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Video and pictures: Shropshire mountain biker - how biking saved me

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

With her model good looks and amazing ability it would be easy to think Traharn Chidley is someone with a perfect life.

But it hasn't always been so easy for the 29-year-old who lives at the Stiperstones, near Shrewsbury.

Traharn only took up the adrenaline-fuelled sport of mountain biking to escape a difficult relationship.

She felt happier throwing herself down mountainsides than being at home.

She had met her former boyfriend as a teenager but when she was with him she became more and more detached from her family.

Unhappy at home, she found an outlet by going out on her bike.

"He was constantly putting me down, which made me dislike myself. I felt like I was nothing. I was alone and frightened," she said.

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It was thanks to her brother Joel that she took up the sport which has seen her compete around the world in a discipline she loved and in which she is now making a name for herself.

Despite not knowing the extent of the problems she was experiencing, her brother could see that something was wrong and suggested that she take up mountain biking to regain her self-esteem and develop confidence.

She took out her father's bike and for the first time in years felt free of her worries, but her ex never took her biking seriously.

"That just made me even more determined," said Traharn. "I could feel myself getting stronger, more confident and determined.

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"I loved being outside, I felt safe. I didn't have to hide or prove anything; it was just me and the great outdoors. It gradually gave me a strength that I had been missing.

"I loved the social life biking started to bring back into my life. People of all ages, abilities, backgrounds become connected and form an amazing bond through biking. I started leading a double life and it slowly pieced me together again."

Traharn left her boyfriend but carried on with the biking while also taking up ultra-marathons and fell running.

She competes internationally in Gravity Enduros and has twice won the QECP Trail Collective Enduro, once in 2015 and once in 2014.

Her next challenge in three weeks time is the Three Peaks Yacht Race which will see her combine her love of cycling and running with sailing.

She is now in a loving relationship with Canadian boyfriend Mike Hopkins, who is himself a professional mountain biker competing worldwide in Redbull Tampage.

Her life, which revolves around her mountain biking and running, has changed beyond measure.

Now the only uphill struggles she faces are those out on the trails.

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