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.


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)
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)
3. Rhys VERNER (CAN)
4. Pedro BURNS (CHI)

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

1. Cecile RAVANEL Commençal Vallnord Enduro Team (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:


419 Leonie PICTON
422 Tegan MOLLOY
423 Shelly FLOOD
441 Megan ROSE
443 Jaclyn DELACROIX

13 Sam HILL
22 Jared GRAVES
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

Men Under 21
614 Blake PEARCE
615 Samuel RUBERY

Amateur Men
807 Chayse PENGILLY
819 Shaun FRY
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.


419 Leonie PICTON
422 Tegan MOLLOY
423 Shelly FLOOD
441 Megan ROSE
443 Jaclyn DELACROIX

13 Sam HILL
22 Jared GRAVES
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

Men Under 21
614 Blake PEARCE
615 Samuel RUBERY

Amateur Men
807 Chayse PENGILLY
819 Shaun FRY
841 Bryan PINCHES
843 Josh LYONS

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.

Quarq Set to Revolutionise EWS Coverage for Fans and Athletes


For the first time in mountain biking, fan and athletes can be privy to every detail of every stage of every race thanks to new technology developed by Quarq. The results are just the final chapter of a race – and the introduction of Quarq’s new analyser will tell the rest of the story. Riders who have carried a Quarq GPS tracker at any of this year’s eight EWS races will now be able to review their performance on every stage in stunning detail. They’ll not only be able to monitor their own race – but also directly compare it against their competitors so they can see where they gained and lost time on every stage they raced this year.


All season, the top 100 ranked men, top 30 women, top 10 Under 21 men and top 10 Masters have carried the Quarq units known as Qollectors, which use GPS technology to track their location and speed. Now the technology is going one step further, and by visiting this site athletes and fans can see in detail where racers not only gain and drop time, but will eventually be able to deduce where racer’s strengths and weaknesses lie and even begin to predict which stages will suit which riders.

We bet there's a few people keen to analyse Richie Rude's complete dominance in 2016.
We bet there’s a few people keen to analyse Richie Rude’s complete dominance in 2016.

Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “I’m so excited about this new service – it’s going to add a whole new dimension to our races. It’s going to let people not just discover the results of the race, but understand exactly how it unfolded, stage by stage.


For fans of the sport it’s going to bring a whole new layer of interest to each race and for the riders themselves it will offer an invaluable service. In terms of a racer understanding their own performance, I don’t think there’s ever been a more valuable tool.”

Nico Lau is known to be strong on the longer stages, now you'll be able to see exactly where he pulls ahead.
Nico Lau is known to be strong on the longer stages, now you’ll be able to see exactly where he pulls ahead.

Jim Meyer, Quarq Technology Director, added: “Every race has so much story hidden inside. From time lost and gained, to athletic prowess and power output, to performance of a bike’s suspension, there are so many aspects of racing that are hidden from fans and spectators. We are dedicated to revealing this hidden world through the lens of Qollector and Quarq Race Intelligence. We are excited to work with the Enduro World Series because they share our vision. This is just the first step to revealing a whole new level of insight for enduro racing.”

2016 Gravity Enduro National Championship powered by SRAM – This Weekend

Two more Australian champions will be crowned in Adelaide, South Australia this weekend with the 2016 Gravity Enduro National Championships converging on Eagle MTB Park, Mt Lofty.

Over a hundred riders will test themselves over the five race stages, which will see them take on a variety of trails, and celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the park. Race director Andrew Byrne from hosts Inside Line Gravity MTB Club, says the course has pulled up in excellent condition after the past few weeks of wild weather in Adelaide.

“A 35km loop that links 5 trails of amazing diversity, the gravel, sand and rock of eagle, the black loam and crystal clear creek crossing of Cleland and the insane off camber, tight tech madness of Waterfull Gully, the course will really challenge all riders.”

“We have cleaned up some sections which have been long forgotten to really make it an equal playing field.”

Plenty of locals are expected to turn out for the championship, which will be held in Adelaide for the next two years. Chris Panozzo will compete in a bid to defend his Australian title on Sunday and Troy Brosnan is one local who will saddle up for the event. The world number four men’s downhiller has been off the bike for nearly a month since his podium finish at Val di Sole, and admits enduro racing is certainly not on his professional radar, but he’s still looking forward to hitting his home trails for a national champs.  

“Haven’t been doing any training, haven’t even touched my bike since I came home after world champs. But it will be kind of fun couple of days of riding and racing.”

Brosnan competed in two rounds of the Enduro World Series earlier in the year, and admits while Australia has a long way to go to reach the heights of the overseas events, it is building.

“I think it’s good for the younger Australian guys and even just the guys who want to go overseas and race in the EWS, it’s good to have the national champs where you can get points towards it.” “I guess it’s just a little taste of what’s over there and this weekend will be pretty decent and great tracks to race.”

The national championship has been recognised as a qualifying event for riders to earn ranking points in a bid to compete on the Enduro World Series stage. 

Registrations open on Saturday morning with the course open for practice all day.

Racing will get underway from 9am on Sunday.

For more information head to the Official Event Website.

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.

Sam Hill and Cecile Ravanel win the penultimate round of the Enduro World Series

The seventh round of the Enduro World Series will be remembered as the race where Sam Hill earned his enduro stripes.

In a race that promised drama from the start thanks to an apocalyptic weather forecast, forcing the cancellation of the prologue on Friday and stage two on Saturday, the stage was set for an epic showdown. The promised storms never emerged but even with the cancelled stages, riders faced a huge day on Saturday featuring 1600m of climbing and 2500m of descent over 51 km.

But in the end the Enduro des Portes du Mercantour driven by Urge Bike Products came down to a fierce battle between two legends of mountain biking  – Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Paypal) and Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Gravity Republic). The pair fought it out over seven stages amongst the iconic trails of the Maritime Alps, all whilst being chased down by young Jesse Melamed of Rocky Mountain Urge bp. However, Hill proved too strong for both and crossed the line nine seconds clear, forcing Vouilloz to settle for second and Melamed third.

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Speaking after the race, Sam said: “It feels awesome. I tried not to think about my lead all day and just attack each stage as it came. Nico kept me honest all day, I knew I had a little lead and so I just tried to get down without any mistakes. It’s been a massive goal of mine to win one of these races, so to win one already is awesome.”


In the women’s race Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord Enduro) continued her dominance – winning four of the seven stages. Isabeau Courdurier (SUNN) won three stages, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Ravanel and she finished over 30 seconds back. Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team) rounded out the podium in third.


Cecile said: “I’m really happy to win and to race this type of event. This course was good because it used all the formats; pedal liaisons, chair lifts and the stages were all so different – some long, some short and that’s what I like.”

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In the U21 Men’s race Adrien Dailly (Lapierre Gravity Republic) won – meaning he and Sebastien Claquin (Rocky Mountain Urge bp) are now tied on points in the series rankings. Technically Dailly leads the series as he’s won the most recent race, but these two will be fighting it our for the World Champion title in Italy in a couple of weeks time. Elliot Trabac (Scott SR Suntour Enduro Team) rounded out an all French podium in third.


French rider Julie Duvert won the U21 Women’s category, with Raphaela Richter (Radon Magura Factory) in second and Martha Gill (Marin Stan’s Enduro Team) was third.


Karim Amour won the Master’s category convincingly, taking over two minutes out of nearest rival Carles Barcons, with Cyrille Pages (MS Mondraker)  in third.

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In the team competition, Rocky Mountain Urge bp were team of the day, Cube Action Team just behind in second and Ibis Cycles Enduro Race were third. Today’s result cements Rocky Mountain Urge bp’s lead in the series rankings.

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The series now turns its attention to the last race of the year in the beautiful Finale Ligure. The Bluegrass Finale Enduro powered by SRAM takes place on October 1st and 2nd, where the 2016 Enduro World Champions will be crowned on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Full results from this weekend can be found here.

Video: Richie Rude – This is Home

“Home to me is everything familiar; where I know every street, every trail, every store and all my family is there. Its where I can just relax and focus on training and not worry about what hotel we are going to next” – Richie Rude

Featuring: Richie Rude
Directed by: Harrison Mendel
Cinematography By: Harrison Mendel and Rupert Walker
Edited By: Harrison Mendel
Sound Design: Racket Sound
Title Design: Studio Dialog
Still Photography: Paris Gore


Richie Rude – This Is Home from Ride Shimano on Vimeo.

Justin Leov joins Canyon to Defend EWS Team Title

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team (CFET) is proud to welcome one of the world’s top enduro riders, Justin Leov to its ranks. Justin completes the team’s roster to join Joe Barnes, Ines Thoma and Ludo May for 2016.

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Together, CFET will set out to defend their Enduro World Series Team title. As New Zealand’s fastest, Justin will be nailed on as one of the favourites for individual wins and the series overall.

For Canyon Founder & CEO, Roman Arnold, bringing Justin on board enhances CFET’s standing as one of the strongest outfits in enduro.

“Welcoming a top rider like Justin to the Canyon family is really exciting. Throughout his career, he’s shown his complete commitment to racing and that’s reflected by the fact he’s in the mix at every event he starts in. Justin is a great ambassador for the sport and for Canyon. Our team has progressed over three seasons in the EWS to become series champions in 2015. With Justin now on board, we’re confident we can reach new heights in 2016.”

At 31 years old, Justin has three EWS campaigns behind him having made the switchover from World Cup Downhill in 2012. After finishing third in the 2014 overall rankings, Justin stepped up to become one of only a handful of riders to win an EWS round in 2015 at Tweedlove and was leading the overall series before a crash in Whistler took him out for the rest of the season.

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With a new team and new setup, Justin is gearing up for everything 2016 can throw his way and has his sights set right on the top.

“I’m really happy to be given the opportunity to work with Canyon and to be around such passionate people. The presence they have at the EWS shows they are really into enduro. That’s what I’m about too. Every weekend I’m aiming to be up there, I just want to race and know I’ve pushed so hard that there was nothing more I could give. When you cross a finish line and you can’t hear or hardly see anymore because you’ve given so much, that’s what I live for.”

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Having fully recovered from the shoulder injury sustained in Whistler, Justin is now back out on the trails getting in the hours on his new race bike, the Strive CF:

“I frigging love my bike! The Strive gets me excited every time I ride it. It’s such a beast in DH mode, eats up the trail and sits just right but I love that I can climb the thing without that sacked out feeling you usually get from an aggressive 160 mm bike.”

The 2016 EWS circus kicks off in Valdivia, Chile, on 26 March. From there, Justin, Joe, Ines and Ludo will fight it out across eight rounds worldwide to make it another awesome 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 – 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.


On Track With Curtis Keene – The Story Behind Race Plate 139 – S2E6

This Episode deals with the passion and the risks involved with racing mountain bikes. It is dedicated to Will Olson, race plate number 139 at Stop #5 of the Enduro World Series, who unexpectedly passed away on August 1st 2015 while racing.

The athletes, the event organising committee, the volunteers, and the spectators, came into Colorado with excitement but left Crested Butte with heavy hearts.

This Episode is dedicated to Will. Ride in Peace.

The Josh Carlson Experience: EWS Crankworx

We caught up with Josh in his adopted hometown of Vancouver, where he’d just come back in from a training ride on his cyclocross bike, after an enforced week off the bike thanks to some dodgy jambalaya!

Good ride, Josh?

Yep, nice to be feeling better! It’s not a bad thing having a week off, though it’s not ideal to be turning yourself inside out every two minutes! I do feel super skinny and lean though – all my clothes fit real well!


Last time we chatted was before you went to France. Fill us in! 

It’s been a pretty wild month and a half actually, lots of up and downs. And man, racing in France and Colorado was pretty tough actually.

Just the steepness of the French tracks – it’s just a skill that I haven’t really developed. Since I got hurt in 2013, I didn’t get to race again in France until 2014, and that year I got really sick during the race, so I’ve never got into it. Plus the format, where you get one practice run then you race it, it’s a weakness of mine, because it’s so foreign.

This year I got caught out by the rain and had a crash in the first stage and hurt my hip. In my first run, in practice, it was dry. So I came down the hill changed a few things because it was quite pedally – put a Rock Razor on the rear and changed to cross country shoes. But in between a huge thunder storm rolled in and just turned the track to ice. So it was a mad rush to change things back to the original settings.

Then I rode really hesitant and had a crash, on a bridge that had been covered in plywood. But the time I saw the plywood, I was doing 1000 down this fireroad, and when I hit the wood I was just like an elephant on ice and tomahawked into the ground.

