Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baie St. Paul Canada Cup, travels through the Quebec countryside

We're coming up on a week into our trip to Baie St Paul and St-Félicien for a Canada Cup and National Championships and I've been to a lot of cool places and done cool things! I'd love to be publishing some sort of hero post about how I was magically fit again, back problems didn't slow me down for long, and how I'm going to crush it at Nationals because I'm back to my regular season fitness. But things don't work out that way for me usually, so I just keep pushing through and enjoying the places that I get to be!

Baie St. Paul was a very tough course; it wasn't so technical that I was worried about any particular section, but the entire course was either uphill or downhill (nothing flat), and it was all very gnarly rooty, rocky. A super fun course that keeps you on your toes, but if you falter and lose focus - it was very hard to regain your momentum. The day was above 30 degrees and we were racing at 3:15, which is almost 2 hours later than my usual races.

The following is a video of basically the same course a few years ago, flip through it to see some of what we ride!

I honestly fell off the pace right from the start, unable to keep the pace going even in the uphill single track, I tried to push the negative thoughts out of my head, thinking that surely nobody could keep this pace in this weather on this course; unfortunately I don't think that I could either. It became a game of attrition, just trying to keep grinding at it until other riders wore down to the point that I could catch them. I was confused about where I was on course, messing up my lines through the technical sections, and even so weak that I couldn't shift my gears at points! But I finished. There was only 1 finisher behind me, but 5 guys didn't finish (that's a pretty large amount for the pro field in a Canada Cup that we all traveled a long way to get to), so I'm proud of just finishing given my health and recent setbacks!

Trying to maintain composure in this race was tough (thanks Scott Lynch for the photo)
The days following the race were spent watching other spectacular races like the Mountain Bike Criterium, which is mayhem! It's a lap that takes about 2 minutes to do, raced for 20 minutes or so with big groups. My favourite was watching the small kids ripping the course.

My buddy Dylan and I were making bets on these guys - I could totally be a bookie
We headed off to Mt. St. Anne that day, and I got some great riding alone in the forest, not worrying about race courses, or stopping for other riders, or where I was in the world. Turns out you can find some pretty neat places.

Not my usual worn out race face :)
I also love camping, which is how we got by from Thursday till Monday.
Our site at Mt. St. Anne was right by the trails (thanks Scott for the photo again)

Road tripping through the Quebec countryside has been fun, I'm bilingual so it's nice to have a chance to practice my french, and now we're in St-Félicien, Nationals is in two days, and I'm hoping to have my fitness back to how it was before my back disk/nerve issues. I'm loving the courses in Quebec, and the break from university, so good results would just be a bonus I guess!

Road tripping through Quebec and watching out for the bears that we saw
Some of the coldest water I've swam in in the summer (Scott Lynch photo)

On hot days, I don't discriminate where I get my water (Scott Lynch photo)

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