Video: 2019 Enduro World Series Calendar – Plus Trophy of Nations Race

We’re really excited to see Rounds 1 & 2 of the Enduro World Series coming back down under for 2019, making it far more accessible for Australia’s emerging enduro talent to make a strong start in the series.

22–23 March 2019 Round 1 – Rotorua, NZ
29–30 March 2019 Round 2 – Derby, Tasmania
10–11 May 2019 Round 3 – Madeira, Portugal
28–29 June 2019 Round 4 – Canazei, Italy
6–7 July 2019 Round 5 – Les Orres, France
9–10 August 2019 Round 6 – Whistler, Canada
23–24 August 2019 Round 7 – Northstar, California
21–22 September 2019 Round 8 – Zermatt, Switzerland
28 September 2019 Trophy of Nations, Finale Ligure, Italy

What is the Trophy of Nations?

Taking place on the iconic trails of Finale in September 2019, the Trophy of Nations will be a true celebration of cycling as riders cast aside individual glory in favour of teamwork and national pride. Teamwork, strategy and sportsmanship will be pushed to the limit as riders have to work together in teams of three to race for a combined result.

Josh Carlson has a lot of experience in Finale Ligure. Photo: Sven Martin

Featuring three categories, the event will pit nation against nation, industry against industry and amateur against amateur team. Each category of team will be made up of three riders. National teams will be made up from the top three riders of the newly structured Global EWS ranking from that country, and there will be both male and female teams.

To put that in context, if the event had run in 2017 Team Australia would have been Sam Hill, Jared Graves and Josh Carlson taking on Jerome Clementz, Damien Oton and Adrien Dailly of Team France.

Sam Hill on his way to winning the 2017 series in Finale. Photo: Matthew DeLorme
Jared Graves had some unlucky mechanicals in 2017 but showed his form with some great stage results. Photo: Enduro World Series
James Hall ranked 55th in the 2017 EWS, an impressive result for a privateer. Will he make Team Australia to race again in Finale Ligure in 2019? Photo: Ross Bell

Amateurs riders can also enter their own teams of three with no restrictions on how they are compromised – giving them the chance to ride together to take on some of the biggest names in mountain biking.

Industry teams are being invited to get involved too, allowing mechanics and team managers to down tools, leave the pits behind and get out on the trails and show what they’re made of.

The Trophy of Nations will be a standalone event and will not contribute to a rider’s global ranking, taking place in Finale the week after the series concludes at round eight in Zermatt, Switzerland.

Shelly Flood will be an Aussie to watch as she continues to dabble in Enduro amongst her DH commitments.

EWS Down Under

Learn more about New Zealand’s Round 1 in Rotorua here and Tasmania’s Round 2 in Derby. Then start planning to secure yourself some EWS qualifying points at the Shimano Enduro Tour starting October 2018 on the Gold Coast, followed by Derby then Mt Buller.

“So, Jared, who do you want on Team Australia with you?”

Enduro World Series 2019: Derby is Back

After a hugely successful event in 2017 that well and truly put the region in the top tier of Mountain Biking destinations worldwide, it was an easy decision to return for the next Australian visit by the EWS.

Event Management Solutions Australia will again deliver the event that will attract 500 riders, thousands of spectators and a strong contingent of international media.  Event Director Ian Harwood said that return of the Enduro World Series, as well as the second tier Continental Series to be held in November of 2018, would not have been possible without the support of the Tasmanian Government and the community in Derby.  Everyone had so much fun, despite some challenging weather, I am sure that this news will be welcomed by all of the teams and riders that make up the Enduro World Series.

It is expected that the event will continue to grow with the addition of a kid’s event as well as an expanded Challenger race for amateur riders.

The 2017 event saw an economic impact to the area well more than $1.5 million with visitor numbers almost doubling since the announcement of the 2017 event as well as winning the coveted “Specialized Trail of the Year award” for stage 2 Detonate.

What’s so good about Blue Derby? Let us show you.

About Enduro World Series

The Enduro World Series is about finding the best Mountain Biker in the world.  Riders will tackle a range of stages, similar to a car rally with combined times determining the overall winner.  To be successful, riders must be able to manage their bikes with limited outside assistance, be physically fit enough for 7 hours of riding, whilst having a high level of technical skills.

About Event Management Solutions Australia.

Event Management Solutions Australia is a Brisbane based event delivery company that has been working in the Mountain Bike and Charity sector for 10 years.   In 2017 in addition to delivering the first ever visit of the EWS to Australia, they also acted as Race Director for the Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns.

For additional information check      www.enduroworldseries.com

EWS Video: 2017 Full Season Recap

Watch the 2017 Enduro World Series season recap.

Want more 2017 EWS highlights?

Sam Hill – top step of the Men’s overall 2017 Enduro World Series podium. Photo: Matthew DeLorme

Watch Sam Hill’s 2017 Enduro World Series journey here.

Geek out with our bike checks with Aussie riders racing Whistler’s EWS, here.

James ‘Cannonball’ Hall was the darkhorse of Aussie enduro pinners this year, privateering to 55th overall in his first EWS season. We caught up with him before Finale – check out our interview and his Whistler race video here.

Cannonball in Finale. Photo: Ross Bell
The final stage of a big season for Sydney’s James Hall. Photo: Ross Bell

EWS Video: Giant Factory Off-Road Team – Finale Ligure

Follow Josh Carlson and the rest of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team to the coastal mountain biking paradise of Finale Ligure, Italy, where Josh had his best race of the season, finishing 15th including a top 10 in stage 3.


It has become an annual tradition for the Enduro World Series: The season finishes on the white-sand beaches of Finale Ligure, Italy. But first, two days of steep, rocky and physically challenging terrain that ranks as one of the year’s toughest events. For the Giant Factory Off-Road Team, the journey to get here was filled with ups and downs. Some hard crashes and triumphant finishes. But in the end, the finals gave reason to celebrate. Australian Josh Carlson found his form to post a top-10 stage finish. Canadian Mckay Vezina was healthy and strong after some mid-season injuries. And Liv Cycling rider Rae Morrison finished off an impressive first season with the team, wrapping up her 10th place overall ranking for the year.

Follow the team at facebook.com/giantfactoryteam

Follow Josh on Instagram @joshcarlson__

EWS Video: Sam Hill – A Legend’s Journey

The dust has just about settled on Sam Hill’s dream finish to this year’s Enduro World Series, so what better time to share the highlights of his journey to championship victory! Sam Hill: A legend’s journey is befitting of a man who many counted out as a competitive racer. It features riding that beggars belief in parts, with Sam throwing his bike, body and flat pedals around the course like we wish we could understand – let alone try ourselves.


Of course, you want more. Watch Nukeproof’s behind the scenes video of Sam’s race in Finale Ligure, here.

Watch the full highlights video from the EWS finale in Finale, here.

EWS Finale Ligure: Full Highlights Video

After extending his overall lead in the series in Whistler, Sam Hill came to Finale with one thing on his mind, the 2017 Enduro World Championship. Sit back, relax and watch 100km of intensely close enduro racing over seven stages and two days in the 20-minute video highlights.


Don’t want it to be over? Watch Nukeproof’s behind the scenes video of Sam Hill’s race in Finale, here.

Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Did you miss any of Cannonball’s journey so far?

Read our interview with The Ball and watch Matt Staggs Visuals raw edit of him shredding his home trails here.

Then hang out on a chairlift ride to Whistler’s ‘Top Of The World’ as Matt Staggs once again captures his speed and mindset leading into race day, here.

So, how did Whistler play out, and will we see Cannonball in the series finale in Finale? Find out below.

Flow: Whistler was your second-best result of the series so far, just a few places behind your 32nd in Derby. Did you approach Whistler any differently to previous rounds?

James: Having a few more rounds with several more crashes under my belt, my mental game was to keep my cool and ride a little more consistently. Smoother, slower into corners and faster out. Knowing how rough the terrain in Whistler can be from having lived there 9 years earlier, I got the awesome guys and good friends at Dunbar Cycles Vancouver to bump up my fork to 160mm and give my fork and shock a pre-race service. What may have helped me most was my tyre choice for this round and how that boosted my confidence. Up until this round I had been playing off my strength in technical terrain by sacrificing a little less tyre width for a faster rolling tyre to help in the longer pedally sections. With a Maxxis 29er DHR2 2.3 3C up front and an Aggressor 2.3 3C rear this was ideal for me on the trails in Derby where the stages were short and rocky with a few pedally sections. Since Derby I noticed a few times when I lost confidence, and perhaps wider front tyre would have helped. In Madiera I recall sections where I rode stiff and scared on stages 1 and 3. For Ireland, in hindsight, packing a set of full mud tyres instead of just one Maxxis Shorty would have made a huge difference, but that’s part of building upon racing experience. Coming back to Whistler I was practicing on 2.3” tyres but I felt that I wanted more grip and after getting some time on the tracks and terrain it became apparent there wasn’t much pedalling in this round. So, I scrounged up what must have been the last Maxxis 29er DHF 2.5 3C in town from the helpful guys at Bike Co. Running this up front and moving the DHR2 to the rear made an immediate difference. I felt so much better in all the blown out corners and felt like I was spending more time in an aggressive flow state rather than holding back.

Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Flow: Privateering the EWS is hard work. You told us previously about how your mates helped you get to the European rounds, but it seemed like Whistler would be the last race of your 2017 series. Tell us how racing Finale became a reality?

James: Again, huge thanks to all those mates that chipped in, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them. Finale came about from light-heartedly joking, with some hope, with Trent from M2Oindustries/JetBlack. I had worked for Trent and JetBlack for 5 years and still do contract product development work for him, so I have a pretty good relationship there already. Trent had also seen the coverage of my season so far on Flow and social media, particularly the video edits and imagery from Matt Staggs Visuals. I guess these things made it a worthy and reasonable risk for him to invest a little more into the final EWS round. So, without hesitation, Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state.

Flow: Since confirming your entry for Finale, what’s your standard week involved? How many hours are you ‘training’?

James: I’ve been focusing on getting more time on trail. I’ve been getting out on the bike at least every second day and often riding three days in a row with every third or fourth day being a high intensity day depending on how my body is feeling. Averaging four to five days on the bike a week, anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours and a weekly average at only about 8 hours on the bike. Priority for me has been better focus on resting appropriately between high intensity days and getting on rough technical terrain. There are often sections in an enduro stage that are small pinches or traverses over technical terrain. I’ve been adding priority to my hill climbing on tech trails locally. We have a few technical climbing trails that are around 11~13 minutes in length here on Sydney’s northern beaches, which is about the length of some of the longer stages at a round. Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state. My times have been improving since before Derby so I’m feeling pretty good.

Flow: We checked out your Pivot Switchblade in Whistler and it was looking well ridden! What changes have you made to it before Finale?

James: With big thanks to Shimano Australia, I’ve replaced my drivetrain with new XTR rear mech and XTR crankset. Along with this, they have also upsized my rotors from the not so suitable 160/180mm combo to some new Ice-Tech rotors at a much more respectable 180/203mm. JetBlack have helped with new RIP grips and freshly laced set of new NoTubes Arch hoops that will be wrapped with new tread from Maxxis/BikeCorp on race day. Finally a custom fork and shock tune from Simon & Lachlan at MTB-suspension-centre.

Flow: Sounds like you and your bike are prepped better than ever for Finale. We’ll be cheering on from behind our computers as we see your stage results roll in. One final question, do you prefer sunset walks on the beach or sunset shreds at the trails?

James: (laughs) I can offer dreamy and intimate romantic sunset walks on the beach Monday to Saturday, but sorry ladies, Sundays are reserved for sunset dirt jump sessions with the lads (dirt jumping ladies welcome too, of course).

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Finale’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

EWS Whistler: Aussie’s Bike Checks

You can read our race recap and all the Aussie’s results, here.

The full highlights video is well worth watching too, which can be found here.


Sam Hill – Prototype Carbon Nukeproof Mega

Representing lucky number 13 with an amazing EWS season so far, including 2nd in Whistler which extended his overall lead. No major changes to his bike from Aus, riding the same setup year round. Oh yeah, flat pedals!
SRAM XO1 Eagle 1×12 drivetrain with some extra zip ties for cable security. Not only a prototype frame, but even prototype Mavic tyres!

Jared Graves – Specialized Enduro

Graves chose to make the switch from the Stumpy to the Enduro and 29 hoops to deal with the extra gnar Whistler has to offer. Graves is also running CushCore tyre inserts.
Magura MT7 brakes with 203mm rotors. Some more creative zip tie cable guiding. Specialized Butcher tyres front and rear.
Not being locked into a drivetrain sponsor means Graves can run what he wants. He opted for a full bitsa: SRAM XO crankset with Stages power meter, MRP chain guide, Shimano XTR mechanical derailleur, on a 10-42 11 speed SRAM cassette. Sadly, in stage one Graves dropped his chain, which later ripped his derailleur off, ending his race.

Josh Carlson – Giant Reign

Josh is pretty much local calling the Sea to Sky corridor home for many years; Josh is no stranger to what the day has in stall. After racing various Reign prototypes earlier in the season, he’s now on the new production carbon Reign. Neat frame bag for spares.

Chris Panozzo – Santa Cruz High Tower LT

The High Tower LT is a brand new bike for Chris, testing his big wheel skills. He’s also beefed up the fork to 160mm and 203mm rotors front and rear.
Spares at the ready. We’re devastated for Chris that a mechanical took him out of the race in stage one.

James Hall – Pivot Switchblade

The EWS dark horse, Cannonball opted for the relatively short travel Switchblade from Pivot, with 29er wheel set up. This bike has seen him through every EWS round bar Millau, and saw him finish in 36th in Whistler.

See James warming up on the Whistler trails and talking about his season so far, here.

Cannonball had his suspension serviced at Dunbar Cycles in Vancouver before coming to Whistler. They also bumped his fork up 10mm to 160mm. Same 2.5″ front tyre as Panozzo.

