2017 season in random shots.

 I was scrolling through my camera the other day, and it reminded me some good memories from the mountain bike season that just ended. I really enjoyed racing this summer, so I thought I'd look back at the past season, but rather than looking at race results or writing too many words about every event (which I already did), I decided to view it with a different perspective. 

My goal was to do a recap of the season without using any racing pictures or people pictures. However, it certainly is the people who were there along the way that made this summer such a memorable one.

 I'm a newbie at taking pictures, but those are some shots that I took throughout the summer; most of them have nothing to do with racing, but they are all related to racing in one way or another and are associated to moments that had an impact on me during the season. Some are just offering behind the scenes look at the race season. Some pictures might be silly or ugly, but if they are here, it's because they reminded me of a good moment.

So here is a recap of the 2017 MTB season. Thank you to everyone who was involved and who made it so fun!

Now the goal is to practice taking pictures and take a few photography classes so next year's pic-recap can be much better hahah...

March/April

After CX Worlds, I had about a month off the bike. Dave and I went camping in the Grand Canyon. We woke up a few hours before sunrise and hiked/ran 35km across the canyon.I injured myself with all that running and my achilles tendon bothered me for the following month. It was dumb to run 35km with no preparation, but I guess the view was worth it! Taken by trusty iphone. 

After CX Worlds, I had about a month off the bike. Dave and I went camping in the Grand Canyon. We woke up a few hours before sunrise and hiked/ran 35km across the canyon.I injured myself with all that running and my achilles tendon bothered me for the following month. It was dumb to run 35km with no preparation, but I guess the view was worth it! Taken by trusty iphone. 

That's a crappy picture...I didn't have the camera yet. But looking back, it was an important moment of the season. Cactus Cup was my first race of the season, after only 1 week back on the bike.  Here, I'm preparing overnight oatmeal in the van before going to bed, which is all part of glorious #vanlife haha. I did not feel ready for the race and almost opted out of it before it even started. I suffered like a dog during the 3 stages, but I was able to put my emotions on the side and do what was important during the race and that set the tone and gave me good momentum for the rest of the season.

That's a crappy picture...I didn't have the camera yet. But looking back, it was an important moment of the season. Cactus Cup was my first race of the season, after only 1 week back on the bike.  Here, I'm preparing overnight oatmeal in the van before going to bed, which is all part of glorious #vanlife haha. I did not feel ready for the race and almost opted out of it before it even started. I suffered like a dog during the 3 stages, but I was able to put my emotions on the side and do what was important during the race and that set the tone and gave me good momentum for the rest of the season.

The season started with many fun rides in Arizona this year. The first full month of training/racing I rode almost exclusively on my Occam, which is a bigger travel (140/140) bike. I even raced Moab Rocks Stage race on that big bike (and I think it gave me an advantage on the rough terrain). 

The season started with many fun rides in Arizona this year. The first full month of training/racing I rode almost exclusively on my Occam, which is a bigger travel (140/140) bike. I even raced Moab Rocks Stage race on that big bike (and I think it gave me an advantage on the rough terrain). 

May 

Whiskey Off Road - first big goal of the season for me! 

Whiskey Off Road - first big goal of the season for me! 

This is Sarah. She works for the Little Bellas and is a great friend of Sabe and Lea Davison. In May, David and I headed to Vermont for a 4-5 days training camp with Lea. We had some great workouts together and some good laughs. On the last day of the camp, we skied up and down Mt Stowe (on May 12th). Sarah didn't have skis, so she used a sled to get back down. The camp ended with a training race in Sherbrooke and that week or training gave me lots of confidence for the races that were to come. 

This is Sarah. She works for the Little Bellas and is a great friend of Sabe and Lea Davison. In May, David and I headed to Vermont for a 4-5 days training camp with Lea. We had some great workouts together and some good laughs. On the last day of the camp, we skied up and down Mt Stowe (on May 12th). Sarah didn't have skis, so she used a sled to get back down. The camp ended with a training race in Sherbrooke and that week or training gave me lots of confidence for the races that were to come. 

The Baie St-Paul Canada cup happens on a pretty cool milk and cheese farm. These are Canadian cows and there are only a few of those left as most have been extinct. That weekend in BSP was one of the most fun - not really just because I won my first UCI C1 race, but mostly because we got to spend it with Stephen Hyde and Ian Gielar who both became good friends of Dave and I. 

The Baie St-Paul Canada cup happens on a pretty cool milk and cheese farm. These are Canadian cows and there are only a few of those left as most have been extinct. That weekend in BSP was one of the most fun - not really just because I won my first UCI C1 race, but mostly because we got to spend it with Stephen Hyde and Ian Gielar who both became good friends of Dave and I. 

Is your bike clean? At many events, hotel parking lots make the perfect bike washing/maintenance spot. This particular one is in Grand Junction, Colorado. 