The second day was pretty sick, but I had a mental lockup. I don’t know why, just freaking out, grabbing the bars too tight and getting heaps of arm pump. And then the guy 30 seconds behind caught me and I was just going backwards. It was a pretty disappointing round all up.

Samoans, France. Round 4 of the EWS Series.
Samoans, France. Round 4 of the EWS Series.


What do you do when you start getting in a negative space like that?

I’m still trying to figure that out! You’ve got to relax and just go with it, but man I just got overwhelmed with memories of past experiences… It was bizarre just how much the feeling on the bike was the same as in 2013.

I took off feeling good, then I made a couple of mistakes and just panicked. It’s the power of the mind I guess.

I just tried to put that result out of my mind immediately. But regardless, it’s something I’m going to have to work on – that style of racing will always be part of the EWS, so if I’m ever going to be World Champion, I’ll need to learn how to ride it.

Samoans, France. Round 4 of the EWS Series.

And then it was onto Colorado?

Yep, I opted to go straight to Colorado to try and adjust to the altitude a little bit. Crested Butte is at 95000 feet, and a lot of the riding is so physical too – every liason stage is like an hour or a two hour ride, pedaling and pushing your bike. And then each stage is really physical too.

Unfortunately there were a few issues there with people pre-riding at lot of the stages… Unfortunately people found out what the race stages would be way ahead of time. So I kind of made a point of avoiding where I thought the tracks would be ahead of official practice and just rode the bike park, did all my training there. One of the trails in the bike park did end up being one of the stages in the race, but I just had to cop that on the chin. Just about everyone had ridden the bike park stage, so it was more of a level playing field. But the other stages, out in the back country, most of us were racing it blind, but then some people had already pre-ridden it five or six times and that’s a huge advantage.

Maybe I hurt my chances but not riding in the backcountry of Crested Butte, but I don’t want to get involved with that stuff.


Not asking you to name names, but what kind of riders do pre-ride stages? Are they further down the ranks?

Nah, it’s across the board unfortunately. Technically, they’re not doing anything wrong. I mean, before the tracks are officially announced, they can definitely make the case that they’re just riding, not breaking any rules. There’s no rule that says you can’t ride all the trails in the area, and there are some trails that I’d ridden in years past too, which ended up being in the race, but that was just by chance, not because we sought them out.

But it’s just an ethical thing in my mind. I mean, we heard, like most people, what trails were likely going to be raced, so we made a point of staying away. And it is racing, I guess. People will do what they can to win.


And in the end, the weekend turned out in the most disastrous way possible, with the death of a racer.

Yes, it was a tragedy. Everybody was shocked. In mountain biking it’s pretty rare to have a death. In motocross it used to happen a bit more regularly – everyone was aware of it. Whereas in mountain biking no one really contemplates it. But when shit hits the fan, it can really hit the fan, especially when you’re racing at EWS pace.

In other enduro events, backcountry things like the Trans Provence, you go there with a different attitude. You don’t go there at 100% race pace – you have to ride within your limits because you don’t get to see the track until you’re racing.

But at the EWS, you’re paid to be the fastest rider in the world. You line up on the start line, 100% prepared to go as fast as you possibly can.

Having said that, what happened to Will (Olsen, the deceased rider) has happened to everybody. Something as simple as clipping a pedal at speed. He wasn’t taking crazy risks, it was just one of those things. Everyone was pretty shaken up by it.


And then back to your hometown and on to Crankworx. It must have been nice to get back home after all of that.

It was amazing. Like a breath of fresh air, like I hit the reset button – seeing the missus, sleeping in my own bed. It just felt so good.

I mean Whistler isn’t my home, but it’s close enough, I spend a lot of time up there training and the trails are relatively similar. And then the tracks they announced for the racing were awesome too, with five fifteen-ish minute stages. It was sweet.

And then it when it rained for the couple of days prior to the race, everything just clicked, I was really enjoying riding. I was relaxed, happy, in the right frame of mind to race my bike. It sounds totally cliché, but having fun was all I was focused on, and it worked.

Everything clicked. Even the climbs! The first liaison is a forty minute climb, and normally you’d get off and have to push bits because it’s pretty steep. But I pedaled up the whole way up, barely even breaking a sweat – and I was like, ‘hmm, this could be a good day!’

Crankworx 2015


And it was a good day!

Yeah, the first stage, I had some lines I’d been riding when it was dry that were pretty adventurous, and I figured now it was wet I’d ride a bit more conservatively. But I just dropped in and rode it like it was dry and it worked! I came away with the win in stage 1, but I didn’t find that out till later. I didn’t actually stop to check my times at the end of each stage – there was a live timing board so you could check your times straight away, but I didn’t do that. I kept riding, ticking boxes, stage one done, onto stage two.

People kept coming up, frothing, telling me how good I’d done, but I certainly didn’t know I was winning until Barelli pulled me aside after the second stage and said, “Josh. You are winning.” And I was like, ‘Great, but I don’t care.’ And he just said, “Good, just keep doing what you’re doing.”

I was just having loads of fun. It was just so enjoyable to be attacking the track, my bike setup was great. After Barelli told me I was winning I didn’t really talk to anyone. A couple of people came up asking if they could interview me about how the day was going and was like, “You know, I’d rather not.” I just didn’t want to think about the results. I just wanted to stay happy.


Sounds like it’s the key for you! Some people need to get angry or fired up before they race, or go through their rituals, but for you it’s being happy.

For sure! It sounds totally clichéd but that’s it. I mean on stage 4, I was just yipping and yahooing the whole way down. I didn’t even know how I rode, but I knew I felt good, and I was just stoked!

After stage four, I still didn’t know any results, I knew I’d been leading after stage two, but that was it. Then in gondola on the way up to stage 5, I was with Jared Graves and Richie Rude. Jared asked me, “do you want to know the results?” And I told him, no, that I didn’t really care.

It was perfect, the whole way up in the gondola we didn’t even talk about results, just a whole lot of other shit. After the fact I found out that at that stage the battle for the win was between me and Richie!

Unfortunately in stage five, well it all came crumbling down.


What happened?

A piece of shale, or something, cut my tyre in this really raw line. And it didn’t go down straight away – I heard the pss, pss, pss of the tyre. I couldn’t believe it. You can hear me in my helmet cam, going “no way, no way.” I didn’t want to believe it. I was hoping it was just a caught stick, or a rock, or that it would seal, but then I hit the woods and it went dead flat.


What did you do?

Ran it. Just pedaled my arse off. It was a pretty wild ride. I didn’t slow down that much, if the trail was pointing down I pinned it as fast as a I possibly could. I definitely got pretty wild! It was only the pedaling that really hurt me, but I lost three and a half minutes overall. I couldn’t believe it.

Crankworx 2015


In spite of that, were you able to walk away from the race feeling positive? Knowing that for 80% of that race, you were winning maybe the biggest EWS round of the season?

Racing the Garbonzo DH the next day and having to focus on that, it helped me get over it. But for a couple of days, it definitely hurt. It took a while before I was able to look at the internet again! I mean, it was an eye opener too, to find out how many people had been watching and rooting for me. Walking around Whistler people would keep coming up, congratulating me, or telling me how gutted they were for me.

And it’s a cool feeling to know now that I am capable of winning, too. I mean, my goal this year was to consistently get top 15, maybe to win a stage, so come so close to winning a round was incredible.

Crankworx 2015
Racing the Crankworx dual slalom with team mate Marcelo Gutierrez.


And you got on the DH bike and raced the Canadian Open too?

Yeah, I felt like an absolute fish out of water! I was running around asking all the lads, Fearon and Bernard Kerr and stuff, things like “what pressure are you running? How do you do this?” I was an absolute squid, so far out of my comfort zone!


Haha! See that’s a surprise, I thought that a lot of that experience would translate from Enduro.

Nah, it’s so different. You’ve got three minutes, and there are no mistakes allowed. You need to push to the limit and keep it perfect. In Enduro, you’ve got five or so stages, you can regain time. In downhill you have to know the track, perfectly.

In practice it was wet and I cased one of the big step downs and just blew apart my drivetrain! Bent my cranks, my chain ring, destroyed the chain guide! There were all these jumps and I hadn’t even jumped them yet, and I was meant to do my qualifying run in an hour! So I rushed back up the hill after the guys rebuilt my bike, and just hucked into all these jumps! Somehow made it through it all, hammered it to get back up the hill, got up the top at 10:15 and my qualifying run was at 10:18… It was chaos!

Come race day I felt a lot better. The lines you take on a trail bike and a downhill bike are so different, you carry speed so differently. On a trail bike, you can take a tighter line into a corner and pedal out to get up to speed, but on a downhill bike you’re thinking about the next two corners, you need to be thinking further ahead.


Do you get to spend much time on the downhill bike?

I do, maybe once a week, but for me it’s all about finding the longest run possible and hammering it. I don’t work on the finesse and the speed you need for racing downhill. I use my downhill bike for Enduro training.

It’s funny though, I had like five practice runs on the course and for me that is heaps coming from Enduro, but for the downhill boys that’s nothing. So maybe it worked in my favour, because I did pretty well. For ages I was sitting in third, and I ended up with 18th overall against a pretty stacked field! I was super stoked. It made the whole week feel a lot better.


Most riders go from downhill to Enduro, you might find yourself going the other way!

For sure, it definitely sparks an interest! I was pretty shocked to be honest.


So you ride the downhill bike once a week, but what else do you do for skills training?

I’ll set aside certain days of the week where I have one area I focus on. I might go down the park and set out a course, just a figure of eight and practice cornering for hours. Or doing endos, or wheelies, skids – the raw, raw skills, the absolute basics.

Or I’ll do certain set things on the trail bike, that are fitness based as well as skills based. I mean, my skills base is definitely undeveloped compared to a lot of the other racers, just because I haven’t been doing it as long.


You’ve said before the guys who do well at these races are the ones with the full toolkit of basic skills.

Absolutely – you don’t know the tracks, so all you’ve got is your skills, your strength and your fitness.


And fitness wise, what do you do?

I ride the cross bike, and the road bike. But I spend 80% of the time on my Enduro bike, as much time as I can. But I’m lucky, I have the Mecca of the mountain bike world on my doorstep, and that’s why Lisa and I packed up our lives and moved here. You’ll never get bored, and you can work on every type of skill; there are basic trails, super steep trails, the gnarliest stuff, long trails, bike park trails… it’s endless really.


Will you go out and focus on a particular style of trail on a given training day?

For sure. I might go and ride one trail, eight times, with a different focus each time. I might ride it chainless, then only with my front brake, then only with the back brake, or concentrating on switching my feet in the corners. Or I might time myself over eight runs, and go faster each run, so my final run has to be my quickest.

Other days I’ll go and find steep trails or new trails and ride them blind, as fast as I can. So you definitely mix it up, but with plenty of focus too. That’s the advantage of living here I guess, I can pick a different zone or a different skill easily.

It also gives me lots of chances to test stuff out. Speaking of which, I’ve been trying out a bigger frame size, I’m now riding on an XL frame.


That’s a big bike!

Yeah it is a big, big bike. But I have an off-the-back riding style, and we’re hoping that it’ll spread my body weight around more evenly, give a bit better suspension performance, more grip on the front wheel, and take some pressure off the rear wheel. It definitely feels like I’ve got the capability of going faster, I felt that straight away. It’s kind of scary really!

Crankworx 2015

It definitely seems like Enduro bike setup overall is going a little more downhill. More coil shocks, bigger forks. Do you think that’s the case?

Yeah, the coil shock thing in particular. Last year I was one of the only riders using a coil, but now I’d say the majority of the field is on a coil at some events. The biggest thing about a coil shock is the predictability over a very long run, and there’s so much stability and traction, it’s an easy trade off even if you lose a tiny bit of pedaling performance.


Well, we’ll let you go mate! Your baby could be here any minute!

Hahaha, yeah that’s right. I’m not going anywhere now till the baby is here – the next four weeks of training will all be within an hour of home and my phone’s staying in the pocket on maximum volume!

On Track With Curtis Keene – Symphony Of Skills – S2E3

Wild weather, slippery courses and the continued search for speed and fitness are all on the menu as Curtis and the rest of the athletes of the Enduro World Series travel to Scotland.

Riding a bike in difficult conditions like these is one thing, but racing a bike in the mud and the cold is something else completely different.

As Curtis continues to search for the pieces of the puzzle he’ll need to get back into the Top 15, one of the EWS’s main contenders sees his season crushed due to injury. Aggressive racing, harsh Weather and a new Series leader will all emerge from the woods of Peebles.

Justin Leov’s diary #6 – EWS Whistler

Sitting on the couch with my arm in a sling was the last thing I thought I would be doing at the end of the Whistler EWS.

