Mont-Sainte-Anne is Shockingly Rocky This Year: Track Walk - MSA DH World Cup 2017

Aug 2, 2017 at 20:00
by Nathan Hughes  



Over one quarter of a century later and here we are once again on the eve of another legendary Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup in Quebec, Canada. Infamous for its long and ragged nature, pushing riders to the edge of endurance, to this day the track remains a raw and violent causeway from start to finish. Over the years the course has taken many deviations in and out of the forest, but this summer it remains almost unchanged from the year prior, except for an early detour between the tables, chairs and poutine of a mountain cafe terrace.

Conditions wise, we're talking mighty hot and dry... damn dry and what little dirt remains between the bedrock and cruelly positioned boulders won't be offering much in the way of grip without some significant downpours, which while we're on the subject, appear to be on the menu later in the week. Without any moisture scheduled before tomorrow, however, we can be sure the shrapnel will be flying fast and furious for timed training.

So what's to play for this season? In a word; 'plenty'. While Finn Iles may have the overall title wrapped up, pride and points are at stake for the other juniors vying for the top spots, not least Matt Walker who is more than capable of putting time into the Canadian who has soaked up so much of the glory. The women's field remains wide open, with Myriam Nicole out in front, but Tracey Hannah and Tahnee Seagrave snapping at her heels and looking to repeat their victories from earlier in the season. 160 points clear of the competition, Greg Minnaar is running away with it on big wheels in elite men, all the more after Aaron Gwin's disastrous Lenzerheide tyre slash, but any mistake will surely be capitalised upon by the US champ or Troy Brosnan sitting second in the overall. Last year it was of course, Danny Hart who did the business so it would be madness to rule him out of a blazing dash to victory. Tomorrow it's on and we'll have some more valuable clues to stoke the fire of speculation under the Quebecois sun.


So far the weather has been saint like in MSA but rumor has that is not to last.
So far the weather has been saint-like in MSA, but rumor has that is not to last.

Will Aaron Gwin be satisfied with his Fox Fork service As long as they are not 1 5000th of Nm too stiff. Or perhaps too soft Actually just nevermind.
Will Aaron Gwin be satisfied with his Fox Fork service? As long as they are not 1/5000th of a Nm too stiff. Or perhaps too soft? Actually, he's pretty mellow, it'll be fine.

Something shiny and new for Loic Bruni.
Something shiny and new for Loic Bruni.

John Hall shows off the US national champ s stripey plate fresh from the win in West Virginia.
John Hall shows off the US national champ's stripey plate fresh from the win in West Virginia.

Vergier chats with the number 1 mechanic in the World.
Vergier chats with the number 1 mechanic in the World.

Polish Pete checking the numbers as he gets Gee s big wheeler built up.
Polish Pete checking the numbers as he gets Gee's big wheeler built up.

Matt Walker and the Cube squad arrive at the top of the mountain ready to check out one of the most classic tracks on the circuit.
Matt Walker and the Cube squad arrive at the top of the mountain, ready to check out one of the most classic tracks on the circuit.

Life choices.
Life choices.

Dropping in.
Dropping in.

Postcard MSA views from the heart of Quebexico.
Postcard MSA views from the heart of Quebexico.

The near vertical start gate at MSA sends riders off a warp speed right from the get go.
The near vertical start gate at MSA sends riders off a warp speed right from the get go.

One of the first and only alterations to the course is an unlikely diversion across the decking of the mountain restaurant. This was actually where the first DH races back in 1991 began.
One of the first and only alterations to the course is an unlikely diversion across the decking of the mountain restaurant. This was actually where the first DH races, back in 1991 began.

A short steep ramp brings riders down from the decking onto the fire road. A pre-jump is probably about the only way to avoid a harsh huck to flat.
A short, steep ramp brings riders down from the decking onto the fire road. A pre-jump is probably about the only way to avoid a harsh huck to flat.

Finn Iles contemplating the lines through the rocks up top.
Finn Iles contemplating the lines through the rocks up top.

A new rock garden across the road from the decking section will start mixing things up early on.
A new rock garden across the road from the decking section will start mixing things up early on.

Newly crowned Canadian National Champion Miranda Miller ready to battle it out on home soil.
Newly crowned Canadian National Champion, Miranda Miller, ready to battle it out on home soil.

The fastest track of the year and currently the driest. It s super loose in all the corners and actually in need of rain for a change.
The fastest track of the year, and currently the driest. It's super loose in all the corners and actually in need of rain for a change.

