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Racing

What does it mean to race at home?

7th August 2018

I knew I had to come out of blog hibernation because racing at home means I feel so much love and support I don’t know what to do with it! It was stunning. There were so many spectators in the woods cheering that Lespy suggested one might be easily confused as to whether it was a Canada Cup or a World Cup! By the end of the day Sunday I was beaming with pride. Now the word is out, I’m hoping the rest of the country will come out of the woodwork and enjoy the east coast as much as I do.

Photo credit and gratitude as always to the brilliant photographer extraordinaire Brianne Stienman for all pictures here, thank you!

Five years ago The Gorge was one of my favourite race courses in the province. It was one of the first places I really started to feel fast, but in the years after it began to deteriorate. Those roots I loved so much in the beginning weren’t just a technical challenge, (especially when wet) they made riding feel like too much work and the work vs. reward balance began to slip. A Canada Cup is a big event to organize and besides Bear Mountain, the other Canada Cup venues have been around for years. They are very much well-oiled machines you can count on. The Gorge had just been revived and was yet to be tested.

I knew Ryan Lindh from TrailFlow Outdoor Adventures was going to have to do an incredible amount of work bringing in dirt to make The Gorge beautiful again and man, did he pull it off! Everyone who came from away was raving about the course and so was I. I hope you’ll all go home and share your experience so that the number of riders reflect the quality of the event. Ryan left a small portion of the trail in the beginning of the lap classically rooty, but the rest of it was artfully designed to give the maximum TRAILFLOW possible.

As per the actual race- after being selected for Worlds in September and already having plans to race the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup the next weekend… for me this was purely for fun and a chance to race in front of a home crowd. Which I haven’t done all year! I’ve been travelling so much I don’t even get the chance to be a part of the local events and catch up with the community.

I did three interviews last week leading into the race and they all asked me why this is such a big deal to have a Canada Cup in Nova Scotia, but I think Lespy said it best-

“The biggest thing about having a higher level event here in Nova Scotia is just to give the younger athletes a good way to measure themselves against the rest of the country. There will be athletes travelling here from places like Quebec and Ontario so it’s very important to see where you stand and experience that kind of competition to motivate you to work and train harder to see where you can go with the sport.” (The Chronicle Herald)

You have to have the means and the physical support to travel so much at a young age for competition and not everyone has that. Regularly having a Canada Cup on the east coast will make mountain biking much more accessible. I’m excited to see how this will affect the future of our youngest racers.

#airtime

Next year is an even greater opportunity to visit as there will be TWO Canada Cups in the Maritimes. I can hardly believe it. Like Quebec and Ontario traditionally do, there will be a double header with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island hosting back to back races. Make sure you put it on your calendar!

If this isn’t what your cheer squad looks like, you need to get a new one… This is the infectious energy I’ll be taking with me to MSA!

I am an aspiring athlete looking to make my mark on the mountain biking world. I love racing and training with my teammates, and I am looking for new ways to be faster and stronger- the fun is always in a good race!