The good thing about racing in Tremblant QC is that you always know what to expect: rock gardens, wooden bridges, a slick rock, some pedally sections thrown in to give you a “break”, and a jump to the finish line that is always built on race day. It is by no means an easy course so if you like a good challenge and the possibility of being heckled in Canada’s other official language then Tremblant might just be your new favourite. As usual this race kicked off the years Canada Cup series so Bryden and I made the trip to see where we would stack up and also to see some of our eastern friends and supporters from OGC.
We arrived to hot humid weather which was wonderful in that summery kind of way. After meeting up with our new teammate Sheldon “Shelly” Smith and his friends Jack and Nick we headed up for a course walk. It was much like the last time we raced it… maybe a little bit snowier, but otherwise the same.
Crossing a ski run – apparently people were skiing here only a few weeks ago
Yes it’s as slippery as it looks
From another angle… still slippery
Lots of rocks to navigate
Who’s that hunk?
Finish line stretch with our sweet pit spot at the bottom
Summer didn’t last long – come Friday it was much cooler and wetter. With a rainfall warning in effect and 60+mm predicted lets just say we were supersaturated. On top of the interesting weather conditions practice had a few more challenges than usual. Practice times were changed from the original online schedule and we didn’t find out about this until we tried to head up the lift for a run so we missed out on a couple of hours of practice. I managed to get two flats in a row which is almost an accomplishment for me and made me even more grateful for the awesome support (and tent!) OGC provided us with – thanks Marty and Etienne for taking such great care of our bikes all weekend! After fixing both flats I had a crash onto a bridge and sprained both thumbs and a pinky, ending Saturday’s practice early. All in all it made for significantly less practice runs than planned and come Saturday evening I had no idea if I was going to be able to grip my bars well enough to actually have a race run!
Bryden and Etienne helping Shelly out with his bike set up
Our 951 Evo’s still glowing even when covered in mud
Bryden still glowing even when covered in mud
Shelly rockin’ out
Opening ‘er up
Monkey see monkey do
Making my way down the top technical section – thanks Conrad Moir for the sweet photo
Sunday morning I took all the Tylenol and ibuprofen that I safely could and headed up to see if my hands could take it. The course had dried out a bit overnight making the mud thicker and slower, but at least the sun was shining! I made it down and although it was painful, I knew I could do it again for my race run. My plan was to play it safe in the techy sections and give ‘er in the flats. I made it through the top section fine, then unfortunately lost my grip on my handlebars before the slick rock and had a rather prolonged attempt to get back on my bike in a super awkward section. Lets just say it would’ve been faster if I had just picked up my bike and walked down that part. In the end I was very happy that I was able to race, and even though it wasn’t a clean run I still got to stand on the podium in 2nd place! Congrats to the other girls who also toughed out the tricky conditions all weekend!
Pro Women’s Podium
I have to mention how very proud I am of Bryden – he beat some very fast guys and also finished in 2nd place! Big Rig threw it down!
Pro Men’s Podium
Taking home a couple of silver medals!
Thanks again to OGC for not only being so supportive all weekend, but also for being cool people. Being in the right headspace is pretty important when it comes to racing and surrounding yourself with positive people can make a big difference. There was always a good vibe under the Intense tent and it kept us all positive despite the challenges along the way. Go team!
Shelly, myself and Bryden – Team OGC/Intense
Great people, great times!
Huge thanks to Intense Cycles, Fox Racing Shox, Suspensionwerx, TLD, ODI, MRP, Thomson, and OGC for your support!