This past week I took advantage of my recovery week packed up my honda with camping gear and mountain bikes and journeyed off to Mont-Sainte-Anne. Canada was chosen to host this years Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships and they picked an absolutely incredible venue. Mont-Sainte-Anne is located about an hour outside of Quebec City with the races taking place all over the mountain. They had camping right at the race venue which was convenient and made it easy to cram spectating into every waking hour of my days there.
A few of my friends from MSU happen to be incredible mountain bikers as well as full time students and when they were named to the team this summer I knew there was no way I could miss getting to watch them race. The best part is that even though Fort Kent is inconveniently located from just about everything it happens to be practically in Canada and only 3 hours from the races!
Starting Wednesday morning I was ready to be a super fan and dragged Leif all over the mountain from sun up to dinner time cheering, yelling, hooting, and hollering for whoever was unfortunate enough to get within ear shot. I applauded as the trials riders bunny hoped their bicycles over seemingly mountainous rocks and backwards down tiny wooden ramps. I yelled “run run run run!” at the xc riders as they got jostled out of their saddles on descents that made even the downhill riders cringe. I hollered “USA USA USA USA!” at any and all of the 4cross riders and gasped as they chose lines through the chaos that would put me on my butt without a bike under me. I screamed until I was hoarse as guys and gals from all sorts of countries gutted it out. There were pain faces a plenty all over the course. Conditions were anywhere from dusty sand pits to tacky to muddy and wet. Sunshine, fog, rain, mist, or the dark of night.
World champions were named, podium places filled, jerseys and medals awarded, battles fought, dreams realized and crushed. After spending so much of my own time training and racing it was nice to be a spectator this time around. I was treated to a truly incredible experience by the athletes throughout the week. These athletes put it all out there and it was inspiring to watch them leave whatever they had out on the course. As they crossed the line battered, banged up, and covered in sweat and dirt they reminded me how much I enjoy suffering from the gun to the bell lap to the finish line. They gave me butterflies as I waited anxiously for them to come through the finishing shoot. They reminded me that what we do is fun and amazing and the best job on earth! I felt their enthusiasm as they made a pass by a fellow competitor, rode a good line, or pushed through the top of an uphill…and I felt their disappointment when they crashed or when their legs gave out. They rekindled my enthusiasm for what lays ahead of me this season, and I can’t thank them enough for allowing me into their world for the week. Congratulations to all those riders who finished out seasons this past week, well deserved rest waits ahead!
We’ve moved into fall here in Fort Kent as we finished up period 5 of the year. We’ve been greeted with cooler days and longer nights. The leaves are changing and I’m excited to embark into the next phase of training. Its a little strange to not be headed back into classes as school started up for the most part around the country this past week. Its weird to not be out west running between class and practice and living partially out of a backpack and partially out of the ski room but its getting easier each day. I know what I am doing is different than the average American college aged kid but I also knowing I am doing the right thing for me right now. This will be the first fall in 6 years that I am not racing cross country running! Its odd that my spikes lay lonely and abandoned in the bottom of my closet… but when I get to go romp around in the woods through the leaves everything is put back into balance once again.
Heres to continuing the plunge!
enjoy the photos from World Championships