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October 14th, 2023

2023 World Cup #8, Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada

The final World Cup of the year in Mont Sainte Anne was one of the World Cups that I had been looking forward to most this year. Traditionally it’s been one of my best courses, it suits me well, is very natural and techy with steep tough climbs and I love racing there. In every previous year I have been, the race has been held in August around my birthday in hot, muggy conditions. This year the World Cup had been pushed back to October so there was a high chance that it would be wet and cold.

When we first arrived the weather was beautiful, nice, and dry and sunny with a high of 24 or 25 degrees each day. The weather was due to change on the weekend though and we got lucky enough on Friday night with Short Track that it was still warm and dry.

Ross Bell

A third row call up for the XCC didn’t help my cause too much and in such a fast course it was a real struggle to move forward. I was happy enough to finish in 21st position and secure a spot on the third row for the XCO on Sunday.

Ross Bell
Ross Bell

On Saturday the weather closed in and gave us a first look at the track in the wet. Tyre choice was very difficult as I knew the conditions on Sunday would be much different still, especially after all the U23’s and Elite Women’s races.

I went with a mud tyre on the rear and more of an intermediate on the front which wasn’t too bad on the first laps of the race but lacked front end grip as the race went on and the mud got deeper and thicker. There was carnage all around on what was by far the most technically challenging track of the year even before the rain had set in.

Ross Bell

There was lots of running too as some climbs had become unrideable. Even if they were rideable, it was often slower to do so and getting off and running was often the faster option.

I had a clean race and stayed out of trouble. I was within sight of the top 10 most of the race but wasn’t able to solidify myself a spot in it, crossing the line in 13th. Overall, it was a good way to finish the World Cup season and I’m happy with the way I rode in extremely tough conditions.

Ross Bell

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Cycling has always been a huge part of my life as I have been riding ever since I could walk. I see mountain biking as an adventure and a challenge.
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