Is your bike clean? At many events, hotel parking lots make the perfect bike washing/maintenance spot. This particular one is in Grand Junction, Colorado. 

A shinny bike prepared by Chris before the Grand Junction Off Road. The 3 of us were a team for all the Epic Rides this year. We had a lot of fun! 

A shinny bike prepared by Chris before the Grand Junction Off Road. The 3 of us were a team for all the Epic Rides this year. We had a lot of fun! 

Gotta stay hydrated! In the CLIF Pro Team van, you can always find an extremely generous selection of all types of CLIF Bar products as well as many of these Camelbak bottles. 

Gotta stay hydrated! In the CLIF Pro Team van, you can always find an extremely generous selection of all types of CLIF Bar products as well as many of these Camelbak bottles. 

June

In early June, I was feeling extremely well in training, so I decided at the last minute that I wanted to ace the Canada Cup in Horseshoe, ON. The morning of the race, it was about 40C degrees and super humid. As soon as I realized it was so hot, I was scared and didn't want to do the race. I didn't tell anyone and convinced myself to take the start. I did the first lap, and although my body was actually doing fine, I couldn't think of anything else than the fact that I might collapse at any moment and do another heat stroke like I had done in Rochester. So I quit the race after not even a lap. I felt like a real looser and wasn't proud of myself for quitting and not facing my fear. However, I still have good memories of that weekend, because we visited Ruby's family, had a very fun pizza night at their house and had a wonderful time with Ian, Stephen, Rubz and Dave. I also learned a lot from that failure and was able to conquer my fear of racing in the heat exactly one week later at Carson City! 

In early June, I was feeling extremely well in training, so I decided at the last minute that I wanted to ace the Canada Cup in Horseshoe, ON. The morning of the race, it was about 40C degrees and super humid. As soon as I realized it was so hot, I was scared and didn't want to do the race. I didn't tell anyone and convinced myself to take the start. I did the first lap, and although my body was actually doing fine, I couldn't think of anything else than the fact that I might collapse at any moment and do another heat stroke like I had done in Rochester. So I quit the race after not even a lap. I felt like a real looser and wasn't proud of myself for quitting and not facing my fear. However, I still have good memories of that weekend, because we visited Ruby's family, had a very fun pizza night at their house and had a wonderful time with Ian, Stephen, Rubz and Dave. I also learned a lot from that failure and was able to conquer my fear of racing in the heat exactly one week later at Carson City! 

On Friday night after the Carson City Fat Tire crit, we came back home pretty late and the sky was so pretty. I was excited and couldn't fall asleep, so I decided to try nigh photography for the first time. I had no tripod, so I was balancing the camera on the balcony. I was also using a 30sec exposure, so I was doing 1 stretch between each picture. 

On Friday night after the Carson City Fat Tire crit, we came back home pretty late and the sky was so pretty. I was excited and couldn't fall asleep, so I decided to try nigh photography for the first time. I had no tripod, so I was balancing the camera on the balcony. I was also using a 30sec exposure, so I was doing 1 stretch between each picture. 

On Saturday, the day before the Carson City Epic Rides, we went to the river in Truckee to relax and cool down. It was over 100 degrees all weekend, so chilling in the cold river felt very refreshing. Plus, it's always fun watching Rubi and Lola run around! 

On Saturday, the day before the Carson City Epic Rides, we went to the river in Truckee to relax and cool down. It was over 100 degrees all weekend, so chilling in the cold river felt very refreshing. Plus, it's always fun watching Rubi and Lola run around! 

This picture is a bit weird but I kind of like it. The Blitz, in Bend was one of the best event of the year. It confirmed what is so amazing about the mountain biking community. No one is judged, everyone is accepted, everyone respects each other, and everyone friendly teases each other about their beer chugging or armwrestling abilities (or lack of). In the end, we all just love riding cool trails and having fun.

This picture is a bit weird but I kind of like it. The Blitz, in Bend was one of the best event of the year. It confirmed what is so amazing about the mountain biking community. No one is judged, everyone is accepted, everyone respects each other, and everyone friendly teases each other about their beer chugging or armwrestling abilities (or lack of). In the end, we all just love riding cool trails and having fun.

I came back home after the Bend/Carson City trip. Dave and I went camping in Gatineau before watching our friends Ruby and Adam at the TT Nationals. That ended up being a key trip for me; the camping night felt like a tiny refreshing vacation. Then, I had a really good training in the rain and hail on the Gatineau roads in the morning. Finally, watching my friend Adam win TT Nationals offered a great deal of motivation and inspiration that powered me through the rest of the season.