Jack Moir enjoyed a bit of surfing back home turing the break between rounds and is now ready to smash the rocks and dust of MSA.
Jack Moir enjoyed a bit of surfing back home during the break between rounds, and is now ready to smash the rocks and dust of MSA.

The rocks on the landing of the shark fin get bigger and bigger each year as the first slowly erodes away.
The rocks on the landing of the shark fin get bigger and bigger each year as the first slowly erodes away.

The surface on the fastest section of track is loose as...
The surface on the fastest section of track is loose as...

The upper motorway straights running a little greener than in past years.
The upper motorway straights, running a little greener than in past years.

In paying homage to the demise of Whistler s Heckler s Rock it was shirts off on the rock for Dean Lucas today during trackwalk.
In paying homage to the demise of Whistler's Heckler's Rock, it was shirts off on the rock for Dean Lucas today during track walk.

Death grip it and rip it.
Death grip it and rip it.

The rocks poke out and the dirt level drops that bit lower every year.
The rocks poke out and the dirt level drops that bit lower every year.

The shark-fin drop in the middle woods will now launch riders onto a sketchy slab landing.
The shark-fin drop in the middle woods will now launch riders onto a sketchy slab landing.

A few more rocks are on the landing of this gap than one year prior.
A few more rocks are on the landing of this gap than one year prior.

Between the boulders... the only safe place on the haggard MSA course.
Between the boulders... the only safe place on the haggard MSA course.

Where there s no bedrock in the woods you ll find plenty of nasty rocks have been dragged into the line of fire.
Where there's no bedrock in the woods you'll find plenty of nasty rocks have been dragged into the line of fire.

The rockroll remains the main feature of the open section under the lift.
The rockroll remains the main feature of the open section under the lift.

The cliff huck is back in the track once again.
The cliff huck from the front... it's no smooth rock roll.

Bernat Guardia has raced here for over decade and now instills his knowledge in the youngster on the Intense Team.
Bernat Guardia has raced here for over decade, and now instills his knowledge in the youngster on the Intense Team.

Stevie Smith s 2013 victory undoubtedly one of the greatest runs of all time. Take a google if you don t remember it s brilliance.
Stevie Smith's 2013 victory; undoubtedly one of the greatest runs of all time. Take a google if you don't remember it's brilliance.

Welcome to the 26th Mont Sainte Anne WC.
Forever a classic... welcome to the 26th Mont-Sainte-Anne WC.

Dirt... what dirt
Dirt... what dirt?

From afar the track might look smooth and grassy but up close it is savage.
From afar the track might look smooth and grassy, but up close it is savage.

Back to bedrock once again entering the lower woods section.
Back to bedrock once again entering the lower woods section.

There s nowhere that eats wheels quite like Sainte Anne and this summer the vintage course is looking savage as ever before.
There's nowhere that eats wheels quite like Sainte Anne and this summer the vintage course is looking more savage than ever before.

The main rock garden has aged another year making it just that bit more eroded and jagged than we re used to.
The main rock garden has aged another year, making it just that bit more eroded and jagged than we're used to.

The rocks garden in the bottom woods has been taped a bit tighter to close off two of the option lines. Why we are not sure but it is a shame to see option lines taken away.
The rocks garden in the bottom woods has been taped a bit tighter to close off two of the option lines. Why we are not sure, but it is a shame to see option lines taken away.

Amaury Pierron hasn t had a lot of luck this season but has the skills to pull out a big score on just about any track on the circuit.
Amaury Pierron hasn't had a lot of luck this season but has the skills to pull out a big score on just about any track on the circuit.

Find the clean landing zone.
Find the clean landing zone.

If not rocks then roots....
If not rocks, then roots....

It s the same track for the most part but erosion in a few sections have made the usual race lines a bit of a gamble.
It's the same track for the most part, but erosion in a few sections have made the usual race lines a bit of a gamble.

Just as the fatigue sets in on the bottom of the track things get a whole lot rougher.
Just as the fatigue sets in on the bottom of the track, things get a whole lot rougher.

...Eh.
...Eh.

One of the gnarliest corners on the World Cup circuit. Old School and raw.
One of the gnarliest corners on the World Cup circuit. Old School and raw.

The last rocky chute is merciless of tired arms and hands.
The last rocky chute is merciless on tired arms and hands.

The last stretch down to the finish line is turning into a sandbox.
The last stretch down to the finish line is turning into a sandbox.