My series lead took all of about 2 minutes to disappear in Stage 1.


I lost my wheels on a slippery wooden bridge and knew as I hit the ground that my shoulder was dislocated. The next 45 minutes walking off the mountain I experienced some of the greatest pain I have known in my career. Getting to the hospital and finally getting it back in along with some pain relief was like heaven. A big thank you to the guys who helped me off the mountain, your support was really appreciated! I am now left with the thoughts of what could have been for the remainder of my season.

Injuries aren’t something you ever plan for, but in the back of your mind you know they can strike at any moment. It goes without saying that I am pretty gutted at the timing of this injury. Although my shoulder was separated and relocated fairly simply, there is a break inside the shoulder which needs to be fixed. This means surgery and a 3-6 month intensive recovery period. I have chosen to fly back to New Zealand for this. Sadly I have to sit out the remaining EWS rounds in Spain and Italy.

Looking back it’s been one hell of a year and I must remind myself that I have  achieved a lot. My first win in Scotland was a highlight for sure but also having consistent speed each weekend has been a huge confidence booster for me. Knowing that my training and equipment is dialled and where it needs to be to challenge for wins is also reassuring knowledge. I will carry these positive points forward and build on them for next season to come back stronger, faster and hungrier for the win.

I’ve been stoked this year to see new competitors pushing hard and being rewarded with exceptional results. Greg Callahan in Ireland was a perfect example. That whole race was incredible, I will remember the amazing crowd at that event for the rest of my life, it was a privilege to stand on the podium in 2nd at that round and soak up the atmosphere! Richie Rude is another example of an exceptional athlete making a name for himself. The younger guys are on the charge which keeps us “experienced” racers on our toes. That’s only good news for the racing and means exciting nail biting finishes to come.


I must also say I think last week in Colorado was a reminder to us all how precious life is! Although I never met Will, we as mountain bikers all share the same passion and must remember how strong the bond is that we all share. Enjoy the trails and racing but appreciate your riding buddies. We’re all part of the same family!

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Lastly big thanks to my supporters behind the scenes who made this diary happen this year. Adidas eyewear for being so supportive and pulling it together for me. Théâtre des Opérations for the productions and keeping everything on time! My wife Tory and my manager Martin for editing my numerous grammatical errors and also you guys for reading and showing support!

Off to get a new shoulder now and start the road to recovery. Looking forward to seeing you guys out there real soon!

The Josh Carlson Experience: EWS, Round 3, Scotland

Throughout the 2015 Enduro World Series we’ll be bringing you an insider’s perspective of Josh’s performance. For this unique series, we’ve teamed up with Today’s Plan, an Australian training tools provider, who work with Josh to analyse his training and monitor his performance. (Check out our first impressions of Today’s Plan here).

, during the Tweedlove Enduro, Peebles Scotland. EWS#3
The fans came out in droves to line the muddy trails. Josh in lightweight mode on the second day of racing.

Congratulations! You’re racking up good results like a mad man!

Thanks, it was good. Yeah, there’s always stuff to improve on. I definitely put together more good stages than in the last race, but when I look back at the GoPro footage all I can see is me bleeding seconds! Wrong gear here, or where I stuffed up a corner here, I was a bit disappointed. But to come away with ninth is great, and it’s good be competitive, it’s good to be consistent.

And those are bad habits that I’ve got, bad habits that have cost me a lot more in the past than just a few thorns in my arse.

I guess hindsight is a miserable bitch. When you see how tight the times are and you look at the little mistakes, you just realise what your result could have been. Especially if I look back to Ireland – the stupid little things cost you so much time. I mean, there was no reason in Ireland for me to have that first crash, I didn’t need to go 67km/h down that goat track, I could have wiped off two seconds on that straight and made up 15 seconds on the whole stage. And those are bad habits that I’ve got, bad habits that have cost me a lot more in the past than just a few thorns in my arse.

But at least now I feel like I know the speed it takes to be up there. And my plan this year isn’t to go out there and smoke everyone, it’s to be consistent and smooth, and be sustainably competitive.

Weather came into play in Scotland – what’s it like racing in those horrible conditions?

You’ve got to relax. You can’t get stressed about it because you can’t control it – all you can control is what you’re doing, your attitude. Being wet is definitely annoying, but focusing on it achieves nothing.

And man, there was shit flying everywhere! It was like raining from the ground up, it was hilarious.

Stage 5 in Scotland was absolutely diabolical. It was one of the gnarliest, wettest, most rutted riding I’ve ever done. Further down the stage the ruts were bottom bracket deep, you couldn’t take a foot out of your pedal, because as soon as your other foot dropped down it would jam into the rut and it was like a rodeo, like you’d slapped that bull on the arse and it was go time! Your wheels are stuck, your foot’s full of mud, you’re sliding down the hill… it was actually pretty funny, fishing the stage you’re like ‘what the hell just happened?’

, during the Tweedlove Enduro, Peebles Scotland. EWS#3

It was so muddy on that stage that we took off our mud guards. A few amateurs who’d been down ahead of us said ‘take that mud guard off or your wheels won’t turn in stage 5’, but usually the trails are vastly different when we ride them because another 200 riders have been down the track. But then when we saw Brosnan and Ropelato and Curtis Keene all saying the same thing, and it was like this weird panic going around the top 20 riders, everyone was ripping their fenders off! And man, there was shit flying everywhere! It was like raining from the ground up, it was hilarious.

Take a closer look at Josh’s performance, stage by stage, in Scotland. Use the menus on the right to switch between the various stages and to control playback speed. Keep an eye on his heart rate throughout – he might be primarily descending, but his efforts are through the roof. Powered by Today’s Plan

Now in most of the photos I see of you, you’re riding without a pack. What gear do you carry, and how do you stash it?

Yep, I try to get away without a pack if it’s at all possible. Normally I’ll wear a cross-country jersey under my race jersey, and just stash everything in the pockets. It all comes down to water; if you’re never more than an hour or two from a feed station, I can get by with one bottle and a few bars and stuff. And then I’ll take a tube, pump, two CO2 canisters, a multi-tool with a quick-link, a hanger, some tape and a cable attached to it. And for Scotland, because of the mud, I took a little pack of rags and a spare pair of gloves too.

Sometimes you’re in an open face, sometimes a full face. Are there rules, or is it up to you?

Unless the rules stipulate you have to wear a full face, I’ll make a call and commit to one helmet or the other for the whole day. The times that I have tried taking both, I’ve ended up getting my helmet caugh on trees. So as much of an annoyance as it is, if I’m running a full face, I’ll run it all day. I’ll take the cheek pads out on the climbs and even if it’s a bit annoying, I just deal with it. A full face definitely gives you more confidence to go fast.

In Scotland, the second day lent itself to a lighter setup, so I ran an open face helmet. I also changed my tyres to lighter casings (Snake Skins, not Super Gravity tyres), ran an air shock not the coil shock, and changed my shoes to a stiffer more XC style shoe. Pretty simple changes, but they made a big difference.

, during the Tweedlove Enduro, Peebles Scotland. EWS#3
If he can avoid it, Josh will ride without a pack, stashing all his spares in an XC jersey under his race jersey.

There are obviously a lot of different ways that Enduro races can be run, with plenty of different formats. Do you see any consolidation happening there, and do you have a preference? 

My preference is definitely for the Ireland and Scotland style format where you get to practice the tracks. If I can get a couple of runs in, I feel a lot more confident. I guess the blind racing is a skill I’ve never really encountered but I’m having to learn it! I don’t think they will consolidate to one particular format; I think one of things that makes the EWS so appealing is that it’s not just catered to one style of rider – racing those French races, the blind races, is so different because you have to be so sharp and aware.

Do you get at least some kind of look at the track?

Yes, you get one roll down, but it’s a once-over look at a 15-17 minute track, and then you literally have 20 minutes till you go up to race it. So the amount you’re going to remember of a 15 minute track with one roll down is not much. And you don’t even get a chance to really think about it or watch back your GoPro footage, because you normally have only 15 or 20 minutes till you’re heading back up, and if you’ve got a mechanical, or you’ve got to eat or something, that 20 minutes evaporates pretty fast.

As I said, my preference is for the races where you get a couple of days practice, and I like to try to get two runs on each stage, even though it does mean they’re very big days. In the two weeks that we raced over there, I had almost 40 hours of riding within 12 days, which is a lot to deal with. My team mate Yoann, he went for a different approach, he did only one practice run of each stage so he’d be fresher for race day, because he think he’s faster that way.

When you do hit a piece of singletrack it’s some skinny goat herder track littered with loose rock – it feels like you’re riding a tightrope.

But when we head to France, it’s a different world over there. A lot of time there aren’t even trails – it’s just a bunted section through the grass and shrubs and woods down a 2500 metre high alp. At the end of the weekend it’s the sickest track you’ll ever ride, but at the start of the weekend it’s just wild grass. And when you do hit a piece of singletrack it’s some skinny goat herder track littered with loose rock – it feels like you’re riding a tightrope. I mean, it’s nothing like we do in Australia, and the first time I rode in France like that, I went away in an ambulance.

How are you going to approach it then so you don’t overcook it? 

You just can’t go 100%. Every time you think, ‘it’s just a grassy slope, I’m not going to touch the brakes,’ you need to say ‘hold on a second – why do that?’. The two seconds you might possibly gain by taking that huge risk aren’t going to make the real difference over 15 minutes, what makes a difference is your raw skill, the tools in your tool box, the basics. You see the guys like Jared and Jerome, it’s all about the full skill set – Jared will win in Whistler, and he’ll win in France, Jerome’s the same, winning in Chile and then in Rotorua, completely different conditions.

Then you’ve got a guy like Nico Voullioz who has won 14 World Championships – I haven’t even done 14 international races yet, let alone win one!


Enduro isn’t like downhill – lots of guys in their 30s, even their late 30s, are doing seriously well – that must give you a lot of confidence still being young that you can have a healthy, long career in the sport.

It does make me feel good to see that the guys who are winning a lot now, like Graves, Leov and Clementz are a few years older. At the same time, compared to those guys, I still feel like I’m a 21 year old rookie! They’ve got so much experience. I remember taking a chairlift was Graves in Whistler last year and he was talking about winning his first National Championship when he turned to downhill after racing XC, and he was 19. That was like 12 or 13 years ago, and he was racing and winning National Champs! Then you’ve got a guy like Nico Voullioz who has won 14 World Championships – I haven’t even done 14 international races yet, let alone win one! 14 World Championships! So on one hand it forces me to realise where I am and what I’ve come to, and that’s a good feeling, but on the other hand it’s a little bit daunting. These guys are winning Enduros for a reason. But on the other hand you’ve got guys like Greg Callaghan who is killing it, first year pro getting podiums. But it does give me confidence to know that I’ve got time to make this happen, and the faith that I’ve got Giant behind me and that they believe in me too, that I can climb up onto that top step.

Do you have a particular rider on the circuit who you most look up to? 

Hmm, it’s kind of funny because I don’t know that much mountain bike history. But I do look at those really experienced riders and learn from what they do; the way Fabien Barel attacks a race track for instance, the work they put in, why they’re so skilful. I guess I look up to them all, because you can’t win one of these races as a fluke. You can’t pull together seven great stages over a whole day of racing by accident. So I definitely respect and admire them all.

 We’ll have to lend you a copy of Headliners 2, mate, so you can brush up on your history of downhill. I think we’ve still got one on VHS. Cheers once again. 

, during the Tweedlove Enduro, Peebles Scotland. EWS#3
Suits you.





Behind the Scenes, Justin Leov’s First EWS Win

It’s Not Over ’til it’s Over!


With back to back EWS weekends I think everyone knew it would come down to who could recover the best from Ireland. It was in Peebles last year where I managed to score my first podium ever and with two days of racing so much can happen, so it’s an exciting race. Coming from near perfect conditions in Ireland it was almost a given before I checked the weather forecast that we would see some typical Scottish weather over the week. It was pretty much what we expected but with extreme changes, we would see everything from blue skies to sideways rain with ice, axle-deep mud to fresh dusty loam! The week would see a lot of woollen clothing, rain jackets and waterproof gloves and our nutrition requirements would be huge this week.

So with the Tweedlove EWS there are basically two aspects, day one on the Innerleithen side and day two at Glentress, a few kms up the road. The first day at Innerleithen would see the more DH style trails; we would start with a physical stage but once through that it would be tight trees, tree roots and who could stay on. Day two on the Glentress side would have a mix of technical stages in the woods and flat out hammer to the wall endurance stages. This is where I learnt last year the race is won or lost and carrying speed while being in top physical condition would really make the difference. With these facts I had a simple game plan. Get through day one without any major dramas and then put all my energy into day two where the freshness would pay off.. Hopefully!