Josh Button – Kona Process 153

Competing in nearly every race here at Crankworx, the EWS is just day one for J Butt. Maxxis Minions with DD protection, DHF front and DHR II rear.
A Vivid Air shock has Button’s Process ready for anything Whistler throws at him. Spares taped on for easy access. Definitely no room to fit a bottle in this compact frame.

Jeremy Hamilton – Rocky Mountain Slayer

Whistler has been Jeremy’s base camp in between EWS Aspens and Crankworx. He’s been doing his homework of the trails from peak to valley. Running a CushCore in the rear as it improves the chatter of the wheel from rock deflection and provides the ability to run lower pressures.

Shane Gayton – Santa Cruz Bronson

Whistler local Shane knows most of the trails in the valley and isn’t afraid of a big day pedalling.
More and more coil shocks about this year

Jordan Prochyra – Giant Reign

From racing World Cups in Europe to Mont Sainte Anne, then racing EWS the next weekend, Jordan will be conditioned and ready for the long stages in Whistler.

Jackson Davis – Nukeproof Mega

Coming in hot to Whistler to back up his Mega Avalanche epic with his first EWS.
180mm XT stoppers. Jackson is part of the VANZACS crew. Check out their videos on YouTube.

David Maud – Specialized Enduro

Whistler Local well aware of the task ahead. His 27.5 Enduro is top notch with SRAM XX1 Eagle, and of course his spares are stashed in the SWAT compartment in the downtube.

Murray Stephens – Specialized Enduro

Horns up, ready to rock and roll. Murray’s 29er Enduro has a SAR coil and Absolute Black oval ring and chain guide.

Conor McFarlane – Intense Tracer

Our brother across the ditch having a warm up pedal before a big week competing throughout the rest of Crankworx.

Leonie Picton – Live Hail

No stranger to the World Enduro, Leonie is happy to be racing such a huge event right in her backyard. After some bad luck with flat tires in the past, Leonie has taken no chances with DH tires front and rear.
Fubars and saddle from Whistler based brand, Chromag.

Shelly Flood – Kona Process 134

A slightly shorter travel bike than fellow team mates on Processes but maybe she and Cannonball know something we don’t know.
Relatively short rear travel, but full size rotors to get some control back.

Tegan Molloy – Kona Process 153

Still getting her confidence back after a shoulder injury, Tegan says she’s strong and ready for racing.

Under 21 Men

Samuel Rubery – Giant Reign

U21 making it across to the northern hemisphere, escaping winter to see what a Whistler Crankzilla was all about. Sam finished in 22nd, just 5 minutes off the winning pace.

Blake Pearce – Giant Reign

Whistler Crankworx isn’t a bad destination for your first trip out of Australia. Blake finished two places, or 21 seconds, behind Sam.

Amateur Men

Josh Lyons – Specialized Enduro

Living just down the road in Squamish, Josh has had plenty of time over the years to become conditioned to any trail the EWS have to offer.

Shaun Fry – Yeti SB6

Shaun took a break from managing Arbutus Routes, a local MTB tour company, to race his home town trails.

EWS Whistler Results: Sam Hill Retains Overall Lead

Whistler EWS in one minute!

Sam Hill blasting through the woods.

Just like in Aspen, Perth’s Sam Hill started strongest and took the win in stage one which began from the ‘Top of the World’, arguably the toughest stage of the series so far. His 18 second lead over Whistler local Jesse Melamed was brought back to just 2 seconds after stage two where Melamed started his winning streak and Hill finished 8th, his worst stage result of the day. Stages three and four saw the tables turn as Melamed’s time gaps over Hill’s 2nd places increased. Their battle continued to the village where only 0.42 seconds separated their fifth and final stage results. After almost 3/4 of an hour of timed descending more than 4000 vertical metres, Melamed took the win over Hill by 15 seconds. Mark Scott’s race highlight was his 2nd place in stage two, and top 10 consistency saw him earn his first EWS podium.

Jesse Melamed finished what he started here previously in Whistler, finally winning a round of the EWS.
Sam Hill sending it on Ride Don’t Slide
Mark Scott raced hard and achieved his first ever podium with a 3rd place.

Wollongong’s Josh Carlson has a history of fast racing in Whistler, however, after a big crash during practice, 2017 wasn’t his year. His top stage result was 14th in the final stage, including another crash not far from the finish, seeing him finish the round in 25th. Sydney’s James ‘Cannonball’ Hall scored his second best finish of the season; consistent stage results placed him 36th overall. Right behind him in 37th was World Cup downhiller Josh Button. After a top 20 finish in Mont Sainte Anne the week prior, Button placed top 50 in all stages with a highlight of 31st in the final stage.

Josh Carlson couldn’t match his speed from last year which saw him place 3rd
James ‘Cannonball’ Hall confidently bombing a Whistler steep

Another Aussie podium contender, Queensland’s Jared Graves, had a stroke of bad luck in the first stage resulting in a DNF that will hurt his overall ranking. Mt Beauty’s Chris Panozzo suffered a similar fate, with a stage one mechanical ending his race too.

Jared Graves on Ride Don’t Slide in practice.

The women’s race saw Cecile Ravanel continue her winning streak, once more displaying total stage domination to take her sixth win of the season. Fellow Frenchwoman Isabeau Courdurier came second and the UK’s Katy Winton earned her second EWS podium of the year.

Cecile Ravanel dominated the field, winning every stage.

Whistler based Aussie Leonie Picton used her home trail knowledge to finish as the fastest Australian female in 16th, including a 13th place in stage five. Fellow BC based Aussie expat Megan Rose finished in 19th and Adelaide’s Shelly Flood rounded out the top 20.


Results:

Men
1. Jesse MELAMED Rocky Mountain Urge BP (CAN)
2. Sam HILL Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic (AUS)
3. Mark SCOTT Santa Cruz x SRAM (GBR)
4. Robin WALLNER Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team(SWE)
5. Remi GAUVIN Rocky Mountain Urge BP (CAN)

25. Josh CARLSON Giant Factory Off-Road Team (AUS)
36. James HALL (AUS)
37. Josh BUTTON (AUS)
50. Dylan WOLSKY (AUS)
52. Shane GAYTON (AUS)
56. Jeremy HAMILTON (AUS)
57. Jordan PROCHYRA (AUS)
68. Murray STEPHENS (AUS)
71. David MAUD (AUS)
80. Mark FRENDO (AUS)
95. Blake POLVERINO (AUS)
99. Jackson DAVIS (AUS)
110. Nate CORRIGAN (AUS)
120. Riley TAYLOR (AUS)
dnf. Chris PANOZZO (AUS)
dnf. Jared GRAVES Specialized Racing (AUS)

U21 Men
1. Max LEYEN (CAN)
2. Killian CALLAGHAN(IRL)
3. Rhys VERNER (CAN)
4. Pedro BURNS (CHI)
5. Kevin MADEREGGER (AUT)

22. Samuel RUBERY (AUS)
24. Blake PEARCE (AUS)

Women
1. Cecile RAVANEL Commençal Vallnord Enduro Team (FRA)
2. Isabeau COURDURIER SUNN (FRA)
3. Katy WINTON Trek Factory Racing (GBR)
4. Anita GEHRIG Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team (SUI)
5. Andréane LANTHIER NADEAU Rocky Mountain Urge BP (CAN)

16. Leonie PICTON (AUS)
19. Megan ROSE (AUS)
20. Shelly FLOOD (AUS)
dnf. Tegan MOLLOY (AUS)

U21 Women
1. Martha GILL (GBR)
2. Elena MELTON (GBR)
3. Abigale LAWTON (GBR)

Full results can be found here.

EWS Whistler: Final Stage Replay

Live race feed and stage results can be found here.

The Australian riders start list:

Women

419 Leonie PICTON
422 Tegan MOLLOY
423 Shelly FLOOD
424 Ronja HILL-WRIGHT
441 Megan ROSE
443 Jaclyn DELACROIX

Men
13 Sam HILL
22 Jared GRAVES
10 Josh CARLSON
48 Christopher PANOZZO
56 James HALL
71 Jeremy HAMILTON
75 Josh BUTTON
77 Shane GAYTON
82 Jordan PROCHYRA
92 Dylan WOLSKY
94 Mark FRENDO
96 David MAUD
102 Murray STEPHENS
122 Lucas PITT
137 Riley TAYLOR
307 Jackson DAVIS
317 Nate CORRIGAN

Men Under 21
614 Blake PEARCE
615 Samuel RUBERY

Amateur Men
807 Chayse PENGILLY
809 Liam WOOLTORTON
819 Shaun FRY
830 Blake POLVERINO
841 Bryan PINCHES
843 Josh LYONS

EWS Whistler: Hanging Out With Cannonball

Want more action? Check out Cannonball’s previous video where he rips his home trails, along with photo story and interview here.

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Whistler’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

EWS: Who Will Win in Whistler?

Hill’s win at Aspen’s round six saw him take the series lead from Frenchman Adrien Dailly and the steep and technical Whistler trails should favour the Aussie too. A couple of tough rounds this season saw Jared Graves further down the ladder than expected, however, his 3rd from Aspen has bumped him into the top 10.

Wollongong’s Josh Carlson missed the first two rounds as he recently became a father of two, but good results in Ireland and Aspen see him inside the top 50. He currently resides just down the road in Vancouver so hopefully, he’ll see another good result on his ‘home trails’ where he finished 3rd in 2016. The reigning Australian National Enduro champ, Mt Beauty’s Chris Panozzo, has also had a sporadic season with his best finish so far being 23rd in Derby, seeing him ranked just outside the top 50. The EWS Dark Horse, James ‘Cannonball’ Hall, is the next best Aussie in 64th.

Josh Carlson placed 3rd at the Whistler EWS last year

During Crankworx Whistler’s always swarming with Aussies so there will also be a handful of World Cup downhillers who are up for a long day in the saddle. Josh Button, Jordan Prochyra, Shelly Flood and Tegan Molloy are all riders to watch. See a full list of Aussie starters below.

Follow the racing live right here from early Monday morning, with Finals live webcast starting 10:30 am AEST.

Women

419 Leonie PICTON
422 Tegan MOLLOY
423 Shelly FLOOD
424 Ronja HILL-WRIGHT
441 Megan ROSE
443 Jaclyn DELACROIX

Men
13 Sam HILL
22 Jared GRAVES
10 Josh CARLSON
48 Christopher PANOZZO
56 James HALL
71 Jeremy HAMILTON
75 Josh BUTTON
77 Shane GAYTON
82 Jordan PROCHYRA
92 Dylan WOLSKY
94 Mark FRENDO
96 David MAUD
102 Murray STEPHENS
122 Lucas PITT
137 Riley TAYLOR
307 Jackson DAVIS
317 Nate CORRIGAN

Men Under 21
614 Blake PEARCE
615 Samuel RUBERY

Amateur Men
807 Chayse PENGILLY
809 Liam WOOLTORTON
819 Shaun FRY
830 Blake POLVERINO
841 Bryan PINCHES
843 Josh LYONS

Local Video: Cannonball – The EWS Dark Horse

Cannonball – RAW razz of his home trails

James ‘Cannonball’ Hall can move dirt. Building and riding bigger jumps has always been high on his list. But he’s not just brawn, he’s also the brains behind the designs of mountain bike trails, jumps and pump tracks around Australia and North America. His industry experience is immense; from life lessons learnt as a shy school kid in the greasy Bike Addiction workshop through to sweaty meetings in Taiwanese factories frustrating over how important a 0.05mm tolerance is to us, the end users of patented cycling products he’s designed. He’s always been fast. Riding a hardtail for longer than many, he’d drop most riders on any track riding his stiff-as-a-board Sasquatch with near-slick rear Hookworm at 50psi.

Cannonball’s now taking his innate speed along with some new found fitness, plus a more suitable bike, and having a solid crack at privateering the 2017 Enduro World Series. He’s tallied up a lot of crashes but has also earned a 6th place in Rotorua’s Stage 3, 15th in Derby’s Stage 4 and a round PR of 32nd in Derby. After Aspen Snowmass, he’s the 6th highest ranked Australian. Flow caught up with him just after arriving in Whistler for his sixth round of this year’s EWS.

Flow: You kind of epitomise the whole dark horse thing – going from a weekend warrior to EWS racer – tell us about your journey? When did you decide to give it a crack?

Well, racing isn’t entirely new to me; I had done a fair bit of elite downhill racing ten years ago when I lived in Whistler for two seasons. Funnily enough I never actually owned a DH bike I always raced on a 6″ trail bike, I guess that was training for the enduro races of today. There was, however, one time my trail bike was out of action for the Canadian national champs at Sun Peaks and I borrowed a DH bike for my race run from my boss at the time, good mate and owner of Dunbar Cycles, Rob Venables. To my surprise, I jagged myself 8th place in elite along with some UCI points. Since those days I haven’t raced much as life and other priorities kind of got in the way. It was not until September last year on a Canada trip I randomly found myself tagging along with Chris Johnston and Dylan Wolsky to a BC Enduro race in Revelstoke. With poor preparation and only a few hours sleep, I managed to pull together a pretty decent result and had an absolute blast on the loose, steep and wet BC trails. That’s all it took to get the bug to race again and sign up for the EWS.

Flow: Please tell us the story of your friends chipping in for your airfares etc.

James: First off, WOW, these guys blew me away. Without me knowing, a group of fifty-odd friends and riders got together and as thanks for my trail advocacy work and excitement over my Rotorua and Derby results, chipped in to pay for my airfares, entries and accommodation for my Europe leg of the EWS. This allowed me to take on EWS Madeira and Ireland! I would never have asked my mates for money or for such a thing, so I honestly was taken back by their offer and totally overwhelmed. I feel so grateful to these wonderful friends; what legendary mates!

“Without me knowing, a group of fifty-odd friends and riders got together and as thanks for my trail advocacy work and excitement over my Rotorua and Derby results, chipped in to pay for my airfares, entries and accommodation”

Flow: What do you do when you’re not ripping trails?