I came back home after the Bend/Carson City trip. Dave and I went camping in Gatineau before watching our friends Ruby and Adam at the TT Nationals. That ended up being a key trip for me; the camping night felt like a tiny refreshing vacation. Then, I had a really good training in the rain and hail on the Gatineau roads in the morning. Finally, watching my friend Adam win TT Nationals offered a great deal of motivation and inspiration that powered me through the rest of the season.

Spectating at Canadian TT Nationals - sometimes, spectating gives you a very interesting perspective on racing. 

Spectating at Canadian TT Nationals - sometimes, spectating gives you a very interesting perspective on racing. 

July

BCBR was a very last minute decision for Dave and I. We got the "OK" to race on the Friday (7 days before the start) and started trying to book a RV for pickup on the next Tuesday...but the Monday was a Canadian holiday and everything was closed. We had about 3 hours to call everywhere on the Canadian West Coast to try to book an RV. This one was the last one available everywhere in BC and Alberta. So glad it worked out :) 

BCBR was a very last minute decision for Dave and I. We got the "OK" to race on the Friday (7 days before the start) and started trying to book a RV for pickup on the next Tuesday...but the Monday was a Canadian holiday and everything was closed. We had about 3 hours to call everywhere on the Canadian West Coast to try to book an RV. This one was the last one available everywhere in BC and Alberta. So glad it worked out :) 

The ferries were definitely a highlight at the BC Bike Race. Such a fun way to relax and appreciate the view after a hard day of racing. 

The ferries were definitely a highlight at the BC Bike Race. Such a fun way to relax and appreciate the view after a hard day of racing. 

I like that picture because it's a perfect coincidence that there is a retro colour to the pic - I didn't modify it and didn't plan for it. The night before the Squamish stage at BCBR, Geoff Kabush invited us to park the RV in his neighbourhood. We got to see his sweet 1976 Volkswagen minibus. This year, I ended up seeing Geoff at a couple different events, as we were on a similar North American based schedule. I felt very lucky, because on many occasions, he took the time to share his incredible knowledge and experience with me, even if I didn't ask for it. A few times I saw him on course and he showed me some good lines. Other times, he shared pieces of tactical advices or his opinion on material choices for particular conditions. His experience is invaluable and his willingness to share had a very positive impact on my racing this year. Canadian mountain biking is lucky to have such a great person and role model to learn from!

I like that picture because it's a perfect coincidence that there is a retro colour to the pic - I didn't modify it and didn't plan for it. The night before the Squamish stage at BCBR, Geoff Kabush invited us to park the RV in his neighbourhood. We got to see his sweet 1976 Volkswagen minibus. This year, I ended up seeing Geoff at a couple different events, as we were on a similar North American based schedule. I felt very lucky, because on many occasions, he took the time to share his incredible knowledge and experience with me, even if I didn't ask for it. A few times I saw him on course and he showed me some good lines. Other times, he shared pieces of tactical advices or his opinion on material choices for particular conditions. His experience is invaluable and his willingness to share had a very positive impact on my racing this year. Canadian mountain biking is lucky to have such a great person and role model to learn from!

CLIF Bar was a sponsor at most of the races I did this year. It's pretty fun when your main sponsor is present at the big events. CLIF Bar always sets up cool hang out spots at the events and everyone is welcome to chill, chat and eat good stuff. This was on BCBR day 4. It was a hard race, I was cracked but it felt good to sit under their tents and relax there with David and Troy.

CLIF Bar was a sponsor at most of the races I did this year. It's pretty fun when your main sponsor is present at the big events. CLIF Bar always sets up cool hang out spots at the events and everyone is welcome to chill, chat and eat good stuff. This was on BCBR day 4. It was a hard race, I was cracked but it felt good to sit under their tents and relax there with David and Troy.

The day after BC Bike Race, David and I met with one of my best friend, Sandrine. I hadn't seen her in over 2 years. She took us on a little hike (with a bit of rock climbing, in sandals) down to that waterfall. It was so fun to spend some time with her while recovering from the stage race. 

The day after BC Bike Race, David and I met with one of my best friend, Sandrine. I hadn't seen her in over 2 years. She took us on a little hike (with a bit of rock climbing, in sandals) down to that waterfall. It was so fun to spend some time with her while recovering from the stage race. 

Smokey skies as we drove into Canmore, AB. I just love the colors on this pic. I took it from the car as we were driving and that cyclist timed himself perfectly to get in the shot :) 

Smokey skies as we drove into Canmore, AB. I just love the colors on this pic. I took it from the car as we were driving and that cyclist timed himself perfectly to get in the shot :) 

When travelling in a RV, you rarely want to take time to set up and take care of yourself. But when you're trying to perform well at Nationals, you have to put that little bit of effort into it. Most of the time, it's wll worth it when you get to stretch and roll in spots like these. 

