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Hi there,

We’ve never seen a downhill race look as good as Mont-Sainte-Anne (MSA), Canada, does this week (see below).

MSA has been hosting UCI events for more than 30 years, but there’s never been a World Cup race so late in the season here*. Leaves on the trees have changed to awesome reds and yellows as autumn takes hold and the season’s racing ends.

Two series titles were wrapped up last week in Snowshoe, and the junior women’s title was decided here on Friday, but a rapid course promises edge-of-seat racing at this eighth and ultimate round of 2023.

The elite men’s title is still up for grabs and four riders come into this weekend locked in battle for the victory.

We’ve made some pre-race notes below to help you follow the racing. We’ll be back with a post-race summary, including plenty of analysis and tangents, after the weekend.

As always, thank you to Boris Beyer and Sven Martin for going above and beyond to file so many memorable photos throughout the season.

Hope you enjoy the race!


James and the Misspent Summers team

*According to our cobwebbed records – let us know if we’re wrong

EARTHY pre-race notes from Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, downhill World Cup R8 2023

  • Catch up on the action from Snowshoe in our Long ‘Views podcast-interview-thing here with Sven interviewing a load of the top riders from round seven in his unique style
  • We’ve selected a few must-watch MSA videos here – including some of the best action from this week and some classic memories too
  • Check out the latest episode of Red Bull’s Beyond the Line series with Rob Warner, Emily Batty and Eliot Jackson for a roundup of everything Snowshoe and what’s coming up in MSA
  • Junior finals were on Friday. Watch the full replay for free here (scroll down a bit) – we’ll be back with a summary after the weekend
  • We won’t say much more about the junior race apart from: it was wild! There were lots of punctures, wheel explosions, crashes and, above all, flat-out riding. It’s crazy how fast the juniors are and how lucky we are to see their racing broadcast live
  • Elite qualifying was also on Friday
  • Vali Höll’s got nothing to lose (she’s already won the series); Loic Bruni has everything to prove (he has a slim series lead). Both made their mark on Friday, winning qualifying
  • Full results (qualis-semis-finals) here
  • Elite semi-finals and finals are today, Saturday 7 October
  • Watch semi-finals for free here from 10:30 EDT (local time) = 16h30 CEST (Paris) = 15h30 BST (London)
  • Watch finals on GCN+ or Eurosport from 12h45 EDT (local time) = 18h45 CEST (Paris) = 17h45 BST (London)
  • While the junior men and women and elite women series titles are already decided, elite men promises to be one of the tightest fights ever. Four riders could take the series title in finals (there are no points for qualifying and semis in MSA – as explained in our last notes email here)
  • Also, there have been eight different winners in eight races so far (seven World Cups and one World Championships). Downhill superfan Seb from Roots & Rain says that if another person wins here (Finn Iles and Loris Vergier are gunning for their first wins of the season – just saying), it’d be the first time since 2003 that a different rider has won every race – and in that season there were only six races (Greg Minnaar won World Champs in Lugano, Switzerland, that year)

more below…

  • In 2022, Finn Iles and Vali Höll won here. Jackson Goldstone and Phoebe Gale won juniors
  • There’s a sharp edge near the end of the main rock garden that just keeps on claiming victims – tyres, rims, riders
  • Are the punctures worse than ever? Tyres have been blowing up left, right and centre. Higher speeds, sharper rocks, lighter setups, tired riders? All of the above?
  • If you’re watching junior finals wondering why Léo Abella was last to drop – not first-place qualifier Dom Platt – it’s because he was top-three in the series standings coming into MSA and therefore a protected rider. The other two – Bodhi Kuhn and Ryan Pinkerton– both crashed in practice and missed the race through injury
  • Weather check: We got a mudder! Probably anyway. Rain forecast all day Saturday plus all that beautiful deep dirt everyone’s been surfing in practice is bound to result in a messy race. Check out the rain probability radar here
  • As long as the conditions are stable, rain could mean an epic battle of MSA proportions
  • Althouth, even if conditions deteriorate during the day someone could still pull out a late-race surprise attack – remember Stevie Smith’s incredible 2013 win? (How did Warner’s vocal cords get through that one?)
  • Aaron Gwin’s 2017 win in the rain was incredible too (as he noted in the junior commentary, he broke a rim in the rock garden in that run but luckily it held up until the finish line)
  • A week or so ago we ran a newsletter competition to win a limited-edition Spent print. Thank you to everyone who replied to the email with the correct answer (Spent has 516 pages of bicycle and dirt action) and for all the useful feedback. We’ve chosen a winner and we’ll be in touch!
  • Thank you for reading. We’ll be back in touch after the weekend with a newsletter packed full of information, summary, analysis and, er, rumour. We hope you’ve been enjoying these notes emails all year – we’ll be continuing them through the off-season and adding in some other fun stuff too. Stay tuned
  • PS please pre-order your yearbook bundle here 🙂
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