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Lanthier Nadeau and Melamed take the crown at Squamish Enduro

The mountain bikers say race is an excellent way to gird themselves for the upcoming world series events.
Enduro photo Margus Riga.
From left to right, Andréane Lanthier Nadeau and Jesse Melamed celebrate their victories at the Squamish Enduro

Two local riders have taken the crown at the Squamish Enduro races held earlier this month.

Andréane Lanthier Nadeau and Jesse Melamed took first place in the women's and men's professional divisions on May 7.

Lanthier Nadeau took an overall time of 0:25:52.25, with her closest rival, Laura Battista, trailing with a time of 0:27:28.78.

Melamed sped to victory with an overall time of 0:20:31.55, edging out Kasper Woolley, who had a time of 0:20:52.76.

Prep for international competition

Both riders expressed excitement at the prospect of winning the race, which they said was an essential first step before taking their riding into the realm of international competition this season.

"It was really cool to get to prepare here at home, because I race the Enduro World Series with the Rocky Mountain races team," Lanthier Nadeau said. "So this is the first year since COVID that we get to have local races to test our engines on, and, yeah, it was awesome."

The Squamish rider said she is looking forward to bringing her A-game to Innerleithen, Scotland, the first event of the Enduro World Series this year.

It's a place where she expects the competition to be fierce.

"I think the [competition] is going to be much more intense, like, there's a lot of really good female riders," said the 28-year-old.

However, riding in the Squamish competition has given her a chance to test herself.

"I think it allowed me to see where my potential cracks might be and figure out how to optimize my racing when I'm on the world level," she said. "So I'm really excited to test my preparation, because I think I really put consistent loads of work this winter, so yeah, I think it's gonna be pretty exciting to test [and] figure out where I land in the pack on the first race and go from there."

As part of her training regimen, Lanthier Nadeau said that she's been riding six days a week. Road bike training at the Squamish and Paradise Valleys is one part of her regimen. In addition, she's been going to the gym twice a week all winter and putting in effort with interval work.

But while preparing for the international stage was one big highlight for the athlete, another major point of enjoyment for Lanthier Nadeau was finally having local races back for the first time since COVID-19 shut down sporting events in the region.

"Building up this stoke before leaving the community [to compete in Scotland] is like super special, especially after two years of not being able to," she said. "So yeah, I think that that would be my highlight — that like the event is back in full force."

Community race

Lanthier Nadeau also added that it was great to see people from all over the community participate, including friends of hers who don't normally race.

"So that was really cool for me to share, like, what my job kind of is with some of my friends," she added.

Lanthier Nadeau added that it was great to have an event in Squamish, and she expressed appreciation to SORCA and Squamish trailbuilders.

Melamed had similar sentiments to Lanthier Nadeau.

The 30-year-old winner of the professional men's division said that the race was a good barometer for how things might shape up for his next races, which will be on the international stage.

"I'm super happy to win that one. I think we have a really competitive group of people in Squamish. So I went into it, knowing it was gonna be a tough one," said Melamed, who also rides with the Rocky Mountain team. "And this was kind of the last race I was gonna do before [the Enduro World Series] as preparation. So, yeah, I put a lot of effort into it. And it was, yeah, good to see that pay off."

But while the prospect of winning the competition was a big highlight, perhaps Melamed's favourite part of the event was the sense of community.

"The best thing is just spending a big day with all your friends," he said.

"For me, those things were just — it's just fun. Seeing everybody out there and getting back to doing really big public social events with everybody in the mountain biking community."

Melamed said it was refreshing to see such positive vibes after COVID-19 had forced people off the trails for a period of time.

"I think in COVID, there [was] a lot of animosity about going out and biking and doing all that," he said. "So it's really nice to remember that biking brings everybody together. We all have fun together. And I think that was really, really special to see."

Focus on fitness

The race also gave him a chance to show that he's been making good progress with his training.

He said he'd been focusing on fitness, bike skills and has been paying attention to how different configurations on his bike have been working out.

Luckily, in his case, the widespread shortage of parts hasn't affected him as greatly as others.

As a rider with a factory team, he's had better access to parts, though he noted that he's had to ride some of his gear closer to the breaking point than before, in an effort to conserve as much parts as he can.

Melamed added that he's looking forward to competing in Scotland at the first event of the Enduro World Series, saying that the riding there has a lot in common with Squamish.

"All of us that are just right here, we'll have a pretty good crack, because it's similar dirt," he said. "It's slippery. It's kind of muddy. We go off the road. So I'm looking forward to that one. I'd like a good start to the season and just get a solid result, because it's similar to what we know."

As the Enduro World Series moves from location to location throughout the season, the terrain will differ far more in comparison to what's in Squamish.

Regarding the future, Melamed said that hitting the age of 30 isn't slowing him down

He noted that there had been a number of elite enduro athletes in their mid-30s.

"Enduro is an endurance sport at its heart," said Melamed. "And, in recent years, younger guys have been doing well. But in the early years, it was dominated by guys that were close to 35. So I think enduro has shown that there's quite a few, quite a few years in your 30s that you can peak at so I have no intentions of stopping. I still enjoy what I do. And I feel like I'm only getting better. So yeah, there's definitely no thoughts of stopping soon."


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