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“The Season” and TSH Guides

An introduction to TSH Guides

Ok! so we are very excited to introduce you to a new series of posts, galleries, interviews called TSH Guides. TSH Guides are often cyclists. However, TSH Guides do not have to be cyclists! A TSH Guide maybe 12 years old or maybe a veteran racer who wins World Cups. A TSH Guide maybe a sponsored TSH rider but they maybe sponsored by someone else. A TSH Guide may just show you how to boil the perfect egg! Or a TSH Guide may show you how to survive an avalanche! One of the things we are asking guides is to write a little essay that will show up on this website a day or two after their interview or Introduction. Why? Because we all need guides. We all need help navigating this crazy world. We need Guides like we need mentors, like we need parents, like we need friends. Someone to share ideas, thoughts and places with!

Our first guide is none other than Maghalie Rochette!

Interview with Maghalie Rochette

TSH

Hello Maghalie! I am calling this interview “The Season” because from our vantage point the 2016/17 was an incredible season with your 5th place at the CX World Championships, 1st at the Canadian National CX Championships and multiple wins on the US Pro CX circuit but you also had some setbacks. I know you were not happy with your results on last summer’s XC circuit and then you suffered heat stroke at opening Pro CX race at Rochester. This caused you to withdraw from nearly a month of racing in September and early October. Was there a low point after Rochester and what did it take to reset the season?

Maghalie

There was a little bit of a low point, because I was really on the top of my form at the beginning of the CX season so I was a bit mad that I couldn’t race and “use” that fitness I had worked hard to gain. Cross Vegas was an important race for me, so withdrawing from it was hard too. But I’m lucky to have a good group of support around me and they helped me to gain some perspective about the situation. Health is more important than any kind of fitness or race. I took about 10-14 days completely off with no exercise at all, and then I started training again. I really sucked at the beginning, but I just kept at it without being discouraged by my poor performances in training and local races, and suddenly, after about a month I started feeling good again!

I learned many lessons from that experience though, and 2 of them stand out for me. First is that consistency in the training is key (even if I sucked, I still gave my 100% everyday and it eventually paid off). Second lesson is to trust yourself, your support crew and the process. It’s easy to get discouraged when you are 30-40% worse than you were 2 weeks ago (even if you are working your ass off), but it’s okay. You just need to accept it and trust that you will be back if you keep working well.

TSH

In consecutive weekends on Pro CX calendar at North Hampton and Supercross you took 3 wins out of 4 wins. It seems like this incredible run was started with your podium at the Pan American Championships two weeks prior. Two months later you get 5th at Worlds. What, How, Why? I have so many questions. TSH fans need to know??? Was this a surprise or did you feel this coming?

Maghalie

Hahah! I don’t know if I would say it was a total surprise. For a very long time, I wasn’t able to perform in races as well as I was performing in training. You could say I was “choking” on a very regular basis, so from the outside, it seemed like my standard…and I guess it was! Personally though, I knew I had more, but something in my head prevented me from racing to my full potential. This fall, I started figuring it out a little bit. It took some hard conversations with my coach and looking myself in the mirror to face my fears. I still struggle with all that, but I’m slowly figuring out some ways to help me focus on what’s important. To me, that means trusting myself and my abilities, focusing on executing little things during a race, and keeping an open mind during the race. I guess you could call it learning, or maturing or just gaining a bit of experience!

Although, being 5th at Worlds was kind of a surprise, because I hadn’t thought about what kind of results I wanted to achieve on that day. I couldn’t really know what to expect because I had not raced with these girls all year long, so it was a nice surprise haha!

TSH

Would you say your seasonal goals are focused on results or is there a different way to view ones goals in relation to racing? Why is this important for you?

Maghalie

I would say that my goals are not focused on results anymore. I’ve made that mistake before and it didn’t work out so well for me, so I learned from it. Now, I see it differently; I have one simple goal: get better. Sometimes, I will have more specific goals related to that (for example; prepare well for a certain event, learn how to remount on the other side, learn to bunny hop, etc.) but the general goal is always to improve. Here’s the trick, I will never fully accomplish that goal, because even when I do get better, I can always be even better than that…But to me, that’s the best part!