When travelling in a RV, you rarely want to take time to set up and take care of yourself. But when you're trying to perform well at Nationals, you have to put that little bit of effort into it. Most of the time, it's wll worth it when you get to stretch and roll in spots like these. 

I don't know what I would do with him! When the team is not at races, David does everyhting for me, from prepearing the bike, handing the bottles, entretaining me, training with me, etc. Here, he is being creative and using the car rack on the RV as a bike repair stand, before Nationals. 

I don't know what I would do with him! When the team is not at races, David does everyhting for me, from prepearing the bike, handing the bottles, entretaining me, training with me, etc. Here, he is being creative and using the car rack on the RV as a bike repair stand, before Nationals. 

One of the goals this season was to swim in as many lakes as possible. Dave and I were pretty successful at this. Here, we are doing an Ice Bath in a glacial lake in Canmore, AB a few days before Nationals. The Wildfires in BC and AB were enormous this summer and the smoke situation was bad in the days leading to the race. However, it all cleared up for race day!

One of the goals this season was to swim in as many lakes as possible. Dave and I were pretty successful at this. Here, we are doing an Ice Bath in a glacial lake in Canmore, AB a few days before Nationals. The Wildfires in BC and AB were enormous this summer and the smoke situation was bad in the days leading to the race. However, it all cleared up for race day!

August

I ran a 32T chainring with a 11-42 cassette pretty much all season. But in MSA, I indulged and put a 11-46 cassette. That extra gear was nice to have on the steep climbs down there. 

I ran a 32T chainring with a 11-42 cassette pretty much all season. But in MSA, I indulged and put a 11-46 cassette. That extra gear was nice to have on the steep climbs down there. 

Some mussels are swimming in the paella while the other ones are waiting their turn in the background. I annoyed David all summer about making a Paella... After the MSA World Cup, I took a week off and we finally made it. It was delicious and a lot easier than I thought...we should make it more often! :) 

Some mussels are swimming in the paella while the other ones are waiting their turn in the background. I annoyed David all summer about making a Paella... After the MSA World Cup, I took a week off and we finally made it. It was delicious and a lot easier than I thought...we should make it more often! :) 

MSA World Cup

The World Cup in Mont Ste-Anne, QC is the longest standing on the circuit. It has been around for  27 years and it is known to be one of the most challenging.

I came to watch the Velirium when I was a tiny kid; I would watch the races and run around the team tents to collect stickers, autographs from the pros and LUNA bars at the LUNA Chix tent. Then, as a small kid (not as tiny anymore) I would come to race the 10-11-12 years old Quebec Cups, collect some more stickers and cheer on Marie-Helène Premont. Then, in 2010, as a medium kid (17 years old), when I wasn't even riding my mountain bike anymore (I was doing triathlon), I came to watch the World Championships. I was in the area on a camping trip and I thought it'd be cool to check out what mountain biking had become and to cheer for Marie-Helène Premont. But then during the race, another Canadian was doing super well and I started cheering for her too. Her name was Catharine Pendrel and she finished 4th that day. 

Who would've thought I'd be teammates and friends with her less than 4 years later?! Not me. 

Photo by Matt Delorme. Pre-riding with Catharine a.k.a Quick-C!

Photo by Matt Delorme. Pre-riding with Catharine a.k.a Quick-C!

Photo by Matt Delorme. Follwing Catharine's line. 2010 Maghalie would never have believed me if I had said this would happen!

Photo by Matt Delorme. Follwing Catharine's line. 2010 Maghalie would never have believed me if I had said this would happen!

Anyway, for all the history behind this famed race, it is always special to race there. It's also a home race for me, and this year, it was the only World Cup I would be participating in, so I was pretty excited. 

The only tiny little thing that was bothering me was that I got sick on Monday before the race. It was nothing too serious, but still a good cold. However, the last time I got sick must have been about 2 years ago, so I couldn't complain too much. All I could do was to rest, hope it would go away soon, and not worry about it. 

The week in MSA was super fun and we had a really good time pre-riding and preparing with the team. Lea, Haley, Hannah, Catharine and I all rode together and helped each other with line choices on the dry course. I crashed once, but I didn't get injured and felt confident on the course. Once we finished pre-riding, it started POURING rain for all afternoon and all night Saturday. We were all expecting (and hoping) a mud fest on race day! 

