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! :)