PictureBook: Mont Sainte Anne MTB Worlds 2010

Course designer Patrice Gagnon not only builds some of the best twisting, technical track around, he's also a supermodel.

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Patrice answers questions during the women's XC finals.

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The cross-country course featured passovers, pass-unders, a technical section referred to as “Bagdad Highway” (don’t ask), a spirit-sapping grinder of a switchback climb called “Beatrice” (she’s not as nice as she sounds), and some wicked-crazy shenanigans through the rooted, twisting “Petite Perdrix”.

The names of these sections sound nice when you say them in French. They are not.

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That’s the face of World Champion Maja Wloszczowska (Poland). Can you say focus? And poise. She rode with an uncanny poise. Beautiful.

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Course Designer and sidekick eye me suspiciously. Aren’t they cute on their little vroom vroom machines?
They must have known what I was thinking…

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…because they got a little shy and giggly.

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“The Marmotte” section was meaty enough to challenge the best in the world. It’s humbling to watch your heroes – dudes who seem invincible – tip-toe down a rock garden gingerly. Or.. in some cases, jump off and run.  Many seemed to fare well by taking the chicken-line to the right, but the big boys went straight down the gooey center and then punched it out of the last switchback.

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TV crews at the top of the climb up Beatrice. Crowds were rabid and vocal all day long.

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I have mad love for all the USA boys, but Sam Schultz is a front-runner for favorite status.

Never heard of him? You will soon. He was the top finishing American in 20th place.

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Also favored? Carl Decker. This man was in the very first Worlds competition 20 years ago in Durango. You can read about his Worlds memories on his blog. Bonus: He’s a native Oregonian. Holler!

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Decker rockin’ a pretty common pain face at the top of Beatrice. Beatrice gonna eat your mama. Don’t mess with that one.

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Technically, Canadian Goeff Kabush shouldn’t qualify for favorite status (I’m trying out this patriotism thing for a second) but just look at those chops!
How can I say no? I’m convinced he’s one of the nicest guys on knobbies.

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The press is working Schultzy. I screamed my head off for this kid all race long. Really. I scared people. Therefore, I claim credit for 15% of his victory. That’s a fair cut, right?

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Mont Sainte Anne also hosted the trials competitions. Bikes with no seats! Funny! Trials are so crazy rad it’s silly.

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Orange kits make good photos.


How adorable is this trio of miniature Canadian fans?

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Next stop: The tippy top of the DH course.

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Downhill women are super badass.

A run with a view. On-and-off rain showers plagued the DH crew a bit, giving some riders a softer ride than others. Them’s the breaks, huh?

At times, the migration from the top of the course to the bottom felt like a religious pilgrimage. We stopped every few minutes to watch another armored flyer whiz by, then returned to picking our way down the rocky, slippery perimeter.

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Git it, boy! This is one of the smaller jumps on course, but it doesn’t make it any less crazy.

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Love this kid. And this kid loves DH mountain biking. Believe it.

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DJ in sweats entertains as the crowd watches racers on the big screen.

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A little smiley love from one of the photogs in the media box. UCI is strict about media access – we had to have our badges scanned every time we entered and exited the press room.

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All eyes on the final finishers. Current leaders sit in the blue hot seat to the right until they’re knocked off the podium by someone.

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USA finish just off the podium in the DH competition, but that didn’t stop these kids from flying the stripes just before the awards ceremony began.

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How do you finish a breath-taking day of witnessing the best mountain bikers in the world do their thing?
Start with a manhattan and appetizers at the bar and then have dinner with the owner of Chateau Mont Sainte Anne and let him order you all the house specialties: an appetizer of foie gras with white port jelly, a filet mignon of Wapiti deer with wild mushrooms, and a delicious and well-paired Zinfandel. Then let him feed you a maple syrup creme bruleé.

Oh. My. God.

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