FEVER ALERT - Jingle Cross

***This is an extract from my Newsletter. For more tips, exclusive info, mechanical details, etc. you can subscribe at the bottom of this article.

Jingle Cross Weekend 

It's 4 O'clock. The women's World Cup starts in 15 minutes. The men have just finished racing, and the conditions seems drier than they have been all weekend. The mud is tackier and the guys have created nice ruts for us to ride in. I will race the Baby Limus tires, a semi-mud tire. My warm up is done, I get in the trailer for one last pee stop (isn't it incredible the amount of times you need to pee on race day?!) and to take a minute to focus. 

That's when I hear it. Tic. Tic. Tttttt-t-t-t-tic. It's falling on the roof of the trailer. Louder, faster, heavier every second. I peek outside and David looks at me : "It's pouring!". I can sense my adrenaline rising. Last minute decision: "Dave, please change the wheels. I'll race the Limus (heavy mud tires)". We get to the start line, it's pouring rain, course conditions are changing by the second. I'm excited. That's exactly why I love cyclocross. It’s unpredictable and you have to be adaptable.

The gun goes off and I have a clean start, until 30 secs into the race... Someone unexpectedly washes out in front of me, in a straight away, and takes me down with her. I tried to jump over her, but at the speed we were going, I didn’t have time to react and hit the deck. People were flying around me and although I stood up pretty quickly, I soon found myself in almost last position. My first reaction was “well, that sucks”. Luckily, however, I quickly changed my thoughts and got into chase mode.

It was completely chaotic out there, and so awesome at the same time. People where everywhere, all of us sliding down descents, running in deep mud and trying to figure out how to move up. My motto was: JUST. KEEP. MOVING. No matter how ugly and un-elegant the technique. It worked out pretty well as I was able to move up to 9thplace in the end. I was happy with my ride considering it started quite badly. It was a good fight, and I like to think that those fights make you stronger.

Day 2:
The day after the World Cup, we got to do another race. The conditions were not as slippery, but the mud was thicker, which made the running even harder. As we started, I felt like I was going to throw up, but I told myself to suck it up for a while and that it would go away. Luckily, it did. As I focused on following Katerina’s short, quick steps in the run up, I quickly got into a rhythm. The two of us got away early on and rode together for about 4 laps. It felt like the old times! I caught myself thinking "how fun. it's like we are playing team tactics", until she attacked and dropped me, where I was quickly reminded we are not teammates anymore! I still finished 2nd and felt that my CXFever was stronger than ever after this great weekend of racing!

I didn’t train much this past week because we were trying to recover from the cold I had caught the previous week. Nonetheless, I felt surprisingly good this weekend. Goes to show that when you are healthy, all goes well! 

There was a lot of this going on during the weekend. I suspect this must be David's favorite part of the job ;) Photo by TENSPEED HERO

There was a lot of this going on during the weekend. I suspect this must be David's favorite part of the job ;) Photo by TENSPEED HERO

There are always so many stories after races like that. Always so fun to hear everyone's perspectives of the race. Photo by TENSPEED HERO

There are always so many stories after races like that. Always so fun to hear everyone's perspectives of the race. Photo by TENSPEED HERO

The fans in Iowa were amazing. The best heckle of the weekend has to be that woman who screamed, in the Mt Krumpit brutal run up: "Old people rule! Go Katerina". I almost bursted out laughing. Photo: TENSPEED HERO

The fans in Iowa were amazing. The best heckle of the weekend has to be that woman who screamed, in the Mt Krumpit brutal run up: "Old people rule! Go Katerina". I almost bursted out laughing.
Photo: TENSPEED HERO

FEVER ALERT 3 - World Cup #1

***This is an extract from my Newsletter. For more tips, exclusive info, mechanical details, etc. you can subscribe at the bottom of this article.

World Cup # 1 - DNF : Not the good kind of fever


When things are going badly, it's safe to say that eventually, they will get better. Consequently, when everything is going amazingly, the only other option is for things to go a little bit less amazing. I believe that's one of the only constant in life. 

That being said, when we planned the season, we knew that flying form the East Coast to Reno, and then fly directly to the World Cup in Waterloo, in a matter of just a few days, would be hard for the body. But we wanted to make the trip, Interbike being a very important event. A lot of travel can be hard on health and we took our precautions, coming into the trip rested and taking all the typical precautions to avoid getting sick. 

However, the morning before the Reno race, I had already a sore throat. I slept A LOT since then, took it easy in training and swallowed many "cold killer" pills in the hope of being all good and healthy for the first World Cup of the season. Unfortunately, I still wasn't quite back to 100% healthy today. I still decided to take the start because you never know if you could surprisingly feel good. But there was no such surprises today...only burning lungs, and no energy. 

So after 2 laps, I decided to call it a day. I felt like by racing, I was only making my situation worse. Instead, by stopping earlier, I don't feel like I brought myself to the ground, and I'm confident that with a couple of relaxed days, I'll be back to 100%; ready and - even more - excited for next week's World Cup. 