Race day: 

  • We wake up and it turns out the course is not that wet. 
  • Haley and Hannah are racing early, they both do great races! 
  • I am pumped for the race. We prepare, and head to the venue. 
  • Michel and Chris have prepped my bike, Waldek has bottles and everything else ready. 
  • Warm up. I'm psyched. Take a minute to remind myself of some key points and what I'm about to do out there. i'm ready!
  • GO! 
  • Clean start. Crash in front of me. I go around. 
  • I feel like I'm glued to the ground, but I keep pushing and trying to pass people. 
  • I'm suffering like a dog. "Come on Magh, it will get better!"
  • Get to the Beatrice climb. I see the clusterf*ck ahead. RUN. 
  • Pass a few people. I finally reach the cluster. Wait in line.... 
  • Okay, now I can move. Get to the Beatrice climb: track stand while waiting my turn.
  • It's my turn. I mess up, unclip one foot. WAHHHHH go down on one foot. Bambi on ice. I finally make it down. 
  • I keep pushing as hard as I can, but I am feeling super weak. Luckily, there is David, my family and hundreds of fans lining the course who are cheering for me! "That's awesome".
  • On the final lap, I go through the feedzone and Waldek screams : "Do it for the team competition!"   "Okay. Let's do this Magh. For the team!". 
  • I'm able to find a tiny bit of energy left and pass two people. Then I catch up to Evelyn Dong in the last few minutes and try to pass her several times. She goes left, I go right. She takes it wide, I take it tight. Can't pass. It will be a sprint. I try to go outside/inside on the last U-turn, I don't quite make it, I sprint from behind, she gets me. 
Photo by Matt Delorme. Look at those roots! The trails in MSA are rad.

Photo by Matt Delorme. Look at those roots! The trails in MSA are rad.

Photo by Matt Delorme. Going down on the Beatrice. 

Photo by Matt Delorme. Going down on the Beatrice. 

At the finish line, Waldek welcomes me, congratulates me and we run to the podium. Catharine got third and we won the team overall for the day (Lea got 11th and me 27th) so we have to go quickly.

To be honest, I am a bit bummed that I didn't have a good day at MSA. My head was in the right place, but my body really didn't have any energy at all. It's a bummer that I turned out to be sick at that moment, but that's life and it's okay. Afterall, arriving healthy to an event is a part of the challenge and the preparation so the resposibility is on me, not on bad luck or anything else. On the other hand, I felt pretty good on the technical features, whereas I used to shit my pants on every single one of these descents in the past. So I guess that's a win...and even if it wasn't what I hoped for, it was my best MSA race ever. I was also very happy to contribute a tiny bit to the team winning the Overall on the day! The bonus of being sick was that after I took a sip of champagne, no one else wanted to touch it...so I got to finish it! 

Photo by Matt Delorme. Mag-Dogg, L-Diggity and Quick-C. Celebrating the team overall win!

Photo by Matt Delorme. Mag-Dogg, L-Diggity and Quick-C. Celebrating the team overall win!

Photo by Matt Delorme. Feeling so proud and lucky to be on this team! :) 

Photo by Matt Delorme. Feeling so proud and lucky to be on this team! :) 

That was the end of the mountain bike season for me. I'm now on vacation for a week before starting to prepare for the cyclocross season! It's been the most fun mountain bike season I have ever had; thanks to great company, great events, amazing support and an improved maturity/honesty/calmness in my own little head! 

I can safely say that I caught the mountain bike fever this season. 

 

 

Boston Rebellion

Ever since I started racing cyclocross, I've always loved coming to New England for a bike race. Not only the region is cool, but most importantly, the bike scene is huge, people are big fans of the sport and the races always have such a fun and positive vibe. This weekend, to the soundtrack of Notorious B.I.G, we headed to New England with David and Lea for the UCI HC Boston Rebellion race. 

Nowadays, I don’t really get super nervous about the race itself. What stresses me out the most is whether I’ll be able or not to do my absolute best during the race. It sounds super cliché, but if you’ve ever experienced it, you know what I’m talking about…

Sometimes in races, I have a hard time getting out of my own way and when that happens, I never do very well. Most importantly, when I do that (getting distracted and then being stuck in my head for an undetermined amount of time), I don’t really have fun and I am not proud after the race because I know I could have done better. I call that bad version of myself "Baboune la Vieille Poune" which could translate to "Grumpy Old Chamy". 

The good thing is that this happens less and less theses days. And when it does happen, I am more able to get out of it than I used to.

Anyway, last week, after a few mistakes, I got in that mindset for about half the race at Nationals before getting back to reality on the last 1.5 laps and finishing strong. So before the Boston Rebellion, I was a bit worried I would do it again.

My strategy to counter that was to take a minute before the race and set my head straight by setting some tangible goals for myself. Basically, I reminded myself what I was about to do and what I should focus on. For me, that meant:

  • Remind myself of the start and couple few features.
  • Focus on myself, not others. 
  • At the start, I wanted to go as fast as I could to get in a good position in the first singletrack. I was not starting on the first row, so to do that, my focus was set on looking ahead and searching for opportunities to pass.
  • Have some key points I could control to think about during the race: Looking way up the trail, breathe, accelerate out of corners. 
  • Embrace the pain: Smile and say "Heck yeah, that's good" when I was hurting instead of saying to myself "Ouch that hurts, maybe I need to slow down..". 
  • Have balls, don't hesitate. Or as one of my good friend always says: "Go fast, take chances." 

