Okay, where do I begin...
We left Saturday at 10 from my house and planned on making it to Montreal, then calling it a day. The full drive to MSA takes around 10 hours, but with stops that quickly turns into 12 hours.
The drive was going well for a hour until we quickly came to a dead stop on the highway. We didn't know what was going on, but there was only one or two cars traveling west bound which provoked some questions. East bound the traffic was bumper to bumper as far as the eye could see. Thanks to a text from James' father we heard that there was a accident west bound and the road is closed. A passenger fell off a motor cycle :( Not something you want to think about.
Now that we knew what was going on we just had to inch along in traffic for a hour. After that it was pretty smooth sailing till we hit Montreal. It was pretty slow traffic through Montreal, but probably the best traffic I have witnessed while going through.
After making it past Montreal we stopped for dinner and discussed the remainder of our travel plans. Everyone was up for driving the remaining 2 hours to Sainte Anne De Beaupre. When we hit town it was adventure time! Motel, Hotel, or B&B. Search was on! We figured the closer we got to town the nicer the places would be but the more expensive they would be as well, so finally we settled on one. It was called Motel Spring. Julien Absalon's fan club as also staying there. At breakfast some were sporting jackets that read just that.."Julien Absalon Fan Club"
I forgot to pack my bowling shoes...
In the morning we had time to kill as Team Canada check in wasn't till 6pm. Over to Mont Sainte Anne we go! We got there just in time to see the 50 km race go off. The Louis Garneau riders were pretty intense. After we watched the start we went to drop stuff off where my mom, Kyle, and James are staying. about a 15min drive outside of town. We grabbed a quick bit to eat and headed back to hill. This time it was our time to hit the dirt!
First stop, PUMP TRACK!!! Love pump tracks. Spent a good 30-40min there and snapped a few pictures. Now that we were `pumped` it was time to hit some real dirt. Into the first single track i got a stick in the derailleur and over the bars i went! Had to laugh it off after making sure i didn`t break my bike. Very thankful that the SRAM XX derailleurs are strong. At this point everyone else took off down the trail and I was further back. I cruised through and checked out all the new lines that had popped up since the last time I rode the course. Coming to the end of the single track I was stopped and asked to leave the course as there was racers from the earlier race coming through. At this point I was sure the others had made it on to the next section or been kicked off as well. But I couldn`t find them so I had to wait around while they rode the sweet drop off section.
After meeting up again we moved to the other side of the course and rode the sketchy down hill rock garden of death. Not having much energy and only have ridden the one single track leading up to this I decided I would leave it till tomorrow (Today). When I was here earlier in the year with Team Ontario provincial MTB coach Mike Garrigan helped build our confidence up by breaking down the descent. Repeated times of riding the rock corner, then finally committing to riding the rest. All very helpful, and I will be thinking about it all as I head into it today.
I stood in the straw off to the side while the others took there run at it. Some successful, and others not so much. But none of the attempt resulted in injury. One of the guys that was working on the course told us earlier that day this section claimed two victims and was shut down early. One broken foot or ankle and other was arm. Mentally focused and committing is key to success on this one.
We rode the rest of the course then it was time to clean up and get groceries. After that it was time for Emily and myself to check in at the Team Canada condo`s. Very nice places and everyone was very organized! After getting through the paper work we got our kits and we were set. While we were down by the tent where everything was going on, vans full of Team Canada athletes were pulling up. Catherine Pendrel, coming off her win at the Windham World Cup, and also wrapped up the title of World Cup series leader!
I had to go inside to get the Internet code for our condo and as I'm standing in line I read specialized on the shirts of the guys in front of me. Then I see there face...Todd Wells and Christoph Sauser!!! Pretty damn cool! Also saw Irina Kalentieva several times yesterday wearing her rainbow jersey. So far I have seen Team Russia, Australia, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, and I might be forgetting some. Allot of the top riders were pulling in last night from Windham, should see some more big names today!
Excited to rock the AMAZING Team Canada kit !!!
Two of these sweet bridges on course!