If you’ve been following our recent posts on our Twitter and Facebook, you’ll know that our MTB crowd has been on the road again, this time at the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup round in Quebec, Canada. With the European based Team Felt/Otztal/Xbionic attending this event, we were nothing less than world caliber.
The view of the start/finish from the Felt pit
The week started with a bit of adventure; the condo reservation for the American based support team was all kinds of mixed up. There is nothing quite like arriving at your destination at 1:30 in the morning, only to find out that it isn’t your destination at all. The confusion, however, was thwarted by a nice gentleman behind the counter of the Chateau du Mont Sainte Anne, who allowed the use of WIFI and a telephone, which helped to locate the proper accommodations. This lead to the proverbial “sigh of relief” and a lesson learned in the ever famous tactics of “bait and switch”. After a night of sleep, it was off to the venue for set-up of the booth and pit area.
Set-up, as usual, was a bit uneventful. 10×10 pop-up tents went up, side walls were added, and tables and chairs were put out-everything that was needed to create the perfect addition to the tent city that is the pits at a World Cup race. There was only one problem: half of the teams bikes were lost on the flight from Europe. Luckily, there were enough training and race bikes available for everyone to get some practice in, but it was nothing less of stressful waiting for the other bikes to arrive. While the athletes completed various forms of training rides and practice laps, Geri the mechanic was busy cleaning and tuning bikes for race day. Luckily, all the bikes were accounted for by the night before the race.
Thomas Litscher’s Edict that was built from parts borrowed from Shimano and other teams. Luckily his race bike showed up before the race!
The weather in Mont Sainte Anne would fluctuate between boiling lava hot and torrential stinging downpour. This had tremendous effect on the course and bike choice, but eventually the rain held off, and bike choice was finalized. Race day was dry. Not a cloud in the sky. Like the past dry days, though, it was very hot. This was rough for the racers, as full body exertion in temperatures upwards of 85 degrees is not awesome, particularly when it was raining and half as warm for all of the training and practice laps earlier in the week. BUT! These are world class mountain bikers and athletes we’re talking about. They were ready to shred regardless of weather patterns!
Blaza and Sabrina on the trainers before their races
Blaza Klemencic, Sabrina Enaux and Adelheid Morath were the first Xbionic members to battle the treacherous Mont Sainte Anne XC course in the women’s race. Sadly, Adelheid would fall victim to two flats in two laps, and had to pull out of the race (she will have some fire in her belly for Windham round though!). Sabrina and Blaza, however, lit the course up-on both the climbs and the technical descents. Both riders did extremely well, and Blaza managed to hang on for 15th place finish!
Sabrina, call ups.
Blaza on her way to the start line
Adel, in her German national uniform, on her way to the start
Blaza on her second lap
Sabrina tackling The Beatrice, the most technical section on the course
Adel, right before her second flat.
Blaza on the climb
Sabrina making her way up the brutal climb
Blaza going over her race with Team Manager/Coach Robbie
Sabrina going over course conditions with Karl
The men’s race started about two hours after the women were off the track. Thomas Litscher and Karl Markt were more than ready for the race, as they said the Edict was confidence inspiring in all of the technical sections of the course, yet light and nimble enough to get them up the climbs quickly. Thomas had a great start, and was in 6th place after his first lap. Sadly, though, he was crashed out in the technical section and had a mechanical- his fork was stuck locked-out. He rolled into the tech area where Geri was quick to fix the problem with the fork and get Thomas back up to speed. These stops pushed him back to 14th place, and forced him to muscle his way back into the top-ten. After a photo finish, it was determined Thomas had won his sprint by 1cm (!!!) and got 9th place! Pretty incredible considering all the stuff he went through on course. Karl was crashed out as well, but managed to hang on and land himself in 24th.
Thomas in the middle of his pre-race routine
Karl all smiles before his race
Thomas on his first lap
Karl. First Lap. Crushing one of the numerous rock gardens
Thomas cleaning the Beatrice after picking himself up from a crash
Karl making a pass after cleaning the Beatrice
Thomas coming in for a bottle feed
The tech/feed zone crew
Thomas with one more lap to go
Karl, close to the finish
Thomas, sprinting to his photo finish (which he won!) for ninth place!
Karl post race
MSA recap and exhaustion
Overall, the weekend was a great success, and the racers are excited to test themselves, and better their results, at Windham! Be sure to check our Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep up on the race action throughout the week!