National champion Maghalie Rochette is on track to becoming a multidiscipline biking superstar
The rider from Saint-jérôme, Que., who suffers from #Cxfever, is set to burn up more cyclocross courses this season, and more cross country races next year
Maghalie Rochette was preriding the course for the mountain bike world championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, when she came upon one feature she describes as super scary and challenging. Relatively new to the sport, Rochette felt like she had a lot of catching up to do and had no choice but to push herself and try the feature. “At one point, I just sort of went for it and it wasn’t pretty, but it worked,” she recalls.
Catharine Pendrel happened to be riding with Rochette that day and remembers that Rochette was the first girl to do that new drop jump on the course. “I loved her courage and positive personality, so I introduced her to my team manager,” Pendrel says.
That positivity, determination and winning personality (pardon the cliché), have propelled Rochette from a virtual unknown into the top levels of cross country mountain biking and cyclocross. Growing up in Saint-jérôme, Que., Rochette played a lot of sports. She remembers her dad coming back, smiling and muddy, from mountain bike rides. She started riding as an eight year old and did some local races, but also raced triathlons. Eventually she made the move to do triathlons, solely because it was logistically easier to get to races as her older sister, Chloe, was doing them, too.
At 18, running-related foot injuries led her toward adventure races, some road races and an introduction to cyclocross. During this time, Rochette rediscovered mountain biking, which she hadn’t done since she was 12. The winter before that 2013 season, Rochette started training hard. She asked her boyfriend David Gagnon, co-owner of Powerwatts Nord and owner of DG Endurance Coaching, to help her. “I didn’t know much about it, so we grew together in that adventure,” says Gagnon, who had never really been on a mountain bike ride. “We sat down, evaluated the exact needs of the discipline. We figured out where we needed to go, the skills we needed to work on and the people we needed to get in touch with to jumpstart Magh’s mountain bike career.”
Rochette rides to victory at the 2016 national cyclocross championships in Sherbrooke, Que.