The rapid fire excitement of the steep downhill race was the final event of the multi-day competition at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships on September 5 at Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec, Canada. Local mountain biker Brad Benedict, who placed 5th at U.S. Nationals this year held his own, placing in the middle of the pack of the world’s elite riders in 38th place.
The day dawned under leaden skies, a steady rain and significantly colder temperatures than the previous days of competition with temperatures in the low 60s (F). The weather improved somewhat by the start, giving way to variable conditions throughout the day, one minute cool and drizzly, the next bright and sunny.
The downhill course started on a wooden ramp arcing off the gondola building at the upper mountain at 2,625 feet. The competitors probably didn’t notice the sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River in the background or the beautiful alpine vistas to the west as they focused their attention on the treacherously muddy track. After catapulting off the ramp the riders had to immediately contend with slick muck as the narrow pathway wound through heavily forested terrain. The trail traversed the steep ski hill then plunged around hairpin turns that dropped dramatically down rocky swales lined with thick, ropy tree roots. The entire 1.8 mile course was lined with spectators, some crowded between the slender trees, shifting and moving up and down the course and across the track between riders, who came in one minute intervals. The course spotters had their hands full clearing the route of spectators as the racers came through.
Australian Sam Hill (Monster Energy Specialized) won the downhill race with a time of 4:37:93 minutes, his third win at the prestigious event. Steve Smith, a Canadian rider from Nanaimo, endeared himself to the home crowd coming in second. Greg Minnaar, from South Africa came in third.
Among the U.S. riders Aaron Gwin pulled up in fourth place, just missing the podium, the best showing by a U.S. rider.
Brad Benedict (Specialized), who hails from Auburn, had a smooth race. Starting in the 63rd position he finished 24.77 seconds behind the leader to end in 38th place, a solid showing.
Mont Sainte Anne Resort
The ski hill of Mont Sainte Anne has been hosting mountain bike World Cup events for 20 years, since the event began in 1991. They hosted the World Championships once before in 1998, the only site to ever host the event more than once.
With all the infrastructure that has been developed to service the competitions the area offers a wide variety of mountain biking topography to the public. There are 30 km of downhill trails, 130 km of cross-country trails, an obstacle course circuit, 4 cross circuit and pump track with terrain to challenge all ability levels.
Mont Sainte Anne is located only 30 minutes from downtown Quebec City. A full service family-owned and operated lodging and restaurant facility, Chateau Mont Sainte Anne, is located at the base of the mountain. The bike friendly facility offers bike racks inside the lobby and is understanding of bike owners who don’t want to leave their expensive mechanical steeds unattended, allowing bikes to be stored in the apartment-style rooms. The owner, Sebastien Roy, is a bit of a bike fanatic himself, having participated in mountain biking competitions in North America and Europe.
Mont Sainte Anne, a hotbed of biking activity
All in all, Mont Sainte Anne offers a tremendous amount to the biking enthusiast, from world-class competitions to a variety of terrain to challenge the casual or serious mountain biking enthusiast.
Mont-Sainte-Anne Ski Resort
2000 boulevard du Beau-Pré
Beaupré (Québec) Canada
500 boulevard du Beau-Pré
Beaupré (Québec) Canada
Phone: 418 827-5211
Toll free: 1 800 463-4467 (Canada & the U.S.A)
2010 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships
United, Delta and Continental fly direct from destinations within the U.S. to Quebec City.
To reach Mont Sainte Anne from Quebec City (25 miles) by automobile (30 minutes, depending on traffic and weather):
- Take Highway Dufferin-Montmorency (#440 East) and Route 138 East, following signs to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and Mont-Sainte-Anne.
- In Beaupré, follow Route 360 to Mont-Sainte-Anne.
- The Chateau Mont Sainte Anne and Mont Sainte Anne ski area are on the left.
By Inga Aksamit, Inga’s Adventures