The Boss Track: Course Preview - Mont-Sainte-Anne XC World Cup 2017

Aug 3, 2017 at 16:16
by Matthew DeLorme  



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 for a tour of this big bad course.
Anton Cooper, NZ National Champ takes us for a tour of this big-bad course.

It all starts here.
It all starts here.

This smooth looking climb up is taxing in the heat and has a fair bit of grade to it.
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.
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.
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.
These loose, dusty corners won't be dusty for long with rain in the forecast.

The B line is to lookers right and has fast rolling berms but this A line has all the fun and is more direct.
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.
What goes up must come down. this descent has it all- loose corners, roots, and rocks.

Smoothing it out may be difficult in traffic.
Smoothing it out may be difficult in traffic.

Coop makes short work of this maze of rocks and roots.
Coop' makes short work of this maze of rocks and roots.

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

Beds of roots. All the chatter one needs to justify a full suspension bike on this course.
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.
Under the DH track and into the woods.

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

for all the smooth going across the open ski piste there is equal chunder.
For all the smooth going across the open ski piste, there is equal chunder.

Punchy climbs will get very interesting in the wet.
Punchy climbs will get very interesting in the wet.

Big rock steps lead out from Beatrice.
Big rock steps lead out from Beatrice.

A long grinding climb that runs into....
A long grinding climb that runs into....

Switchbacks when the going gets steep and MSA gets steep.
Switchbacks. MSA gets steep.

DH up high XC through the middle.
DH up high, XC through the middle.

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

The granite of Beatrice. Nothing I would ever want to tackle without a full suspension bike and a dropper.
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 of the course.
The Beatrice climb is a nasty, little climb that set you up for the rowdiest descent in the course.

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

One of the best parts of the old MSA 4X course has grown in with grass but has been incorporated this year.
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.
Putting the old MSA 4x course to good use.

Sweet jumps.
Sweet jumps.

High speed descents and big old boulders.
High-speed descents and big, old boulders.

Lean it mean.
Lean it mean.

Anton making quick work of the man made slabs.
Anton making quick work of the man made slabs.

That fine MSA dust will likely be gone come Sunday.
That fine MSA dust will likely be gone come Sunday.

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

Keep it inside to....
Lining up for...

Gaps for days.
Gaps for days.

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview

Loose dirt big rocks that will surely break free only to expose another rock somewhere beneath.
Loose dirt, big rocks that will surely break free only to expose another rock somewhere beneath.

Annnnnd across the line
Annnnnd, across the line!

XC World Cup Round 5 Mont-Sainte-Anne - Course Preview



MENTIONS: @mdelorme



54 Comments

  • + 48
 Some of the other XC course builders in the world could take a few hints from MSA. Looks like a proper mountain biking trail.
  • + 5
 It's way too hard for the average rider tbh
  • + 17
 Absolutely. They've needed to gnar up XC races for a while now. I still remember how boring the XC course was at the London Olympics. I almost watched a road race instead.
  • + 42
 @mollow: If you're a pro rider, I feel like you should be able to handle something like MSA with confidence. XC riders being able to slide through purely on their fitness kind of defeats the the point of mountain biking in the first place.
  • + 10
 @mollow "Average" rider? These are WC athletes for f-$!s sake! They are supposed to be the "best in the world" elite riders. If they can't hang then they need to go back to asphalt and stop calling themselves mountain bikers.
  • + 1
 You get a lot of technical XC trails like this in Quebec, there's flowy lines like you'll see at Kingdom Trails but there's also a lot of technical riding up here.
  • + 1
 @Luc-514: Oh yeah, I feel like flowy type stuff is harder to come by on the eastern-ish side of Canada. Camp Fortune's "Thunder c*nt" is still one of my all time favorite XC trails and Mont Tremblant is just... well insane. It doesn't belong anywhere near the EC.
  • + 3
 I'd wager most of the people on this forum would not be able ride La Beatrice without at least an enduro bike and dropper post (and even then it would be scary); it's a chute of jumbled varying-camber rocks. This course is close to the edge of what's possible for an XC race, and yes it is too difficult for "average" (i.e., strong and fast amateur) racers.
  • + 1
 @jfloren: Bull'
  • + 24
 To be honest, a lot of those pictures looked like they could come from a DH course preview! Looks awesome Smile
  • + 12
 Could pass for an *nduro course. Savage Big Grin
  • + 8
 You can call me out for being a geology geek here but I'm pretty sure those rocks on Beatrice are not granite. Might be something more sedimentary like sandstone? Some of the huge boulders in other shots do look much more like granite though.
Just saying.....
  • + 6
 Fair assumption - but not sedimentary - it's most likely a slightly altered granite (low grade metamorphic.) Don't be fooled by the flat layered planar surfaces. It's the regions geology.
  • + 15
 So he made a little mistake, be gneiss...
  • + 5
 @neimbc: MSA is part of the Canadian shield....The Canadian Shield, also called the Laurentian Plateau, or Bouclier canadien (French), is a large area of exposed Precambrian igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks (geological shield) that forms the ancient geological core of the North American continent (the North American Craton or Laurentia).

