Andréane Lanthier Nadeau wants another kick at the can.
On August 7, 2022, Lanthier Nadeau took off as one of the Sea to Sky’s best hopes for a medal in the Enduro World Series (EWS) race at Crankworx Whistler. The Squamish native got off to a fast start, matching eventual victor Harriet Harnden stride for stride through four stages. She gritted her teeth when her injured ankle flared up, all the while pressing through ill-timed mechanical issues.
What Lanthier Nadeau couldn’t overcome was a crash on the fifth and final stage. It didn’t take her out of the running completely, but it dashed her hopes of a podium result. The Squamolian had to settle for fifth, watching as Great Britain’s Harnden, Morgane Charre of France and Chilean-born Florencia Espiñeira Herreros swept the medals in that order.
Espiñeira Herreros has lived in Whistler for some time, so it wasn’t a total loss for Sea to Sky fans. Nonetheless, Lanthier Nadeau headed home unsatisfied.
“Last year was a massive heartbreak,” she said. “I was leading the whole weekend of racing … but a miscalculation and a crash on the last stage put me back four places into fifth and off the podium. A big and hard loss for me.”
She’s had nearly a year to reflect on it, learn from it, and to continue building herself up. Her second chance comes July 30 at this year’s iteration of the Canadian Open Enduro.
Like most professional athletes, Lanthier Nadeau has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. She’s tasted victory on home soil before, having won the last two runnings of the Squamish Enduro, and is a legitimate contender on the world stage. She loves what she does, even in the face of devastating accidents and disappointing results.
“The sport of enduro is special to me because it’s a sport where you ‘race’ by yourself against the clock, but where you get to share the hardships of a huge day on the bike with your competitors,” Lanthier Nadeau explained. “Sometimes, the transfers can be really physical and a big effort, and you get to share that with the girls, but then you also get to refocus and drop into the zone on your own in the stages.
“I think it facilitates amazing sportsmanship within the competitors, and to me that’s what makes the sport special.”
Lanthier Nadeau first began mountain biking at eight years of age. Her mother, also an avid cyclist, accompanied her to every training session during that first year because their local club had no coverage for participants so young. Lanthier Nadeau was close to her mom as she grew up in a small suburb of Quebec City—which is no surprise as they spent most Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from April to September on two wheels together.
“I owe a lot to my mom,” said the Francophone athlete. “Some of my fondest memories with her are from these early days of biking together.”
From XC to enduro
Much like her former Rocky Mountain Race Face (RMRF) teammate Jesse Melamed, Lanthier Nadeau started out as a cross-country athlete. She raced on the international circuit across the junior, U23 and elite categories and initially moved to the West Coast in pursuit of an Olympic dream. Not long afterwards, she signed on with RMRF.
Lanthier Nadeau estimates that her first brush with Crankworx Whistler came in 2013 or 2014, at one of many cross-country World Cups that have since blurred together in memory. Her inaugural Crankworx event took place in August 2015—lacking a full kit of her own, she had to use Melamed’s bike and jersey.
Melamed is surely glad he allowed Lanthier Nadeau to borrow his gear that day. In time, the two combined with Remi Gauvin to form the Sea to Sky’s premier three-headed enduro dragon. Together, they launched RMRF to second overall in last year’s EWS team standings.
With Melamed now racing for Canyon CLLCTV, the torch falls to Lanthier Nadeau and Gauvin to continue a tradition of excellence.
Even if she should fail to podium come month’s end, Lanthier Nadeau realizes how special it is to race in Whistler. Many flock to what is essentially her backyard from across oceans to experience the Sea to Sky’s rare mixture of accessible and challenging trails.
“The quality and quantity of amazing trails is what puts any race in Whistler in a category of its own, and having friends and family cheering is such a good time,” Lanthier Nadeau said. “I think it is so important to have high-level races in Canada and not only in Europe. It showcases the highest level of racing to the Canadian fans, and it is just as amazing for the riders to experience this different crowd!”
Crankworx Whistler kicks off July 21.