_U1B0172

Van Life with MS. Rochette!

Ô Canada, Ô Canada!

TSH is so lucky! Why you may ask? Earlier this season we visited with Canadian Professional Cyclocross Racer Maghalie Rochette and her fiance and coach David Gagnon at Rochester CX. Months later we see Maghalie in Northhampton wearing the Maple Leaf for the first time as the Canadian National CX Champion. Fans of TSH may remember Maghalie as one of our featured models from our 2016 TSH Resort Collection. Fans of CX, also know that she is a rising XC star at Clif Pro Team and the 2014 U23 Pan American CX Champion. TSH catches up with Maghalie to discuss van life, bumpy rides, and CX Fever!

TSH

So how is Van life? What prompted you to get a Sprinter and go mobile this season?

Maghalie

It is great! David and I love visiting new places and going somewhere for a couple days and ride there. We do that very often to explore new areas and vary our training. A couple of our friends had Sprinters and we thought it must be awesome to have one. So at some point we started looking them up online and it kind of became an obsession haha. We finally convinced ourselves that it would be worth it because we would be more flexible in our travels and we would save on house rentals and hotel rooms… One day, we found a cool one online, made an offer on it and it was accepted. So there was no going back!! :)

TSH

Any tips for a cyclist or adventurer looking to get a van?

Maghalie

I’d say if you are thinking about it, just go for it! It really makes you live fun things and allows you to see stuff you would never have seen otherwise. It really gives you freedom! You get to spend more time in nature but you still have the comfort that only camping doesn’t allow.

One thing I really love on ours is the solar panels on the roof that power our Goal Zero battery. This gives us a really good autonomy power-wise.

Also, be prepared to work on it. That’s the best part about the van, every trip we update it a little bit to make it fit our needs better. And it’s good to work on it because you get to know it better…which is a good thing when it blows up in your hands while going up a mountain pass in Vail, CO… ;)

TSH

Any favorite moments from the road?

Maghalie

Many funny and good memories… But I can recall one good trip this spring. We went riding and hiking in Big Sur, CA and took an outside shower before driving through San Luis Obispo where we slept. The next day we bought some fresh fish at the market and kept driving up to Flagstaff, AZ where we went for an amazing mountain bike ride and finished the day cooking fish and chips (with our fresh fish) in the National Park outside the van! It was awesome.

TSH

This season has been a bumpy ride for you. The heatstroke you suffered at Rochester set you back a bit and it was clear from early part of the race that you were on great form? Can you describe what happened and what you needed to do get back to racing?

Maghalie

It was a bumpy ride indeed. I didn’t have a terrific mountain bike season. Towards the end of the season, my biggest goal was the World Cup in Mont Ste-Anne, so I prepared well for that. After 1 minute of racing, I had an unrepairable mechanical and couldn’t finish the race. That kind of crushed me. So after that race, I sat with David and told him that from that point on, all I wanted was to perform well at the CX world Cup in Vegas. So we put all our energy into the preparation for that race.
I was in the best form of my life in Rochester. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what happened there…1 second I felt amazing, the next second, I was extremely dizzy. After that, it’s all a blur for me but I was told that I finished the race wobbling through across the finish line. I had heat exhaustion and it messed me up quite a bit and I ended up not being able to race in Vegas. That one crushed me too.

So we cancelled the Van trip we had planned (travelling to a bunch of races in the Van). I took some rest for about 10 days where I didn’t train at all to allow my body to recover from the shock of the heat stroke. After that, I started training gradually, monitoring if I was sweating or not. I had never been so happy to sweat!! From that point on, my only goal was Nationals.

TSH

At TSH we were pretty thrilled to see you win the Canadian National Championships! How did this feel?

Maghalie

Awe, thank you Luke! It felt amazing!! You know, everyone has setbacks and it’s part of the game. So I don’t want to act as if I was the only dealing with setbacks. But through this bumpy ride, I always had incredible support from my team, my teammates, my family, David (my boyfriend and coach) and my friends and in the end this is what allowed me to keep doing my best everyday and stay positive. IN the end, I guess having gone through some harder times made the win a little bit sweeter for me. Most of all, winning Nationals was a team win and that’s what made it feel so good because I could share the joy with all the people who have been a part of it!

One of the things that made the day even better is that my good friend Jeremy (who is also coached by David) won the men’s title!!

TSH

Did you think this was going to be the year?

Maghalie

Not exactly. I was dreaming about it and was feeling good and confident before the race, but I didn’t want to focus on wether it was going to happen or not. I have done that mistake in the past of focusing on the result rather than what I had to do to achieve it, and it always turned out badly when I did that.

TSH

What are the remaining goals for 2016 and any hints of what your plans are for 2017?

Maghalie

With the team (Clif Pro Team), we recently decided that I will be racing the CX World Championships in Luxembourg, which is very exciting for me because I’ve always wanted to race at ‘cross Worlds.

Until then, my plan will be to race 2 mores weekends here (Northampton and Supercross Cup) and then take an easy week. After that, we (David and I) will start training and preparing for the Worlds dividing my time between Montreal and Tucson. I might race Texas in mid-December and then go to Europe in mid-January to race Hoogerheide and the Wolrd Championships.