James: Too much (laughs), but it’s all in the name of living the dream, that I’m very grateful for. My main job is being a full-time firefighter based in Sydney which is one of the best things I’ve pushed myself towards for so many reasons. I balance this on the side with being involved in a few product design projects for bike accessories, helping take ideas to market by liaising with engineers and factories. I also love getting involved in trail designing and building projects for a couple of Aussie companies. Somehow I also find time to ride my bike and fit in a day or two repairing bikes at my mate’s local bike repair shop.

Flow: What bike and gear do you ride, and why?

James: I’m really happy to be riding for JetBlack Products, a Sydney based company who distribute Pivot Cycles, Stans rims and many other cool products. My choice from the Pivot line up was the Pivot Switchblade set up as a 29er. It’s 150mm front and 135mm rear and as I’m not one for big travel bikes this suits me to a tee. This paired with some super grippy Maxxis tyres from Rick at Bikecorp has me pretty sorted for my bike. I’m also very fortunate to have been sponsored some rad clothing from Mandy and Mathieu from DHaRCO, another Sydney based company.

Flow: It’s been a decade since you first went to Whistler. How does Whistler compare to the other EWS rounds you’ve raced? Are you feeling confident?

James: It’s going to be ROWDY! Steep and tech, my favourite! I’m pumped about the course here; I’m feeling more excited about this round than any of the others. There are a few tight technical trails that I think I have a good chance to do well on, so if I can keep it smooth, consistent and rubber side down throughout the day I could be in for good chance to see a tidy overall result.

“Steep and tech, my favourite! I’m pumped about the course here; I’m feeling more excited about this round than any of the others.”

Flow: Why are you called Cannonball?

James: It came about from early days spent repairing bikes at the local bike shop in my late teens. We occasionally would take a long lunch to go cliff jumping into the harbour.  Turns, a mechanic at the time, nicknamed me Cannonball because I apparently had high-velocity rotations like a spinning cannon ball, let alone the splash…

Flow: What makes ice cream better?

James: (Laughs) You know me too well! Firstly, ice cream makes everything better, but what makes ice cream better is ice cream enhancer, aka Milo. Unfortunately, my ice cream and Milo intake over the last year has drastically gone down.

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Whistler’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts, in Fern Green.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

EWS Highlights Video: Round 6 Aspen

The Pro Women’s race saw Cecile Ravanel take a convincing win and cement her series lead, however, the men’s was the closest of the season so far with less than 9 seconds separating the podium. Sam Hill started strong by winning the first stage and maintained his form to secure his first EWS win, which sees him now ranked 1st overall with two rounds to go. Fellow Aussie, Jared Graves, also started strong, placing 2nd in stage one. He managed to finish in front of Hill in two stages including winning stage four, the longest of the race, however, Belgium’s Martin Maes squeezed into 2nd with a strong final stage seeing Graves round out the podium.

EWS: Round 6 Aspen Snowmass Results

Jared Graves speeds through the vegetation on stage 1. He got off to a solid start with a 2nd place but then suffered a couple of crashes

Round six of the Enduro World Series, the Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro presented by Shimano Aspen Snowmass, will go down as one of the closest fought races in EWS history.

Sam Hill on his way to the stage 1 win. He then lost time on stage 2 and finished day 1 in 2nd position.
Richie Rude railing!

After four stages and almost 70 km of trail, Jared Graves (Specialized Racing) led Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) by just 0:00.32, but in the end the race no one could hold off Hill as he claimed the last two stages to win the race. Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) fought back to take second place, with Graves finishing in third. Hill now leads the series rankings by 40 points, with Adrien Dailly (Lapierre) in second and Greg Callaghan (Cube Action Team) in third.

Jared Graves finds his form again and was in contention for the win all weekend but eventually ended up 3rd only 8 seconds off the win.
Martin Maes finished day 1 0.16 seconds behind Hill, and less than 9 seconds behind Richie Rude.

Speaking after the race, Sam said: “It was awesome, six amazing stages here in Colorado and I just had a good time and tried to stay as consistent as I could. I hadn’t raced an EWS here before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect and I wouldn’t have expected to win here. My goal now is to try and win this thing at the end of the year.”

In the women’s race Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) took the first stage of the race, but no one could stop Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro Team) who went on to win three stages and win the race by over 47 seconds. Casey Brown’s (Trek Factory Enduro Racing Team) strong performance over both days saw her clinch third place. Ravanel cements her lead in the overall rankings, whilst Winton moves up to second place and Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) moves back to third.

Isabeau Courderier started the day off with a win on stage 1.

Cecile said: “I liked the trails a lot better than last year, much steeper and more natural and I enjoyed being here. I hope to keep going like this for the rest of the year and take the overall series win.”

Cecile charged all weekend and took the win.

In the U21 men Killian Callaghan’s lead in the series rankings was bolstered by another win, with Duncan Nason of the USA in second and Max Leyson in third. In the U21 women it was Samantha Soranio who won every stage, Lia Westermann came second and Abigale Lawton third.

Karim Amour (BH-Miranda Racing Team) continued his winning streak to claim another win in Masters Men, Brian Lopes came second and Mike West third.

Team of the day was Rocky Mountain Urge bp, which leaves them second in the overall rankings behind Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team, with Canyon Factory Enduro Team in third.

Jerome Clementz finished just outside the top 10 and sits in 5th overall

The series returns in two weeks for round seven, the Crankworx Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized.

Pro Men:

1. Sam Hill (AUS): 46:04.34
2. Martin Maes: 46:08.23 (+0:03.89)
3. Jared Graves (AUS): 46:12.55 (+0:08.21)
4. Damien Oton: 46:34.94 (+0:30.60)
5. Jesse Melamed: 46:35.82 (+0:31.48 )
6. Adrien Dailly: 46:41.67 (+0:37.33)
7. Francois Bailly-Maitre: 46:48.69 (+0:44.35)
8. Remi Gauvin: 46:50.08 (+0:45.74)
9. Curtis Keene: 46:50.25 (+0:45.91)
10. Florian Nicolai: 46:52.59 (+0:48.25)

25. Josh Carlson (AUS)
63. James Hall (AUS)
67. David Maud (AUS)
70. Mark Frendo (AUS)
82. Ryan Corless (AUS)
90. Lucas Pitt (AUS)
94. Murray Stephens (AUS)
DNF. Chris Panozzo (AUS)
Less than 9 seconds separated the Aussies, Sam Hill and Jared Graves.

Pro Women:

1. Cecile Ravanel: 51:21.30
2. Isabeau Courdurier: 52:08.69 (+0:47.39)
3. Casey Brown: 52:11.31 (+0:50.01)
4. Anita Gehrig: 52:31.28 (+1:09.98 )
5. Katy Winton: 52:32.34 (+1:11.04)
6. Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau: 52:44.98 (+1:23.68 )
7. Noga Korem: 53:05.96 (+1:44.66)
8. Ines Thoma: 53:49.09 (+2:27.79)
9. Carolin Gehrig: 54:05.57 (+2:44.27)
10. Raewynn Morrison: 54:20.99 (+2:59.69)

26. Leonie Picton (AUS)
Series leader and round winner.

Full results from Round 6 can be found here.

EWS: Jérôme Clementz Masterplan EP2 – The Season Begins

Welcome back! After following Jérôme’s off season training, it’s time for racing now! Discover how Jérôme managed the first 4 rounds of the Enduro World Series, where the world-class level enduro riders are competing.

For Jérôme, adjusting his training depending on the race you’ve done, is essential, that is why you will discover how he is analysing his results and explains what he wants to change to be better at each event.

Then after an intense racing program, he wanted to enjoy some riding in the Alps as the ski resort opens in June: his buddies and he go to for a fun road trip in the Alps!

Last but not least, Jérôme gives his thought about wheels size and attends the “mini bike” race at Crankworx Les Gets!

Jerome races the EWS on his new Cannondale Jekyll. Flow has one on test now; see the First Look here!

EWS: Round 5 Video & Aussie Wrap Up

After a consistent season of top 5 finishes including a 2nd at Ireland’s Round 4, Australia’s Sam Hill came to Millau just 20 points behind number 1 ranked Greg Callaghan. Hill had yet another strong race, especially on day two. After a 5th place in Stage 6, the three-time downhill world champ was a favourite for the shortest stage of the race; however, a crash in a greasy left-hander saw him finish Stage 7 five seconds off the pace in 6th. He pulled it all together to take the win in Stage 8 though his two stages outside the top 20 saw local Frenchman, Adrien Dailly, win his second consecutive round and bunny hop Hill in the rankings to 1st overall.

Cecile Ravanel continued her domination in the Pro Women’s category by winning five of the nine stages, cementing her series lead made up of four round wins and a 2nd in Derby.

With a lot of fast Frenchies, 12 in the top 20 Pro Men, the next fastest Aussies were Josh Carlson in 63rd and Australian Enduro National Champ Chris Panozzo, 67th. Stage 1 saw Jared Graves slam his left arm into a rock and unable to continue to Stage 2. Despite the DNF, he’s ranked 14th overall and will be back for Round 6.

“I tucked my front end and sent the left side of my body into slab rock. Resulting in a loss of feeling in my left arm… this will only keep me off my bike for a few days and you better believe I’ll be hitting the next EWS in Aspen in full form and motivation higher than ever!” – Jared Graves, Specialized Racing Team

The UK’s Bex Baraona had a tough time in the stage 8 rock garden, this wasn’t enough to prevent her from finishing 8th overall.

With three rounds to go, there are still a lot of possible shifts in the overall rankings. Current Australian Downhill National Champ, Jack Moir, has only raced the first two EWS rounds due to his Downhill World Cup focus, but his top 10 results from Rotorua and Derby see him sitting in 27th. Panozzo’s three rounds see him in 47th and Carlson, who finished 10th in the 2016 EWS, is now a father of two and thus missed the first two rounds and is in 50th overall. World Cup downhiller Connor Fearon’s 20th in Rotorua has him 62nd and Flow favourite, James Hall, is in 65th after a 32nd in Derby and a few other respectable finishes.

Adrien Dailly was on the charge from the start winning the first stage and finishing the round in 1st overall

After only racing the first two rounds, Shelly Flood is the top-ranked Aussie woman in 28th overall and Philippa Norton is close in 33rd. Rowena Fry’s top 10 in Derby sees her in 37th.

The EWS categorises Juniors as Under 21, and as always there are some Aussies to keep an eye on. Blake Pearce has only raced Round 2 in Derby, but his 2nd place there has him rounding out the top 20 overall. Mt Beauty’s Ben McIlroy took the win ahead of Pearce in Derby and his 12th in Rotorua sees him in an impressive 12th overall. As Panozzo’s protege and reigning Enduro Junior National Champion, McIlroy is one to watch. Literally, you can watch him shred Thredbo’s All Mountain trail here.

The taste of home soil victory

Round 6 of the EWS is on the last weekend of July, in Aspen Snowmass, USA.

Video: EWS 8, Stop the Clocks. Finale Ligure Highlights, Italy

Through eight rounds in 2016 the Enduro World Series has taken riders on an epic journey across the globe. With each round a journey within itself, this final round was one of so many stories; retiring legends, new champions, first time winners.29445461333_bff0ea2b5b_h 29778116460_1ed5f477d3_h 29444642374_3fb3299747_h 29445444973_95dce0c139_h 29989040201_0a8c9e1bdc_h 29445459743_8ac19410ce_h29445452913_4699495b12_h 29445451233_b32483855e_h 29444639774_9640f73fec_h

Finale Ligure, a place that has provided so many memorable moments, once again served up a tasty delight to end the season.

Enduro World Series – The 2015 Season Review

In it’s third year, the Enduro World Series continues to progress rapidly. 2015 was a rollercoaster of a journey.

Looking back over the season, Richard Cunynghame guides you through the key moments. With injury and illness affecting potential champions and rising stars eager to jump into the limelight, it was clear from the start that drama was on the cards across the eight diverse venues.
2015 Race Dates

Round 1 – GIANT Toa Enduro, Crankworx Rotorua, New Zealand – March 28
Round 2 – Chain Reaction Cycles Emerald Enduro, County Wicklow, Ireland – May24
Round 3 – Cannondale Alpine Bikes World Enduro, Tweed Valley, Scotland – May 30/31
Round 4 – Samoens Enduro World Series driven by Urge Bike Products, France – July 18/19
Round 5 – Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro presented by Shimano, Crested Butte, USA – July 31/ August 1/2
Round 6 – SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, Crankworx Whistler, Canada – August 9
Round 7 – Specialized Opel Enduro Festival Zona Zero, Zona Zero Ainsa Sobrabe, Spain – September 25-27
Round 8 – Superenduro powered by SRAM, Finale Ligure, Italy – October 3/4

On Track With Curtis Keene | No One Rides For Free- S2E9

After 8 months, 8 races and mind boggling 27,314 meters of descent, our story ends here in Finale Ligure, Italy.


The last stop of the Enduro World Series is the place where the season long Championship will be decided; and the final time in the season the racer’s have to leave their mark on the History books.

For some, this has been an epic season to remember, for others it will be a year to leave as far behind as possible, but whether the toll was paid in effort or in injury, the 2015 EWS season proved to every racer that no one rides for free.

On Track With Curtis Keene – The Time Has Come – S2E8

A rider can control their training, they can control their bike set-up – but try as they might, a racer cannot control the clock. Race # 8 of the Enduro World Series in Zona Zero, Spain once again reminds us of how competitive the sport of mountain bike Enduro has become.


With minuscule amounts of time separating the riders from either a podium position or being an “also-ran”, the racers are forced to put aside the weather, the crashes and the abuse of their machines to push as hard as they can to make the clock stop.

On Track With Curtis Keene – Almost Doesn’t Count – S2E7

Every Race is a story. The transfers, the perfect lines, the mechanicals and the crashes are a part of every racer’s tale.

In this episode of On Track with Curtis Keene we explore 3 different stories from what is consistently one of the toughest (and paradoxically most liked) races in the Enduro World Series: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada.

Follow Curtis as he struggles with injury to make the starting line. We track BC transplant Josh Carlson as he puts together a dream run of stages at his “home race” and we follow young gun Richie Rude who has apparently decided that concepts of age and experience don’t actually count for anything at all.

