“Far from what I once was, but not yet what I’m going to be.” This simple quote resonates with me as I think about the Mont St. Anne World Cup.
For me, MSA is more than just another race, it is the representation of progress.
2 years ago, I stood atop the Beatrice baffled by the possibility of not only riding it, but riding it without fear shaking my bars. I continually rode and crashed and rode and crashed and rode and crashed trying to successfully turn over a lap of this course. With the help of the Clif Pro Team, I made it through the course with an exceptional amount of humility. It was a huge moment for me. Growing up, there have been very few times in sport where I felt like something was simply beyond my skill set, and so right then and there I vowed I would come back again and master that monster of a course.
Last year, I got to MSA with a fire in my belly. I smoothly rode through all the features and laughed at the old version of myself. Yet, my dues were not yet paid, after a smooth preride I crashed all throughout the race unable to handle my new found technical skills at speed.
THIS YEAR….I finally felt in control. The last 2 years the course rode me, now I was riding the course. I rode the preride focusing on the the best lines, and not simply just any line. More importantly, I stood on the start line with an overwhelming amount of happiness.
We woke up Sunday morning, in Mont-Sainte-Anne (Quebec, Canada) to another full night of rain to soak into the rocks and roots of the infamous MSA course. As we leap off the start line, the soggy grass encapsulated our wheels and the water glistened on the Beatrice, calling to us like Sirens calling to Sailors. Each section of the course offered just a little extra slickness or sloppiness because It seems this has been the mantra of our last 4 races.
Our team manager, Waldek, said before the race that the word of the day was “overcome.” Overcome, it echoed in my mind throughout every section of this course. Overcome: the obstacles in the track. Overcome: the competition. Overcome: the crashes. Overcome: the mistakes. Overcome: the pain and dig just a little deeper. This word also appeared in my prayers as I prayed for a smooth race, in which I would overcome each barrier in my path.
Entering the single track, I found myself a bit further back than I wanted to be. I stayed calm and relaxed, taking the time caught behind in order to recover. The moment the singletrack opened up I darted out, passing a substantial amount of girls. I decided I would ride the first lap clean, and I did. It’s amazing what the mind can do. Part way through the 2nd lap I found myself sitting in 10th, able to see the 5th place position. It was a balancing act. If I went too cross eyed I would make mistakes and mistakes lost positions. I had to find the perfect amount of physical exertion with coordination. I was standing on a tight rope juggling. Each ball I dropped was a position lost.
Coming into the final lap, I was sitting 11th and in a tight race. I was pushing it up the climbs for buffer room on the descents. I was 400 meters from the finish when I dropped a ball. Laying on the ground, I lost a position. I finished in 12th. I crossed the finish line with so much joy in my heart. What a personal victory, and a great result nonetheless. As I stood in the finish chute I felt entranced. I had just had one of the most fun race experiences of my young career on a course that just two years ago scared the daylights out of me.
I think for years to come I will be astonished with the progress I see on this course. I can already feel the big moments in the works. I am so grateful for the support of the Clif Pro Team as I continue my upward journey.
“Far from what I once was, but not yet what I’m going to be.”