Yes, I know "El Jefe" is Spanish. I am also aware that this is Canada, Very Fench Canada but the XC track here in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada is some 26 years old now and has been improved with more rocks and roots and general roughness. So the name fits, it's "The Boss" in every sense of the phrase. So far the riders have deemed the roughest version of this track in years. Kiwi Anton Cooper, the current NZ National Champ takes us on a tour of the important bits. So grab some tacos, I mean poutine and take a spin with us.
Anton Cooper, NZ National Champ takes us for a tour of this big-bad course.
It all starts here.
This smooth looking climb up is taxing in the heat and has a fair bit of grade to it.
Cooper gets right to the meat and potatoes of the track, the rocks and roots of MSA.
Those big old slabs of granite laced with roots. It's what makes MSA a classic.
These loose, dusty corners won't be dusty for long with rain in the forecast.
The B-line is to lookers right has fast rolling berms, but this A-line has all the fun and is more direct.
What goes up must come down. this descent has it all- loose corners, roots, and rocks.
Smoothing it out may be difficult in traffic.
Coop' makes short work of this maze of rocks and roots.
Beds of roots. All the chatter one needs to justify a full suspension bike on this course.
Under the DH track and into the woods.
For all the smooth going across the open ski piste, there is equal chunder.
Punchy climbs will get very interesting in the wet.
Big rock steps lead out from Beatrice.
A long grinding climb that runs into....
Switchbacks. MSA gets steep.
DH up high, XC through the middle.
The granite of Beatrice. Nothing I would ever want to tackle without a full suspension bike and a dropper.
The Beatrice climb is a nasty, little climb that set you up for the rowdiest descent in the course.
One of the best parts of the old MSA 4X course has grown in with grass but has been incorporated in this year's XC course.
Putting the old MSA 4x course to good use.
High-speed descents and big, old boulders.
Lean it mean.
Anton making quick work of the man made slabs.
That fine MSA dust will likely be gone come Sunday.
Lining up for...
Gaps for days.
Loose dirt, big rocks that will surely break free only to expose another rock somewhere beneath.
Annnnnd, across the line!