When the race team moved away from Trek we asked Charlie to stay on. He says that riding the prototype Atherton bike was both exciting and hugely beneficial for his progress as a rider. “I remember we’d finished up with Trek but I hadn’t heard anything about who the new sponsors would be, you’d kept it absolutely quiet so there were all these rumours. Brownie called me to come over to the HQ and he gave me the 2019 shirt – it just said “Atherton” on it then all the component partners. I was looking at it trying to work out where the bike sponsor was then we went into the workshop and there was this rad, raw looking bike. It was pretty exciting but pretty daunting – we were only a few months from the first World Cups. I was praying it would work.
Charlie’s first ride was at our training camp in Malaga. “The first thing I noticed was it’s so quiet; the only thing I could hear was tyres on dirt. That’s a huge thing for me, it’s so annoying when your bike is just rattling away. There was no creaking and clunking it just felt really nicely put together. And it’s so supple off the top of the travel but at the same time its progressive so you don’t bottom out.”