Baie-St-Paul Canada Cup

Course description:

Baie-St-Paul is located in the Charlevoix region of Quebec and continues to support Canadian mountain bike racing. In 2016 the event held the cross-country National Championships and for this season Velo Charlevoix was back hosting round three of the Canada Cup series.

The course is known for its raw and natural terrain, littered with roots, rocks and undulating trails that make it one of the most physically demanding courses on the circuit. Without precise line choices and efficient use of energy, the course can deal out mechanicals and leave riders utterly exhausted.

The Canada Cup pre-race meeting is usually the most anticipated of the season for coaches, managers and mechanics, with the local craft beer and cheese selections.

The course was exactly the same as the National Championships last season and the conditions were dry as can be, barring one puddle in the course. The organizers always go the extra mile to add a UCI race on the Sunday, giving athletes more than once chance to snag world ranking points, and for non-UCI racers to chase Quebec Cup points.

The XCT time trial format that took place on Sunday is one discipline we’re not too familiar with outside of the Quebec Cup series, as this event has featured the better-known STXC short track race in the past few editions. The course was a 9 km loop that saw riders start in 30 second intervals based on the previous day’s Canada Cup and Quebec Cup finishes.

Baie-St-Paul is another fantastic event in Quebec that always has first-class organization. At this race I saw my first elite Canada Cup podium in 2011, so it’s always a special one to me and this weekend was my first time toeing the line in the Canada Cup leader’s jersey – I wanted to do that jersey proud.

Unlike last week, I started harder and tried to get out of the group early and just ride my rhythm. Things were going fantastic and I was coming through with one lap to go and heard that hissing out of the front tire that we all dread. A quick tire plug allowed me to milk it to the pits and get a fast wheel change, but not without loosing the lead. I chased Quinton Disera and just couldn’t get those precious seconds back and ended second. Hats off to Q, he was strong!

It was incredibly frustrating as I came to win both these races but we did have a “second chance” in the UCI race Sunday. I know the fitness is there and I’ve been working harder than ever with my new coach Richard Wooles from Peak & Valley Coaching, so Sunday was just a matter of taking out the frustration in watts, using the fitness and having a little luck, which worked out and I was able to snag the win.

Proud to be a Canadian racer this weekend. We shared success is many disciplines that were highlighted with Peter Disera’s third at the U23 World Cup in Germany and Leandre Bouchard’s career-best 16th in the Elite men, plus Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau’s third in the Ireland EWS and Michael Woods’ thrilling Giro completion.

All photos below by Caroline Gautier

Phil St-Laurent finished 5th in the Junior men. He’s part of the Pivot-On The Edge team.

Elite men start line just before the gun went off

Rubbin’ is racin’ as they say. Started beside Felix Burke.

Maghalie Rochette took the weekend by storm and won both the races.

This week I wanted to get out in the lead early and ride my own rhythm.

One of the longest open climbs to check where the other racers were.

Hats off to this young man. Quinton Disera rode very strong and took his first elite Canada Cup win as a first-year Under-23.

Sidney Mcgill won the junior womens race.

Elite women podium.

Elite mens XC podium

West coast representing for the second week in a row with three BC riders and one Alberta rider leading the Canada Cup series.

Waiting at the start for Sunday’s UCI TT race. Waiting with my fellow Pivot/On The Edge riders Raphael Auclair and Felix Belhumeur.

Back-to-back racing isn’t usual for an MTB’er and it hurts!

Warming the hot seat as the current leader of the TT. Sun was out and it was hot!

Luckily had some friends to join me! L to R: Stephen Hyde, Quinton Disera, and Raph Auclair

Elite Mens XC TT podium 


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