It is always disappointing to not finish a race, but I can honestly say that I am happy with my decision. And although I'm bummed I got sick, and bummed I wasn't really able to measure myself against the best in the world during today's race, I still see many positives about the situation... 

Among the positive points: 

  • It's a looooonnnnggg season. I don't want to carry sickness over several weeks. 

  • I know the fitness is there. But health is priority. With no health, there is no performance. Once I'l be healthy, I'm confident I'll be able to race like I've bee doing so far this season. 

  • It was awesome to do the first 2 laps of the World Cup and get back into that fighting feeling, in such a deep field. Great experience for next week! 

  • In my young career, I've had way more "bad" racing moments, than good ones...although it was sometimes hard, I now see this as one of my biggest strength.  Trust me, I now know how to deal with this and it doesn't even affect my mood. 

  • Skills felt good during the race. I'm glad I could do a few good passes out there. 

At the end of the day, when something goes wrong, all you can do if focus on the solutions. My coach and partner David is a master at that...and as we stated before, if you do that, you know things will end up getting better again! :) 

Thank you for the support guys!! Through the highs and the lows, having you by my side means so much!! 

Photo by Luke Batten

Photo by Luke Batten

Still had good feelings in the technical sections - Photo by Luke Batten @tenspeedhero

Still had good feelings in the technical sections - Photo by Luke Batten @tenspeedhero

The 3 of us (me and the 2 bags under my eyes) are still smiling even after today's DNF. Because we have no doubt all will be back to normal in no time! Photo by TENSPEED HERO

The 3 of us (me and the 2 bags under my eyes) are still smiling even after today's DNF. Because we have no doubt all will be back to normal in no time! Photo by TENSPEED HERO

FEVER ALERT 2 - Reno Cross

***This is an extract from my Newsletter. For more tips, exclusive info, etc. you can subscribe at the bottom of this article.

Reno Cross


Tonight is Reno Cross, the new edition of Cross Vegas. Always considered a big race by many, because everyone from the industry is there watching. I am a bit nervous, yet deeply excited. This will be my first time racing “against” my friends form the CLIF Pro Team. I know how strong Katerina is, I know how smart she races and how skilled she is. I know, because over the past 5 years, she has been generous enough to share most of her racing thoughts and a lot of her racing wisdom with me.

Although we have raced against each other before, I never saw her as a rival. If we ever ended up riding away together in a race, I was stoked to be ahead with her, rarely thinking of how I could beat her…except during the 2017 BC Bike Race where we battled it out for 7 days in a row, but where I was never able to have the best of her.

So I am excited for a battle tonight. I know I need to bring my A game, and maybe even a little bit more than that, if I want to have a shot against her.

Here’s how the race played out...

Pre race: 

  • 25 mins before the start: David’s phone rings. I’m standing next to him. The alarm system is going off at home. The police is going to the house. “Okay. Well, nothing we can do about it from 5000km away.”

  • Continue warm up on the FeedBack Sports trainer.

  • Cleaning lady calls. She explains that she forgot the alarm code, etc. All I hear is blah blah blah. “Okay thanks for calling. I’m racing in 20 mins, I gotta go”.

  • A lot of chaos happening around. I’m kind of loosing my sh*t here.

  • Get off the trainer. Bathroom. Take 2 mins to calm down. Get in a good mindset. “Ok. Good to go.”

  • Normal pre-start chit chat. Velonews interview with Fred Dreier. I have no clue what I said. Sorry Fred.

  • On the line. Waldek (CLIF Team manager) jokes to Katerina and I: “Give ‘em hell Katka. Especially to that one”. Wink.  He generously picks up my jacket.


Race: 

  • BEEEEEPPPPP. Off we go.

  • Fast start. Get hole shot. “Sweet!” “Stay calm”

  • Get to the barriers. “SO MANY CAMERA FLASHES. I don’t see anything.”

  • Phew, made it safely.

  • “Feels like no one is following me…?” Turn around. No one is right there.

  • “There must have been a crash.”

  •  It’s windy out. “Go fast Maghs, but don’t burn too many matches riding alone in the wind. They will come back.”

  • After a lap. 10 secs gap. “They will surely come back.” “Go fast, but not TOO hard.”

  • After 2 laps. New strategy: “Go fast in tail wind, tempo in head wind.” “They will come back, but hopefully they’ll have to work for it.”

  • After 3 laps:  Gap is growing. “I may actually have a shot at this.”

  • “Okay. Let’s try this for real. Go really fast for 1-2 laps.”  

  • For 3 next laps: All I can think is: Smooth. Calm. Next turn. Stand up. Calm. Smooth. Change gears. Calm.

  • Gap is growing. People are cheering. “This is cool!” “No stay focus Maghs.”

  • Finally, I cross the finish line to take my first win at the Interbike race! “Yeeehaaaa!!!”


In the end, I was pretty excited to take the win at this first edition of RenoCross. I just had a smooth ride and was able to stay calm. Unfortunately, I later learned that Katerina crashed on the barriers on the first lap and broke her handlebar, which certainly did not help her.  