 

Justin Leov – Staying ahead in the Enduro World Series

Preparations for Samoëns couldn’t really have gone much better for me. I’ve had plenty of good riding in Finale both on and off road and temperatures have been in the mid to high 30’s every day so it’s been great for getting used to the heat.

EWSSMNS15_leov_By AleDiLullo-9694Family life has also been great with Tory and Luca settled into our apartment and getting into the Italian way of life. We have had the opportunity to experience a Sagra in the village and plenty of local experiences of both food and culture.

So leaving for France I was in a good head space and excited to be back into the Alps on the longer more demanding courses. These are typically my favourite courses of the series and my preferred racing format for Enduro.

The weather was looking good once we arrived but forecasts suggested we could be in for a thunder storm or two over the weekend. From previous time spent in the Alps I’ve experienced this all too well and knew what to expect. It was going to be important to have both dry and wet weather eyewear ready to go at all times. I’ve been caught out without the right eyewear before and it can be a costly mistake so I had my Roll Offs, ID2 goggles with the dual lens to handle the cold or hot conditions and my Evil Eyes Evos all setup ready on standby for what ever was going to be thrown at us.

EWSSMNS15_leov_By AleDiLullo-4699

Being able to walk only one stage of the course this year was a new aspect to this style of racing for me. The stage we walked would be raced without a practice so again a new format which would be an interesting challenge.

I felt a bit rushed actually when race day one came around. I’d spent the day before running about the town getting organised and the day seemed to disappear quicker than expected. Actually finding stage 3 to walk took longer than planned and then hopping into bed knowing I needed to be at the pits at 7:15am was all a bit rush rush rush. I was running a million miles an hour in my head and sleep wasn’t coming, one of those nights you wished to have an on/off switch.

EWSSMNS15_leov_By AleDiLullo-1008

Up early for the first day of racing and on the lift for a practice run on stage one. This would be a physical and demanding course, but I was excited as it would be a tough one on the body and serious time could be made. A totally dry course which had rocks, roots, fast and slow sections a real mix. Looking at the sky it was black and temperatures just started to drop…I knew what was coming!

Yet before I left the pits for race stage 1 the rain started and as we were half way up the gondola ride the lift was shut down as thunder and lightning began. Waiting in the lift when you see that kind of activity around is always a bit of a nervous time. They won’t run the lift until the storm clears and you could be waiting a long time. We were lucky this time and within 10 minutes we were away again and the sky looked like the storm would be passing soon and fine weather would follow. A bit of a course delay would also hold up things so to get everyone through the day, one stage was cut from the race.

Dropping into stage one I started on the attack. The roots in the dry were slippery and having not practiced in the wet there were some bits you needed to hold on for. I felt really good and my run was going to plan when I came to a wooden bridge which prior to an uphill section. As soon as my wheels touched the bridge I knew I was going to crash and I hit the ground hard. My saddle was twisted and I had to knock that back straight before taking off again. Due to this bring before an uphill section I had no speed and was forced to run it. Now the heart rate was on red line and I needed to be fast and clean for the rest of the run. Coming out of the woods for an open section of grass there was a helicopter picking up the injured rider that had been our course hold. It was extremely windy and the course tape and grass was blowing everywhere. Slightly distracted for a second wondering what was happening I misjudged the next corner and could see I was either going to clip the marker pole or go through the tape. Aiming for the pole I hoped to shoulder it and carry on but it jammed between my forks and bars and I was thrown over the handle bars and onto the ground. Getting up I noticed my stem and bars were twisted so I kicked the front wheel to try straighten it out. Nothing with the first two kicks, and the third buckled my front wheel so I jumped on and tried to finish the run with it twisted. I was gutted, it was almost impossible to ride and I was a lot further from the finish than I thought. I didn’t hear a rider catching me coming into the finish but Jerome had caught me and he was third off so that meant I had lost a minute!!!

EWSSMNS15_leov_By AleDiLullo-0686

Riding back to the pits I was totally gutted, my weekend had gone from hero to zero on the first stage! I needed to ride fast in every stage now and there was no chance to crash again, and the body was feeling the effects of the tumbles. I pressed the reset button and went up for a practice on stage 2. This was a shorter more DH style stage, I really liked the dropping turns and it was a lot of fun to ride. You needed big brakes and clear vision on this one! With the sun now out again the conditions were also improving and it would be less slippery for the race so things were looking up!

The heat had returned for stage 2 race. On the line it would have been around 30 degrees and I was keen to push on for a fast run. Things went to plan and crossing the line I had put in a solid stage to finish 4th. This was a much better effort this time but still some work to do.

Now onto stage 3 this was a 40min ride from the pits with no lift access to the start; this was the stage we walked yesterday. To be honest it was a stage I knew would be my weakest link for the weekend, it had some fun sections but I knew it wouldn’t be a race winning stage for me. Being 1.9km in length I planned to ride it smooth and not let a mistake cost me with any crashes.

Dropping in things were going well but I was braking too much and fighting the bike in sections. Hitting my rear derailleur on a tight switchback corner didn’t help either and now I had only had the biggest gear to deal with. Entering the main rocky area I braked quickly as there was someone on course walking up! With everyone yelling at her I actually thought she was trying to stop me as a rider has fallen. Not the case, she didn’t know I was on course and soon jumped off. I finished out the run disappointed in my stage and losing another 11 seconds. What a day!!!

Going into day two I was sitting 17th overall and I had the series lead slipping from my grasp. My goal now was to attack and try get some positions back. If I could get closer to the top ten then maybe I could keep the series lead and that was my principle motivation for day two.

EWSSMNS15_leov_By AleDiLullo-8944

Stage 4 was a longer stage, a good mix again of everything and very freshly built. It would be a stage to push on but also one to respect as the tight switch back corners would be hard to ride on the limit without a moment or two. I set off smooth and made sure to be slow enough for the danger bits. One small misjudgment and I couldn’t slow the bike down enough to make a corner….not crashing but I went through the tape. I pulled the bike back on course and didn’t lose a lot of time. The rocks were coming out of the corners and the blown out lines were hard to push on without risking a lot. Another corner caught me out and this time my front wheel pushed and down I went. I was up super fast and able to finish the run without any more problems. I was able to still put in a top ten finish for the stage so with one more to go I needed to keep up the pace but be on two wheels!!

Stage 5 was a middle length stage and I liked the style a lot. Fast, some great rocky sections and a lot going on. I hit my lines all the way down and put in a good effort to be clean. Another top ten finish but not what I had hoped. I’d certainly fought some battles this weekend and came out second best a few times so to see I had at least pulled myself back to 12th overall was something positive to take away. Richie Rude put in an impressive ride to take his first overall victory so I was stoked for him, and I knew he would be getting closer to me in the series points. A quick math calculation would reveal I had managed to keep the series lead by 40 points so that was another positive for me to take away.

MJW_7065.CR2

Heading to Colorado it’s going to be some exciting weeks of racing coming up. France you have been a tough one to me!!

Enduro Style Check: So Sideways in Rotorua

Stage one in the enduro was on a new trail in the Whakawerawera Forest, called Kataore. The locals call it ‘Cutties’, the unpredictable traction and loose off-camber nature of the track is seriously intense to ride. You need to race it, don’t try and just ‘ride’ down or it will throw you off your bike and into the dirt.

We checked out Kataore during the practice session, and saw rider after rider hit the deck attempting to get through through sections of trail riddled with slippery roots and steep turns at speed. So, naturally we bolted up to one of the wildest corners when it came to race day, and caught a handful of the final elite men trying their luck at making it through rubber side down.

Interpreted many ways, the riders approached the corner with varying technique, and outcomes. Here is how it unfolded.

EWS Style Check 66
Richie Rude.
EWS Style Check 61
Jamie Nicoll.
EWS Style Check 60
Greg Callaghan.
EWS Style Check 55
Bryan Regnier.
EWS Style Check 50
Remy Absalon.
EWS Style Check 48
Cedric Gracia.
EWS Style Check 41
Alexandre Cure.
EWS Style Check 36
Curtis Keene.
EWS Style Check 33
Martin Maes.
EWS Style Check 30
Yoann Barelli.
EWS Style Check 28
Francois Bailly-Maitre.
EWS Style Check 22
Joe Barnes.
EWS Style Check 18
Florian Nicolai.
EWS Style Check 15
Nico Lau.
EWS Style Check 11
Justin Leov.
EWS Style Check 4 (1)
Damien Oton.

Crankworx – Enduro World Series, The Season Finally Begins

The day that many were waiting for, the Enduro. In the Crankworx calendar was a particularly large event, the first round of the highly anticipated Enduro World Series.

The first round of any series brings a buzz of excitement with everything new again, and this case with the whole EWS show still in its relative infancy all eyes were turned on Rotorua for the season opener. And what happened up in the forests of the famous mountain biking town in New Zealand will leave a legacy, and a reputation for one of the most demanding and exciting races we’ve seen yet.

Seven stages, with an immensely wide variety of terrain that served up a unique challenge in each. The liaison stages were long, and the riders were certainly pushed in all aspects of their ability, in true enduro fashion.

It was a French affiar at the pointy end of the pro men and women’s field with a closely fought battle. Jerome Clemetz, and Anne Caroline Chausson taking the top steps.

The spectators were loud, and the forest was howling with mad fans baying for blood and to catch a glimpse of the big internationals slaying their trails. It’s a real spectacle to spectate in an EWS race, and the whole concept is exciting to watch unfold. With a new appreciation for how tough and crazy fast the top riders are, we eagerly await round two in Ireland, 8 weeks time.

Check out the official Enduro World Series site for the course preview, and full results.

Pro Men
1- Jérôme Clémentz
2- Fabien Barel
3- Wyn Masters 
4- Justin Leov
5- Florian Nicolai
6- Nico Vouilloz
7- Sam Blenkinsop
8- Matt Walker

Pro Women
1- Anne Caroline Chausson
2- Tracy Moseley
3- Cécile Ravanel
4- Aneeke Beerten
5- Megghie Bichard
6- Ines Thoma
7- Rosara Joseph

The mad Frenchman, Cedric Gracia. Tunes cranking in his ears, and clearly loving it.
The mad Frenchman, Cedric Gracia. Tunes cranking in his ears, and clearly loving it as he heads off for a bloody big day at work.
A magnificent starting stage, at the mighty Pohutu Geyser. The largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere.
A magnificent starting stage, at the mighty Pohutu Geyser. The largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere.
Sam Hill, mixing it up with the enduro crowd.
Sam Hill, mixing it up with the enduro crowd. He would then go on to win stage 7, which was predominantly the same track as the downhill race a day earlier.
Out of the steam, and into the fire.
Out of the steam, and into the fire.
Sydney's Gen McKew, not alone feeling anxious in the start gate.
Sydney’s Gen McKew, not alone feeling anxious in the start gate.
Anne Caro means business, game face on.
Anne Caro means business, game face on. Little did she know that later that afternoon, she’d be on the top step.
The Pōwhiri ceremonial welcome will chill your bones, or send you running.
The Pōwhiri ceremonial welcome will chill your bones, or send you running.
Josh Carlson keen to get the first round of the series done safe and sound, and build from here, all year.
Josh Carlson keen to get the first round of the series done safe and sound, and build from here, all year.
A calm and collected Nico, when is he not?
A calm and collected Nico, when is he not?
Sounds like a train coming, Dan Atherton was breathing hard, at max effort in the sprints.
Sounds like a steam rain coming, Dan Atherton was breathing hard, at max effort in the sprints.
Sam Blenkinsop, third place in the downhill only a day earlier, takes seventh in the enduro.
Sam Blenkinsop, third place in the downhill only a day earlier, takes seventh in the enduro.
Wyn on a roll! Is this his new thing? Killing it.
Wyn on a roll! Is this his new thing? Killing it with a third place amongst VERY fierce company.
Rosarah Joseph keeping it level, and cleaning the steep trails easily.
Rosara Joseph keeping it level, and cleaning the steep trails easily.
Peak hour traffic on the steepest part of stage one.
Peak hour traffic on the steepest part of stage one.
Richie Rude, needing a lighter touch to get through this one.
Richie Rude, needing a lighter touch to get through this one.
How Damien Oton managed to pull this off, we won't ever understand. Knee draggin!? Shit.
How Damien Oton managed to pull this off, we won’t ever understand. Knee draggin!? Shit.
Joe Barnes swinging off the back with his trademark committed style.
Joe Barnes swinging off the back with his trademark committed style.
Help!
Help!
Knee dragging, that's more wild than foot dragging.
Knee dragging, that’s more wild than foot dragging.
Crankworx Day 4 LEOV
Justin Leov, this guy is our hero! Winning stage two, and keeping it consistent to take fourth overall. He was looking so solid on course, and his nice white jersey kept that way all day long.
The liaison stages were long in distance, but not in time. It was a tough one to get around to all the stages.
The liaison stages were long in distance, but not in time. It was a tough one to get around to all the stages.
Locals getting into it, in their likeable and cheeky manner.
Locals getting into it, in their likeable and cheeky manner.
Gone. But not out.
Gone. But not out.
Cecile Ravanel, overall winner was so composed in her riding. Not one to look like she was going too fast, just consistent and it paid off.
Cecile Ravanel, overall third place winner was so composed in her riding all day. Not one to look like she was going too fast, just consistent and it paid off.
Anne Caro, more lines than any in her field.
Anne Caro, taking tougher more lines than any in her field.
Barel, on a mission.
Barel, on a mission.
Lighter and agile than anyone out there, Jerome Clementz early on in the day.
Lighter and more agile than anyone else out there, Jerome Clementz early on. Winning three out of the seven stages, Jerome was on a flyer all day.
Iago Garay, first elite male down the hill. The Spaniard has a real downhillers style on the bike.
Iago Garay, first elite male down the hill. The Spaniard has a real downhiller style on the bike.
Curtis Keene going down, so close.
Curtis Keene going down, so close.
Nico Voullioz, with his inhuman agility through switchback turns.
Nico Voullioz, with his alien-like agility through switchback turns. Sixth on the day for the seasoned guru.
Josh Carlson admitted to be riding well within his limits this weekend, with the whole year unscathed a priority for him.
Josh Carlson admitted to be riding well within his limits this weekend, with the whole year unscathed a priority for him.
The popular Kiwi shredder, Raewyn Morrison, blending cross country strength, local knowledge, with killer enduro performance.
The popular Kiwi shredder, Raewyn Morrison, blending cross country strength, local knowledge, with killer enduro performance. 11th on the day for her with a super-consistent ride.
Jerome on the hunt through the Billy T fast sections.
Jerome on the hunt through the Billy T fast sections.
No time to chill, Oton, not chilling.
No time to chill, Oton, not chilling.
Remy Absalon, never on the brakes for long.
Remy Absalon, never on the brakes for long.
Gracia, boosting over anything in his path. He doesn't mind spending a fair bit of air over trails that he doesn't know that well.
Gracia, popping over anything in his path. He doesn’t mind spending a fair bit of time in the air over trails that he wouldn’t exactly know that well.
Leov rolling on the 29" wheels, and Shimano XTR Di2.
Leov rolling on the 29″ wheels, and Shimano XTR Di2.
The speed that Rosarah Joseph came through this section was frightening.
The pace that Rosara came through here was kinda frightening. On her way to a seventh place finish overall.
Cecile Ravanel, boosting doubles, slamming turns like a downhiller.
Cecile Ravanel, boosting doubles, slamming turns like a downhiller.
Josh Carlson, killing it on the downhill stage, #6.
Josh Carlson, killing it on the downhill stage, #6.
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Cedric avoiding the roots.
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You can hear Fabien coming, his focussed breathing technique is loud, but obviously effective!
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Nico, so light and easy.
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Pretty sure Curtis Keene hit this section as hard as the downhillers that this trail would normally see.

