeared pretty superhuman until now..

    Summat tells me he’ll bounce back just fine…

    Premier Icon dannyh
    Full Member

    That’s horrendous. The second half of the fall looks like a dead body. 😬

    Premier Icon rascal
    Free Member

    Shocking seeing that for the first time – I actually felt quite sick.

    Premier Icon FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    We need an Ambulance!

    No shit, I could have told her that before she got to him

    The mans git balls

    How does that one get written up in Red Bulls Accident Book? Genuinely will it get investigated as a work place accident?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    Really good vid I thought, cutting so much of it together much like the completed edit would have looked, then including the crash and the consequences, really effective.

    Premier Icon augustuswindsock
    Full Member

    Jeez – that is not easy watching, pleased you’re healing Gee, good luck!

    Premier Icon snotrag
    Full Member

    Its a really well put together video of a somewhat terrifying event! They havent glorified it at all either.

    The only reason Gee is able to survive that is through being very, very fit and athletic. I bet its taken a big mental toll too. What a guy.

    Prompted me to send a few quid to my local air ambulance too as I hope I never need them!

    Premier Icon Adam
    Full Member

    Seeing him ragdolling down like that reminds of a time, maybe 6 or 7 years ago, when I was sat on a chair lift in Ax Les Thermes in the Pyrenees and saw a kid running down the hill beneath us. He tripped on a drainage ditch and started ragdolling down like that, when he finally stopped he didn’t move. His dad started running down after him and also fell, although he managed to get up and get to his son he was clearly injured as well.

    We just sat on the chair lift watching, completely helpless untiI we got to the top and could tell the lifty what happened. We rode down very gingely after that and by the time we got to the bottom the ambulance and mountain rescue team were there. We were so pleased to hear the kid was still alive, but everytime I see kids running down hills it send shivers down my spine.

    So glad Gee is ok, I’d never do anything like that but we all love watching people push the boundaries.

    Premier Icon julians
    Full Member

    I wonder what facilities they had ‘on site’ to handle this eventuality (ie a big crash), it doesnt look like they had much (if any) medical expertise/equipment ready on standby on the hill from the video until the helicopter arrived – seems a bit lax given red bulls resources.

    I presume at an event like the rampage, they have private medical teams on standby at the event ready to go immediately? This looked rampage worthy – so do they have the medical support on site and ready to roll?

    Premier Icon the00
    Free Member

    It was very apparent from the film that the hill was even steeper that it looked.

    I see he managed to break his bike pretty well too, but it lasted a few more bounces than he did.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    Ooft that was huge.

    The crew on the ground should really have held on to the hi-line better during the winch.

    I have nothing else helpful to say.

    Premier Icon PrinceJohn
    Free Member

    I presume at an event like the rampage, they have private medical teams on standby at the event ready to go immediately? This looked rampage worthy – so do they have the medical support on site and ready to roll?

    Then they screw the riders by not having medical insurance for them.

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/insured-sponsorship-Northman-Insurance-2015.html

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    I wonder what facilities they had ‘on site’ to handle this eventuality (ie a big crash), it doesnt look like they had much (if any) medical expertise/equipment ready on standby on the hill from the video until the helicopter arrived – seems a bit lax given red bulls resources.

    Apologies if I misheard it, but it appeared that they didn’t have the location of the accident prepped to give to the emergency services until after the accident, which seems a bit remiss.

    《Appreciate that everything is obvious with the benefit of hindsight》

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I wonder what facilities they had ‘on site’ to handle this eventuality (ie a big crash), it doesnt look like they had much (if any) medical expertise/equipment ready on standby on the hill from the video until the helicopter arrived – seems a bit lax given red bulls resources.

    I presume at an event like the rampage, they have private medical teams on standby at the event ready to go immediately? This looked rampage worthy – so do they have the medical support on site and ready to roll?

    RBTV keeps on trying to push me to watch some thing where a load of freerider bros go off into the canadian arctic getting super stoked on how remote it is. (I’ve only seen the trailer (multiple times) so maybe they do have suitible medical support) But it gives me a similar worry.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    thegeneralist
    Full Member

    I wonder what facilities they had ‘on site’ to handle this eventuality (ie a big crash), it doesnt look like they had much (if any) medical expertise/equipment ready on standby on the hill from the video until the helicopter arrived – seems a bit lax given red bulls resources.

    Apologies if I misheard it, but it appeared that they didn’t have the location of the accident prepped to give to the emergency services until after the accident, which seems a bit remiss.

    You’d hope they have at least one decent first aider and some basic stuff but that doesn’t make that much difference in this case (and you never really see what their capabilities were- what they’re doing on the scene seems pretty much appropriate to the incident). TBH having pro level first responders, or a private ambulance or whatever, standing by seems like a good idea after someone’s fallen off a cliff but considered with all of the shoots like this, it gets unrealistic and I reckon disproportionate. A big incident like this or Chris Akrigg’s is news for a reason.

