It was a busy long weekend for three Yukon cyclists competing at the XCO (cross-country Olympic) Quebec Championship in Mont Ste-Anne.
Twins Mara and Aisha Roldan and younger sister Mathilde all competed at the event, held while the XCO and downhill world championships were also happening.
Mara had the best results of the three, finishing fourth out of 15 in her category.
“I was very happy about it,” said Mara. “I felt good.”
Heavy rain in the lead up to the race meant commissaries had to make a number of last-minute adjustments to the muddy course, inadvertently adding some cyclocross elements to the race.
“There was a lot, a lot of mud on the trail and we couldn’t really go uphill,” said Mara. “We had to run with our bike on our shoulders.”
Aisha finished eighth, despite falling off a bridge and landing in some deep mud courtesy of the slick conditions.
“I’m pretty bruised, scratched, but it could have been much worse,” said Aisha. “The trails were pretty muddy, which I think was kind of fun to end the season with because we didn’t have much racing in mud this year. … I actually really enjoyed it because you slip and slide down the hill, that kind of stuff, and it’s a little bit different.”
Despite the fall, Aisha only lost a couple of spots and kept in the top 10.
“It was my last lap when I crashed,” said Aisha. “Since it was the last lap, it was just keep pedalling to the finish line and you’ll be done.”
Racing in a different age category, Mathilde thought she had finished 16th or 17th before finding out hours after the race she’d been disqualified for making a wrong turn.
“When I finished, I was super happy,” said Mathilde. “I mean, I had a good race and I felt good. Then at the end, a couple hours later, I heard that I got disqualified and that kind of bummed me.”
While disappointed with the official finish, Mathilde was able to contextualize the turn of events.
“In the end, it’s the race that matters,” said Mathilde. “I feel like I really rode well on the downhill sections. It was so wet, so muddy and so slippery. I did my best on the uphills, slipping and sliding, but I felt really good about the downhill sections and felt in control through the technical things.”
The competition marks the end of the season for the Roldan women, but training continues as they prep for races in warmer climes in early 2020.
Mathilde said she appreciates not competing head-to-head with her older sisters this year, but said they’re a major source of inspiration.
“Next year, I’m going to be racing against them,” said Mathilde. “I mean, I’m going to race my own race and care about my end result and not competing against them because if I do that, I’ll never have good results or be happy about my races.”
If the races aren’t a competition, training just might be.
“They’re so motivated,” said Mathilde. “It’s nice to have them pushing me to go training with them.”
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org