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Anne Caro riding the DH section of the course so hard, it's kinda freaky to watch.
Anne Caro riding the DH section of the course so hard, it’s kinda freaky to watch.
Jerome, home stretch to the overall win.
Jerome, home stretch to the overall win.
Martin Maes, probably wasn't planning on jumping this section, but carryint the speed he had just made stayin on the ground too hard. Boost!
Martin Maes, probably wasn’t planning on jumping this section, but carrying the speed he had just made stayin on the ground too hard. Boost!
Last man down, Damien Oton. The way he jumps on the gas out of turns is astonishing. So much confidence.
Last man down, Damien Oton. The way he jumps on the gas out of turns is astonishing. So much confidence.

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Done! Whilst our coverage featured predominantly the elite field (due to the media arrangement at Crankworx) there was a large field of pinned amateurs too, enduro is a bloody big undertaking to finish, and a World Series one is the top of them all.
Done! Whilst our coverage featured predominantly the elite field (due to the media arrangement at Crankworx) there was a large field of pinned amateurs too, enduro is a bloody big undertaking to finish, and a World Series one is the top of them all.

 

Record Sell Out and Stacked Registration for Giant Toa Enduro

Holy Guacamole that was fast!

As was predicted, it was only a matter of minutes before the four hundred ametuer places for the first round of the EWS sold out- three to be exact. Read below for the official word, and we’ll see you in March.

Wondering what trails they’re going to use in the race? Probably a few of these!

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/10-video-special-rotoruas-top-ten-trails/


The Giant Toa Enduro is shaping up to be a fascinating race with a field of competitors from all mountain biking race disciplines set to take on the course at Crankworx Rotorua.

Selling out in under three minutes, the event secured a new Enduro World Series (EWS) registration record yesterday, with a rich field of New Zealanders and internationally-based amateurs set to join the professional riders for race day this March.

All but one of the top 20-ranked men and women from the 2014 EWS season are set to ride, and a number of professional downhill racers have registered, as well.

“This is probably one of the most interesting, stacked mountain biking races with top enduro, cross country and downhill athletes all entered in this one event,” says Neil Gellatly, Giant Toa Enduro race director.

The race roster includes World Downhill Champions Sam Hill, Steve Peat, and Greg Minnaar, who will ride alongside several top downhillers from New Zealand−Sam Blenkinsop, Brook MacDonald, Cam Cole and Matt Walker.

Of the 400 racers registered, 40 per cent are from New Zealand, with 17 other nations represented, including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden and, for the first time in an EWS event, Tahiti.

Race registration from New Zealand shows equal interest from all regions, with riders from Auckland (10%), Christchurch (10%), Dunedin (5%), Queenstown (10%), Nelson (10%) and Wellington (15%). Rotorua has, nonetheless, secured the most representation with 20 riders on the list.

Sponsored by Giant Bicycles, the Toa Enduro Rotorua marks the opening race for the EWS and will be one of five competitive events at the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua.

For those who didn’t make the race cutoff, and true enduro fans, Crankworx will once again broadcast the event live and names are being accepted on a waitlist at www.enduroworldseries.com/waitlist/R1. To date, Crankworx has offered the only live enduro coverage, broadcasting its Whistler event annually.

“We hope to take our live race coverage to new levels this year,” says Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx Word Tour Manager.

Tune into Crankworx.com at 7 a.m. NZDT on Saturday, March 28 to watch how it all unfolds.

Record Number Of Teams For EWS 2015

It’s not just the Australian Team DERT joining the EWS ranks this year, a record number of professional teams will be fighting it out for spots on the podium. Read on for the official press release.


The countdown to the 2015 Enduro World Series is gathering pace – and this year a record number of teams will be fighting it out for the title.

Twenty nine official teams have been selected to compete for the coveted team world title – up from 24 last year. With new teams joining the series and some big changes to their rosters, the upcoming series looks set to be the most exciting to date.

For the first time in 2015 there will also be the chance to get up close and personal with our Gold Supporter Teams – as we bring you a series of exclusive behind the scenes films. Dropping throughout the year, these edits will offer a rare insight into some of the sport’s biggest teams including GT Factory, Specialized Racing, Canyon Factory Enduro Team, Cube Action Team and Santa Cruz. The films will form part of a completely new style of coverage for enduro this year– details of which will be released very soon.

Another new addition this season will be the introduction of an Under 21 age category in both the men’s and women’s competition, which will replace the junior men category. This new category is designed to highlight the incredible talent that is emerging in the 17-20 age group and give them a platform to showcase and develop their skills over a four year period, rather than the traditional two. It’s hoped that by creating an Under 21 category for young women, more girls may be encouraged to try their hand at racing enduro. Full details of the new category will be included in the updated 2015 Rulebook, which will be available from January 19th.

With less than two months until the first race, entries open for Crankworx Rotorua on January 22nd, followed by a rolling entry system for the rest of the events. Full details available on www.enduroworldseries.com.

Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “This year is going to be amazing – more events featuring more teams means even more exciting racing. We’re blown away by the level of support we’re received from the industry and I’d like to thank all the teams who have committed to the series this year.

“The addition of the U21 category is going to throw the spotlight on to the next generation of racers and hopefully encourage more to try enduro. And the new way we plan to film and cover the races is going to really shake things up – roll on New Zealand!”

Enduro World Series 2015 Official Teams (renewed); BMC Factory Trailcrew, Cannondale Overmountain Team, Canyon Factory Enduro Team, Cube Action Team, Devinci/Alltricks.com Enduro Racing Team, Giant Factory Off-Road Team, GT Factory, Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team, Lapierre Gravity Enduro, MS Mondraker Team, Polygon UR, Rocky Mountain Urge BP Rally Team, Santa Cruz, Scott SR Suntour Enduro Team, Specialized Racing, Trek Factory Racing Enduro Team, Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Racing Team, Yeti Belgium – Urge BP Enduro Team

New Teams for 2015; Chain Reaction Cycles/PayPal, Commencal Vallnord Enduro, Dert Down Under Enduro Race Team, Endura Bergamont Factory Team, Hope Factory Racing, Radon Factory Racing, SB Gravity GT, Team 23 Degrees/Trek, Lac Blanc-Scott.

On Track With Curtis Keene – Ride it Like You Stole it – Ep 9

They called it “Crankzilla”: the longest, toughest, hottest and some would say most technically demanding race of the Enduro World Series this season. 60 KM of riding, 2500 Meters of elevation gain and more than 7 hours of riding through five stages that would test amateurs and Pros both physically and technically.
After a sea on of close calls and almosts, Curtis is finally able to put it all together and have the right race on the right day.

Watch Curtis as he take one step further his overall season goal of making the top 10 during this 6th stop of the Enduro World Series.

Racing: Jared Graves wins 2014 World Enduro Series Overall

Preview

Race Day 1

Race Day 2

It was the seventh and final leg of the Enduro World Series last weekend in Finale Ligure, Italy.
From Chile at the opening round to Italy for the final, the 2014 Enduro World Series has taken riders from high altitudes to the depths of exhaustion.
Jared Graves and Tracy Moseley came into this event as the series leaders and it all came down to the final run of the final day of racing. Both could lose it but both looked more than capable of winning it.
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Yoann Barelli.

The only thing left to say is that this truly has been one hell of a compelling season of racing…..

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Josh Carlson.
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Tracey Moseley.
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Fabien Barel.
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Yoann Birelli.

Big Alpine Enduro at the Trans-Savoie

Another year, another amazing event. Over 100 racers of all ages, from world and national champions through to weekend warriors, completed the gruelling Trans-Savoie all-mountain adventure race this August and lived to tell the tale. The statistics speak for themselves: 25,000m of descending over six days, up to eight hours of timed enduro stages for the racers at the back of the field, all wrapped into a spectacular, epic journey across the stunning Alpine Savoie region in France. The event couldn’t happen without an amazing crew of staff and volunteers, and this year over 35 people worked tirelessly to keep the racers safe and comfortable.

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The Trans-Savoie truly levels-the-playing-field between the technically brilliant, the athletically fit, and the mindful strategist, and, unsurprisingly, a seasoned, world-class EWS racer took the victory. New Zealand rider, Jamie Nicoll, managed to safely pilot his Polygon machine to a rapid winning time just shy of four hours overall, gaining in strength and speed as the week wore on. Scottish pinner, Gary Forrest (WTB), ended up 8 minutes further back with countryman, Nash Masson (Bothy Bikes), riding into an excellent third place as a senior category rider. In the women’s competition Lisa Curry (Gallatin Alpine Sports) stormed the field in a time just under 5 and a half hours, with Rachel Gurney (Flare/Enduro MTB) and Alice Flower behind. Lisa described her Trans-Savoie experience as simply, “By far one of the greatest things I’ve ever done”.

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Highlights of the week, aside from the unbelievable trails themselves, included former DH World Champion, Steve Peat, throwing down some awesome stage times on the first two days and the sheer joy of the entire field at the some of the scenery and trails – witnessed at the finish of stages like ‘Loam Ranger’ at the end of Day Four in Meribel. 

We’ll be back for more in 2015, but, for now, enjoy our final recap video of this year’s epic event with tons of unseen footage and action from the awesome Savoie singletrack.

Full results here:

http://www.sportident.co.uk/results/2014/Trans-Savoie/

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Video: Cedric Gracia is Back With Season Two Of Through My Eyes

THROUGH MY EYES is back for season 2 , follow Cedric Gracia AKA CG/Dirty Sanchez, around the world for some enduro riding, EWS racing, and natural trouble who come with it!
For the first episode, we are at CG’s house in Vallnord, Andorra where he is riding is new Nomad from Santa Cruz on secret dusty trails.

From the woods to the top of the mountain you will enjoy what Vallnord has to offer .

Racing: Enduro World Series Culminates With Epic Racing And Season-Ending Celebrations

Any concern that the seventh and final round of the Enduro World Series would be anti-climactic was put to rest this weekend with a save-the-best-to-last race hosted by Superenduro at Finale Ligure, Italy.

The overall Series winners, Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain), Tracy Moseley (TREK Factory Racing) and Junior Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing), already secure after Val d’Isere August 24-25, refused to cruise to the final podium of the year, instead engaging in dramatic stage-by-stage battles to each win the final race as well as their Overall titles.

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Said Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The riders who could have taken it the easiest this weekend put on the best races ever. It turned out to be an amazing end to the season.”

An historic field of 600 racers from 26 nations took part in the 45km 5 stage race that made the most of the Ligurian Coast’s incredible terrain, from fast flowing woodland trails to technical rocky coastal paths.

The talent pool was deep with pro riders and world champions from all disciplines, ending their seasons on a celebratory note, with top downhillers like Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland electing to finish their competitive year racing their bikes to the beach, 2013 World XC Champion Nino Schurter sharing a starting gate with Red Bull Rampage rider Brendan Fairclough, and Olympic XC racer Marco Aurelio Fontana making his enduro debut. Former 4X World Champion Jared Graves (Yeti Fox) pushed Clementz to the last, and 2013 TransProvence winner Nicolas Lau showed himself a force to be reckoned with, posting times that would have clinched him the win were it not for a one minute time penalty.

The racing culminated in the presentation to Clementz and Moseley of hand-crafted trophies, designed by enduro athlete Anka Martin and her photographer husband Sven, and brought to life by Scottish artisan Simon Muir. Designed from exotic hardwoods to represent the Enduro World Series logo, the trophies have eight tiny compartments each containing a relic from one of the race destinations: soil from Punta Ala, Italy, alpine rock from Val d’Allos, France a bottle of Genepe from Les 2 Alpes, France, bark and aspen leaves from Winter Park, Colorado, old man’s beard moss from Whistler, BC, white organic linen from Val d’Isere, France to symbolize the white-out conditions, and fresh hazelnuts sand from the beach of Finale Ligure. A final compartment remains as an empty invitation for the two champions to add a personal memento from their year of racing.

Said Ball of the first year for the Enduro World Series, “It has exceeded anything I could have dreamed off. It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, and we have a huge amount of input from the riders and teams as we move forward. We’ve learned a lot. But this final race and the amazing vibe here this weekend has absolutely motivated us to push on.”