Practice this time around was over three days, it allowed a day on each side and one day of ‘choose which ever stage you want’. Learning these courses requires energy and there is always the fine line of how many times do you want to climb back to practice versus saving the energy with a single run. This time around we chose to ride both stage 1 and 2 twice and then a single on stage 3 and stage 4. For a first day of practice this was around 2000 meters of climbing. Getting the morning done with mild conditions we soon got to experience our first weather patterns coming in and rain showers to play in.

For the second day of training we would see rain on and off all day. This would break into blue sky moments at about a ratio of 20mins dry to 10mins wet. The climb back out from stage 5 would also show us sideways rain and being blasted by ice which felt like being on a windy sandy beach! Today we opted to start with a single on stage 6, then ride stage 7 twice then stage 8 and finish with a couple of stage 5. This meant we could learn the fresher DH style courses and save energy on the longer more physical stages by only riding once.

After our morning roll down stage 6 it was evident this would be a key stage. It was nearly 13 mins long on the camera footage and had three decent climbs which would totally break up the field. I knew there would also be some controversy about this stage.

It was so physical and basic in terms of technical aspects that some people would be struggling to be able to handle it.

None the less I was happy, physical is what I train for as well as technical. We’re not just racing Downhill, Enduro is meant to be in my opinion a mixture of both. With another 1800 meters climbed today in the rain I was starting to once again feel the body.

The morning of the last day of training I was feeling quite tired so I canned my original plan of a run on stage 1, 3 and 4 and opted for a single run on stage 1 and then put the feet up and rest the remaining day. It was the right call for me and by evening I was feeling human again and ready for the abuse I was going to get the following days.

Race Day 1: Innerleithen 4 stages with a forecast of blue skies! Happy days.

With around 7 hours from start to finish, this would be a stress free day in terms of liaison times. Each stage would allow us to cruise up and not have to drop the hammer at any point in the day to make a start time. Beginning on Stage 1 this would have us pedal straight out of the gate and then hit awkward speed zapping rocks before settling into the run on freshly cut wooded sections and steep chutes. It was a bit of shock to the system for first stage of the day and for some reason I felt a bit flustered. Crashing on right hander near the top of rocky section I instantly swore to myself and pushed on for the rest of the run annoyed. Not the start I had hoped for.

Stage 2 was wide open fast and some bar grabbing trees which were damn close at high speed.

I liked this stage a lot and felt good in training going fast. This time around I threw down a fast run without crashing and slotted into 2nd for the stage behind Richie Rude. Back on track.

With a timing check and a feed station I didn’t bother refilling my bladder as there would be water 30 mins up the next climb at another feed station (well I thought there would be at least) arriving there I was gutted to see all the water had gone and I would be on my own for the next hour before they hopefully refilled the water if I was lucky!

Stage 3 was flat out fast up top above the tree line then a moment of darkness as we entered the woods Clear and sharp vision is essential in our sport, in such conditions even more. High quality lens is a must. I had a clean run with no mistakes so another one checked off and happy for the final stage of the day. Climbing back up for stage 4 had us pass the previous empty feed station once more. Luckily for me this time there was water and I was a happy man. Neglecting fluid is something that you never want to do in these races.

Final stage of the day and this one would race us further down the hill than stage 3. It would be a similar terrain with tight woods and plenty of roots to deflect the wheels off line. Unfortunately for me it wasn’t to be a clean run and although I felt my riding was well under control.

I misjudged my speed into a right hander and down I went for the second time of the day. Finishing the stage I was annoyed again with myself for giving up some more time to leaders.

Official time check would show I was 20 seconds down for the day behind Richie Rude and in 9th position.

Frustration didn’t last long though and my focus changed to day two and how I would need not only a clean day but there would be no way I could leave anything on the stages. #fullgas!


I woke on Sunday to read some really disappointing news. The event would be cut from four stages today down to two due to some predicted weather and high winds that could potentially bring trees down in the forest. I could totally understand the safety aspects and knew the call needed to be made but still, I was gutted. I thought at this stage I could bring back enough time in two stages to maybe get back to a podium finish but that would be riding the socks off it so to speak. I thought my chances of being able to win would be a far push.

Setting off for the day we had much colder conditions than our previous day of blue skies. Cold winds and rain showers reminded me of the practice days before and with only stage 5 and stage 8 it was going to be super short day in the elements. Stage 5 would be a short fresh downhill stage that finished on slippery roots. The ruts were deep in practice so everyone was going to have a mission of stage for the race. It didn’t take more than a few corners and I realised this was going to be a tough one to stay clean. The mud was incredible, every rut wanted to grab your wheels and if you slowed your speed down too much the mud was so thick it could throw you off as well. It was one of those stages you had to go fast and hold on and whatever you did, keep your feet on while in the ruts! I managed a fast clean run and 3rd for the stage. Richie had had a real problem In this stage losing his lead and with my clean run I had moved up the ladder to around 5th. I needed to empty everything I had for the final stage of the day if I was to achieve my goal of clawing myself back into a podium position.

There was a couple of key points to stage 8. It started further up the hill than previously planned due to the day being shortened. It now would have about 2 mins of stage 6 on the start of the stage and this is all bike park style corners where speed carrying is really important. We then would climb a short section before hitting the wide open part of the run and where it got fun! The middle of the run was again all about carrying your speed through flowy turns before the most aggressive short climb followed by a fire road downhill and then grind up the last short hill to have a fast and flowy descent to the finish.

I needed to be aggressive for this one and I planned to hurt myself massively on the pedalling.

I would say this run was on the edge for me, I had some moments where I was at the seat of my pants but just held it together and then the hurt I put though my legs was incredible. This was one of those runs when I was in constant fight between wanting to stop pushing so hard because it hurt so bad and the desire to want to win so bad it pushed me to hold it at the absolute limit. I remember the feeling of not enough oxygen as I crossed the finish line but with nothing left on the stage I was totally happy with my day and super exited to see how I had done with the weekend’s standings.


A short 10min ride back to the finish arena and with the final time check I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on the timing board. I had bloody done it! I had brought back not only enough time to hit the podium but had just sneaked past Florian Nicolai and Greg Callaghan to take my first ever EWS victory! It was my biggest dream come true, speechless it didn’t really sink in until the podium and hearing my name called out as the winner, I couldn’t wipe the cheesy grin off my face. What a bloody weekend and what a bloody day!! Taking over the series lead from Jerome was another unexpected surprise and with a dominant ride from Tracy and another solid ride from Rene once again we were the top team for the weekend. You just can’t ask for anything better than that!

I feel hugely proud to be series leader. It’s something to hold with respect and I’ve always looked up to the riders holding it.

Heading into a short break it’s now time to have a regroup and freshen the mind and body again. The next round in France will be another battle and will have its challenges but getting back to the higher mountains is something I’m really looking forward to and seeing some long stages again will be a lot of fun!


See you out there

The Josh Carlson Experience: EWS, Round 2, Ireland

 Throughout the 2015 Enduro World Series we’ll be bringing you an insider’s perspective of Josh’s performance. For this unique series, we’ve teamed up with Today’s Plan, an Australian training tools provider, who work with Josh to analyse his training and monitor his performance. (Check out our first impressions of Today’s Plan here).

So Josh, a good weekend?

JC: Yep, although I’m a little disappointed and annoyed that I made some dumb mistakes, I’m stoked I managed to get back up there in the end. It was a pretty inconsistent day for me really – I was in 48th after stage 1 – so to end up with my best ever stage result (3rd in stage 7) and my second best placing overall was good.

, during the Emerald Enduro, Wicklow, Ireland. EWS#2

What made stage 7 such a good result for you?

JC: I don’t know really, other than that I just really tried to stay calm and collected. I didn’t have any crazy lines, other than one huck up the top, so I guess I just have to put it down to the fact I kept it calm, and that I had a really good picture of the track in my head. Stage 7 was one that I’d walked during the week, so I felt that I knew it pretty well.

, during the Emerald Enduro, Wicklow, Ireland. EWS#2
Track walks are time consuming and energy sapping but valuable nonetheless.

You don’t normally get a chance to walk the tracks, do you?

JC: It depends on when the course is marked and how early we get to town. It’s definitely an advantage if you do get a chance to walk them – by the time you get to practice, you already feel like you’ve done a handful of runs down it.  But it’s sort of a catch 22; walking the tracks might give you a good picture of the them, but it takes a long time and can be really draining too.

Overall, I think walking them definitely helps. Especially at this race, the racing was so close that ever the tiniest error made a huge difference. Honestly, the time differences were hundredths of a second, it was like a full-on downhill race, or seven downhill races really.

How did your preparation compare for this round, versus that of Rotorua? 

JC: I definitely came into this round feeling a lot better. Rotorua kept bringing up all kinds of flashbacks to last year, when I crashed out hard in round 1. I had a few crashes early in practice in Rotorua and it definitely was on my mind.

, during the Emerald Enduro, Wicklow, Ireland. EWS#2

Did you change your bike setup much this time around?

JC: Yes and no – I didn’t make any changes during the race except for my tyre pressure on one stage, but I did change a bit in the lead up, as the tracks dried up getting closer to race day I put a Rock Razor tyre on out back, but the main change I made was with my fork. I actually took a volume spacers out of my fork and increased the pressure, on the suggestion of our team mechanics. We went from four tokens and 75psi, to two tokens with 85psi, and then made some low-speed compression adjustments. The front end grip went up like 100%, so this will definitely be my baseline setting from now on. We’re super lucky to have those guys in our corner – we can throw all our dumb ideas at them, they can tell us we’re dickheads and point us in the right direction!

 The demands of the racing are pretty unique – it’s like an all-day ride, but with half an hour’s worth of full-on, race pace sprint efforts thrown in – so you’ve got make sure you’re getting enough solid fuel in.

One slightly more, I guess, technical thing I wanted to ask you about is nutrition and looking after yourself across the whole week of practice and racing. How do you handle it?

JC: It’s a good question, because I don’t think a lot of people really consider how much of a factor it can be. I mean, over a couple of days of practice, you’ll do 11 0r 12 hours of riding, and then another six on race day, so how you eat and hydrate is a big deal.

And it’s cumulative too, one day will affect the next. I came to practice on Saturday, and within about 20 minutes of heading up the first climb I knew I was in calorie deficit from the day before, so I had to make sure I kept my intake up throughout the whole day. Because come race day, if you’re bonking, there’s no way you can focus. The demands of the racing are pretty unique – it’s like an all-day ride, but with half an hour’s worth of full-on, race pace sprint efforts thrown in – so you’ve got make sure you’re getting enough solid fuel in. I’ll try to have a few larger items, things like pizza even, and then gels and bars too. I make sure I avoid things that are going to send me way up, and then crashing back down again, you don’t want your energy levels to yo-yo. Ok, right at the end of the day before the final stage a sugar hit might get you across the line, but you don’t want that throughout the bulk of the day.

We read a lot about the great atmosphere out on track there. What was it like?

JC: The Irish were unreal, on some stages the track was lined from top to bottom. There was one wooded section that I came into and I thought the air was full of dust, but then I realised it was smoke from all the chainsaws that people were revving! Another section the crowd was so loud you heard them ages before you saw them – they were so loud for each rider you could use them to gauge how close you were to the rider in front or how close the rider behind was to you. And they were all dressed up, crocodile suits, oompa loompas, bananas, it was classic. It really felt like a World Cup race.


And was it a surprise to see Greg Callaghan take the win? Any home ground advantage here?

JC: Man, it was amazing to be part of it, having him win in front of a home crowd was incredible, the crowd just erupted! He had like 20 family members out on course, the atmosphere was insane! I don’t think saying it was a home ground advantage does him justice – even if you know the trails, it’ll only get you so far, you need to have all of the tools in the basket. And he sure as hell didn’t fluke the win – that’s the thing with Enduro, you cannot just have a freakish run or somehow fluke the win, you need to be consistent across an entire day of racing, not just a couple of minutes.

It’s great to see when a home town rider wins too, it does so much for the sport in the town, so many people will be pumped on mountain biking in Ireland now. Hopefully we get an EWS round in Australia one day too.

 Take a closer look at Josh’s performance, stage by stage, in Ireland. Use the menus on the right to switch between the various stages and to control playback speed. Keep an eye on his heart rate throughout – he might be primarily descending, but his efforts are through the roof.


Orange Dirt World Team – That Flippin’ Five a
mountainbiking video by CaldwellVisuals

“The Orange Five just begs to be ridden. Check out Phil Atwill give her a good rippin’ down in the Surrey Hills as he obliterates corners, hucks everything in sight and shreds the early summer dust.

