Many of us have heard of the Canadian Mounties and as it turns out those “mounties” are mountain bikes, and at Valcartier the cadets have built a trail network that only the guard get to play on… except today! The trails were opened for the Quebec Single Track Experience riders. Pristine condition (seldom ridden) twisty, root-crossed, bolder-strewn paths was the name of the game. I really could not have smiled more! Unfortunately, you won’t get to see it as photos are not allowed not allowed on Military bases. Maybe you could enlist?
The first day of a stage race is tough. Not like a hard day necessarily, but everyone is fresh, excited and forget they will be racing tomorrow, and the day after that, and after that too. Stage one is often decisive, but in that riders who pushed themselves too hard will move backwards in the standing. I’m speaking from experience here and hope I’ve learned my lesson. After a fast start I settled into my pace and got to put to good use the technical skills I honed at MTB Nationals two weeks ago in Snowshoe, WV. The course had an elevation profile that spanned 433 ft but in that slice of humid air I climbed 1,800 ft: death by thousands of short, punchy climbs! I’m not sure my KS dropper post has ever been used so much on a ride! I rode my race, which at times was a little too hard for prudence, but maximized my recovery where I could. My fingers are crossed that my effort was smart. I pedaled into the lakeside finish as the first woman finisher and promptly plopped into the lake.
After the stage the riders, volunteers, and crew spent the afternoon at the lake swimming, eating pulled pork sandwiches, chasing them down with Boreale IPA’s, and swapping stories from the day’s adventure. Even if my legs have a little less zip to them tomorrow (which I doubt), rumor has it that tomorrow’s stage is even more playful than today’s.