There are many reasons why this concept is important for me. First of all, I think there are too many things you can’t control about a result and this feeling of lack of control is stressful. Also, if your goal is a specific result, I feel like you kind of impose a limit on yourself… Let’s say my goal is to win a specific race. Once I achieve that, then what? It’s hard to regain focus and motivation when your goal is a destination and you have reached it. But if my goal is only to get better, well, I have 100% control over that. And more importantly, getting better isn’t really a destination, so it helps me to have always something to chase and never impose a limit on myself and what I can do.

TSH

Ok. Dumb question but what is it like to be on a squad like Clif / Luna as a young rider. I would imagine you are surrounded by a wealth of experience and top notch support but is it also intimidating on some level?

Maghalie

It used to be super intimidating. Especially on the first year, because I was the only young rider on the team back then, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t speak good english and I was surrounded by all these women who were superstars in my eyes. But it didn’t last long, because the girls were super nice with me. Being surrounded by so many accomplished and successful people on a regular basis opened up a whole world of possibility to me; I realized that yes, they are incredible athletes/women, but they are also normal people. So it made me realize that it was possible for me too to get to that level if I kept working hard/well.

I honestly have a hard time to explain how amazing it has been for me to be on that team. The girls have been incredibly generous with their time; sharing with me their experience and knowledge. They not only taught me how to ride/race my bike better, but they led by example and taught me how to act like a true professional and helped me to grow up as a person. I was intimidated to show my weaknesses, emotions and ask questions at first, but I soon realized that if I was honest (and not too annoying) everyone was happy to help and share advice with me. The whole team have supported and believed in me through the tougher times and gave me advice to learn and improve from those harder moments.

I don’t know where I would be without them, but I sure am grateful I landed on that team!

TSH

Name your favorite CX racer and three reasons you are a fan of what they do?

Maghalie

Katerina Nash.

I’ll try to give 3 reasons why I admire her as a “racer”, even though there are many other things I admire about her as a person.

- She is one of the most perseverant and toughest person I know. And she never, ever has an excuse or never complains.
- She is committed and driven. When she cares about something, she really invests herself in it and gives everything she has to make it happen.
- She is “balanced”. I think she genuinely likes to ride her bike and be active and healthy (her joy of the outdoors/exercise and racing is contagious). What I mean about that is that she isn’t too intense about racing (always happy to jump on a different kind of fun adventure) but she is serious when it’s important to her. I think that this “balanced” philosophy of hers is one of the things that helped her be super successful for so long.

Honestly, she thaught me so much, I could have kept going on that question for a while hahah! For exemple, I also could have said that she is independent, honest (with herself and others), smart, humble, incredibly nice and super generous…and she rides a bike like no one I have ever seen (especially a sketchy downhill on a cross bike!). She is super smart when she rides a course and sees stuff that most people don’t notice – and she is so generous (and caring), that she usually shares these information with her teammates. She wins all the time, but she never brags about it because she sees the bigger picture and even if a win makes her happy, she is confident and independent enough to know that it doesn’t define her. There is no bullshit with Katerina, and that is great because you always know where you are standing.

…So for these reasons, and many others, I admire her a lot!

TSH

I know you are an avid wood worker when you are not racing and when I visited you in Tucson for your World Championship preparations you were busy making some wooden pens for friends and family? What is it about wood as a material which draws you in? Any wood working goals?

Maghalie

 Yes, I do love woodworking! But I think what I really like about it is the process of creating something. I got into woodworking because my grand-father used to do a lot of it. And I think wood is just cool – there are so many different types of wood and I love to learn about the trees they come from and how the climate/conditions where these trees grew affect the wood. I don’t have any particular goals, except than to continue learning about it more and learn new techniques and how to use different tools. I’m very amateur, so I feel like there is a lot I can learn!

TSH

Favorite Woodworking tools?

Maghalie

Hmmm, good question! These days, I love working with the Lathe. It’s fun to see the object take shape on the lathe while you work on it.

TSH

Any other materials or medium you have a curiosity to explore

Maghalie

Yes!!! I’m very curious about welding and working on metals like what the blacksmith do! Pottery (ceramic) is also something I want to get my hands on at some point. I’m also super interested in photography and this is something I would like to learn.

TSH

Thank You Maghalie. See you at the races!!!!