With a good night of sleep and breakfast cassoulet in my belly, I was ready to tackle the final stage of the Quebec Singletrack Experience. Today, we rode the Enduro focused trail network at Sentiers Du Moulin. Mercifully, it was a shorter course built up with wooden gangways (even one over a chalet), ginormous ramps, and huge slab rocks to roll down that were as steep as your stomach could handle. The fun factor was high!
My bike was expertly repaired by Hype Ski Velo, the local bike shop providing mechanical support for all the racers, and I lined up for the start ready to go. Somehow my fellow race car riders (we get a race car sticker on our number plate to mark that we are in the first wave at the start) had legs to blast off the start. It took me a little bit to warm up, but I did just in time for the punchy technical terrain. With a significant time deficit to retake the GC lead, I decided to ride smart and efficiently to see if that may add up to a fast ride. On the climbs I spun in my smallest gears only pushing it to get up a technical feature and on the descents, I tried to pedal and brake as minimally as possible. It was a game for me and it created a ride with flow that did take me to the finish as the first woman.
As all the riders came into the finish area elated, I watched as they as I had some sadness for the moment. Tomorrow I will not be getting on the bus with my friends to ride rad trails, challenge myself in new ways, and sit by the campfire in the evening swapping tales of the day. Bike camp is concluded. Well, we still have a big party tonight, so I won’t shed a tear yet!
MTB stage racing is humbling. It is exhilarating. It is a challenge that’s boast worthy. It has brought out the best of me and pointed out spots where I can improve. These lessons are not just on the bike, but it my engagement with myself and others. Obviously, I really love to ride my bike, but I get just as much joy helping other riders have success. I am afraid to fail or quit but calling it a day when I need to is not shameful. For me it brought a level of knowing my limits and motivations to connect myself more deeply with my community. Stage racing, it’s about so much more than the bike! Thank you, Quebec, for the “Singletrack” and the “Experience”. I am officially a Que-Biker. I’ll see you again next year!