Full results can be found here: EWS7_Final Results

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Racing: Final Round Of Enduro World Series Touches Down In Finale Ligure, Italy

For the world’s best and most passionate mountain bikers, all roads lead to Finale Ligure on the Italian Riviera this weekend, for the final round of the Enduro World Series.

An historic field of 600 racers from 26 nations will take to the trails of the Ligurian Coast for two days of racing to crown the first Enduro World Series Champions.

The talent pool is deep with pro riders and world champions from all disciplines, with a starting list boasting the likes of Jerome Clementz, Tracy Moseley, Jared Graves, Fabien Barel, Cedric Gracia, Anne Caroline Chausson, Martin Maes, Dan Atherton, Tanja Zakelj, Brendan Fairclough, Steve Peat, Josh Bryceland, and Justin Leov, in addition to top XC racers Marco Aurelio Fontana and Nino Schurter making their Enduro World Series debut. The winner of the 2013 Superenduro circuit, currently a battle between Manuel Ducci and Davide Sottocornola, will also be decided this weekend.

The 6 stage course, which was announced Wednesday October 16, will feature 2300m in climbing and descending over approximately 60km, incorporating every type of terrain in the region, from fast flowing woodland trails to technical rocky coastal paths.

The two day Superenduro powered by SRAM event caps off an epic season for global enduro mountain biking that began just 5 months ago in Punta Ala, Italy, and travelled to Val d’Allos and Crankworx Les 2 Alpes in France, Colorado’s Winter Park, Crankworx Whistler, and Val d’Isere.

As Superenduro co-founder and host, Enrico Guala says, this final round takes place less than a year after the Enduro World Series was created, conceived to unite the world’s enduro mountain bike community. “360 days later, we are hosting the most incredible group of mountain bikers coming from all disciplines and backgrounds for the most exciting event the sport has witnessed,” says Guala.

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Pro Rider Diary: Jared Graves – Enduro World Series #6

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Val d’Isere – France

Mentally, Round 6 was one of the toughest weekends of my life. Since racing the Val d’Isere World Cup downhill here last year, I have been looking forward to coming back. The town of Val d’Isere is so cool and the surrounding mountains provide beautiful views; the kind that make you stop and feel lucky to be where you are.

Tuesday – Arrived in Geneva after a long flight from Colorado. And by long, I mean hugely stressful. I don’t recommend going to Europe from the US, with stopovers in Canada. I had a 1.5-hour layover in Toronto before my flight to Geneva. In that time, I had to collect my bags (some of which didn’t make the flight leaving Denver…including my bikes), clear customs, re-check my bags, change terminals, and go back through security. Dripping with sweat and running everywhere through terminals, I barely made my flight. I finally landed in Geneva and had to complete more paperwork in order to have my bikes delivered to me in Val d’Isere after they arrived. Our good friend and fellow Yeti Freak, Albert “The Albatross” Callis would be my team help for the weekend. He picked me up at the airport and we were on our way. We arrived late Tuesday, got settled in, and pretty much went straight to bed.

Wednesday – Albert had his bike here, which was a similar to mine. So, I was able to go for a bit of a ride today and spin the legs. I can’t remember the last time I tried to ride a bike with the brakes set the opposite from how I run them, it’s such a dramatic change. I found some easy single track along a river to spin along and I was so scared every time I got on the brakes…not a confident feeling at all! Not much else today and I was just trying to stay awake with the time change; getting over jetlag was the main priority for the first couple days. I’m also sure I’ve racked up about a $250 phone bill today trying to get through to the airport and delivery company as to the whereabouts of my still undelivered bikes. Everything was automated voice messages (in French nonetheless). Where is a real person to speak to?!?!

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Thursday – REALLY hoping my bike shows up today. I have some changes that still need to be made to get it race ready and I’m getting stressed! A couple small training sessions today to get the body ready for racing with some plyometrics and a few intervals, but I decided to stick to the road to avoid having to deal with Albert’s backwards brakes…haha! My bike was supposed to be delivered this afternoon, but it never came. I’m starting to border on RAGE! At about 9pm, I was starting to get ready for bed, when a delivery guy texted saying he was here with my bike…yewwwwwwww! So happy, I could now go to bed stress free and hopefully get my first good night’s sleep.

Friday – track walking day. As is normal with the French format, Friday is set aside to walk stages. It takes about three hours to walk down just one race stage, so you have to pick a trail to walk and hope it pays off. The obvious choice to walk (according to the map) was the top of Stage 1 and then cut across to the bottom half of Stage 3. That’s what we did and it seemed like a lot of people had the same idea. If only I would have been given an earlier heads up that Stage 2 was the one that you really needed to walk. My legs were already feeling blown out after almost four hours of walking, so there was no chance I was going up for another three hours on them. A small easy spin for an hour before dinner, make sure the bike is 100% dialed for day 1 of racing, then off to bed.

Courses: The format for this weekend was three different stages with one practice/sighting run on each course, and then racing on twice on each course, making a total of six race stages.

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Stage 1/2 started by using the exact same start as the World Championship DH skiing course, which was pretty cool. From the top of the Gondola it made for a brutally steep, bike over shoulder hike, to the very top for our first two timed stages. The course was fairly flowy and fast, and I thought it was very cool they just taped virgin trail through grassy fields and used some very cool natural features of the terrain. There were so many dips and holes and natural berms and it was super fun…the sort of trail I would absolutely love to get a full days riding on to get to learn properly and really get up to speed. From the top natural grassy stuff, it went in to some very rough and unused single track that had okay flow. The track eventually joined back into some DH type switchbacks near the end and finished on part of the XC world cup track’s descent from last year. I enjoyed the stage and felt confident on it.

Stage 3/4 had so much going on with very tight and awkward trail, without much flow through most sections. It also used some bike park trails in small sections to give you a bit of a mental break from looking for lines, which was nice. The hardest part came after massive storms rolled through and turned the stage super greasy and slippery. I just tried to remember three key points for this stage, all of which completely stalled me out in practice.

Stage 5/6 was very long at 17 minutes and very physical. Similar feel up top as Stage 1/2; with a lot of natural grassy flowing stuff. I really enjoyed that and hope they do more of that stuff in the future. That was a big thing I heard from people this weekend; racers enjoyed the flow of a lot of sections, but sometimes things got a little awkward and flow (and fun) was lost. The middle of this stage had a fairly prolonged climb, a good few minutes with another minute or two of flatter stuff as you crested the top…a huge leg and lung burner! The bottom 1/3 dropped into steep wooded switchbacks before a few more short punch climbs before the finish.

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Racing – Stage 1 – Found my flow straight away today, and didn’t have that first run tight riding like other races this year…PUMPED! Everything went well, and I was eating into the 20-second interval that I started behind Jerome Clementz. The only problem was the dust. It got to a point where all I could see was his dust. I just couldn’t push to get any closer in the last minutes of the stage as it steepened. I couldn’t see where I was going and the dust just lingered. I was happy to take some time out of him to start the day, but a little annoyed about the dust. Still a stage win to start the day…can’t complain!

Stage 2 – Such a rookie start, my brain was out of gear and I crashed into the very first turn. I just completely over cooked it, so dumb! I didn’t panic; it was an 11-minute stage and I got back into my rhythm. From there, I rode almost perfectly and was catching Jerome again, but the dust became the biggest issue again and I couldn’t push. Once I got to within 8 seconds of him, that’s where I stayed. I had to accept that was as close as I was safely able to get to him and keep any sort of visibility. The last thing I needed was to smash a rock and get a mechanical because I hit something I couldn’t see. Finished with another stage win and feeling happy.

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Stage 3 – Lunchtime storms rolled in right on time. At least dust wouldn’t be an issue. The storms however made for quite a long delay before we actually got to ride. Conditions were now super slick and mud tires would have been the call. But, travelling by myself (and travelling light), muds weren’t an option, which made for some wild times! My run started really well…for about 45 seconds. Anyone who raced this weekend got a feel for how bad the visibility was in the heavy fog. Combine fog with only one practice run to remember hundreds of sections of track (impossible) and I found myself coming into a turn through the fog with no visibility and I launched straight through the tape and down an embankment. I was soaking wet and covered in mud, including my gloves. By the time I got back to where I left the track, Fabian Barel had caught me (so I had lost 20 seconds). We ended up riding the whole run together and I tried to push to build small gaps on the pedaling sections, but Fabian was right behind me. And my mud covered gloves made it very difficult to hang on to the bars…it was like having cakes of soap for grips. I got all the way to the last turn when I decided to put the bike down one more time and I slid for what felt like an eternity! I got back up and my number plate was missing from my bars, but I found it and grabbed it quickly. I could feel that I’d hit my thumb pretty good and was disappointed to have just thrown away another 15 seconds on the VERY last corner. The 20-second lead I had over Jerome had turned into a 25 second deficit after this stage. I was feeling very frustrated. Once I finished, I realized that I had put an 8 inch long gash down my right quad and that it was bleeding fairly heavily through my shorts, and I could feel my thumb seizing up more by the minute. Time loss, nagging injures to deal with, and still a full day’s racing tomorrow. My mental state just took a massive blow, and I was very frustrated.

I also felt bad for my good buddy Justin Leov, who was sitting 2nd overall just behind me after the first two stages and would have been in the lead at the end of the day’s racing but he suffered a puncture and lost 7 minutes on this stage. Racing can be brutal sometimes!

Stage 4 – Due to the delays and storms yesterday, Stage 4 was delayed until Sunday morning. After a night full of rain and freezing conditions with fresh snow up the top of the Gondola, it was time to head to the top of the mountain for an 8am start. This was going to be a rough one; my thumb had swollen up fairly well and hanging onto the bars was difficult. As my run got going it wasn’t too bad, but I had to go easy through any rough sections. I just didn’t have the strength to hold on with my left hand, combined with freezing temperatures that made my thumb feel even weaker. I had to try and survive and limit the time loss as much as I could. It was a pretty bad stage for me, but not as bad as it could have been. I made it down and was still hanging onto 3rd place overall. Jerome won the stage with another solid run and set himself up in a strong position for the overall win.

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Stage 5 – This ended up being the final stage. We had more delays with heavy fog up top that made getting a helicopter in impossible (should anyone hurt themselves). The race was simply unable to go ahead if the medical situation wasn’t up to par, which is a good decision. This however meant that we would only be racing this stage once, instead of the planned two runs.

My thumb was feeling much better as the day warmed up a little. Some brief sunshine and some much needed ibuprofen helped, too! Overall, I was feeling really good about this stage after our practice run. My plan was to make sure I stayed 3rd overall, stay safe, and try and push to make up the 26 seconds I was behind Fabian Barel and take back 2nd overall for the weekend. My run went great; I rode almost perfectly…just like the final stage in Whistler two weeks ago. By the midway climb, I had caught and passed Fabian (who started 20 seconds ahead of me) and had my 40 seconds man, Jerome Clementz, in sight. So, I set out after him. I pushed right to the line and was right on his back wheel as we crossed the finish. What a perfect way to end what started as a very rough day! I got back into 2nd overall, and was only down 11 seconds from the overall weekend win. I was really happy, but a bit disappointed at some less than ideal circumstances and some rookie maneuvers on my part that cost me the top step of the podium. Fairly bummed as well that they decided not to run Stage 6. After taking 40 seconds off Jerome on Stage 5, I could have gotten the win if the race had gone its intended full distance. Not sure why we didn’t do Stage 6, as we had all afternoon to do it!

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So that was it, round 6 of the Enduro World Series done and just one round left to go in Finale Ligure in Italy in October. But for now, I’m at the airport in Geneva, my bags packed, and on my way to the Downhill World Champs in South Africa this weekend! Been excited for this race all year, can’t wait!

Frame – Yeti sb66c Medium
Fork – Fox float 34 2014
Rear Suspension – Fox Float X
Seatpost – Thomson Elite Dropper
Wheels – DT Swiss 240 hubs, 500 rims, and Aerolite spokes, alloy nipples
Tires – Maxxis Minion 2.5 EXO Front, 27psi, Maxxis MinionDHR2 30 psi rear, ghetto/ split tube tubeless
Brakes – Shimano XTR race lever, Saint calipers, 180mm Ice-Tech Rotors
Derailleur – Shimano XTR Shadow Plus
Cranks – Shimano XTR 170-millimeter with Stages Power Meter Chainring – Shimano Saint 38-tooth
Cassette – Shimano XTR 11-36 Pedals – Shimano XTR trail
Chainguide – E13 LG1
Bars and Stem – Renthal 740mm Fatbar lite, 20mm rise, and 50mm duo Stem
Headset – Chris King
Grips – ODI Ruffian MX

 

** This content was originally posted on the Yeti website and has been reproduced with the permission of Jared Graves.

Racing: Enduro World Series,Val D'Isere, France – Final Results

The mountain threw everything it had at racers and organizers during the sixth round of the Enduro World Series, held in the French Alps at Val d’Isere this weekend, including snow, an apocalyptic alpine storm, rolling fog, mud and sunshine, in equal measure.

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Jey Clementz at Val d’lsere

The godfather of enduro mountain bike racing, and host for this round, Tribe Events’ Fred Glo, declared it to be one of the hardest weekends ever in the ten years he has been organizing enduro in the high mountains, offering thanks to the riders for adapting to the schedule and race modifications required to redress the wild weather.

Intense performances were delivered all around, on a course that started with a hike-a-bike to Bellevarde mountain’s 2800m summit, the start gate for the Olympic and World Championship downhill ski course.

After 1 hour and 7 minutes of intense racing in constantly changing conditions, the battle was finally declared for French enduro champion Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain) (1h07:03:711), with Australia’s Jared Graves (Yeti Fox) just 11 seconds behind (1h07:15:457), after making an epic recovery in the final stage to regain ground lost from a crash in stage 3.

The third fastest time overall was logged by Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) (1h07:32:617) who proved that he’s not only the dominant force in the Junior race, but can match his pace with the open field.

The Men’s podium was rounded out by France’s Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory) with a combined time of 1h07:35:437.

Clementz, Barel and Remy Absalon (Team Commencal) (who placed 8th overall) combined forces to win the Enduro of Nations for France, with a seventeen minute lead over their Italian counterparts.

