The year is 2016.
The place is Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec.
The time is now.
After a mildly disappointing nationals last year, (even though I was 2nd) I was out for blood this year. Instead of riding an aggressive race, where I would try to control everything and get well off the front, I chose to let others set the pace. I sat on and rode the wheels of the young guys. The depth of talent in Canada is getting deeper and it is exciting to see guys putting the gears to each other. Raphael Auclair set tempo for the better half of the race, and Felix Burke was close behind with Marc-Andre Fortier. Those boys had their work cut out from them as lap traffic, the “slinky effect”, and Raph’s pace was fierce.
I threw a couple attacks to try to get away – out of sight and out of mind – but there was no success. This was a very determined group of young U23s. On the last lap I witnessed a superhero effort that I didn’t think was possible. Marc-Andre launched the gnarly-est attack lasting about 3-4 minutes. The pace was so hot I thought he was going to win nationals; I could barely stay with him. We put a solid gap between us and Raph and Felix.
When the pace settled I took a second and took over setting the pace. I could tell Marc-Andre had shot his bullets, he played his cards smart launching an attack to ensure himself a podium spot compared to gambling in a group of four. I slowly put the gears to him until he dropped off pace. I rode hard, ensuring that I put enough time between him and myself. I wanted the biggest buffer possible just in case anything unexpected happened. In the end, I rode to victory with a surplus of 30 seconds. I was overjoyed, and I didn’t disappoint myself this year!
Thank you to Norco for all of their support. My Revolver FS was incredible for this course with all the bumpy, rooty, gnarly stuff. Stans No Tubes Valors were the wheels of choice with Kenda Karmas in case it rained. I was ready to throw down regardless. Big thanks to Kevin Simms for helping me navigate through the ups and downs of my season – this was a definite ‘up’. Looking forward to more fierce competition in Ste. Felicien this coming weekend!
Also, I’d like to give a shout out to the organizers at BSP. The work that all the volunteers put in, as well as the new work on course was great! Thank you so much for an awesome event.