Loam tracks, dirt jumps, the south has it all (bar mountains), and Phil gladly nails the 5 inch travel bike through everything at mach 10 unscathed. He then decided to top it off by going upside down.. that flippin’ five, eh!

The first round of the EWS is rolling around in a few weeks time over in Ireland, Phil is just giving the competitors a taste of how he’s going to approach the stages. Full throttle and sideways.”


The Josh Carlson Experience: EWS, Round 1, Rotorua

Josh Carlson 7
Tipped in on stage 5 of the Rotorua EWS.

We’ll be bringing you an insider’s perspective. So insider, in fact, that you’ll even be able to see what Josh’s heart is doing. For this unique series, we’ve teamed up with Today’s Plan, an Australian training tools provider, who work with Josh to analyse his training and monitor his performance. (Check out our first impressions of Today’s Plan here).

Through the year we’ll be bringing you a replay of Josh’s racing through rider telemetry; watch exactly what Josh puts his body through on each stage. Josh will also be providing us with some background about the racing, his bike setup, thoughts on his performance and more too.

Jump on board with Josh for stage 6 of the Rotorua EWS, straight down the Taniwha downhill track. Take a look at Josh’s ride data for this stage – it’s crazy to see how much time he spends in his VO2 and anaerobic heart rate zones. 

Take a closer look at Josh’s performance, stage by stage, in Rotorua. Use the menus on the right to switch between the various stages and to control playback speed. Keep an eye on his heart rate throughout – he might be primarily descending, but his efforts are through the roof.

Flow: So Josh, how was round 1?

JC: It was a pretty tough race, for sure. There were a lot of pieces of the puzzle to put together! Because a lot of the track was tight and rooty, you had to attack it, if you didn’t you were just bleeding time. There weren’t really any huge huck lines or areas where you could save a bunch of time, so it was all about attacking the entire course, and getting the little stuff right.

Flow: So did it lend itself to a particular style of racer?

JC: Yes and no. All the Frenchies with ninja skills did well, but then stages 6 and 7 were quite different. They were far more balls to the wall, they’re really downhill tracks – I mean, one stage was the previous National DH track, the other is the current National DH track. So it was no surprise to see World Cup downhillers take those stages out.

For me, this round really highlighted that a good Enduro racer has to be an real all-rounder, that your basic skills need to be solid. That’s what I kept coming back to, getting the basics right. That’s the thing with Enduro, you cannot be a one-dimensional rider. Look at Graves or Clementz – those guys are equally as good if it’s blasting down French walking tracks, open grass at full speed, or on the roots.

Flow: As an EWS round, was this race any more physically challenging than others?

JC: It wasn’t necessarily any more physically taxing, but it was still six and a half hours of ride time. Having said that, if stages 2 and 3 hadn’t been shortened it would have been really tight. The liaison stages were already pretty tight – I was getting to the start gate with about 10 minutes till my race run on each stage, which is really only just enough time to get focused, set your suspension or tyres pressures, get your goggles on, then it’s time to go.

But that’s really ideal, it’s what I aim for. If you’re there at the start for much longer than that, you can start to lose focus, get all distracted. That’s one of the real challenges of Enduro sometimes if you’re racing – it can feel too much like a ride with your mates, because you chat away on the climbs and then you have to be able to switch into race mode

Josh Carlson 5
Steep and slippery. Success in these conditions is all about focus, says Josh.

Flow: Is there anything you like to do to help focus?

JC: I guess I just try to take myself away from others a little, focus on my breathing, try to visualise the track. Don’t let myself get distracted by little things.

Flow: Talking about visualising the course, you’re running a GoPro. How much do you use the footage to help learn the trails?

JC: I use it flat out And you really need to – if you’re not running a helmet cam, you’re going to be off the back, big time. Because with the way practice is set up, you really only get maybe two, tops three, runs down each stage. I’m using the GoPro 4 now, with the LCD screen, and I’ll even review the track in between runs during practice. At Rotorua, you had 50 minutes of racing to try and recall, so with just a couple of runs, that’s just about impossible without watching the footage.
Unfortunately at Rotorua there was a bit too much local knowledge about what tracks were going to be raced ahead of time, so while most people had just a couple of runs on each stage, a lot of locals had been practicing the stages flat out. That made having footage even more important.
Flow: You started last year off with a massive, massive crash in Chile. Were you thinking about that this year?

JC: I definitely was aware of it, for sure. Especially since the first stage we practiced had the most potential for carnage, it was fastest, straight into the downhill track. It was very easy to get carried away – new bike, sick track, new kit, heaps of people watching. That’s what happened last year! I jumped on and was like ‘man, I am going to kill it!’, next thing you’re crashing into the rocks going at one thousand! We saw that this year too, they sent like 20 people away in ambulances on that first day.

Josh Carlson 3
A coil shock adds a little weight, but the traction is worth it for Carlso.

Flow: Did you toy with bike setup much for Rotorua?

JC: I changed tyre pressures quite a lot during the racing. On the rooty stages I was running 22psi up front, maybe 25 in the rear. Then for stages 6 and 7, where you’re really hitting stuff faster, I was back up to 25psi in the front and 28 rear. I also used a coil shock for this race too. I’ll be using a coil as my default setup this year, only running an air shock if the course doesn’t require as much traction or I need the lockout. The coil shock is just sick – the amount of traction is insane! A few other guys are running coils too. Cedric (Gracia) love his, so does my team mate Adam (Craig).

Flow: Thanks, Josh. Catch up with you after round 2 in Ireland!

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.

Damien Oton and Theo Galy in Portugal

Join Enduro rippers Damien Oton and Theo Galy on a pre-season training mission in Portugal’s paradisiacal Azores region.

Fifteen hundred kilometers from mainland Europe, the nine islands of the Azores spring from the Atlantic, forming a volcanic archipelago covered in lush forest and featuring fast, flowing descents. Oton and Galy charge singletrack mainstays such as “The Cathedral”, rip ancient fishermen’s trails, and explore cultural quirks from stew brewed in the earth’s bowels—a local delicacy—to high-temp hot spring therapy.

Flow’s Rotorua EWS Dreambike: Pivot Mach 6

When Shimano Australia asked us if we’d like an entry to the opening Enduro World Series round in Rotorua, we snapped it up faster than Jared Graves out of the gate. But we needed a bike.

Sure, we could’ve used a review bike or one of our own personal fleet, but we wanted something special.

Yes please.
Yes please.

The Pivot Mach 6 is a bike that we’ve always liked (you can find our review of last year’s model here: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-pivot-mach-6-carbon/). One hundred and fifty five millimetres of DW link rear suspension pedals better than just about anything, whilst still gobbling up the hits when the trail points downhill.

Thank you Mr Weagle.
Thank you Mr Weagle.

With the frame sorted, the next step was suspension. Up front we opted for the Rockshox Pike RCT3 (which we’ve also tested: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-rockshox-pike/). This Pike needs no introduction, having been widely accredited as the new standard for fork performance. The ability to dial in a supple ride whilst still retaining control over the big hits makes the Pike a winner.

The RCT3 features low speed compression damping as well as lockout capability.
The RCT3 features low speed compression damping as well as lockout capability.

The rear suspension is handled by Fox. the Float X CTD with Trail Adjust is a shock we’ve been lucky to spend alot of time on (you can find our long term review here: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-fox-float-x-ctd-wtrail-adjust/). Despite the infuriating rebound dial, the Float X is an absolute ripper for Enduro racing. The smoothness of the entire stroke is remarkable, and the trail adjust allows you to fine tune your suspension past the regular CTD settings.

Where do I adjust my rebound?
Where do I adjust my rebound?

We didn’t have to worry about the drivetrain or wheels. Shimano Australia were nice enough to strap on a succulent mix of XT and XTR components. The eleven speed XTR drivetrain is a standout, providing lightening quick shifting and a wide range 11-40 tooth cassette.

Shimano's XTR cassette makes use of aluminium, steel and titanium cogs.
Shimano’s XTR cassette makes use of aluminium, steel and titanium cogs.

The wheelset, also supplied by Shimano, is the ever reliable XT hoops. Light, strong and dependable, we feel these are perfect for some Enduro abuse!

We don’t think there’ll be any shifting issues with the Pivot.

Being able to stop on a dime definitely gives you the confidence to push harder. Shimano XT brakes were an easy choice.

Our XT brakes are strapped onto a seven hundred and sixty millimetre wide carbon bar from Pivot.
Our XT brakes are strapped onto a seven hundred and sixty millimetre carbon bar from Pivot.

Our choice of dropper post was the KS Integra -a reliable choice that should require little maintenance. The post is also cable actuated, making repairs far easier than if a hydraulic system was used.

Black, black and more black.
Black, black and more black.

To round out the build we’ve decided to run Maxxis High Roller II tyres. The High Roller rolls quickly, but still provides enough cornering bite when required. For the fast, ‘hero dirt’ conditions of Rotorua we feel this is a good choice.

Rotorua, here we come!
Rotorua, here we come!

With Crankworx Rotorua fast approaching, it’s time to get out and get acquainted with our new Enduro weapon! We’ll be keeping you posted with our progress on the bike, so keep an eye out.

GT Factory Racing Unveil 2015 Bikes

GT Factory Racing have unveiled the bikes that they hope will carry them to a clutch of World title victories this season.

Watch out World Cup podiums.
Watch out World Cup podiums.

Both the GT Fury and GT Sanction are housed on 650b wheels and are the result of three seasons close collaboration between the Atherton family and their bike partner GT.

Gee and Rachel Atherton first rode the Fury back in 2012 when its original 26’ wheels and carbon frame carried Rachel to World Cup Overall victory, and earned GT Factory Racing the title of World’s Fastest Downhill Team

In 2013 the DH team trialled a completely redesigned Fury frame, to great effect. When Gee and Rach “did the double” on two consecutive race weekends, taking Male and Female World Cup titles at Fort William and Val di Sole, the mountain-bike world went wild.  By the end of the season Rachel had captured the World Cup Overall and the World Championship and the Downhill riders clinched another World’s Fastest Team accolade.

The move to 650b in 2014 was not without a few teething problems as the athletes adapted to new courses and a slightly different “feel” to their bikes but the Downhill team’s haul still included a World Cup and a World Championship win for Gee,  two World Cups for Rachel and World Cup wins for both of GT Factory Racing’s junior riders,  Taylor Vernon and Martin Maes.

How will Taylor Vernon fare stepping up to the elite category this year?
How will Taylor Vernon fare stepping up to the elite category this year?

The five-strong 2015 GT Factory Racing team will be looking to recapture the title of World’s Fastest Downhill team and to establish the Enduro team as a force to be reckoned with.

Martin Maes takes on the famous trails of Coronet Peaks.
Martin Maes takes on the famous trails of Coronet Peaks.

World Champion Gee Atherton said “ This will be our fourth season riding for GT. We had a lot of input into the design of the Fury, especially with the frame and getting the geometry perfect. We made quite a lot of changes to the Downhill bike last year and we ended up in a good place so basically this year’s bike is the bike that carried me to victory in World Champs.  There’s no major component changes, we’ve been working with Fox, Shimano and Continental for so long that the products feel like an extension of myself.  But even with the best equipment in the world it’s vital that the bikes are set-up right. My mechanic, Polish Pete has been wrenching for me for the past four years, I know that he will always have my bike dialled which means I can focus 100% on my ride. I can’t wait to race!


Gee’s sister Rachel agreed “We’ve made some small but telling changes to the geometry of my Fury for this season and I’m so excited riding it, I’ve been working with my mechanic Joe for two years now, in the first year we won both World titles, so that’s a massive goal for us in 2015!”


Over on the Enduro circuit Dan Atherton first unveiled his GT Sanction for the 2014 season.He said “ I designed this bike to race, and two years later I still have a massive grin on my face every time I ride it.”

Unfortunately a knee injury sustained on a routine training ride kept Dan out of most of the 2014 Enduro World Series but young team-mate Martin Maes flew the GT Factory Racing flag, racing in the General Classification despite his junior status he racked up an amazing7 stage wins across 7 races.

Speaking about his GT Sanction Dan said “ The bike is unchanged since 2014, apart from a fresh lick of paint.  People often underestimate the severity of the EWS courses – basically they are six World Cup tracks to be ridden in a day, it’s not terrain that all Enduro bikes can deal with.  The Sanction has the suspension and pedaling characteristics of the GT Fury but in a scaled down chassis. It’s a tough bike and 2015 is going to be the year that Martin and I push it even harder.”


