After a big September where she swept the Rochester Cyclocross weekend and won her first career World Cup at Jingle Cross, Maghalie Rochette (Specialized / Feedback Sports) headed south to Fayetteville for this past weekend’s FayetteCross.
With World Cup Bern coming up in two weekends, Rochette’s goal for the weekend was to get a look at the 2022 Worlds venue and continue her early-October block of training.
With four winners in four Fayetteville races, there are plenty of winner interviews to go around. We chatted with Rochette about her latest winning weekend.
Maghalie Rochette: 2019 FayetteCross Day 1 Winner
Cyclocross Magazine: What was your motivation for racing at FayetteCross? How does it fit into the next block of the season for you?
Maghalie Rochette: The motivation to go to FayetteCross was to slowly get acquainted with the area and the venue for the 2022 World Championships. We wanted to start scouting so that when 2022 Worlds comes around, we are already familiar with the event.
It wasn’t really a race that I particularly targeted in terms of performance. Right now, my next big goal is the World Cup in Bern, so we trained pretty hard going into FayetteCross and I’m still in that training block with Switzerland in mind. It certainly was additional travel that we could have done without, but we still really want to see what Fayetteville was all about. Plus, a new venue is always exciting *smiles*.
CXM: You had an emotional September, how was it returning to racing after that big month?
MR: It’s been good. After Waterloo, I took a few days really chill to decompress and reset. Then we started a good training block to get ready for the upcoming races. I’ve been really motivated in training so it’s fun. But the tiny break after Waterloo was definitely helpful to appreciate what we had achieved and to turn the page on it so we could focus on what’s next.
CXM: Has your approach changed at all knowing that you are now the rider your peers are looking at to lead the way at domestic races?
MR: Not really. It’s funny to think about that because although they may be watching me, I’m totally watching them! Hahaha. So for me, there is no difference really.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years though, is that it’s difficult to have the same intense fire and killer instinct at all the races, but I think that is just normal and okay. I still want to bring my best at all the races, but maybe some of the domestic races I see more as training and fun. Whereas at the World Cups, I now really try to perform at my absolute best level and bring a different kind of intensity in my focus.
CXM: How did Saturday’s win play out for you?
MR: It was dry and super hot outside and the course was fairly simple; thick grass and a lot of turns. Caroline Mani got the holeshot, so I sat on her wheel for the first few minutes. I knew that it was important to be at the front of the group with all the turns, because otherwise you needed to work harder at accelerating out of each corner.
After a few corners, I was feeling good and I realized there wasn’t too much advantage in drafting because although there were long straightaways on the grass, we weren’t going that fast. I decided to go to the front and accelerate quickly out of each turn to create an opening. I got a gap and tried to grow it for the first few laps. Eventually, the gap was established to I was trying to stay in control to make sure I was not overheating.
CXM: Sunday brought completely different conditions than Saturday. Does your approach change at all on weekends like those?
MR: Yeah, I think it’s not as much of a “group” race when it’s super muddy. Everyone is on their own, so it’s a little different.
CXM: Clara [Honsinger] appears to be a worthy mud nemesis for you so far this season. What do you think it will take to get the best of her in sloppy conditions?
MR: Yeah, Clara has been riding really well all season. I think she has showed that she is good in very conditions. However, I think if I want to beat her in a sloppy race, I have to focus on trying to win, rather than trying to beat her specifically. I can’t control what she does 🙂
For me, I’ll have to change my mindset going into super muddy races. I used to be pretty good at them, but I have been struggling a bit this year. It’s like I’m not patient enough so I keep making bad decisions. I keep thinking that I’m going too slow when pedaling, so I get off the bike and run, or I keep changing lines and I end up zig-zagging through the course rather than just moving forward.
I have to remind myself that it will be a slog. That I have to work hard and keep pressing hard on the pedals in these conditions. And basically just keep moving forward no matter what.
CXM: What did you think of the course and venue two years out from Worlds?
MR: I think the course was pretty basic for now, but the venue has a lot of potential. There is a big forest on the park with some elevation, and I hear they plan on using that a lot. I know they also plan to build a few things to create a really park for cycling. So I think the course will change a lot from what we saw this weekend, but the venue definitely has potential. Plus, Brook Watts has shown many times that he knows how to create big events and great courses, so I’m sure it will be amazing!
CXM: It looks like it’s going to be a close one between you and Clara in the CX Heat Check Power Rankings. Who do you think should get the top spot?
MR: Yeah, I think it will be very close. I think it will all depends on the algorithm 😉 I hear the algorithm favours the number of “wins” a lot, so that may play in my favour.
However, Clara may have been more consistent if we consider that I finished 7th on Sunday (she got 3rd and 1st), which will not help my case. I’ve also noticed that the last race before the weekly Heat Check seems to have a lot of value, and Clara won that one. So I don’t know. It will definitely be super tight.