    Rampage, you have 15 riders doing 2 runs with much bigger gaps, drops etc. Softer ground, sure, but that doesn’t help that much if you come up short on the canyon gaps. And under the stress of competition. Decent sized crashes are to be expected. And it’s miles from the nearest road. Plus, all of the support staff, camera crews, spectators clambering around on cliffs etc. Whereas this, the big crash isn’t to be expected- it’s possible, sure, but the safety side mostly comes from avoidance. I don’t think it’s comparable.

    One of them shouts that he’s going to get the location from where Gee’s actually ended up, which is a bit weird tbh, it’s not like the helicopter needs the exact spot on the ground. Doesn’t mean they didn’t have a location prepped for the overall line though. Man I hope it doesn’t!

    Premier Icon bikesandboots
    Full Member

    Looks way worse from that angle than the POV.

    Looking at 4:00 vs. 6:00 from in my armchair here, it looks like he landed more front-first and then when the back came down he was collapsed onto the rear tyre. Can’t see any difference in how he took the takeoff.

    Premier Icon robertajobb
    Full Member

    Using ‘what three words’ for location when a big crash was always on the cards? FFS. HAVE A MAP, KNOW WHERE THE FHOOOK YOU ARE AND GIVE A PROPER GRID REFERENCE.
    Geez. That was amateur.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    Like I say, the person saying they’re going to get a w3w for where Gee ends up, doesn’t mean they don’t already have details, grid ref etc for the overall site, it could just mean that one dude thinks it’s important to get it from that exact point. Which doesn’t make any sense, of course, but that’s by the by

    Premier Icon ready
    Full Member

    Finally got round to watching it last night. That really was a hard watch. How he didn’t break his neck when ragdolling…?
    Heal up soon Gee!

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    How he didn’t break his neck when ragdolling…?

    Its Gee – he’s got more muscle in his neck than most of us have in our thighs.

    Watch all the pro downhill guys and they are the same, they can go flying into trees at 30mph and get back up and go again.

    Contrast to the XC, CX and road guys and girls (who are certainly no lesser an athlete) break and fracture wrists, collarbones and so on quite regularly – very different body types.

    Premier Icon bazzer
    Free Member

    It was hard to watch before the crash, the ridge line was terrifying.

    I suspect for him though it was way less technical than stuff he has ridden in the past, just the consequences of getting it wrong were high.

    Met him in the GLC in Whistler once, right after he had just beaten Sam Hill in the Garbanzo Downhill. Seemed like a really nice guy, so hopefully he mends quickly.

    Premier Icon robertajobb
    Full Member

    Whereas a plain clear way to speak would have been ‘do you have the grid reference ‘ if they meant ‘do you have the grid reference’. It’s not a word associated game on the side of a hill.

    And the mountain rescue folks I’ve talked to think it’s shiiite and full of potential problems (plurals, accents, poor quality signals, same pronunciation for differently spelled words , etc etc).

    A 6 digit grid ref really isn’t difficult. And way more reliable.

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    Whereas a plain clear way to speak would have been ‘do you have the grid reference ‘ if they meant ‘do you have the grid reference’. It’s not a word associated game on the side of a hill.

    And the mountain rescue folks I’ve talked to think it’s shiiite and full of potential problems (plurals, accents, poor quality signals, same pronunciation for differently spelled words , etc etc).

    A 6 digit grid ref really isn’t difficult. And way more reliable.

    There is a whole thread for that chat!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    Whereas a plain clear way to speak would have been ‘do you have the grid reference ‘ if they meant ‘do you have the grid reference’. It’s not a word associated game on the side of a hill.

    No it’s not a word association game, it’s a load of people running around because their mate just fell off a bloody mountain and seems to have been killed several times over. You want to bet that everything you say will be clear and proper and absolutely appropriate? Give over.

    Analysing things from your seat that are said in the heat of the moment and the fraction of the full picture you get from a video clip is daft. Like I said earlier, the fact that they’re talking about w3w where he is, doesn’t tell you anything about the prep they have or haven’t done.

    Premier Icon oldnick
    Full Member

    I’ve broken enough bones doing stupid stuff that I have gone to the effort of installing a free app that gives me the map reference of where I am on my phone.
    And if you are doing anything remotely silly please please please have one grown-up with you who has mentally rehearsed what needs to be done if it all goes pear shaped.
    I hope he recovers well, my final MX crash screwed me royally (head injury, depression, breakdown blah blah blah), I hope he deals with it better than I was able to.
    Edit; watching it again he sounds as though he understands what caused it, and is owning the mistake, all good signs that he will be able to move on once his body heals. Fingers crossed fella.

    Premier Icon chestercopperpot
    Free Member

    Goodness he got the kiss of death from the rear tyre!

    Some bottom out that. Did he ground his pedal out on a rock as well?

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