Team Director Dan Brown said “I have never seen the team this focused going into a season.  Without exception the five riders have trained super-hard this winter and cannot wait to get started. Gee has a World Championship that he’s not going to give up without a huge fight, Rachel wants her titles back and Dan is more focused on racing than I have ever seen him, he’s concentrating on Enduro 100%, I haven’t even needed to hide his shovel!

Martin will ride his second season in the EWS  Elite class  while Taylor hits his first season in the senior ranks. Both of them have the confidence of a World Cup win behind them and are starting to put the lessons of the last two years’ into practice. They are still learning but they are aiming for the very top.

The 2015 bikes will carry striking new liveries, for the first time  Rachel will fly the flag for female riders with her own teal colour-way.

Will this be the bike that takes out the women's overall?
Will this be the bike that takes out the women’s overall?

The new bikes can be seen in action when Dan and Martin take part in the Torpedo 7 Coronet Enduro at Queenstown Bike Festival, NZ on March 20th and at Round 1 of the Enduro World Series (part of the Crankworx Festival at Rotorua) just eight days later.

The Downhill team will open their season at the Crankworx Downhill presented by IXS which takes place on Friday 27th March. Expect to see all of our riders in the mix.

The team would like to thank all of our partners for their essential and unwavering support,GT Bicycles, Silverline Tools, Jeep, Shimano, IXS, Continental, Fox Shox, Go Pro, Bell, Stans No Tubes, Pro, Muc Off, Hope, Oakley and SRM.


Frame                GT Fury

Shock                Fox DHX2

Fork                Fox 40

Stem                Pro Atherton Star Series 50mm

Headset            Hope Integrated

Grips                Pro Prototype

Bars                Pro Atherton Star Series

Shifter                Shimano Saint

Derailleur            Shimano Saint

Brakes            Shimano Saint 203mm

Seatpost            Pro Atherton Star Series

Saddle            Pro Atherton Star Series

Crank                Shimano Saint 165mm

BB                Shimano Saint

Ring                Shimano Saint 36t

Chain Guide            Shimano CD

Cassette            Shimano XTR 11-36 modified 6speed

Chain                Shimano XTR

Wheelset            Shimano Saint 32h on Stans Flow rims

Tyres                Continental Kaiser Projekt 2.4

Tubes                n/a Stans no tubes system


Frame                GT Sanction

Shock                Fox Float X Factory Series

Fork                Fox 36

Stem                Pro Atherton Star Series 35mm

Headset            Hope Integrated

Grips                Pro

Bars                Pro Tharsis

Shifter                Shimano XTR

Derailleur            Shimano XTR

Brakes            Shimano XTR Levers/Saint Calipers 180mm

Seatpost            Fox Doss 5”

Saddle            Pro Atherton Star Series

Crank                Shimano XTR 170mm

BB                Shimano XTR

Ring                Shimano XTR 34t

Chain Guide            Shimano CD

Cassette            Shimano XTR 11-40 11 speed

Chain                Shimano XTR

Wheelset            Shimano XTR Trail Wheelset

Tyres                Continental Baron Projekt 2.4

Tubes                n/a Stans no tubes system

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!


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.

Team DERT To Take on EWS

Australia has its first Enduro World Series team; Team DERT. Go do it for Gravesy! Read below for more details.

Australian mountain bikers will take on an unprecedented challenge in the Enduro World Series this year. The Downunder Enduro Race Team (Team DERT) will contest 6 rounds of the series that sees riders take on the most challenging trails an area has to offer. With races located in New Zealand, Canada, USA, France, Spain and Italy. Team DERT is supported by Event Management Solutions Australia (EMS Australia) with the goal of supporting talented riders who are looking to take on the EWS, without the security of being on the reserved riders list, or factory backing.

EMS Australia is the leading promotor of Enduro racing in the country and is keen to provide pathways for riders to take on the world’s best, including Toowoomba rider and 2014 EWS World Champion, Jared Graves. The successful bid for Official Team Status is quite a win for Team DERT, with a record number of teams applying for the limited number of spots. Team manager, Ian Harwood feels that the mix of strong riders, and a focus on future development was a key factor in the successful application.

Michael Ronning is certainly no stranger to the international race circuit. It’ll be great to see him on the EWS circuit with the support of fellow Australians on the team.

Team riders who have all excelled in the recent SRAM Enduro Series, presented by Santa Cruz will accrue points in the teams division, whilst ex World Cup racer and one of Australia’s first professional Mountain Bikers, Michael Ronning will be chasing podiums in the Masters class.

Team DERT will also participate in selected rounds of the recently announced Mountain Bike Australia National Enduro Series. Team DERT is supported by Event Management Solutions Australia and For The Riders. Individual riders received support from Giant Bicycles Australia and Santa Cruz Bicycles.

Jerome Clementz to Race the RockShox Enduro Challenge

Holy wheel of camembert, Mt Buller’s trails aren’t going to know what hit them!

Insane-fast Frenchman, 2013 EWS Overall Champ Jerome Clementz, is confirmed to race the opening round of the new RockShox Enduro Challenge at Buller! Come on now, Gravesy, you need to show this man who is boss on home turf.


Read on below for the official word.


The level of racing at the RockShox Enduro Challenge Powered by SRAM in Mt Buller in February is set to be hot, with 2013 EWS Champion Jerome Clementz confirmed as a starter for the inaugural Enduro event at Mt Buller on February 1.  Working with Event promotors, Event Management Solutions Australia and SRAM Australia, Jerome has structured his 2015 pre season training around being able to attend this  event.

The 2013 EWS Champion had a tough 2014 sustaining an injury early in the year that put him out of contention for the 2014 series, so is looking to come back to challenge 2014 Champion Jared Graves at the opening EWS event in Rotorua in March.

A number of other Northern Hemisphere riders are looking to come join JC at the RockShox Enduro Challenge events in Mt Buller and Toowoomba.

Learn more, or just enter dammit, at: www.gravityenduro.com.au

And in case you needed any more motivation to head to Buller, watch this vid to get the flavour of the place:



Video: Jared Graves in The Kootenays

There are core experiences that define a mountain biker. Like venturing into unfamiliar mountains to find amazing trails chiseled into the landscape, and then pushing your limits, against all common sense for the pure thrill of it. These experiences are woven into the psyche of every mountain biker. Jared Graves is not an ordinary rider. The reigning Enduro World Series champion is considered one of the most versatile mountain bikers in the world and when not racing, he’s all about having good times on the bike. “It’s all about going out in the bush with your mates and riding natural terrain, whatever you can find really and just having fun.” Following his victory at the Whistler EWS, Jared traveled deep into the Kootenay region of British Columbia.

Proven Here. The Kootenays x SB6 Carbon.


Rosemary Barnes and Dan MacMunn defend Australia-wide Gravity Enduro Series titles in Cairns

The final round of the Australia-wide Gravity Enduro Series was hosted by the Cairns Mountain Bike Club at Smithfield on the weekend. The local rider Berend Boer from Holloways Beach stood his ground and a gripping finish against the Series Leader Dan MacMunn from Spring Gully (VIC) resulted in a tie between the two riders. In the elite women’s division, Genevieve McKew from Sydney won ahead of Rosemary Barnes, whose second place brought her enough series points to claim the overall win.

With some of the club’s strongest riders at the start of the final Australia-wide Gravity Enduro Series, more than a two thirds of the competitors had come from interstate – as the series leader, Dan MacMunn was the strongest contender for the Elite Men’s win against fellow Victorians Ben Randall and Ryan De La Rue. Canberra’s Rosemary Barnes had travelled to tropical Cairns to claim her title with a lead of more than 600 points ahead of Sydney’s Genevieve McKew, Vanessa Thompson and Kath Bicknell.

Genevieve McKew was the fastest elite woman of the weekend.
Cairns trails demand endurance and technical riding skills
The local Cairns Mountain Bike Club had put on six timed stages with neutral transition rides to the race starts. “Everything went really smoothly. These are the types of events we need and that we enjoy hosting – we were really happy to meet so many interstate riders that we could show off our fantastic trail network to”, said the club event manager, Craig Nissen.
In the elite men’s division it was a tight race from the first stage to the last. Over two days the final sixth stage was going to decide the race and it ended up in a tie to the second – both Dan MacMunn and the 27-year old local rider Berend Boer finished in 19:13 minutes. With an unfortunate crash right ahead of the finish, Rhys Atkinson from nearby Kewarra Beach still finished third with a gap of 24 seconds. As a precaution he had to be transported to hospital via ambulance due to a suspected concussion and was later cleared of any further serious injuries.
Berend Boer, the local rider who finished on equal race time with series winner Dan MacMunn.
First gravity enduro elite series titles go to Victoria and New South Wales
The shared first place was still enough for the overall series title for Dan MacMunn. The 32-year-old fire fighter had participated in five out of the six series events and said that the final QLD round turned out to be his favourite. “The types of trails we got to ride and race here over the weekend are just ideal and a really fitting way to conclude this awesome series. It was tough, but exciting racing and I’m proud of my overall title”, he said.
Rosemary Barnes claimed the overall elite women’s series title.
The four elite women at the start agreed that they enjoyed the event and riding the trails together. “Some of those neutral rides to the starts were really tough – just steep and long, but the descents and timed stages were just so rewarding”, said women’s series winner Rosemary Barnes, who added that she was hopeful for more women to compete in these types of events in future. “We’ll spread the word until next year about how much fun they are”, she said.
More than 550 riders had participated in the series, which included events in NSW, VIC, SA, WA, ACT and QLD, covering almost all states and territories.
“We’re really proud that with our partner Alpine Gravity and our hosting clubs we were able to deliver this first all-Australian gravity enduro series to our riders. The rounds included a wide variety of trails and race formats and we are looking forward to a strong 2015 season”, said Rocky Trail’s Martin Wisata, who had travelled to Cairns from Sydney to support the hosting club for the final series event.
Elite Women’s series podium (l-r): Martin Wisata (Rocky Trail), Genevieve McKew (3rd), Rosemary Barnes (1st), Vanessa Thompson (2nd), Kath Bicknell (5th) – absent: Jaclyn Schapel (4th).
Elite Men’s series podium (l-r): Ben Randall (4th), Simon Buzacott (2nd), Dan MacMunn (1st), Ryan De La Rue (3rd) – absent: Ben Cory (5th).
Full QLD race and series results are available via www.rockytrailentertainment.com
Top Results QLD Round
11+12 October 2014
Elite Male
1. Berend Boer [#117] // Discovery cycles-TREK // Holloways Beach QLD // 19:13 min
1. Dan MacMunn [#112] // Yetioz-Shimanoaust-Schwalbe-My Mountain // Spring Gully VIC // 19:13 min
3. Rhys Atkinson [#115] // Specialized, Sram, fjc clothing, Fektor // Kewarra Beach QLD // 19:37 min // + 24 sec
4. Ryan De La Rue [#130] // Specialized AU Lusty Industries // Colac VIC // 20:18 min // +1:05 min
5. Ben Randall [#119] // My Mountain // Hurstbridge VIC // 21:24  min // +2:11 min
Elite Female
1. Genevieve McKew [#128] // Knolly Australia, Endless Flow Cycles, Fox Australia // Chatswood NSW // 24:24 min
2. Rosemary Barnes [ #127] // Onyabike, Swell Design Group // Lyneham ACT // 26:19 min // +1:55 min
3. Vanessa Thompson [#124] // Single tracks  Banshee // Yanderra NSW // 27:24 min // +3 min
4. Kath Bicknell [#129] // Roxsolt // Sydney NSW // 29:06 min // +4:42 min
Overall Results Series 2014
Elite Male
1. Dan MacMunn // Yetioz-Shimanoaust-Schwalbe-My Mountain // Spring Gully VIC // 2720 pts
2. Simon Buzacott // Focus Bikes, Dissent labs, ion // Somerton Park SA // 1800 pts
3. Ryan De La Rue // Specialized AU Lusty Industries // Colac VIC // 1490 pts
4. Ben Randall // My Mountain // Hurstbridge VIC // 1270 pts
5. Ben Cory // Giant Bicycles, SRAM, RockShox, OnyaBike, Vans // Kambah ACT // 1100 pts
Elite Female
1. Rosemary Barnes // Onyabike, Swell Design Group // Lyneham ACT // 2540 pts
2. Vanessa Thompson // Single tracks  Banshee // Yanderra NSW // 2240 pts
3. Genevieve McKew // Knolly Australia, Endless Flow Cycles, Fox Australia // Chatswood NSW // 1700 pts
4. Jaclyn Schapel // LivAustralia:4Shaw:Adidas Eyewear:Torq Nutrition // Adelaide SA // 1520 pts
5. Kath Bicknell // Roxsolt // Sydney NSW // 1220 pts
Series winners in remaining categories:
Expert Male (B-Grade): Anthony Elliot // Wallaroo NSW // 1200 pts
Junior Under 19 Male: Aaron Felton // Sans Souci // 1020 pts
Junior Under 17 Male: Jarrod Murphy // Mount Marha VIC // 2301 pts
Veterans Male (30+): Michael Clarke // Seaham NSW // 1640 pts
Sport Male (C-Grade): Damien Brombal // 720 pts
Master Male: Joshua Lester // Westgate NSW // 2040 pts
SuperMaster Male: David Empey // Maindample VIC // 2400 pts
Junior Under 15 Male: Lachlan Clarke / Seaham NSW // 2290 pts


Racing: Jared Graves wins 2014 World Enduro Series Overall


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.
Yoann Barelli.