With that in mind, I was excited and felt ready to race. I'm happy to report that Baboune la Vielle Poune never showed up during the race, it was only me, and I had a good, fun, and clean race! Yahooo! 

The race was relatively uneventful for me...

  • Lea got the hole shot and was leading, we were a leading group of 5.
  • "This is good!"  
  • Lea broke her chain. Me: What happened?! Are you okay?!" Lea: "I broke my chain!" Me: "Crap!" 
  • To myself... "That sucks...Okay Magh, come on. You gotta do it for the team now!".
  • In the feed zone, I told Dave that Lea broke her chain so he could get ready to fix it. 
  • I kept riding with Rose, Emily and Kate for a while and let a gap open on the second lap after a small mistake.
  • After that I pretty much rode by myself the whole time and finished in 4th. The course was very fun and I was happy about my race and my performance! 

However, in my book the "Champion of the day" award totally goes to Lea. She broke her chain on the first lap, very far from the tech zone. I honestly thought she would drop out of the race. I think I would have. But L-Diggity took her bike and ran all the way to the tech zone with her two "surgery-ed" hips, got her chain repaired and started riding in last place. She set out a super strong pace and made her way through the field to finish in 8th in a stacked field. To me that's the attitude of a true champ. Thanks for showing me how it's done Lea! 

The day finished off with a cool down with my official New-England-races-cool-down buddy Crystal Anthony and a fun dinner at whole foods with more New Englands friends (Ian, Jack and Jeremy). 

That drop was a fun feature of the course. Although the whole course was great as it was mostly single track. Photo by Mark McCormack

That drop was a fun feature of the course. Although the whole course was great as it was mostly single track.
Photo by Mark McCormack

High fives after the race. One thing I really love about racing is the camaraderie between racers. Rose is definitely a super nice and classy competitor :) At some point during the race, Rose and I were riding together and I thought "Okay Epic Rides team, let's do this together!!" Photo by Mark McCormack

High fives after the race. One thing I really love about racing is the camaraderie between racers. Rose is definitely a super nice and classy competitor :) At some point during the race, Rose and I were riding together and I thought "Okay Epic Rides team, let's do this together!!"
Photo by Mark McCormack

David took care of the bike fixing, bottles handing, driving, cheering, and way more! Thank you :) 

David took care of the bike fixing, bottles handing, driving, cheering, and way more! Thank you :) 

Short Track 

Sunday was the Short Track and my excitement level was high. In pre-ride, I had tried a couple of different liens in the rock garden because it was the main feature of the course and I knew the race could be separated there....(I'll leave it up to that for now.)

  • I started off strong taking the hole shot and leading the first minute. "You got this Maghs!" 
  • Before the rock garden, 3 girls pass me. "No prob, I'll take a different line to not get stuck behind if they mess up." 
  • 10 sec later, my face is stamped in the rock, I can't breathe and I'm tangled up in my bike. "Great." Everyone passes me. 
  • A guy helps me to get back on my feet. "Should I even keep going?" "Oh come on Magh, Lea did it yesterday. You can do it too. At least get a good workout in!"
  • I thank the nice guy and get back on my bike, 1+ minute behind the rest of the fields. 
  • Rode by myself and caught up a few people until the end of the race! "Glad I kept going!" 
  • The day finished with a fun spin with Rebecca Henderson from Australia. She is super nice and it was fun to get to know her a bit better :) 

ave drove us back home (thanks you Dave!) and now I'm getting ready for my first World Cup of the season in Mont Ste-Anne! 

Thanks to the Boston community for the fun event and good cheers!

Can't believe the next time I'll cool down with Crystal it will be on our cross bikes...

Short track start! 

Short track start! 

BCBR Stage 7

Stage 7: Whistler, 30.3km, 1041 m D+ 

When the alarm goes off at 6AM on the 7th day of a mountain bike stage race, you don't really want to get out of bed. Your eyes don't open much more than 12% of their full capacity for the first 30 mins, your brain is still stuck in your last dream and no matter how much you love eating breakfast, you are not thrilled to be shoving cereals down your throat. However, today's racing conditions were exciting and I didn't need extra motivation to get out and do my best; I was thrilled. Today was the last stage of BCBR and entering the day, I was sitting 12sec behind Katerina on the general classification. The stage was shorter, but packed with very steep climbs and fun, steep descents. 

 My strategy was quite simple; attack until Katerina or myself collapsed. I wanted to win and if that didn't work, I didn't really care if I totally collapsed and wobbled to the finish line. I listened to Eminem "Till I Collapse" song in the RV while getting dressed up to get even more excited.