to be exact.
It looks intimidating but actually it is pretty fun fast and quite grippy.....ruff on the rims if you are not smooth thought.
  • + 2
 @bishopsmike: well played
  • + 2
 @Bird-Man: Thank you. I must have forgot to mention that.
  • + 4
 Fantastic shots, I wish the otgicial video feed of the event wasn't such complete garbage. It's shot so terribly that viwers can't really see the gnar the riders are dealing with. These images show the course in all its glory. Thanks for the great XC coverage.
  • + 6
 scrolled in to the first picture thinking it was the DH track! Some serious gnar here. Tire pressures are going to be high!
  • + 2
 I wish we could have XCO style amateur races in the US. Looks so much more fun than the "30 mile loop on mostly boring trail" type races we have here. I'd love to have a short, but feature-packed loop targeted for an 1:30 race so you can actually charge and ride fast. Alas, it will never bring the hoards of beginners and their money who want to ride slowly for 3 hours on beginner/intermediate terrain, so we get stuck with boring ass "endurance" races even for the faster riders.
  • + 2
 Go race xc in NY and NJ. There are some incredible courses in those series.
  • + 1
 Not sure what your talking about. This is the only XC format I race down here in the dirty south! TN, GA, NC. There's no shortage of them! 2-3 laps on 5-8 miles courses. Usually around an hour. 2nd and 3rd laps are always great cause everyone has seen the lines and the more technically skilled riders always make their move!
  • + 5
 Gnarly course. Thanks Pinkbike for covering the XC-race!
  • + 3
 Looks like someone got the memo about sh$t dust roadies XC crap and actually made a mountain bike course approaching, well, a trail
  • + 5
 And yet they've been racing here for many years... nothing has changed
  • + 1
 Now when I hear 'technical' I think of Lenosky's Trail Boss videos--more like riding up the MSA DH course. But when you're on the rivet, in traffic, every little feature is a drain. I want to race where @DragontalesDH races.
  • + 1
 It's really a blast! Your so right about little features being A huge drain. A couple weeks ago I did the hardest XC race of my career. Not even 1,000 feet of climbing in 15 miles but I don't think they could have fit more rock, root, and little 2' drops in there if they had tried. It was technical for a whole different reason.
  • + 4
 Looks gnarly with a good chance of a Nino win.
  • + 5
 East Coast Gnar!
  • + 2
 The courses this year have been amazing. Lots of super tech and different lines. Hopefully someone can keep up with Nino and make it a close race.
  • + 2
 Looks super tech. Anyone know how many laps they'll do?
  • + 1
 No lap counts as of yet, but probably 6 women 7 men
  • + 1
 @mdelorme: how many miles or km is each lap?
  • + 1
 @fiesta346: the graphic at the bottom say 4.3 km/lap
  • + 1
 I think Kabush and some others rode Aspens on a loose dusty course in Canmore. I can't even...
  • + 2
 Homie needs to slam his stem even moar!!!
  • + 2
 You know it's "jefe", right?
  • + 2
 More great XC coverage, keep it up PB!
  • + 1
 Love the super down angle climbing stem he has on his bike.
  • + 1
 looks like a quick afternoon ride in the north east granite country...
  • + 1
 How many laps and how many miles??
  • + 0
 a minion SS and a dropper could go a long way on this course...
  • + 1
 Dropper, sure. But a Minion SS is much too heavy
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