By Lou Mazzante Photography By John Gibson

THE WAYT I DRESS AND ACT IS SIMPLY WHO I AM... BUT I'M MORE INTERESTED IN RESULTS THAN HOW

LET'S START WITH THE OFFENBURG, GERMANY, WORLD CUP RACE IN APRIL. WERE YOU SURPRISED AT YOUR TENTH-PLACE FINISH THERE? Incredibly surprised. It wasn't until I was told that I was sitting in the top 20 halfway through that I realized a top-10 was possible. Last year in Of-fenburg I had a solid race, placing thirty-seventh, but my best [previousl World Cup result was seventeenth at Mont-Sainte-Anne.

PETED IN SEVERAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, RIGHT? My first World Championships were in 2005, in Livigno, Italy. I finished thirteenth as a junior. What an eye opener! I still remember the start loop and climb. It's something every athlete should be introduced to young so they know what to expect and how fast you have to be in order to be competitive in Europe. I'm pretty sure I was dead last until the top of the climb.

YOU'VE SAID MARIE-HELENE PREMONT WAS A BIG INSPIRATION TO YOU. WHAT WAS IT LIKE PASSING HER DURING THE RACE?

With her new kit and longer ponytail, I actually didn't realize it was Marie at first. It wasn't until we were on the downhill and there were thousands of fans chanting her name. Growing up idolizing Marie-Hélène ard watching her dominate the World Cup circuit was a huge inspiration to me. She showed that Canadian athletes could compete in Europe. I was absolutely flattered to be up there with those girls.

CLIMBING IS ONE OF YOUR STRENGTHS, THEN.

Climbing ar.d technical. I would love if every course could be like Offen-burg. It has some pretty technical chutes, lots of climbing, and...it's all under the trees. I'm not much of a fan when it comes to desert racing and being able to see a kilometer ahead.

AT 21, HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR FITNESS COMPARES TO THE COMPETITION? I'm not sure...I can do 30 push-ups at once, though.

WHEN DID YOU START RACING?

My family basically attended every race in Canada. I was my brother's feeder, so itwasjust a matter of time before I strapped on bike shoes and raced my first race. That was in 1999. After that, one thing led to another, and by 2001,1 was racing the full Canada Cup series and a few NORBAs.

THAT'S BETTER THAN A LOT OF GUYS BUT YOU DON'T SHY AWAY FROM MAKE-UP OR JEWELRY, EVEN DURING A RACE. IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO MAINTAIN A SENSE OF FEMININITY?

It absolutely is, but at the same time it's not something I go out of the way to do. I think it comes natural. It's just who I am. Race day for me is just another day, and putting mascara on is no different than brushing my teeth. >

EVEN BEFORE YOU STARTED ON THE WORLD CUP CIRCUIT, YOU HAD COM

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