Mont Sainte Anne is probably one of the most famous venues for Mountain Bike racing in the World and this year the World Championships coincided with 20 years of world class events held at Mont Sainte Anne which is quite an achievement given Mountain Bike racings short history.
I arrived in Canada good and early to acclimatise and get comfortable on the course. Getting to know the track was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the very dry conditions which were so extreme that some sections were very similar to trying to ride in the sand dunes at the beach. Mont Sainte Anne is known for its technical nature and it lived up to its reputation this year with plenty of challenging terrain and the now well known rock garden. A couple of tough climbs, combined with the bumpy rough single track were quite hard on the body making it a tough track to race on.
Starting in 32 place I was forced to line up in the middle of the grid which is often the worst place to be as usually any crashes that are going to occur happen in that area. But fortunately I got off the line well and dived round the outside of the first couple of corners gaining places as everyone tried to take the shorter inside line. From there it was flat stick to the first hill. I lost a few positions for a while but made it back up to 34th over the line after completing the start loop, which was pretty good by my usual standards and with six full laps left things were going well.
Things were pretty frantic for the next couple of laps as a very quick pace was set by the leaders. It was a case of hold on as long as possible. I struggled for a while dropping back into the 40’s but once things settled down a bit after the first part of the race I was able to get into my own rhythm and I started to ride a lot stronger and made good progress moving back into the mid 30s.
However despite nothing actually going wrong, I felt I wasn’t ever really able to get to maximum spark and as the laps ticked by I couldn’t make any further progression up the field. My end result of 36th was not what I had been looking for at the World Championships. Still despite being a bit disappointed with the way this race went I still have three more years left in the U23 age category. So I have time to progress up towards the pointy end of the field and all things going well a podium finish in the next few years.