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

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

Flow’s First Bite: Shimano’s New M200 Enduro Shoes

Shimano go full enduro with a completely new shoe, loaded with features that are aimed to please even the most enduro of enduro riders. Even if you’re not full enduro, all these features in this great shoe simply lend it to suit the average trail rider anyhow. Protection, efficiency and a balance of on and off the bike stability.

Shimano M200 8
Even though they kinda look like what Robocop would wear bowling, we like ’em.

The most obvious feature is the big flap that covers the top of the shoe, underneath is a drawstring style set of laces, that pulls tension across the foot. This will also help the shoe from soaking in too much water and mud, and keeps the laces in check too. In classic Shimano style, a slim and low profile buckle is the main source of closure giving the rider quick and on-the-fly adjustability. All Shimano ratchet-style buckles are replaceable, if you ever manage to damage one on the trail.

Shimano M200 1

The inside of the shoe is raised to offer your ankles protection from the sharp edges of your bike and crank, and the toe area is also quite tough. So feel free to ride with your foot out dragging through turns like Jared Graves, your toes will be safe from impending threat.

A new style of sole ‘Torbal’ is introduced into a few mountain bike shoes for 2015. As Shimano puts it “TORBAL allows the outsole to twist, allowing for lateral movement of the rider, while keeping the forefoot aligned with the pedal. This encourages a natural rider “flow” motion, improving control especially during technical downhills, and allowing aggressive trail riders to push their limits even further.”

We’ve got a set of these shoes lined up for dirt time, so stay tuned for our feet’s impressions on these new kicks from Shimano.

Video: Jared Graves Wins The SRAM Canadian Open Enduro!

350 riders who came out to test their Enduro mettle at the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized at Crankworx Whistler were met by, what many described as, the toughest course they’d ever done. At the end, two pro riders bested them all – Jared Graves (AUS) sat atop the Pro Men’s podium, solidifying his spot at the top of the Enduro World Series (EWS) point standings, while Cecile Ravanel (FRA) finished fastest in the Pro Women’s category, winning her first EWS race.

“It’s my first win and it’s the best one to win, in the best place,” said an elated Ravanel. “At the beginning of the season I said that I preferred to win one Enduro World Series race in Whistler than two or three others during my career.”
Ravanel’s win in 58:04 put her one step up from the two women who’ve spent most of this season battling it out for top spot – Tracy Moseley (GBR) finished the day in second place with a time of 1:00:11, while Anne Caroline Chausson (FRA) took third with 1:03:11 after a puncture slowed down her final run of the day on Stage Five.
For the Pro Men, the end of the day reflected the current EWS rankings, but certainly not the beginning of the day. Jared Graves’ massive run in the final stage was enough to earn him the top of the podium, a total time of 51:11 and enough to make up for some challenges he faced during the first four stages – a fork malfunction had been slowing him throughout the day.
“I was really battling through that for the first four stages,” said Graves. “But we got an opportunity to come back here and work on our bikes and get it sorted out. We just nailed a good last stage. It’s rad.”
In second place behind Graves was Nico Lau (FRA) who took second with a time of 51:13, while Curtis Keene (USA) rounded out the podium, taking third with a time of 51:27.
In total, winners in all categories walked away with a total of $25,000 – the richest prize purse in the EWS.
Before the winners crossed the finish line, the story for most of the day remained consistent – the course, that some renamed Crankzilla.
“I maybe spent eight hours on my bike today,” said Ravanel.”With the warm weather, it was crazy.”
The buzz around the course exploded when it was unveiled earlier in the week. In the five transitions, riders climbed a total of 2,442 metres over 36.53 kilometers.
Designers of this year’s course focused on technical style while presenting competitors with a cross section of Whistler’s finest. The resulting trails were well-received by riders, and will continue to benefit the community. Extensive work was done to re-route, upgrade and reactivate Crazy Train and Boyd’s Trail before the race, while Micro Climate, the trail used for Stage One, is a very recent addition to the Whistler Trail Network.
Looking to the future, the points Moseley earned for her second place finish keep her at the top of the women’s rankings of the EWS, while Graves’ win solidifies his spot at the top of the men’s.
“There’s only one round to go and I’ve got a good points lead now. It’s a big goal but…I couldn’t be happier right now. It’s sweet.”
The final EWS race of the season, Finale Ligure Superenduro powered by SRAM, round 7 of the series, will take place October 4-5, 2014.
Next up on the Crankworx calendar is the first of three DH races – the Garbanzo DH hits the dirt Tuesday, August 12, followed by the GoPro Dirt Diaries film competition.
Pro Men’s Results: 
1. Jared Graves
2. Nico Lau
3. Curtis Keene
Pro Women’s Results
1. Cecile Ravanel
2. Tracy Moseley
3. Anne Caroline Chausson


Video: Ronning’s Euro Adventure, part 3 – Riva Del Garda

Michael Ronning continues to make us green with envy as he trots around Europe riding and racing in some of the most spectacular locations imaginable. He’s just sent us this edit with an email that simply read, “YOU GUYS GOTTA GET TO THIS PLACE.” One day, Ronning, one day!

Ronning’s European Adventure – Episode 3 – Riva Del Garda from All Mountain Cartel on Vimeo.

Michael Ronning’s EWS photo diary, Final Day.

Enduro World Series Round Four La Thuile is complete. What a weekend, the whole thing was such an eye opener – a really amazing experience.  We had such a ball competing and riding in this part of the world, I met so many great people all out for the same thing.

I ended up 85th in Elite men which I was pretty happy with, before the race I thought maybe top 75 would be possible with a good weekend.  I really underestimated the amount of people I would have to pass on each stage.  Such a huge event and so professionally run with an Italian flavour and flair!


All in all an amazing trip, cant wait to do it again next year.  Thanks to Giant Bicycles and everyone else for their support and to Flow for helping me share this experience.
Ronning EWS 1
Toowoombas favourite son, Jared Graves. Didn’t quite have the weekend he was looking for. Still leaves La Thuile leading the EWS series.
Ronning EWS 3
What MTB story is complete without a pic of this guy, Allez Cedric…great to catch up after all these years!
Ronning EWS 5
Cant believe I pulled this out of a box two days before I left Australia, threw in a 160mm fork and boom just did four gruelling days and didn’t even put a tool to it!
Ronning EWS 6
Sunday afternoon legs
Ronning EWS 7
Podium and organisers.
Ronning EWS 8
Ian Harwood from QLD with Enduro superstar Jerome Clemenz, Chris Ball of EWS in the background. Not sure what Ian said, but looks like BS.
Ronning EWS 9
Josh Carlson, my old team mate and Giant mechanic Colin Bailey and myself enjoying post race festivities.
Ronning EWS 10
The sun setting over an amazing weekend, if anyone gets the chance to do one of these you wont be disappointed!
Ronning EWS 11
My team manager, camera crew, photographer, cheer squad and wife!


After party euro style!  It was LOUD!
After party euro style! It was LOUD!

Nico Vouilloz: Interviewing a Legend.

Special Stages 1-3 of the Val d'Allos Eduro World Series

Flow was so incredibly fortunate not to just meet the legend, but to ride with, dine with, share a few chairlift rides, do this interview and get to know the enigmatic character a little more. Riding behind Nico was like watching a movie with special effects, slightly sped up. There is no reason or explanation or words to describe what we saw. In the tight, slippery and steep trails of the French Alps, Morzine and Les Gets we valiantly followed Nico for as long as we could. The subtle weight shifts and direction changes he made as he played with the super-technical terrain was hard to believe.

Nico’s recovering from a couple knee surgeries and a wrist injury sustained earlier this year, but he’s still motivated to school the younger racers in the Enduro World Series. We sat down with him over a delicious aperitif, here is what he had to say.

Nicolas VOUILLOZ - Valloire - EWS #3 - 2014


How does it make you feel to know that you’ve inspired many people, myself included? I did have posters of you on my bedroom wall as a kid.


It feels good. I’ve met many people who were fans and now we are friends, so it feels good.


What are you up to these days?


I’ve got a great life. I travel with Lapierre, race and do a lot of product testing. I like this, I’ve always liked playing with my bike setup even when I was racing.


You haven’t been back to Australia since 1996?


I loved Australia! The reason I haven’t been back is because I’m always travelling, so I don’t have any time for actual ‘holidays’. I would love to come back though, in the future. I still remember the race and especially the party after (laughs) in 96.


Do you still have the same passion for racing that you had at the height of your career?


I still love to race, but I don’t think that I’m as serious as I used to be. I’ll keep racing though, I still enjoy the feeling of practice, the atmosphere of competition, but maybe not the pressure of the podium (laughs).


You haven’t raced in a while, how do you think your results will be when you return?


I need to get some fitness back (laughs), but about the results I’m not really sure. Sometimes I feel good racing, I hit the lines well, and other times I don’t.

Test Lapierre Spicy Team 6



So you seem like you’re more relaxed about your racing?


Yes definitely. Now that I’m not as focused on the podium I can ride and see what happens. If I come tenth or fifteenth it doesn’t matter. When I was racing in the past for the podium I was focused on every little thing- the bike, the track, the settings.


You won an EWS race last year though- you’re still pretty quick!


I was so happy when I won that race. I had had some crashes and mechanicals in the previous races, and I arrived super fit. When I saw that I had beaten Jerome that old feeling came back to me- like I was young again.

Test Lapierre Spicy Team 4


Had you done many enduro races before the international rise and the Enduro World Series began last year?


I had done some- local races here in France, like our special endure series. I had also ridden the megavalanche, so I knew to an extent what the races would be like.


Does it make you feel good knowing that you were a pioneer of downhill racing and seeing how far the sport has evolved today?


Yes definitely. The progression has been amazing, from bikes with no suspension, to today’s bikes which have features like adjustable geometry and the amazing suspension. Another thing I’ve seen is now you have to start the sport early today, whereas I started the sport at 15. These days you would never make it from that age.


Are there any younger riders on the scene today that remind you of yourself?


I think Troy Brosnan is very like myself. He is very light, and the way he moves around the bike reminds me of myself. He tucks and pumps and weaves. On the other side of things, Loic Bruni amazes me. He looks so effortless on the bike- he looks still and not like he is fighting the bike at all.


Do you reflect on your rivals much? Does anyone stand out?


Steve Peat. Our rivalry went for so long. I never felt like I had any other rivals for more than a season!


Do you have any negatives, looking back on the racing scene?


I wish they changed up the tracks more. Even if you love a track, it gets boring and repetitive coming back there year after year.

Test Lapierre Spicy Team 3


What do you think the differences between you and Steve were?


I was the straight guy. I trained and raced. He was the cool guy and didn’t mind to party a bit…sometimes a lot.


So you were the straight guy?


Yes (laughs). When I’m racing I’m racing. I don’t need time to drink beers, I just stick to my goals with my team and my bike.


Do you think everyone needs to have that attitude these days, seeing as the top level racers are all so close to one another?


Yes. I think when Sam Hill was racing it was cool to just ride with talent, but now you definitely need to be training hard and be focused to be at the top. Also, it’s not possible now to be so far in front. Everything needs to go right for you to win a World Cup as there are ten or so riders all so close to one another.

Damian McArthur 2014 Lapierre-91


Lapierre Gravity Republic rider Loic Bruni and Loris Vergier are from the Nice region where you’re living, have you had much to do with their development?


Not really during the race season. They have all the support they need. I help them during the off season, doing testing and discussing their riding.


You said you’ve seen the development of the bikes, could you outline what you think of the modern equipment?


