Na­tional cham­pion Maghalie Rochette is on track to be­com­ing a mul­ti­dis­ci­pline bik­ing su­per­star

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Tara Nolan

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.”

left Rochette rides to vic­tory at the 2016 na­tional cy­clocross cham­pi­onships in Sher­brooke, Que.

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