Over the past few weeks I was given some amazing opportunities to push my limits on my bike outside of America.

The first stop was Mont-Saint-Anne World cup, in Quebec, Canada. Being my first World Cup, I was nervous about the race and the non-stop rain showers which made the course a sheet of ice, not helping the situation. The MSA course is long, with non-stop braking bumps, jumps, rock gardens, and insanely fast wide open sections. My Qualifying run ended disastrously with a huge crash in the rock section, but I still qualified for the show on Sunday.

However, luck was not on my side and I missed all of Saturdays practice due to some mechanical issues that the awesome guys at Shimano graciously fixed before Sunday’s race. Sunday turned out to be beautiful and was the first day riding a dry course. The dryness made the course much faster than the previous days. High speeds and a rough course made holding on to your handlebars the hardest part. With not quite the run I wanted and a small crash I ended up 17th on the day. Although my run wasn’t my best I was stoked to place in my first world cup and very excited for many more to come! With MSA down, It was time to move on to my next adventure.

After MSA I had the honor of being selected to race in Quito, Ecuador in the Ungui Downhill with 3 other Americans. The course was dry and dusty, similar to a Southern California Race, with huge wooden drops and jumps, and the only way to the course was to rally up a jeep trail in a shuttle truck.

The best part of the trip wasn’t even the course, it was the whole atmosphere of the race. The Ecuadorian people greeted us with open arms and pure enthusiasm for the sport of mountain biking. We had a blast each day meeting new riders that were beyond thrilled to have us racing in their event. I met the girls of the Ecuador Dh scene and to my amazement mostly ran hardtails down the rugged course except for a few experienced riders on full suspension bikes. In Ecuador, because of the lack of women in the sport they run all the girls in one group, so you have beginners mixed in with advanced riders making for an interesting race run. My race run wasn’t very clean and I ended up in 2nd place but I took way more then a medal back home.

This trip really opened my eyes to the fact that mountain bikes bring people from any culture and continent together. No matter where you race or ride mountain biking is a language that can bring two very different people together as friends.