Masters World Champs went down in Pra Loup, France last weekend. With a few Brits taking home the titles, we decided to catch up with Emily Horridge. Emily took home the win in the women’s 40-44 category, as well as the fastest time of all women competing.
So who is Emily Horridge? She’s an all-around lovely human and has some pretty nifty skills on a mountain bike. She’s been riding since she was young, and nowadays you can find her living in France as a mountain bike guide and YouTuber. She posted a vlog on her master’s world champs experience, so we decided to fire her a few questions about who she is as well as the race.
My name is Emily Horridge, I’ve been riding bikes since I was about 12. I used to race National and World Cup downhill and moved to France in 2012. I’m a mountain bike guide and skills instructor, working in Les Arcs and Morzine. I also make instructional videos for YouTube.
Aside from guiding, the YouTube channel seems to be going well. How did that all start?
I had a few female riders say that they found riding with me quite inspirational, but I kinda live in the back of beyond so I don’t get to ride with women very often. I decided to start the YouTube channel so that I could hopefully inspire female riders “from a distance” to try to learn new skills.
Apart from Crankworx earlier this year, you’ve not competitively raced for a few years, what changed and made you step back from racing?
Yeah, I stopped racing DH in 2012, I noticed that I would be really excited 6 months before a race, but then in the days leading up to it I really really wished I wasn’t going. So I just realised it wasn’t fun anymore and stopped.
When I was still racing I’d always talked about racing Masters World Champs, but never did it. In more recent years I had a lot of friends from back home telling me I should do it because they thought I’d do well, which was really encouraging and got me thinking about it again.
It was scheduled to be in Pra-Loup last year. It’s just 5 hours away from where I live in Les Arcs, so I thought it would be a cool way to usher in turning 40. Obviously, it got cancelled last year, so here we are! I did Crankworx and a couple of other races as preparation for this one and really enjoyed them.
You fractured a bone in your ankle last November, has that given you any problems since?
Yes and no – I did it doing a skid in some leaves on a road, so a pretty freak accident! In terms of getting back on my bike, I’ve not given it a second thought. Unfortunately, at the Coupe de France in Les Arcs, I came up super short on a road gap, landing to flat hard enough to snap a spoke and flat spot my wheel. That hurt my ankle so much I shed a few tears trackside, and had to retire from the race. It felt like it had set me back 3 months, but luckily it rallied and felt good again after 3-4 weeks.
Also, quite notably, you’ve been riding pretty much your entire life but this is your first break? That’s got to be some kind of record.
Haha yes! I am slightly gutted to have broken my record, but also stoked that it did take me 40 years!! I hope there won’t be another.
What was the track like at the Masters DH World Champs? The conditions looked pretty dry and loose.
It was really good fun and wasn’t particularly complicated. There were just two or three techy/steepish sections, and very fast. It was so so dusty that it was like riding in fog if you were behind someone!
It was one of those tracks where a relatively small mistake could easily cost you several positions on the results list, and you couldn’t tell which piles of dust were solid and which weren’t! I don’t think I’ve ever raced a track like that before.
What were your goals going into the event?
I wanted to set the fastest women’s time of the day. As the week went on, I also thought it might be possible to score a top 100 overall, and I managed to do that too.
Masters DH World champ, and fastest time of the day of all women’s categories. How did you feel when you won?
I was super pleased to have done it, but unfortunately, the commentator wandered off for the final 4 women’s runs, and there was no one directing us to the hot seat which was a really cool set-up that I’d been excited about potentially getting to sit on! So I didn’t know what my time was and whether or not I could celebrate in the finish arena, so from that point of view it was a bit of an anti-climax.
Later on, the podium was certainly the most grand and impressive podium I’ve ever been on, and I did get a bit emotional up there! I’ve had so many nice messages from people, it’s been ace, but I still don’t feel like it’s sunk in yet!
What are you riding at the moment?
I’m riding a Scott Ransom and a Scott Gambler, both fully equipped with SRAM drivetrain and Rockshox suspension.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
I am absolutely buzzing to go racing again, which is really cool. It’s really nice to have rediscovered the love. I’ll have to wait until next year though, but potentially going to do some French Cup races and we’ll see what else will fit with my schedule of guiding and skills coaching.
To see more from Emily Horridge, you can check out her guiding page on Facebook.
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