Out of the final patch of trees before the finish arena and the last chance for a rapid deflation.
Out of the final patch of trees before the finish arena and the last chance for a rapid deflation.

Win the crowd Maximus and you ll win your freedom.
Win the crowd, Maximus, and you'll win your freedom.

Velirium delirium sets in.
Velirium delirium sets in.

Blenki s mechanic Darren dialling in his prototype ride.
Blenki's mechanic, Darren, dialling in his prototype ride.

Eliot Jackson down for some creative visualisation.
Eliot Jackson down for some creative visualisation.

Bernard Kerr almost healed up and back on the steed already. No racing just yet though...
Bernard Kerr, almost healed up and back on the steed already. No racing just yet though...

Blenky dialling in his cleats... never an easy task.
Blenky dialling in his cleats... never an easy task.

It was this time last year here in Mont Sainte Anne that Ratboy first told Dougie that his racing days were done. Sad times for some but a happy day for him choosing to go his own way.
It was this time last year, here in Mont-Sainte-Anne, that Ratboy first told Dougie that his racing days were done. Sad times for some, but a happy day for him choosing to go his own way.



95 Comments

  • + 166
 #bringbacktherat
  • + 50
 #allhailtherat
  • + 14
 I wish he was racing MSA though...
  • + 0
 Dat cable rub tho. My carbon hurts!
  • + 12
 Nahhh Rat for Rampage!
  • - 2
 all hail the rat king.
  • + 5
 #FreeTheRat from the UCI
  • - 2
 Bernard on Kona. Let the rumor begins.
  • + 8
 #bringbacksamhill
  • + 7
 @endlessblockades: free every thing from the uci!
  • + 100
 Welcome to Canada Motherfuckers!
  • + 5
 HA HA HA Damn Right! The True Gnar!
  • + 17
 Sorry too
  • + 9
 There should be more world cups here, atleast one in BC somewhere
  • + 1
 @Silliker269: there was a time when Grouse Mountain hosted a WC DH event.

They should do one up on Cypress as it has those massive dirt lots to house the team tents.
  • + 34
 I hope Claudio will stop for a beer at the restaurant gap during the gopro run.
  • + 7
 With Wyn Masters in tow for the course preview. Imagine the yarns
  • - 7
flag plplplplplplplplplplplp (Aug 3, 2017 at 4:22) (Below Threshold)
 has anyone got a spare rockshox boxxer rc rebound adjustment nob ?????????
  • + 28
 Steve Smith..... " ride in peace "
  • + 1
 Those wheels! Big Grin
  • + 7
 Steve Smith winning MSA in 2013. #goosebumps

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9diSXrTbJ4Y
  • + 2
 OMG got some serious goose bumps watching that run. I'm not crying, you're crying! #longlivechainsaw
  • + 16
 Rocks separate the true racers from the great riders... Line choice comes to the fore more than anywhere else... I say bring the rocks!
  • + 11
 We will see so many flats and smashed wheels holy shit
  • + 7
 Going to be an insane race!!! This track isn't going to stay dry for long. Weather network is calling for rain on Friday and SaturdayEek
  • + 1
 Yeah, it will turn that moondust into some slop. It's going to be a fun race to watch for sure!
  • + 8
 Its going to rain there saturday.
  • + 7
 That was an epic 2013 race run. On that day, he was certainly the fastest Steve in the World.
  • + 8
 Hot chic in spandex on track. Worth noting kids.

I'm on Pinkbike right?
  • + 1
 Yes (edited)
  • + 3
 This track looks gnarly!!! This is one that'll separate the truly gifted riders from the rest of the field. I can't even fathom how to pick a line through some of that stuff let alone do it in such a smooth and fluid manner that you're shaving off 100ths of a second. It's great to see pros ride. It's truly amazing how they manage to flatten out so much of that gnar and blow right through it. They must've brought in truckloads of tires and rims for this one though.
  • + 7
 Holy moly did anyone get tripped out by those moving chairs!
  • + 5
 Nah man, the dragons were way more tripping
  • + 6
 I would hope there would be a rock garden on a World Cup track. What is this supposed to be park riding LOL.
  • + 10
 Well technically it is a bike park...
  • + 5
 It's a damn shame there's only ONE race in North America this year. C'MON UCI!
  • + 9
 How many times does it need to be explained that it is NOT down to the UCI's bad decisions, it's down to whether or not someone wants to and can afford to host...
  • + 2
 Someone needs to learn how to count. Those chairs are all screwed up! Wink

