Sometimes when I’m ranting about bike riding I tell the following story:
It begins, of course, with me- at age eight or so. My parents, having always trusted me probably more than they should, had given me the final call on what color my room would be painted. It was probably some poor decision making on their part, as at the time I legitimately thought I was a pony… but the color I chose was pink.
Pink it was painted and pink my room stayed, until I turned sixteen, gained some artistic sensibility, and awakened to the fact that a care bear had apparently vomited all over my walls. My mom and I began shopping around for new colors (I got the feeling that she’d just been waiting for this “awakening” to happen) but we were somewhat lazy and no color seemed quite right. Eventually I left for a ski camp, and the issue faded from my teenage mind.
But my mom was still living in a house with one extremely garish pink room, and when she called me excitedly a few days into camp, I did not exactly share her enthusiasm for the “perfect color” she’d supposedly found. After all, there was nutella to be eaten and an Austrian town to explore! She kept trying to explain the exact shade of smokey, powdery blue, but it all seemed totally irrelevant and stupid until I heard the name of the paint; Mont Sainte Anne. That made me pause, but not because I’d ever heard of the place. It just struck me as so irresistibly romantic that they’d name a color after a specific mountain instead of the usual “tickle-me-pink!” or “grassy green!” that in the end I had to go for it- I hadn’t even seen the color but I knew it was right.
So in a way this mountain has had its hooks in me since long before I ever touched a mountain bike. Of course I didn’t have to be on the race circuit for long before I found out that my color’s namesake is a mountain bike mecca and home to one of the most famous courses in the world- that’s when I knew there was some element of fate or magic afoot, and when I knew I’d race here some day.
Here I am, Mont Sainte Anne. Tomorrow we’ll ride some bikes!