The women’s race was a back-and-forth duel between the UK’s Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) and France’s Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) with Chausson finally taking the win by a 17 second margin after Moseley incurred a time penalty.

Third and fourth ranked riders Anneke Beerten (Specialized) and Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory) got lost in the foggy conditions and failed to finish. French racer Cecile Ravanel took third.

The women’s trio of Chausson, Ravanel and Pauline Dieffenthaler (Cannondale Overmountain) won the Enduro of Nations for France, with a combined time that put them 15 minutes ahead of their closest contenders, Team Great Britain.

After two rounds of racing in North America, the sixth race in the Enduro World Series was a world away from the sunny seaside resort of Punta Ala where this season began, and continued to prove that riders shouldn’t be looking to enduro mountain bike racing if they want a cruisy day out.

Diversity, challenge and personal reward are all up for grabs, though, as Enduro World Series Managing Director Chris Ball says: “Enduro is a wild and challenging discipline in often wild and challenging environments. It was a savagely hard race for everyone, but that makes it all the more worthwhile.”

The final race in the series will take place in Finale Ligure, Italy, 19-20 October, where the first Enduro World Champion will be declared.

For a thorough recap of all the action, tune in for Dirt TV’s Official Highlights show on Tuesday.

Pro Rider Diary: Jared Graves – Enduro World Series #5

Monday

Typical travel day. We flew out from Denver and arrived in Whistler just before dark and with just enough time to go for a mellow cruise with my favorite WAMP (Weird Ass Mountain Person) Joey Schusler on the Lost Lake trails. I really love the trails there, if you’re after some fun turns and some bits that are still technical, Lost Lake are probably the easiest trails Whistler has to offer.

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Tuesday

Just a fun day in the Park, again out with Joey, he’s one of the most fun guys to go riding with, always laughing and with a smile on his dial. He’s pretty much equal with Richie Rude as far as getting rowdy on the bike goes. On this particular day I couldn’t wait to get up to the Top of the World trail, a track that features all the kinds of riding I love the most. Hands down, Top of the World has the best views of Whistler I’ve ever seen and it’s a fun flowy trail with some altitude to get the lungs going and a good amount of rocks to keep you on your toes. After Top of the World, we rode some other stuff in the park, probably a little too much, but were only in Whistler for six days, so the feeling was that we should make the most of it.

Wednesday

The first day of official training and we were able to ride Stage 5. With it being the longest stage and almost half the total time of the race, I knew it would be where the race was won or lost. I was able to get in two full runs and, despite feeling tired after yesterday, I had encouraging runs. The track was a similar one of the stages last year, so I more or less remembered it. The run was around 23 minutes and featured literally a thousand turns, so learning the whole thing was never going to happen. My goal was just to find my rhythm and remember the few bits that might catch me out.

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Thursday

Really just nothing to report today as it was exactly the same as yesterday. Perfect weather and two runs of Stage 5, Might have been the same as the day before, but riding in Whistler is always good times.

Friday

Practice for Stages 1 through 4.

Definitely not what I was expecting, but the course covered some awesome trails! Most were definitely not my strong suit with all the super tight and fiddly bits, followed by steep and rough terrain. Overall this event was shaping up to be a real all over physical test. With all the riders on the mountain, the tracks were also getting blown out fast!

I rode all four stages to get an idea of what it would be like on race day. Stages 1 and 2 went from the Top of the World trail as part of the liaison and the timed section for Stage 1 started on the Khyber Pass trail. I’ve heard a lot about this trail and it lived up to its reputation, it’s soooo good! Stage 2 was a weird trail, like nothing id ever ridden before, not quite sure how to explain it. It was very tight and, so, it was easy to run completely off the track into the bushes. In the middle of all this, two extremely short and steep climbs, the sort of ones that send you straight into the red zone. No question, it was going to be tough to have a clean run on Stage 2.

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After Stage 2 was a long, steep climb up to the beginning of Stage 3. To be honest, I wasn’t very into this stage. Mostly because I know I struggle a little on this type of super tight and fiddly stuff. Some bits were almost like downhill trials and many were definitely a challenge to maintain flow through.

Next it was over an hour of climbing up to the beginning of Stage 4. The uphill was brutally steep and had a few sections that required walking to avoid completely blowing my legs up on. The stage itself was one my favorite trails that I’ve ever ridden, steep and rocky, with constant flowing turns. Riding it fast gave me just such a rewarding feeling. A trail that good almost makes up for an hour of climbing.

Saturday

The day before the race and I was feeling pretty tired. I knew I needed to take it easy or, at least, easier than Friday. The bottom of Stage 4 was very close to our house for the week, so it was an easy pedal over. Riding Stage 4 for a second time made it clear that the trails were badly blown out from all the riders that had been on them. Luckily we got a good idea of what to expect for Sunday’s timed runs. The rapid rate of deterioration of the trails became even more clear in the afternoon when we went up and did Stages 1 and 2 again. The change was complete and they both a completely different trail compared to 30 hours before. After our practice runs it was time for a nice cruise along the road back to the village and then it was feet up and time to relax.

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Sunday

Race day and my plan was pretty simple: After racing the enduro in Whistler last year and being beyond tired for the final stage (which descends 5500 feet down the mountain over 23 minutes), I knew it would be extremely important save some energy for the final stage, Begin that stage tired and there would only be one result: Massive bleeding of time! I planned to not go too hard in any stage. Sure, I knew I might lose some time, but I would probably be the freshest guy left on the hill for the final stage. With that in mind, I launched into Stage 1.

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Stage 1

MAN! I need to get better at finding my flow and not riding tight on the first stage of the day. At pretty much every race this year I’ve given up time to Jerome Clementz on Stage 1. Not sure what it is, but I just can’t get into a rhythm early, but as soon as that first stage is out of the way I find my flow. I was still second fastest for the stage, but I was a full nine seconds behind Jerome. I guess that not too much over nine minutes but that guy is just too good at every sort of trail to gift him a nine second head start.

With Stage 1 out of the way I did achieve my main goal for the stage which was to grunt up the SUPER steep climb about two thirds of the way down the hill. I wasn’t able to make it up in practice, I did it when it counted. It was an all out sprint to make it up the grinder and I was already starting to fatigue coming into it, but I just punched it as hard as I could. After the stage, I looked at my Garmin and it showed that I put out 1960 maximum watts while getting up the climb! So much for trying to save energy for later!

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Stage 2

I had a pretty good run, and I was happy with it. At the very least, I didn’t throw myself into any trees on the tight bits! A very hard trail to find good flow and pace, especially when it was only the third time I’d ever ridden it. My time was fastest by a comfortable margin at the time I crossed the line, but right behind me Jerome went 1.3 seconds faster. Second for the stage again was a bummer, but I did manage to save a good amount of energy for later in the race.

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Stage 3

I was kind of dreading this stage because I didn’t get along with it in practice. I’d only ridden it once, so I decided to put my brain in neutral and just go with it. It actually worked really well, I was a bit slow in a couple parts, but I hit some other sections faster than I should have and managed to get away with it. Unfortunately toward the bottom I decided to see if I could knock over a tree with my shoulder. Needless to say, I lost and went straight onto the ground….Ooops! Fabien Barel went fastest on this stage and put a good chunk of time into everyone. I was mainly concerned with Jerome’s time and, again, was disappointed to see he pulled another six seconds in front of me. I had to find a way to stop the time bleeding to him. Also Rene Wildhaber was having his best race of the year and was close behind, so I was watching his times closely as well.

Stage 4

I knew things might swing more in my favor for the final two stages. I had setup my bike to suit these stages more and I just don’t like to change tires and chainrings and all that stuff that other guys do throughout the race. I like to have the feel of all my parts 100% for each stage and not be trying to find the limits of a different tire, or gearing of a different chainring. I like to keep it simple!

I had a lot of fun on Stage 4 and was fairly happy with it. I just lost a little focus here and there and forgot a few key things, but all-in-all it was a solid stage.

Once again though, Jerome went four seconds faster than me. I was starting to get pretty frustrated as he was always just one step ahead of me all day. I was OK with being 16 seconds back after Stage 3, but wanted to pull back some time in stage 4 and that just didn’t happen. It ended up that I was second for the stage again, and was 21 seconds back going into the final battle.

Stage 5

This was the big one! All week I knew the race would come down to the final stage. My body was feeling strong and I was really fresh and ready for a big finale. My plan was to have a good smooth run, and make sure I secured second spot for the day. I was also thinking that maybe I could challenge Jerome with a really good run, but taking back 21 seconds on a guy like that is a pretty tall order in any race, even one that is 23 minutes long!

As my run started I could just feel that it was going to be a good one, I had found my rhythm and flow, and found myself hitting everything just like I’d imagined. I knew I was on a good run, but it’s impossible know how the other guys are going. After about the halfway point, I decided I would take some risks on the parts that weren’t too rocky or dangerous.

I overcooked one turn in “Angry Pirate” which resulted in me slapping my man bits on the seat pretty hard and made for an uncomfortable couple of minutes. On the last few sections of the trail I was giving it all. So much so that my legs were starting to buckle, but, amazingly, I had no arm pump.

I crossed the line and was in the lead by a long way. Jerome started one minute after me and I had my clock going on my Garmin so I could gauge his time. I just sat and stared at it, watching the seconds ticking over, knowing the exact time he had to hit if he was going to beat me for the overall. The 1:21 that I needed to take the overall seemed to take forever, but the time came and went before he came into the finish area. I knew I had it but I waited until he crossed the line and got the official time before celebrating!

I couldn’t believe it! All day he had been too good, but I knew Stage 5 played to all my strengths and I did all I could to make the most of it. Having my wife there at the finish to share the win with was so amazing! Then I was reminded of the $10,000 first place prize! I hadn’t thought of that all day because I was focused on just winning.

So that was that. My First EWS win and it happened at the biggest race of the year. I just couldn’t be happier!

A big thanks to my mechanic for the weekend Nate Espinosa. With my usual mechanic, the Polar Bear, doing DH wrench duties at the MSA, Nate did a top-notch job as his stand-in. Cheers Friend!

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Bike Specs

Frame – Yeti sb66c Medium
Fork – Fox 34 R.A.D
Rear Suspension – Fox Float X
Seatpost – Thomson Elite Dropper
Wheels – DT Swiss 240 hubs, 500 rims, Aerolite spokes, alloy nipples
Tires – Maxxis Minion 2.5 EXO (ghetto/split tube tubeless) @ 27psi F/30psi R
Brakes – Shimano XTR race lever, Saint calipers, 180mm Ice-Tech Rotors
Derailleur – Shimano XTR Shadow Plus
Cranks – Shimano XTR 170-millimeter with Stages Power Meter
Chainring – Shimano Saint 38-tooth
Casette – Shimano XTR 11-36
Pedals – Shimano XTR trail
Chainguide – E13 LG1
Bars and Stem – Renthal Fatbar Lite (740mm width and 20mm rise); Duo Stem (50mm)
Headset – Chris King
Grips – ODI Ruffian MX

 

The Soapbox: Cheating at the Enduro World Series?

Unfortunately I wasn’t surprised when I woke this morning to see that VitalMTB had posted news containing allegations of cheating in the Whistler round of the Enduro World Series. Heck, I have had several off-the-record conversations with Enduro World Series competitors and it’s apparently rife.

What does surprise me though is the seemingly lack of will from the Enduro World Series, the media that closely follows the racing, and the athletes who compete, to either say or do anything appropriate about it.

Of course I cannot confirm any allegations, and I am not pointing a finger at any single rider, but the sheer potential of cheating is so disappointing and worthy of public debate.

The series thus far has been riddled with underground murmurs and rumours about cheating since the first event in Italy. Hiding food (to allow for a lighter backpack), bike swapping, riding liaison stages without helmets, cutting the courses, illegal practise, outside assistance… the allegations go on. It was only a few weeks ago I watched Cedric Gracia, livid at the time, expressing his anger at all the cheating at Enduro racing. My hat goes off to him – at least he speaks out.

Of course there will always be the argument of “bending the rules” but even that can be enforced by establishing the right culture of good sportsmanship. Culture, and the power of its combined peer pressure, sometimes has more power than any policing or enforcement can ever have.

To me it all represents a potential failure for the inaugural season of what is supposed to be the future of our sport. Enduro is a battle of rider vs terrain and gets back to the roots of our sport, with a sense of fun thrown in. I love the concept of Enduro racing and the thought of people cheating is beyond belief.

A cheat is a cheat. We all throw our hands in the air in disgust and anger when someone gets busted for drugs. Why not apply the same enthusiasm to punish and shame the “non-drug” cheats.  After all, a cheat is a cheat not matter what. The seconds gained from a pre-race shot of EPO is no different from the seconds and minutes gained from cutting the course.

I personally feel that if the organisers don’t get serious about both policing and enforcing the rules, and the true spirit of the sport, then we, the fans, will lose interest very quickly and the end of Enduro will happen well before we had had enough time to enjoy it.

My challenge to the organisers of the Enduro World Series, the media, and the athletes is to make a bigger effort to catch the cheats, test the allegations and their actions using the appropriate mechanisms, and if found guilty, apply the same penalties as you would a drug cheat. Stop any potential for cheating to rot the core of the sport.

A cheat is a cheat and if you let to happen at the top echelons of the sport what hope is there for Enduro racing at the grass roots level?

I love Enduro, at least when I know it’s honest.

 

Crankworx Whistler Reveals Fifth Enduro World Series Course

Weeks of anticipation and speculation were put to rest a few hours ago when the course details for the fifth round of the Enduro World Series were released.

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Reflective of the epic style of mountain biking available in Whistler, the five stage race developed in consultation with pro rider Richie Schley and creative dervish Seb Kemp will be compressed into one long single day. Athletes will race over 19km of trails, tallying a total of 51km of riding in the 8 hour time window.

With the first four stages of racing set outside the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and the final stage involving a top-to-bottom link-up from the Top of the World trail, the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro will combine lift access with approximately 863 metres of climbing. Riders will travel from Whistler Peak to the valley, twice, with the final stage a 10.63 km, 1450 m vertical top-to-bottom test-piece of endurance.

