Rhys Atkinson, formerly known in the bike industry as Bryn's little brother, has been making waves this season and creating his own name. The Australian national season just concluded, and with 2nd place at every round in Elite DH, Rhys was able to take the coveted Overall title for the series, beating out some veterans and fast company.
Rhys has really stylish and efficient form on the bike, but in my opinion he is also really creative with reading terrain and line choices. That may have something to do with his occupation as head Track Builder at World Trail with Glen Jacobs, and possibly the countless hours by himself on the shovel listening to music etc. but that's just one theory.
Obviously the years of watching Bryn, videos, building trails, and being around pro riders has also had a big impact... Getting Second hand bikes and advise from one of the world's best riders/Brother is a little perk as well, But Rhys beats to a his own drum... Quiet, hard to read sometimes, but funny, and kind. Rhys is his own person, and one thing's for certain; he loves to ride fast. So congrats to little Bro, who is not so little anymore:).
Name Rhys Atkinson
Occupation Machine operator for World Trail
Yeh came down to the wire, came into the last round 23 points down and only ended up winning by 5 points which is pretty tight considering there’s 80 for a win
Pretty stoked? Hell yeah! So happy, looking back its hard to believe I could of done something this rad after having such a miserable 2010 world cup season
Did you remember to drink water on the weekend:)? Haha yeah, you have to drink water out at shepparton, the heat is gnarly, truly Australian
You've come a long way since our little slalom drills a few years ago in Kergunya. Tell the people how many years you've been riding? Started out riding BMX like most kids, maybe for 1 or 2 years, then got some big wheels when I turned 16
What or who got you into it? Definitely my brother Bryn had the biggest influence on me and still does 6 years on.
Seeing him transform from a local BMX shredder with a xxxl Metallica long sleeve, to travelling the world as one of the fastest racers on the world cup circuit, made me catch the bug and naturally enough Aspire to my own goals. Also mud cows had a lot to do with it. Those dudes were so badass, dreamt so many times of having a minjin necklace
First bike? First one I can remember was a pink redline BMX, I actually asked Santa for that color, kinda weird
First race? Thredbo national round, 2005
You have quite a bit of natural ability and skill, what has inspired you to ride the way you do? I guess I just love having fun on my bike like everyone else out there, whether its smashing dirt jumps or push runs with mates, kind of taken a bit more relaxed vibe everywhere I ride and I think it's had an effect on my riding style and attitude over the last year or two
What are your plans for the next steps? Keep it in oz, or go global for 2011? At this stage I’m keeping it oz this season but wouldn't rule out a snappy trip to a world cup or two late in the season, I’m already excited for the opener in South Africa and I’m not even going
What did you learn the most from your trip overseas on the world cup last year? Learnt so many little things from last years world cup, but I guess the major one for me was learning how hard it is to be able to string everything together and keep your head straight, it kinda felt like a curse last year always crashing and not being able to qualify. So when I came back to oz I just concentrated on toning my racing down and being more consistent throughout a whole run, rather than smashing a section then smashing myself.
Do you think all that adversity you had to endure led you to being a better racer? Cause it seems like that was an important part of your development, which led to this championship... Yeh definitely did. I got so beat up on the world cup circuit last year. I knew in the back of my head that it was going to be a massive learning experience but I didn't imagine it to be that hardcore. When I got home I tried to understand why I had such a difficult time and to this day all I still can't put my finger on it, but I guess it's just the tuff love of learning. I think this championship's success did mainly come from my overseas trip. Even though I had a lot of tough times, I did gain experience, confidence and the willingness to not to give up, no matter how hard things may seem. All these things were pretty vital for me winning this championship.
Mr. Consistent or Mr. Cool? Haha Mr. consistent now, used to be Mr. cool.
How many hours a day do you work? On average 9
How many hours a day to you listen to music? At least 3, not enough
Favorite song? Depends what mood i am in either Brand New - At The Bottom or Notorious B.I.G - Brooklyn's Finest
So it started on the shovel and you've worked your way up to excavators and bulldozers? What’s next? I guess naturally enough bigger machines. The way the sport and bikes are progressing I think people are going to need bigger and better trails and tracks and we are going to need to match that with our equipment
Ever ridden a kangaroo? Ha nah, accidently ridden one with my car
Best trails you have built? Probably a trail called Stonefly up at Mt Buller. It's a 6km climb and 4km descent. Classic Glen Jacobs style trail, ton of flow, berms, high-speed gaps, pure rad-ness.
Best trails you have ridden? Best trails I’ve ridden on a cross-country bike would definitely have to be Mt Buller. The place has a load of variety in the terrain, with loam, hardpack, mud and rock scattering around about 60km of trail. Best downhill track I’ve ridden was the Champery, Switzerland world cup course last year. True downhill track, steep as shit, good size jumps and sick turns. Bike wasn't loving it at the time
Biggest nemesis out in the bush? Biggest nemesis would probably be the scorpion or spider, those things are everywhere, had a couple of sneakies hanging off me
Bush Friend? Probably be the snake, even though I’ve come across a lot, none of them seem to bite. Hope they're a long time friend
How is having Jacobs as a boss and living with him? You in charge of making his triple macchiatos?
It's rad living and working with Jacobs, we work good together and he always has a energized positive vibe around him no matter what situation. Haha nah he toned down on the old macchiatos, but were coming into the winter season so we'll see
Did you choose to mentorship under Jacobs because Bryn did? Nah it kinda fell into place that way. I was really excited when I first started working with World Trail just for that fact that I’d be around one of legends of the mountain bike scene. He has a lot of priceless information to give not only about bikes but life.
Ambitions? I just want to be the best rider I can be and keep progressing. I won't lie and say I don't want to be the best one-day, but as long as I’m having fun with it; I’m in a good place.
Short-term goals? Short-term goals would definitely be defending my national title, progressing as an international rider and developing into a strong, more fit racer.
Thanks? Bryn, Family, friends, Jacobs, Matt-O at Specialized, sponsors, my girlfriend Laura, and everyone who has helped me along my travels.