Mont-Ste-Anne hosted Stage Three. It included old-school XC trails as well as fast, flowy Enduro trails with options for air and style. The route included numerous well-known trails, including Pénélope, Vietnam and l’Échappée. At the top of Mont-Ste-Anne, the view of the St. Lawrence River and surrounding area was quite breathtaking. I slowed my pace and soaked in the sights for a few seconds before dropping into the Vietnam trail for a high-speed descent.
After following the ribbons of the Quebec Singletrack Experience for some 44 kilometres, we were directed to enter the World Cup
XCO course. Making the turn onto the trails bordered by Shimano race-tape gave me goosebumps. The first World Cup section was immediately recognized by its S-école berms. I was surprised at the steepness of these short S-turns and the G-force that was created as I carved the turns. A short grassy climb took me up to a flyover, and as I crested the top, I caught a glimpse of the finish line and my heart raced. As I approached the World Cup finish line, I zipped up my jersey and tears filled my eyes. In 25+ years of mountain-bike racing, this is a moment I will never forget. This stage can be summed up by saying it was a bucket-list ride with a dream finish.
Following each stage we enjoyed superb meals that included fabulous deserts.