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The added “Whistler” twist is that, unlike in previous rounds, riders will not be able to return to the pits in between the first four stages, demanding a much higher degree of self-sufficiency and equipment management than has been required before.

Crankworx GM Darren Kinnaird said, “The course will take riders through a range of trails, from the alpine to the sub-alpine to race-course type terrain. Each trail is unique  to the different part of the valley that it’s situated in and showcases the variety of riding available here in Whistler. I think people will feel they’re more in wilderness than in a resort.”

Having witnessed the drama and excitement of the first four rounds of the Enduro World Series first-hand, EWS Managing Director Chris Ball says this weekend’s race will continue to test the world’s best. “This Series has tested athletes from sea level to altitude, from the physical to the technical, from backcountry to machine-built trails, in bad weather and good. This round will combine everything pushing riders both physically and technically and test how self-sufficient they are on their own on the mountain. We’ve got an epic race ahead of us.”

The current overall standings, with four out of seven races completed, sees France’s Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain) and Great Britain’s Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) leading the Men’s Individual and Women’s Individual series, with Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) dominating the Junior division. Trek Factory Racing currently is in top place in the team rankings.

Jérôme Clementz and Tracy Moseley Claim Another Round of the Enduro World Series

Lightning might not strike twice, but the podium at Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park saw a return to the top step of all three winners of the previous round, Jérôme Clementz, Tracy Moseley and Martin Maes, marking the first time in the extremely tight Men’s Series, that a repeat victory has occurred.

It was also the first time that the inaugural Enduro World Series has dealt with lightning. After an overnight storm strike damaged the chairlift systems, organizers cancelled the original Stage 4 opting to break Stage 3 into two parts.

Riders competing in the Specialized Enduro at Colorado Freeride Festival had to be on their game for three days – a challenge, compounded by intense afternoon storms, rocky terrain and the altitude of Winter Park resort, that tested riders’ mental fortitude, as well as their physical stamina and equipment management skills.

The continual shifting format across all four rounds of the Series so far has tasked even the most experienced athletes, demanding extreme adaptability, and ensuring that the first Enduro World Champion will truly be the best mountain bike rider in the world.

Former downhill World Champion, Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) continued to dominate the Women’s contest, consolidating her overall lead with her fourth victory in a row. Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) won two of the five stages and placed second, with 4X World Champion Anneke Beerten (Specialized) placing third.

In the men’s race, despite an influx of some of North America’s top enduro racers finishing in the top 20, French riders dominated the podium. Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain) took his second consecutive victory of the Series, with Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) in second, and round 1 winner Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) taking third.

Jared Graves (Yeti) won three of the five stages and finished second to Clementz in stage 3, but suffered a mechanical on stage 2 that dropped him out of podium contention and into 23rd place. Graves’ overall points and consistent performances throughout the Series have him currently in third, overall, with Barel just 44 points behind him.

Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) not only dominated the Junior contest, but finished 7th fastest overall amongst all the men.

Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The people standing on the top step at Finale will without doubt be the best riders in the world. This Series has tested these athletes from sea level to altitude, from the physical to the technical, through natural backcountry terrain to Bike Park trails, in bad weather and good. No one rider has been in their comfort zone throughout, and as we head to Crankworx Whistler for round 5, we’ll see how they fare against yet another format with a long single day race that will demand a high comfort level with wilderness self-sufficient riding.”

Full results available here.

The Enduro World Series moves next to Crankworx Whistler, for round 5, where the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized will take place Sunday August 11.

Enduro World Series Heads to Colorado for First North American Stop, July 26-28

Winter Park, Colorado’s Trestle Bike Park has seen an influx of world class riding this week, as mountain bike athletes from around the world converge in anticipation of the fourth stop of the Enduro World Series.

A keystone event at the Colorado Freeride Festival, the Specialized Enduro brought to you by Shimano, will see the continuation of top-calibre, down-to-the-wire racing by riders from all around the globe.

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The contest to become the first Enduro World Champion remains tight with just 160 points separating the top 3 ranked Enduro World Series leaders, Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain), Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) and Jared Graves (Yeti).

The top 5 male riders (including Remy Absalon (Commencal) and Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team)) will all make the trek Stateside for the fourth stop of the World Series. The additional influx of the top-ranked North American enduro racers to the Series, including Mark Weir (Cannondale OverMountain), North American Enduro tour leaders Aaron Bradford and Mason Bond, and Enduro Cup leaders Ross Schnell (Trek Factory Racing) and Joey Schusler, only increases the possibility of another shake-up on the podium.

In the women’s series, while Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) has consistently dominated the top step, US Enduro Cup leader (and fellow Trek Factory Racing team rider) Heather Irmiger will join Cecile Ravanel (GT Skoda) and Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team), who are currently rounding out the Enduro World Series top 3, as challengers. Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) will also be looking to re-establish herself amongst the Series front-runners, coming back from an injury sustained in Punta Ala in the first round.

The top-ranked teams are also in a tight contest, with Lapierre just ahead of Trek Factory Racing, followed by GT Factory Racing. GT Factory Racing’s Dan Atherton will miss the next two rounds of the Series as he nurses a dislocated shoulder, leaving the quest for team points in the hands of undefeated Junior rider, GT Factory Racing team-mate Martin Maes.

With a base at 9000 feet above sea-level and start gates for the 5 stage course at over 11000 feet, altitude will play a factor in this weekend’s 3 day contest.

“We’re sensitive about the altitude,” says General Manager of the Colorado Freeride Festival, Bob Holme. “There’s significant lift support for the majority of the altitude gain but there are some untimed pedal transitions to gain additional altitude for starts. So we want to make the racing short and intense, and allow afternoons for recovery for the athletes.”

Each day at noon, the next day’s stages will be announced, giving racers until 7pm to reconnoiter the course. However, the course will remain open to the public, so the only chance to ride the courses at race speed will be on race day.

Designed with input from Colorado-based enduro athlete Ross Schnell, organizers have aimed for a race that is balanced from course to course. “Riders will experience the most technical courses of our bike park and the raw, rugged, high-alpine single track of the upper mountain,” says Holme. “We didn’t want to have one single course that would create a big separation that would be difficult to overcome. It’s been designed so that the person who comes out as the winner will literally be the best mountain biker in the bike park over that weekend.”

Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “We have arrived at the Colorado Freeride Festival after three incredible rounds of racing in Europe. With a format and altitude that will once again test the riders in a whole new dimension, the three days of racing we have ahead of us here in Winter Park are going to be monumental. Add in some top US riders who have not yet raced an EWS this year and we’ve got even more potential for surprises.”

Jerome Clementz and Tracey Moseley Win the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Aples

Round 3 of the Enduro World Series took place at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes with the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes. While Tracy Moseley has managed to dominate each and every round of the inaugural enduro series, a different man has taken home first place at each venue so far.

Paris Gore Photography
Jerome Clementz on his way to victory.

For the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes, Frenchman Jerome Clementz was able to clinch the win and cross the finish line first with a total time of 32:54.738 after four epic stages. This is not Clementz’s first win on the Crankworx stage; he took home the gold in Whistler at last year’s Canadian Open Enduro and also at the Mountain Of Hell held during last year’s Crankworx Les 2 Alpes.

While the men fiercely battle for supremacy of the Overall Series Title, Tracy Moseley has her lead on lock with a third straight win in the Enduro World Series and a time of 38:54.914. The current standings of Overall World Enduro Series Title as of today’s event are Clementz and Moseley.

“The Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes has been the toughest race in the series so far and featured completely different terrain to the last round,” says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball. “We saw a different rider win each stage of today’s race on both the men’s and women’s sides and everyone was talking about how tough and different the course was compared to previous rounds. I feel like the sport is jumping up a notch, each round we go through.”

Second fastest Pro man at today’s Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes was legendary World Cup downhiller Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA) +20.282 and coming in third was current World Cup downhill racer Samuel Blenkinsop (NZ) +23.051.Second fastest Pro woman was Cécile Ravanel (FRA), a rider with cross-country roots coming in +15.328, and in third was 2011 UCI Downhill World Champion Emmeline Ragot (FRA) +21.921.

With the exception of Stage 1, which featured a notoriously steep and grueling climb, the other stages favoured downhill technicians and was regarded by the most seasoned enduro athletes to be some of the gnarliest stages they had seen to date. The Enduro World Series was created in October 2012 with the aim of uniting the world’s mountain bike enduro racing community. The Enduro World Series links the largest mountain bike enduro events in the world with the best trails possible.

Full results: cannondale_enduro_les_2_alpes_FINAL.

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Enduro World Series Moves To Crankworx Les 2 Alpes, July 6-7, for Round 3

From Val d’Allos, the birthplace of the discipline, the Enduro World Series now moves to the gravity playground of Crankworx Les 2 Alpes, where the battle for Enduro World Champion will intensify.

Crankworx Les 2 Alpes

Two rounds in, it has become clear that for the top riders, the stakes are not just about a single podium, but for the Overall Series title. The caliber of contest leaves absolutely no room for error, as several of the event favourites have discovered.

Current standings see Jared Graves (Yeti), former 4X World Champion and BMX Olympian, and Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing), former DH World Champion, in the lead for the Overall Series.

With two victories now under her belt, Moseley’s command of the women’s series will be cemented with another win at Les 2 Alpes, but the return of Anne Caroline Chausson, after crashing out in round 1, will add drama to the contest. Cecile Ravanel and Anneke Beerten also rode hard at Val d’Allos to ensure Moseley could never let her guard down.

Similarly, the Junior series sees Belgium’s Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) dominating, after back to back wins in Punta Ala and Val d’Allos.

The men’s contest, by comparison, has seen much more drama.  Mechanical issues pushed the top-seeded racers, Fabien Barel and Jerome Clementz, off the podium at Val d’Allos. Newcomers to enduro racing like Graves, Greg Minnaar, and René Wildhaber, proved themselves worthy adversaries to committed enduro racers Clementz and Remy Absalon.

The close margin of the final results from Val d’Allos, where Nicolas Vouilloz’ victory was just 6 seconds ahead of Graves and Minnaar, over an hour of racing, promises an awesome contest at Les 2 Alpes.

With most of the race starts at 2400 meters, altitude may again be a factor for the 320 riders taking part in round 3 of the Enduro World Series. The single day 4 stage course, through high alpine, forest singletrack and bike park, was announced today, Thursday July 4, with course walk permissible on Friday and an official training ride available on Saturday.

Les 2 Alpes track

Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “After the incredible racing at rounds one and two, the overall competition is really heating up. Everything seems wide open. There has been surprise, upset and excitement at each round so far, and I can only imagine the racing here in Les 2 Alpes will be no different.”

Nicolas Vouilloz and Tracy Moseley take Val d’Allos

“Battle” does not begin to describe the weekend’s epic racing at Val d’Allos, France, that ultimately saw Nico Vouilloz and Tracy Moseley win after an all killer no filler 6 stage course and exhilarating showdown between the world’s top riders.

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First place Nico Vouilloz

The birthplace of enduro treated over 300 riders to distractingly gorgeous scenery, chairlift supported liaison stages, and 6 timed sections that, in addition to 5 practice runs, yielded 11,000 meters of technical, challenging and physical descent.

Dropping 1000 meters from the 2500m summit for each stage meant altitude played a factor for riders. Coming off his victory in Round 1 of the Enduro World Series, Fabien Barel commented that within two corners from the start of the first stage in Val d’Allos, he was already out of air.

The tough course took its toll on many of the top riders.
The tough course took its toll on many of the top riders.

Genepy, the locally crafted spirit, was needed by the weekend’s conclusion, as riders celebrated and commiserated over crashes and punctures that left the podium wide open. Race favourite, and leader at the time, Jerome Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain) suffered a puncture in stage 3, as did Fabien Barel (Team Canyon) and Dan Atherton (GT Factory Racing). Other top contenders, including Ben Cruz (Cannondale OverMountain) and Josh Carlson (Team Giant Factory Racing) had crashes that put them out of the race. Jared Graves and Anneke Beerten both crashed twice in the long fourth and fifth stages, but managed to hold on to their positions on the podium. Full results – Enduro World Series – Coupe de France Enduro Val d’Allos.

In the end, consistency favoured Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing), the winner from Punta Ala, in the women’s race, ahead of Cecile Ravanel and Anneke Beerten. Moseley now holds the Overall Series Lead.

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First place and series leader Tracey Moseley.

Nicolas Vouilloz won the men’s contest at Val d’Allos, with Jared Graves hard on his tail and downhill World Champion Greg Minnaar stepping up to the podium with a 3rd place finish.

Graves takes the Overall Series Lead from Fabien Barel who will need to push in future events to regain his place. Series favourite, Jerome Clementz was on damage control for his series standings after suffering the puncture.

Assue Jared Graves now takes the series lead.
Aussie Jared Graves now takes the series lead.

Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing), the young phenom from Belgium, retained his commanding lead in the Junior division, despite a crash on the first stage, and a 30 second time penalty for course cutting on stage 1.

Taking the top 3 results from team riders in any division puts Trek Factory Racing in the Team Series Lead with 1820 points.

With less than 10 seconds between the top male riders after 2 days, 6 stages, 11,000 meters of descending and an hour on the clock, it was sheer grit that dominated.

Says Enduro World Series Managing Director, Chris Ball, “The one run, limited practice format definitely evened things out between experienced locals and the first timers like Graves, Wildhaber and Minnaar. The times were just incredibly tight. Even on stages that were over 15 minutes long, the riders were within a second of each other. It was savage, intense racing. I personally can’t believe just how close it was.”

From the birthplace of enduro, the Enduro World Series stays in France for the next round, moving on to the gravity playground of Crankworx Les Deux Alpes, July 6-7, where the battlefield will be refreshed with a 4 stage course, incorporating the mountain bike park.

Greg Minnaar doing double duty with the Enduro World Series as well as the UCI World Cup.
Greg Minnaar doing double duty with the Enduro World Series as well as the UCI World Cup.

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