Rochette cre­ated the #Cxfever hash­tag to de­scribe how she felt about cy­clocross. “Ba­si­cally, the CX Fever is a feel­ing of high ex­cite­ment about cy­clocross – kind of an un­con­trol­lable gid­di­ness and hap­pi­ness about go­ing out to ride your ’cross bike,” she s

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - FEATURE -

In South Africa, Rochette placed ninth in the un­der-23 cat­e­gory. Her for­tu­itous ride with Pen­drel led to a spot on the Luna Pro Team – now called Clif Pro Team – where Rochette has been rac­ing both CX and mtb ever since.

Rochette has fit right in with her team­mates and refers to them as fam­ily. “Her sense of hu­mour and gen­eros­ity are a great ad­di­tion to the team’s morale,” says her Clif Pro Team man­ager, Waldek Step­niowski.

Her team­mates, like Pen­drel, are equally ef­fu­sive in their praise. “On the day of the 2014 world champs, I woke up with an email from her telling me all the rea­sons she thought I could have a great race. I was feel­ing re­ally un­con­fi­dent go­ing in, still lack­ing con­fi­dence to put it to­gether on the big day af­ter the 2012 Olympics,” Pen­drel says of the long-term ef­fects of her dis­ap­point­ment in Lon­don. “Maghalie’s be­lief in me made me be­lieve more in my­self. That’s the sparkle a great team­mate brings to a team.”

Team­mate Ka­te­rina Nash echoes the sen­ti­ment. “Maghalie is one of the sweet­est and nicest peo­ple I know,” she says. “We have some big age dif­fer­ences on our team and it’s so nice to have the young gen­er­a­tion com­ing in with their en­ergy and pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.”

Rochette says vet­er­ans Nash, Pen­drel and Ge­or­gia Gould have all been help­ful and taught her some­thing dif­fer­ent. “We’re help­ing each other as much as we can,” Rochette says about that re­cip­ro­cal gen­eros­ity among

the team. “It’s kind of a cool struc­ture and en­vi­ron­ment to be in.” She ex­plains that she is one of four de­vel­op­ment rid­ers on the Clif Pro Team and the goal is to get them all ready to per­form when the oth­ers re­tire or go on to other types of rac­ing.

Rochette’s first years on the team didn’t go as smoothly as she had hoped. She de­scribes her races as a slap in the face af­ter slap in the face. Gagnon re­mem­bers the time. “Learn­ing to deal with the sched­ules, travel and high level of rac­ing was very chal­leng­ing. The re­sults suf­fered be­cause she was fairly new to moun­tain bik­ing, but had signed to the best team in the world,” Gagnon says. “She felt like she needed to im­prove quickly and took a lot of risks in train­ing and races. The first year, I think there was not a day where we didn’t put a ban­dage, per­ox­ide or Neosporin on her.”

De­spite Rochette’s set­backs, she has not lost any of her de­ter­mi­na­tion. Her in­nate self-mo­ti­va­tion only seems to make her bet­ter. Gagnon says he never hears ex­cuses from her, only so­lu­tions.

In 2016, a bad moun­tain bike sea­son – one ex­am­ple: Rochette’s bike stopped work­ing one minute into the World Cup race at Mont-sainte-anne – pro­pelled her to fo­cus on ’cross. That Septem­ber, she suf­fered heat stroke and was car­ried car­ried away in an am­bu­lance af­ter the sec­ond day of the Rochester Cy­clocross event. It took about a month to re­cover. Rochette de­cided to fo­cus on na­tion­als in Sher­brooke, Que., in early Novem­ber, which she won. Af­ter, Step­niowski gave her his bless­ing to go to Europe, so she pre­pared for the cy­clocross world cham­pi­onships in Bieles, Lux­em­bourg. She placed fifth, the best-ever fin­ish by a Cana­dian at ’cross worlds.

For her moun­tain bike sea­son this past year, Rochette fo­cused mostly on races in North Amer­ica and feels she’s been more con­sis­tent with both her per­for­mances and re­sults. Step­niowski, Gagnon, Pen­drel and Nash all agree that the fu­ture looks very promis­ing for Rochette. “It’s not an easy thing to com­bine both dis­ci­plines, but Maghalie is go­ing about it the right way and suc­cess­fully get­ting bet­ter at both at the same time,” says Nash.

When asked about one day com­pet­ing in the Olympics, Rochette says it’s a dream and a goal. “One of the cool things about be­ing on that team is – be­cause they’re such rock stars – it’s al­lowed me to dream big­ger,” she says. Rochette is on con­tract with the Clif Pro Team un­til the end of 2018, but hopes to stay on for as long as pos­si­ble.

“Maghalie showed us at cy­clocross worlds that she has a world-class en­gine and the abil­ity to put it to­gether on the big day,” Pen­drel says. “She has a re­ally smart ap­proach to pro­gress­ing in the sport, so I think we will see her take steps closer to the podium ev­ery year as all the pieces of train­ing and rac­ing fall into place.”

above Rochette cel­e­brates at the 2016 na­tional cy­clocross cham­pi­onships

As soon as you close your eyes, you imag­ine your­self rip­ping up a cy­clocross course. You have an un­con­trol­lable, silly smile on your face when you think about the next race week­end. Ev­ery­where you go in your ev­ery­day life, you can’t stop shred­ding cor­ners and tak­ing the best lines (for ex­am­ple, at the gro­cery store with your shop­ping cart). You might do a “jump over the bar­rier with your bike at your side” mo­tion when you have to step over a curb while walk­ing in the street. You are se­cretly hop­ing it will rain so you can go slide around and shred in the mud. When rid­ing your road bike, you are al­ways look­ing for a patch of dirt or short bit of trail. You suf­fer from the Mon­day morn­ing, post–’cross race week­end hang­over.


Rochette in Can­more, Alta., at the 2017 na­tional XC cham­pi­onships

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