It's been a whirlwind for Canyon MTB Racing's Laurie Arsenault in her first season racing as an elite. After three months racing the World Cup circuit in Europe, she's back in Canada and tackling the domestic circuit before heading back overseas for World Championships. This weekend in Sherbrooke, Quebec, she scored a second place finish in her first Canada Cup as an elite.
"Sherbrooke was so fun," she enthused. "It was a battle against the tiredness from jet lag, but it was super magic to race at home. Seeing everyone, my family and all my friends, was very very nice and the race was so cool. It was a nice course and everything went great."
"I went really hard in the first lap, and I was in the lead. But then Maghalie Rochette past me, and quickly built up a gap—I blew up a little bit then, but I recovered," she explains. "Once I recovered, I got pretty close to catching her again, but then I went a little too hard, and she was able to get away from me again. I went as hard as I could, and I was happy to finish only a minute behind her. And I was so happy and proud that I gave everything I had during that race. Seriously. I puked a little three times in that race, I went that hard. That was a bit crazy, but this is how I like it."
In Europe, Laurie was lining up towards the back of the field as a first year Elite, and fighting to stay in the race—not fighting for the win. And shifting to starting at the front of the race in Quebec was a big change. "I had a conversation with Maghalie Rochette this weekend, talking about how different it is to come back to racing at home after racing in Europe," she says. "When you're you racing Europe, it's like you're always in the back, and while you're fighting so much, you don't have quite the same fire as when you you race to win the race."
"That gave me so much energy this weekend, being able to actually be up front racing for the win," she says. "In some ways, I was more nervous, because I knew I was racing to win. I knew I was tired from getting home, but it was not an excuse for me to fight for the win. I had a lot of fire inside of me."
The Sherbooke course was a fun one for Laurie—and a lot less technical than the European ones she's been racing on so far this year. "It was more rooted, and super impressive with the climbing. I loved the course," she adds. "And it was great having spectators that I knew spread out around the course."
"The bikes have been incredible this season as well," Laurie says. "I couldn't be happier with our Canyons, and I love the Schwalbe tires. The shifting has been perfect, I really like it. And people love our kits! My family actually loves it so much because they can always pick me out in a crowd now."
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