“What a f**ked up sport you crazy people participate in. But man is it cool and energizing to watch!! It gave me chills.”
That’s how my uncle, who has never seen a bike race before, described the event. And I feel like it sums up the weekend perfectly.
This year, Cross Nationals were held in Sherbrooke, QC which is about a 2h drive from where I live. That meant that my family was there along with a couple of good friends, to watch the race and cheer. On race day, the conditions were cold and wet so it made the already hard course even more exciting. The atmosphere at the race was electric. It was cool to see so many people conquering the rain and cold to come out and cheer.
Here is a little recap of how it went.
On Friday, we went to check out the course and it was already a little bit muddy. When we woke up in the morning of the race, there was snow on the ground and the thermometer read around 0C. It promised to be an exciting day. We had breakfast, prepared our stuff and headed to the venue early so I could check out the course a few times before the start. Here’s a detailed and quick recap of how it unfolded…
- Meet up with parents at venue. Build tent.
- Tiny warm up on rollers. 1st pre-ride
- David washes bike.
- Try to stay warm in car. Listen to Beyonce. David wrenches bike.
- Pre-ride with Ruby West. We exchange advice. I wash out a couple of times. We laugh. “Better crash now than later”
- It’s muddy and hard. Freaking awesome.
- Eat about a million Clif Bloks.
- Get changed in my dad’s heated car. "Sorry environment" (I turned on the car for a few minutes to stay warm).
- David washes bike again.
- David puts embrocation on my legs (I know, what a guy.)
- I touch my legs.
- Put on eye contacts.
Wait a minute…. Put embrocation on and THEN put eye contacts?
- AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! OUCH F*&?(?E+&?E*##U*&&*??%9869!!!!!!
- My eyes burn and cry for 5 minutes.
- Listen to Beyonce until my eyes stop crying and finish dressing up for race.
- Warm up on rollers under tent with Ruby West while watching Peter Disera rip appart the U23 men’s field.
- “6 inches, she walked in the club like no body’s business…” Beyonce is getting me pumped for the race.
- Roll to the start line.
- Mical Dyck gets the hole shot.
- She slides a tiny bit. I see opening and get in front of her and Christel.
- Get tiny gap. Slide out in off camber. “It’s slippery”.
- Sandra chases me. “Oh merde! Stay calm.”
- Gap increases. “Don’t mess it up Magh. Focus”
- Basically, the whole race goes like this: Run. Ride hard when I can. Go slow when it’s slippery. Run again. Slide out, “iiihhhhhhhh" save it. Slide out on other side “oooohhhhhh", save it ”phew”. Crash. "good thing I practiced jumping on bike on both sides”. Grind through mud. "Screw it, let’s just run for a little bit." Etc….
- See the finish line. “WTF”
- ARRRRGGGGHHHAHAHDGSDGSFUDSFKSDGFUDSF!!!! CAN’T BELIVE IT. Throw my hands up. Smile, yell, cry for 2 seconds.
- Hug family, Dave and friends. Mommy is crying. Feels amazing to embrace and celebrate with my family.
- Not too sure of my emotions.
- I’m National Champion. Feels so good.
- Kind of flabbergasted for a few hours.
1 hour later, my really good friend and training partner Jeremy Martin won the men’s title. And for the second time that day (3rd time if we count the embro-in-the-eye situation), I cried and lost my sh*t.
The best part about the whole weekend was being able to share this moment with people I love. The fact that my friend Jeremy won the men’s title made the day that much sweeter. Both of us, as well as our coach David, were overwhelmed by the love and support we received. It was pretty amazing and very touching to see how people were genuinely happy for us. That evening, we went out with pretty much everyone who raced that day, and celebrating with friends (opponents in the race, but friends outside the tape) reminded me one of the reasons why I love the sport so much; there is an immensely strong camaraderie between people! Our family also joined us and everyone had a good time.
All in all, I am super happy and proud that I achieved that big goal (and dream) of mine. But I think the emotion I feel the most is gratefulness. That win was a team win in so many ways. If I could, I’d split that jersey and share it with the amazing support crew that surrounds me.
The Clif Pro team and all our sponsors, my teammates who have been helping me, advising me, mentoring me and supporting me for the last 3 years, my family, my friends, my boyfriend and coach David who are by my side every single day, Beyonce for the pre-race good vibes and so many other people. I’ve had a lot of disappointments, but you guys were always by my side and helped me to keep my head up, keep working hard & well and keep believing, and it all worked out this weekend. Somehow, all the disappointments and hard work make that success taste just a little better. THANK YOU.
Winning Nationals is something I have been dreaming of for a long time. It will be an honour to wear the maple leaf for the next year.
Thank you again to all who made it possible.
I'm off to wash the bikes with David now. As awesome as it is, at the end of the day, it's only a bike race and life must go on! :)
Cheers. Oh, and CXFever.
**Note: The bullet point style of writing is an idea I borrowed from my friend Dani Mariea. Make sure you check her blog if you want to laugh!