It's been a strong 2017 so far for Emily Batty. Batty kicked off the season with a fifth-place result at Sea Otter and has managed top ten finishes in eight of her past nine races, including a win at the Canadian National Championships a couple weeks ago.
The Trek Factory XC rider, however, faces a new dilemma coming into this weekend's competition at Mont Sainte Anne: Which bike should she ride? Hardtail or full-suspension? Batty landed on the podium here last year after battling it out aboard her Procaliber hardtail, but this year the course is more than a little rough. Photographer, Matt Delorme, sat down with Batty and got her take on which bike might be the better choice this time around.
So, Mont Sainte Anne is a little rougher—a lot rougher, actually—than it has been in year’s past. I understand you’re on the fence about which bike to ride:
Full suspension or hardtail?
on the fence. Normally, in the past, at Mont Sainte Anne, I’ve raced the Top Fuel. But last year I really liked the ProCal, which was unusual because nobody was racing hardtails."
Why did you wind up riding the hardtail then?
I realized that the climbs were where that race was going to be won or lost—it wasn’t going to be decided by the technical sections. But, this year, the technical, absolutely is going to have a huge role.
The technical factor has gone up a notch?
Absolutely. This year, in my opinion, is one of the roughest versions of the cross-country course. There’s a lot more roots exposed it seems, there’s so much chatter on each lap.
You've been experimenting with both bikes?
Yeah, I did some laps on the hardtail this week and it wasn’t nearly as fun to ride [laughs], so I’m still up in the air as to what I’m going to race—the hardtail or the full suspension. I will probably decide once the weather settles out.
You mean if it rains you'll probably run the full-suspension bike?
Not necessarily. Sometimes when it rains I want less
of a bike. Because the speeds are lower. I mean the full suspension is hands-down the most fun to ride and it’s good for preserving your energy, but I race really well on the Procal.
What do you like about the hardtail?
It’s really light. And for me, I’m a 106 pounds, so the bike’s weight makes a very big difference. And the climbs are steep here. We’re doing about 145 meters of climbing, so I really feel the weight difference on a course like this.