That track looks like a killer. I can't imagine going over some of those things at trail speed, let alone race pace.Will this be available online to watch or are we relegated to highlights?
  • + 3
 Frig, going to miss not being at the party this year. That lower rock zone must be seen to be truly appreciated, watching morning practice in there was a lesson in biking I won't forget.
  • + 5
 We need more rock and gnar like this back in the WC. Weed out the park pussies.
  • + 5
 Time for one piece solid foam core tires.
  • + 5
 I'd be happy with Sam Hill showing up and crushing the field.
  • + 5
 Looks too bike parky to me IMO... Wink
  • + 3
 Hopefully the new taping in the rock garden doesn't eliminate the Steve Smith rock double.
  • + 4
 Hoping to see some 29" wheels break this week.
  • + 2
 ????
  • + 3
 Rolling my eyes emoji
  • + 2
 Why do they paint some of the rock hazards? On a corse like this I'd imagine the whole track would be painted. Why are those particular rocks painted?
  • + 11
 They are usually the ones that are in the direct line of fire at high speeds, so any bit of extra visibility gives the racer a chance at not murdering a wheel or getting super injured.
  • + 15
 Because they can kill you. The pictures dont do them.justice.but they are.man sized. There's absolutely no way you can stay on your bike if you hit one of those. Trust me the paint isnt too much
  • + 3
 That roll out ramp after the pub is steeeep
  • + 3
 A question regarding pic 13. What is a pre-jump?
  • + 101
 It's like knocking one out before you go on a date with a hot girl, but on a jump. It's so you don't just explode off the lip into the stratosphere only to come crashing down.
  • + 11
 Bunny hopping before the lip so that you don't fly into oblivion... In this case you'll want to land on the nice roll in
  • + 4
 @bigtim: Take a bow sir! If I was wearing a hat I'd take it off to you!
  • + 6
 @bigtim: BEST ANALOGY EVA
  • + 3
 Is is when you have to jump over a fence at the top of a jump
  • + 2
 @bigtim: this guy gets the internet crown for the day. Good work sir.
  • + 3
 It's where you work as a park ranger in Whistler for 3 years, then ride a trail, snap your back and try and sue the park for taking part in an extreme sport.
  • + 2
 @bigtim: well put sir. From now on, the act of knocking one out before a hot date should be known as the pre jump.
  • + 1
 When describing Northeast riding to people who have never been here I say it's like everyone's favorite Ben & Jerry ice cream - Rocky Rooty. Best get your tech on!
  • + 2
 bit of a bizarre looking change to the start? Wonder why. And that ramp looks a bit Barry Bucknall to me
  • + 1
 Bernard Kerr still rides for Pivot right? That picture implies that he rides for Kona now...or am I crazy?
  • + 2
 Sainte-Anne........that ain't no bike park track!!
  • + 3
 love spray on pants
  • + 1
 awesome as usual but it misses that one pic of manon that always makes me smile
  • + 3
 amazing pics!
  • + 2
 Remember Steve Doc Holliday Smith.
  • + 2
 Wheels will be blown to bits.....
  • - 1
 Pro Men:
1st Aaron Gwin
2nd Greg Minnaar
3rd Danny Hart

Pro Women:
1st Rachel Atherton
2nd Tracey Hannah
3rd Tahnee Seagrave
  • + 0
 Too predictable - they'll be a wild card in there - I'll insert Reece Wallace in that line up.
  • + 7
 @neimbc: Em, Mark Wallace?
  • + 1
 @mammal: Oops! Reece is a mountain biker too - Don't know if they're brothers, but yes Mark for the wild card!
  • + 2
 @neimbc: Both are shredders, yes, but distinctly different dudes (not brothers).
  • + 1
 Dental Plan, Lisa needs Braces
  • + 1
 Gwin with black fork lowers? That is different...
  • + 1
 Noone is gonna ask what Kerr is doing in the Kona pits?
  • + 14
 Well, since the vast majority of the racers are pretty close friends, I would say he's just catching up with his friends on the team.
  • - 1
 "Noone" is not a word, so no.
  • + 8
 @andnyleswillriot: Relax im not a native english speaker i think i'm allowed a small mistake
  • + 2
 @andnyleswillriot: Except when you are trying to say nooooo one. Then its a word. Wink
  • + 0
 @ka-brap: What a croc! He's probably stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula...
  • + 1
 I spy Rat Patrol!
  • - 2
 "The surface on the fastest section of track is loose as..."
Sid James' nut sack perhaps?
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