Andreane Lanthier Nadeau is heating up at just the right time in the Enduro World Series season.
The former Whistlerite, now in Squamish, took her second consecutive podium finish and third in her past four races to strengthen her hold on third-place overall.
“I was very surprised myself. It was a very different type of trails, with dust and dirt,” she said. “I made some little adjustments and I felt confident enough in my riding. I know I’m strong and I can hang at the top.”
Lanthier Nadeau was 28.23 seconds back of winner Isabeau Coudurier of France, who has dominated all season, and roughly nine seconds back of runner-up Noga Korem of Israel.
Lanthier Nadeau’s best stage came near the end, as she won Stage 5, which she described as being a top-to-bottom rock garden. Her success came through channelling some frustration she felt after a couple other near-misses earlier in the race.
“I really wanted to win the Queen stage (which gives the winner 40 bonus points in the overall standings), which was Stage 3,” she said. “I finished third on that stage and Noga won, Isabeau was two seconds behind and I was three seconds behind.
“The times were crazy tight. That was a nine-minute stage. I was pretty gutted not to get it. On [Stage] 4, I also made a couple of mistakes so on [Stage] 5, I think I was riding just a little bit angry. Sometimes that works.”
With one more race in the championship chase in Zermatt, Switzerland in September, Lanthier Nadeau would be thrilled to end the season on the overall podium.
“Being in the fight for the overall really shows the hard work, how much we have to go through, and all the challenges,” she said.
In the interim, Lanthier Nadeau is heading to Quebec to coach youth cross-country athletes at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
Also hitting the podium was Squamish’s Kasper Woolley, who rides in Whistler and skis with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club in the winter.
In the U21 men’s category, Woolley was 28.63 seconds back of France’s Antoine Vidal to lock down his second podium appearance of the season.
The race was Woolley’s first after breaking a knuckle in his hand nearly two months ago. While the injury was still nagging, he made it through.
“I raced as hard as I could and kept it pretty smooth. I still have a hand injury, so I couldn’t afford too many falls,” he said.
Like Lanthier Nadeau, Woolley emerged in the latter stages, placing second in Stage 5 and winning Stage 6. His times in both stages, meanwhile, were both good enough for seventh in the pro men’s division.
“Those two were a bit more downhill and a little shorter. They just suited me more to my riding,” he said. “I didn’t really do anything different from the other ones, but I was just faster relative to the others.”
Woolley said the course was a 180 from the type of riding he’s used to here in the Sea to Sky.
“It was the complete opposite of what I’m used to here at home. It was the dustiest, rockiest trails I’ve ever ridden,” he said, describing ankle-deep dust in some places. “I had a bit of riding [there] beforehand, so I tried to adapt as best I could.”
In the pro men’s event, Whistler’s Jesse Melamed posted an excellent result as well, claiming fifth overall. Melamed was 46.43 seconds back of winner Richie Rude of the United States and roughly 26 seconds off the podium.
Melamed is also banged up, having broken his ankle and injuring his finger in June. He returned to action at the CamelBak Canadian Open Enduro here in Whistler two weeks prior, placing 29th. While he was improved, with a stronger calf taking pressure off his sore ankle, Melamed was still in some discomfort.
“I was hoping this one would be easier than Whistler because Whistler is known as one of the gnarliest and hardest events of the year. All that we heard about Northstar was that it was flat and pedally, so I was kind of excited for that, honestly,” he said. “It would suit me and my injuries. My hand was still pretty painful and it was a lot of work to make it hold on, so a smooth race for me would be amazing.
“It ended up being really rough, super gnarly and really challenging, almost moreso than Whistler.”
Melamed’s saving grace was that the stages were shorter, so he could more easily find and maintain a rhythm.
“In Whistler, I was really having to mentally pace myself so I wouldn’t go over the line and endanger myself by being too tired,” he said. “In Northstar, could attack a bit more and ride like myself for longer.
“I feel like I was riding just as well in Whistler, but was a bit more hesitant because I was so fresh from injury.”
With three weeks to prepare for Zermatt, Melamed hopes to be in better shape when he hits the start gate again, especially with the Swiss race set to serve up longer stages.
“I’m really hoping I can fully recover my hand, at least, so I can run a normal grip again. The modifications I’m making are limited by time, I would say, just in terms of how long I can hold on properly,” he said.