The lyrics are sick. First verse: 

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face, and collapse

The race: 

  • We didn't start too fast. All my eyes (2) were on Katerina's Camelbak. I had to make sure it didn't leave my sight and that no one would get between the two of us. 
  • First singletrack climb. I let her lead. "Let's warm up a little bit." The race was supposed to last about 2h and I wasn't confident enough to lead for the full duration. 
  • We climb a lot. "Okay. I'm comfortable enough." "I'm sure she is also very comfortable too, don't be fool by the slower pace Magh." 
  • "Maybe I should attack now?" "Only 12min in. Calm down Magh." 
  • "What about now?!" "14:30 in...just wait" 
  • "Now?" "18 min in. Just relax." 
  • We pop out of the single track climb and arrive on a super steep, wider fire road. 
  • "Okay, now I gotta go." "Wait for it...." 
  • WWAAAAHHHHHH! It's on. Don't look back Magh. I pass about 10 guys that were in front of me. Garrett from Clif Bar encourages me. "I think I have a gap, but I can't look back." 
  • "F*ck this climb is way longer than I imagined. I'm really suffering now. I have a gap though, keep going Magh!" 
  • "SO. F**KING. LONG" That climb just gets steeper and steeper and longer... I look under my arm pit and see the orange FOX fork about 40m back. "Come on Magh, hold on." Finally hit the descent. I'm so freaking cross eyed that I you could film a Jerry of The Day video of me going down the thing. 
  • Katerina rides back to me. Oh well, I'll relax a little and try again later. 
  • A little later, we are climbing another steep climb that is loose at the top. I here her mess up behind me. WAHHHHH!! I go again. Although, that attack is not as decisive as the previous one, because I was already out of breathe before starting. Still, I get a gap. 
  • Eventually, she rides back to me. WAHHHH I go again. "Crap I surprised myself there!" "okay Magh, you are feeling like shit, but you have a tiny gap again, so try to keep going". 
  • She comes back soon enough. I slow down and eat a gel. 
  • We hit a technical downhill and Katka leads. She goes so fast and I lose sight of her. "SHIT! Try to go faster Magh" 
  • Get out of the singletrack, Katka takes a wrong turn, I come back. 
  • We ride next to each other on the pavement. "Hmm I'm hungry". Then we see the 3 pink ribbons indicating a left turn into a trail. We both start sprinting. She gets in first. I mess up in the technical climb entering the trail. "Shit. Try to come back. This is so hard I wanna fall flat on my face". I finally bridge back up. 
  • We hit a descent, she opens up a gap. Then we start climbing again. I try to close. Not happening. "Oh boy I think that's it." "Oh come on Magh! Don't give up in front of Katka (actually, I'm behind at that moment, but you get the idea), you can do this!" I finally bridge back. 
  • We hit another descent. "Gotta stick to her wheel Magh!" "Man I'm so out of control to follow her." She eventually opens a gap. 
  • I ride as fast as I can until the end (which is mostly descending), but can never catch up. "I guess I'm the one who collapsed." Cross the line with a big smile on my face. 
  • Big hugs with Katerina at the finish. "That was FUN!" 
  • "I'm still hungry." Go to the finish line snack tent and eat 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich to which I add potato chips in the middle. 
  • Hang out with Dave, jump in the lake! Chill at the finish line with good friends and watch people's smile while crossing the finish line. It's so inspiring to see people so happy and proud of their accomplishment! And believe me, completing this 7 day stage race is quite the accomplishment! Congrats everyone. 

BC Bike Race is now done and it was the best week ever! I'm happy I get to sleep in tomorrow but I'm also a little bit sad that this action packed and thrilling week is over. 

We got to race incredible trails and beautiful courses all week and I feel so lucky I got to take part in this adventure. I'll miss hanging out and hearing the stories of everyone at the race and I will miss pushing myself and spending fun times with Katerina. She really pushed me to my limits every single day this week and got the best out of me - I couldn't be more happy.
She's the best :) 

Now, David and I will hang out in Whistler for a bit and then start heading to Canmore for our National Championships next week. I'm excited for the next couple of days of rest that are on the program, which should leave plenty of time to jump in rivers, take nice walks and explore new small paradises in BC! 

Thanks for following along this week! Your encouragements meant a lot to me. I hope you enjoyed BCBR as much as I did. If you are looking for a good challenge to push yourself and have a good time on your mountain bike, look no further!

Final big thanks to everyone who made this possible and everyone who made this week awesome.

Now, I can finally fall flat on my face and collapse. :) 

Week totals: 
Time of racing: 17h40:51   (It came down to 53 seconds between Katka and I in the end.)
Time total: 20h46min total including small warm ups and cool down. 
Calories: 12305
Distance: 353km
Elevation: 8006 meters of elevation 

Podium after a week of racing! I had such a good time racing with Hielke and Katerina. 

