Rachel Pageau on Starting the Season and Moving Forward

15 Mar

After her first downhill race of the season at Downhill Southeast Race #1, Rachel Pageau is looking ahead at the rest of her downhill season after a tough year in 2022. As expected, the first race back was a roller coaster of emotions for her after dealing with so many injuries and setbacks last year, but with a second place finish after a stellar training session the day before, she's looking at the next race as a chance to improve even more and dial in the small pieces of racing that we often forget about in the early season. (Read about Alexey Vermuelen's first race tips here!)

How do you handle the nerves you get in the first race of the season?

I had such a great weekend of riding! In practice, I felt like I was right on the money and riding well, hitting my lines and staying smooth. Then, at the race, my racing nerves were not ready. They got the best of me, unfortunately, and I goofed every corner, line and breaking points in the first 30 seconds of the race! It’s like I was going too fast, too slow, too excited, too quickly ahaha! But getting that out of the way makes me feel calmer heading into the next race.

Anything you forgot (or almost forgot!) heading to the start line of that first race?

I didn’t bring the right goggles to the start and the rain made it hard to see! I also had a half breakfast and not much hydration due to race nerves making me too excited to think about nourishment. I'll definitely have that dialed in next time.

How good does it feel to get that first race out of the way?

To be honest, I was extremely disappointed  after the race,  finishing second after a first place qualifier. But... after a day or two, in hindsight it was a great weekend. I rode well for how little time I’ve had in the bike so far and had a great time getting the season underway.