It was really special to celebrate the win with all my friends and all the people from the industry who support me. That’s why the Interbike race is so special. Everyone is there to celebrate with you.

Definitely a night to remember! Thank you, Reno Cross :) 

Photo by Luke Batten

Photo by Luke Batten

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Photo by Luke Batten

Photo by Luke Batten

FEVER ALERT 1 - Rochester CX

***This is an extract from my Newsletter. For more tips, exclusive info, etc. you can subscribe at the bottom of this article.

First race of the season - Rochester CX

The first race is always a bit nerve racking. What makes it stressful is the unknown. How fast will everyone be going? Who will come out swinging this year? I feel good in training, but how will that compare to everyone else? But these unknowns are also what make it so exciting to be back racing.

In Rochester, I’ve always had good races. I came close to the win many times, but always came up short. In 2015 I had my first podium in a C1 category race. In 2016, I was battling for the win, until I passed out on the finish line due to heat exhaustion…waking up in the ambulance to find out I ended up in 4th place. In 2017, on day 2, I was leading with less than half a lap to go until I dropped my chain, to finish 2nd. I finished 2nd on both days.

This year was especially exciting for me, because it was my first outing with the new equipment and under theCX Fever p/b Specializedteam. I had to work hard to contain my excitement and keep calm…my teammates on my previous team used to call me “Energizer Bunny” because I was so excited before cyclocross races. Needless to say, staying calm was no small task; it was an inner battle in my head.

Basically the whole race went like this:

Typical me:“Is Ellen bringin me back?!”
Calm me:“Focus on yourself Magh. This turn, then the next…”
Typical me:“OMG still 4 laps to go, will I make it?!”
Calm me:“One by one Maghs. You like doing laps. Relax and do it like in training.” 
Typical me:“OMG, could I win again today?!”
Calm me:“Don’t think about it Maghs, just ride.”
Typical me:Tatatatatatat “Ho, my sticker is really flapping. I wonder if it will hold on until the end”.
Calm me:“Whatever Maghs. Just keep riding.”
Typical me:“Ok Magh, don’t mess up that section.”
Calm me:“Don’t think about that. Put your weight back, let go of the break, just execute.”

When I could finally see the finish line, I finally allowed my typical self to think: “Phew, you made it! YAYYY!”

After 4 years of trying, I manage to keep my calm and it paid off as I was finally able to bring it home for the win. After a good battle with Ellen Noble on Day 1, I attacked with 2,5 laps to go and kept it steady to win my first UCI C1 race! I was more than happy to repeat the feat on day 2! 

This is great momentum to start the season. It gives me confidence that the training we’ve done is paying off and that we are on the right path. It was also good to test the new equipment and start to feel as one with the bike.

Now, we have to keep working well, because some bigger challenges are coming up shortly with the World Cups in less than 2 weeks!

I already can’t wait.

Cheers, 

Maghalie 

So happy to start the season this way! Photo by Luke Batten

So happy to start the season this way! Photo by Luke Batten

Focused on an off camber section - Photo Luke Batten

Focused on an off camber section - Photo Luke Batten

Change - New Cycling Team

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Change is hard. But it can also bring new and exciting opportunities that will allow you to grow.

After being on the CLIF Pro Team for 5 years, I have decided to leave the team to start my own cyclocross project; CX Fever Racing Team Powered by Specialized.  

A part of me is super excited about this opportunity, while another part of me is sad about leaving the team.

It’s no secret; I love the CLIF Pro Team. I love everyone on this team, I love the structure, I love the sponsors, and the 5 years I spent on this team were the best of my life. 

Quite frankly, I feel like I’ve grown up with this team. I got on the team when I was a 19 years old girl who had raced mountain bikes for 1 season and who didn’t speak very good English. I’m now a 25 years old woman, I’ve been teammate with some of the best cyclists in the world (who also happen to be very cool and mature woman who taught me much about life), we’ve raced MTB and CX all over the world, and my English is still not awesome, but it is much better.

We’ve had euphoric and devastating moments together, and all these moments brought us closer. I was always proud to call these people my teammates, but 5 years later, I’m even prouder to call them my friends.

I owe everyone involved in the CLIF Pro Team an enormous thank you, from the very bottom of my heart. It's been an incredible ride! 

New Team

You may be wondering, "why change team if you loved your team so much?" 

Fair question. 

The simple answer is that I have the cyclocross fever and it became too big to contain. 

I invite you to read the text below to know more about my decision and about the people & companies who are part of this new journey. 

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The chickens seem to love the bike just as much as I do! 

The chickens seem to love the bike just as much as I do! 

I'm excited to share the Fever with you at these events in the next month! 

SEPTEMBER

8-9 - Rochester CX, NY USA 
19 - Cross Reno, Reno USA
21-23 - World Cup #1/Trek Cup -Wisconsin
28-30 - World Cup #2/Jingle Cross, Iowa

Thanks for the support :) 

- Maghalie