Podium after a week of racing! I had such a good time racing with Hielke and Katerina. 

Keep following. 

Keep following. 

Rolling down a rock

Rolling down a rock

Lola and Dave relaxing post BCBR

Lola and Dave relaxing post BCBR

BCBR Stage 6

Stage 6: Squamish, 53km, 1415m D+ 

Oh boy. That's not how I imagined today would be. 

That's not either how I imagined I would cross the line in front of Katerina for the first time in my life... Spoiler alert: not an awesome feeling! 

In the past few days, I've been talking and joking a lot about how I could beat Katka. The truth is, I don't really care about beating her. In my opinion, she is the best bike rider and racer in the world across all disciplines. The only reason why I want to race with her and be competitive is because I know that the closer I get to her, the more I improve and the closer I get to be one of the best in the world. 

Actually, there are other reasons too... One of them is that I think it is just respectful for her, every other racers, our sponsors, everyone who helps me out and for myself to do my best everyday. Secondly, I'm trying to prepare for XC Nationals, so it would be stupid not to do my best. 

Anyway, here's how today went... 

  • 6:30 AM. Super hard to get out of bed but pumped to go explore Squamish trails. 
  • 8:20 AM. Getting dressed. "Man I don't feel like putting sunscreen on today". It's the little things that get you after 6 days... (Don't worry, I still toughed it up and put it on!)
  • 8:40 AM. Warming up with Katka. Ironically, I told her this morning that even if I was writing all about our " daily battles" I really just saw it as a positive and friendly competition. 
  • Start. After 15 mins, Katerina flats her rear wheel on a fire road. 
  • I yell: "Are you okay?! Do you need help?". She says "I'm okay." 
  • For the next hour, I am confuse.  "Should I wait? Shit. I don't know what to do. I should've asked her what to do". "F*ck this Magh, she has other cats to whip** than telling you what to do. Make a decision for yourself." "Okay, just keep riding, but not too fast, just the same pace".
    **It's a french expression...not sure it translates, but I'm going for it. It means she has other stuff on her mind.
  • I keep riding and a bunch of guys are passing me. I'm kind of stuck in my head and super unsure of myself. I also struggle at finding a rhythm. Then I get drop from a big group and start to feel lonely. "Hmm...it's way more fun when Katerina is riding with me." 
  • I look up. There's a group right in front of me. "Oh come on Magh! Man up. Just catch up to them and ride with them, it won't be as lonely." I catch up, but then we enter a singletrack and I'm kind of stuck behind. I tell myself : "Okay, Magh. Get it together. She's not there but I can still enjoy the day and have fun in the trails. Get in front of them so you can ride your pace!" 
  • That's what I do. I eventually find a rhythm. I get to the front of our group and start riding my own pace. After about an hour, I kind of got comfortable in my discomfort and was able to set a good pace. 
  • After a while, I look back and only our Aussie friend Brett is riding with me. 
  • The views on the side of the course are breath taking. "Brett look at how beautiful it is up there!" "Ya mate!" 
  • Have a blast in the fun descents. "Trails are SWEET around here!" 
  • Catch up to Corry Wallace who is having stomach issues. He guides me down one fun descent. "That was so fun! Thanks Corry!" Then, he drops me in a pedalling section. 
  • Ride by myself until the finish. 
  • I'm hungry. 

In the end, maybe it was stupid to feel bad. It wasn't my fault if her tire went flat. That's bike racing after all, mechanical problems happen. It totally could have been me and I would not have been mad if she had kept going. I felt pretty bad for a few hours, but I'm good now. There was one thing I wanted to make sure of and that's that she didn't have to lift off my spirits and console me. I'm old enough to do that on my own!  So I am over it and now I'm excited for tomorrow, because we only have a 12 sec difference in the overall standings. 

Also, Katerina was not mad at me. I know because she invited me to go jump in the river with her... Hmm. On second thought, maybe she invited me because she wanted to drown me? 

Nah I'm kidding. She's professional and knows how to deal with that stuff. I'm the one who needs to learn from that experience. I think I did learn; once I got out of my own way today and got over that little incident, I was riding well and really had a blast on the fun Squamish course. 

12 seconds... Who knows! Maybe she did it on purpose to make things exciting!? 

We'll get everything figured out in Whistler tomorrow. 

Tent city had a beautiful backdrop today. 

Tent city had a beautiful backdrop today. 

Everyday, I stick the course profile on my top tube! 

Everyday, I stick the course profile on my top tube! 

Dropping in to the last stage tomorrow!

Dropping in to the last stage tomorrow!

YAHOOO!!! Dropper post on the Half Nelson trail was a must. 

YAHOOO!!! Dropper post on the Half Nelson trail was a must.