These days the bikes are more like a motocross bike without the engine! (laughs). Everyone has a longer bike these days as well. Here at Lapierre every year we change up the bikes a little bit. This year we had ten different linkage configurations to trial on the new Supra Link downhill race bike, to get the best suspension curve possible. We had to try every one, and then we had to evaluate if the front and rear worked well together. The new bike is a single pivot, we have been able to achieve the best curve without the use of an axle path design. This testing, like all of our testing, takes a long time. 


So the testing is very important!


Yes, I think that the testing with Rockshox over the winter has resulted in the better results this year. The bikes have been set up so perfectly through this testing. The bikes will keep getting better as we keep testing as well…


What is the number one most important thing with testing for you?


With testing, when you win a race you know why you’ve run the race, whether that be through your suspension, tire pressure. When you evaluate these features, you can use them in the future knowing that they work well.

Test Lapierre Spicy Team 2


You ride a Lapierre Spicy with e:i Shock, what do you see as the future for the e:i Shock system?


I think it is the future. The product can still to be developed, so there are no detrimental effects to the suspension.


What do you like most about the e:i suspension?


Probably just that you don’t have to think. It’s so simple.

Test Lapierre Spicy Team 1


We heard Lapierre were testing e:i Shock in conjunction with a GPS tracking system for the World Downhill Champs in Pietermaritzburg?


Who told you about that?…


What were some experiments you did back in the day when you were trialing things to improve your performance?


I was doing some crazy things with the aerodynamics, wearing skinsuits…I was also doing some stuff with spoke tension. For example four crossing spokes and low tensions- so flexible but still supportive.


Were any of your methods ahead of your time?


At the World Championships we used to have a screen that could show video of two riders at the same time, so you could see the different line choices. This was good. We used a lot of video with French Cycling Federation.


Who has been your longest sponsor?


Lapierre! They’re a great brand.


What can you see for the future?


I know I’ll be testing and doing a bit of racing with Lapierre for the next couple of years, but after this, who knows?


Nico, thanks a lot for your time today, and good luck with the return to racing!


Thanks Mick, anytime!

[divider]Nico bike check[/divider]

Nico had his Lapierre Spicy at Les Gets, in its exact spec from the Valloire Enduro World Series. Check out some of the finer details here, click the photos for info: 

Michael Ronning’s EWS photo diary

Michael Ronning of the Giant All Mountain Cartel is over in Europe right now, experiencing what racing the Enduro World Series is all about. After a quick stop in Finale Ligure (check out his edit great vid here) he’s now up in the Alps at La Thuile for round four of the EWS.

He just shot Flow a bunch of images from his first day on the mountain:

Ronning: “Holy [email protected]…talk about big mountains. I rode three of the six stages twice today – each stage has at least one thousand metres of vertical! Luckily all of these stages had chairlift access.  There are three more stages tomorrow, though we’re not so lucky with the chairlift, two of them have an hour and a half climb to the top!”

Ready to roll at my first EWS. 8 degrees in the village and it’s snowing at the top – pretty chilly for a Queenslander.
If you’re wondering what La Thuile, a little tiny town in northwest Italy, looks like, then this is it! Epic.
Today’s stages were all chair lifted – I was loving not having to pedal up 1000 metres of climbing each run. Tomorrow won’t be so lucky.
Up into the clouds and the snow we go.
Enjoying the La Thuile loam. I just hope my hands make it through the weekend.
8-inch rotors or go home! I turned up with smaller rotors and had smoke coming of my rear calliper after half a run! Haha.
8-inch rotors or go home! I turned up with smaller rotors and had smoke coming of my rear calliper after half a run! Haha.
Tim and Helen Flooks. I met these living legends in ’95 when they ran the Euro Rockshox race tech support. So great to see them again, now running SRAM’s euro enduro tech support.


EWS Race Diary: Justin Leov

It has been a busy few weeks since the last EWS round in Scotland. I have been on the road with Trek World Racing helping the Downhill guys go fast at the World Cups. Coming from Leogang, Austria I was excited to get back into my own racing after watching fellow Kiwi riders Brook Macdonald and George Brannigan both step onto the podium. I learnt a lot from being on the sideline of the Downhill World Cup and much of it I wanted to apply to the French round of the EWS in Valloire.


Road tripping from Leogang to Valloire was a combination of Italian espresso stops and epic photo opportunities via Mount Blanc. Caffeinated and well rested I was ready for a big weekend in the mountains.

Back to the French format of racing, 1 practice run and then into the racing, there is no advantage here with this format, everyone races at the same level.

Course walk Friday revealed we would be racing on virgin courses, a lot of which was raw rock, totally natural forest sections and in some places the grass had been freshly cut in the last week. Back to the French format of racing, 1 practice run and then into the racing, there is no advantage here with this format, everyone races at the same level.

Race day one:

Stage 1 was a rocky start to a mixture of fast sections, climbs and an epic wooded section. My Carbon Trek Remedy 29er was feeling good on the terrain and after my practice run I was too. Into the stage race and I had a good smooth run to start the weekend coming in 3rd. My confidence was high and with the time gap to first I knew I had it in the tank for the next stage. A few odd chain noises in my run and some skipping in the gears revealed I had a mashed a link on a loose rock, on with a fresh chain for the next stage.


Stage 2 and this stage was to be raced twice today. This course was the longest, mostrocky and physically demanding of the weekend. It had a unique start straight into a short snow section, which with the hot weather was rapidly melting and getting some big ruts in it. A lot of riders would hit the snow and in the blink of an eye their front wheel was swallowed and over the bars they went. This lead straight into a technical uphill which could cost you anywhere from 10-20 seconds depending which card you were dealt. I had a strategy for the section; hit it fast, be aggressive and brace for what ever happens next. It seemed to work well and I flew through. I knew the first challenge over and now it was a matter of keeping the intensity up. The run was going good but I was riding too aggressive for this style of course. I wasted some energy in a few seat of my pants moments and saving myself from cartwheeling down the hill, however I crossed the finish line and managed my first stage win. That was a pretty awesome feeling! I have known for a while I could win a stage but to do it finally was a great.

I had a strategy for the section; hit it fast, be aggressive and brace for whatever happens next.

Having just raced stage 2 and going up to repeat it for stage 3 I said to my mechanic and team manger that I was going to tidy up my run and settle down a bit. Slow down to go faster! I was at the top a little earlier for this stage so I decided to walk down to the snow and check out how it was looking in the plus 30 degree heat. The ruts had doubled in width and depth. My strategy from before needed reviewing, so I found the deepest rut which looked the most solid underneath. I planned on hitting it smooth and a touch slower to make sure I wasn’t pulled off my bike. As I dropped in I setup wide to get straight on to the rut and held my breath, the big wheels just flew through the rut. I passed the section clean once again then focused to nail the rest of the epic run. By backing off just a little and focusing on a clean ride through the sections that caught me out before I could feel the time I was making on my previous run. Smooth pedal strokes, some big efforts from the legs and I crossed the line to put in one of the best runs I could of asked for. Another stage win! I was on a high, I lead after the first day with just over 30 seconds advantage. What a day!


Race Day two:

So it seemed the previous days riding had taken its toll on my bike I needed a set of pedals, new chain, derailuer and a tire change. My wheels now resembled eggs rather than their original shape. Ray did an awesome job with my bike and going up for the first stage of the day all that was on my mind was ride smart. I could afford to lose some seconds but crashes and mechanicals weren’t an option if I wanted to keep the lead.

Stage 4 a shorter course with some gnarly rocks and a steep wooded section that was again all natural. Nothing beats the feeling of drifting around on loose fresh soil. After bumping up the tire pressure, the plan was to treat the rocks gently and to ride smooth. The stage went well and I finished in a good position of 7th, but was disappointed having ridden a little too conservatively. It seems unnatural riding to be careful, but it’s the smart thing to do when trying to maintain a lead. It seems my competition had some problems on this stage and I was definitely surprised to see my time gap had been extended out to 38 seconds. Two more race stages left.

So it seemed the previous days riding had taken its toll on my bike I needed a set of pedals, new chain, derailuer and a tire change. My wheels now resembled eggs rather than their original shape.

Stage 5 and this was a faster longer stage with a couple of climbs to get the legs burning. I had a good feeling about this stage, it was one that had its risks but with a solid setup and a bit of luck I could hold on to my time. Well I thought so at least! Before leaving the pits Ray picked up on a cut to my rear tire. On with a fresh tire and even a little more pressure (just to be safe) I knew I had the best chance of getting through. This was the strongest tire we had in our possession.

I dropped in off the start line and hit the rocky sections with care coming through clean. But after this I misjudged a section and in the blink of an eye I was off the course, dam it. I pulled my bike back up on the course and having lost maybe 5 seconds I knew it was still totally fine. It wasn’t long and I was back into the groove with my run. What happened next is the one thing I didn’t want to hear, the sound of a small rock cutting through the casing of my tire. That awful sound of hissing as the air deflated along with my dreams of my first EWS victory. I hoped I could ride the rim all the way to the finish and get down without loosing too much time. Within a few mins I knew this wasn’t the case and my weekend was over, I was absolutely devastated. A 38 second lead with two stages left and now 2 mins down.

That awful sound of hissing as the air deflated along with my dreams of my first EWS victory.

I sat in the pits and thought about what just happened, why? What could of I done different? Why, Why, Why? Racing can be so cruel sometimes! I made a plan, no point in giving up. One more stage and I had nothing to lose. No more conservative riding, on with a fresh tire and on the lift with one goal in mind, to win the last stage. Redemption.

I did a good warm up for the last stage and on the line I was ready to leave nothing on the hill. My run clicked into place and crossing the line I had set a good time. Watching the other racers come down and realise I had once again won another stage was something positive to take away from a devastating day.

I had brought myself back into 11th overall for the weekend. Not a win for the round, but enough to keep me in 2nd overall in the points for the series. That is something to be thankful for! What a weekend, I’m totally beat. There was a lot of learning at this round and my experience is building.

Thank you to all the support from the people who get me here:
Trek Factory Racing Enduro, Bluegrass Protection, Met Helmets, Fox Racing Shox, Shimano, Bontrager, Adidas Eyewear, Stages Power Meters, CNP Nutrition

Three weeks until La Thuile in Italy and if one thing is for sure, it’s going to be a great battle!


Video: Team Polygon UR at EWS Round 3, Valloire

EWS Valloire – Polygon UR – Race Video from UR Team on Vimeo.

The Polygon UR team are absolutely all over it, getting these great team edits out faster than cheeseburgers at a drive-thru.

It’s really cool to see behind the scenes of the EWS – we’re all obviously very familiar with the downhill circuit, so it’s interesting to get inside the minds and lives of riders on the Enduro circuit too.

The new Polygons that the team are all on look good too! Hopefully we can wrangle a review on one shortly.


Jared Graves on top in E.W.S. after win in France

June 23, 2014, Valloire, FRANCE – After 6 stages of wild alpine racing, epic hammer-down descents that lasted up to 18 minutes, and a winning overall combined time of 1h20:39.921, the final podium of the the third round of the Enduro World Series this weekend in Valloire, France, came down to a microscopic four second spread between the top three men.
Jared Graves now leads the EWS despite having no knees and being therefore unable to pedal.
A testament to the unpredictability of racing flat-out down mountains for a cumulative 12,000 metres of descent, (the largest amount of vertical covered in any EWS round yet), the weekend saw a myriad of punctures and mechanical issues shake down many of the top racers and early leaders. Every stage saw the top 10 leaderboard reconfigured dramatically.
Tracy Moseley on stage 3, EWS round 3 2014, Valloire. Photo by Matt Wragg
Tracy Moseley. Does this look steep and exposed enough for you? Brutal conditions punished bike and body at this round.

Despite not winning an individual stage, the Aussie Jared Graves’ (Yeti/Fox Shox) consistency put him on the top step, flanked by two newcomers to the Enduro World Series podium – Frenchman Damien Oton (Devinci/Alltricks.com) who powered home on the final two stages after top 10 finishes all weekend to take second place, and Switzerland’s Rene Wildhaber (Trek Factory Racing Enduro) who took third.

In the women’s race, Britain’s Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) won all but one stage to finish in 1h29:49.767, 1:36 ahead of France’s Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) and 2:02 ahead of The Netherlands’ Anneke Beerten (Specialized Racing).

Anneke Beerten finally gets podium!
Anneke Beerten finally gets podium!

Beerten celebrated her first EWS podium after being so close for so long. Isabeau Courdurier (Rocky Mountain Urge BP) finished in 4th, followed by Cecile Ravanel (GT Pulse) whose powerful start to the weekend was upset by a puncture on stage 2.

The Enduro Series Valloire driven by Urge Bike Products was the 10th anniversary of the Valloire French Series Enduro hosted at the famous mountain bike hub, featuring the style of riding that forged the discipline. Both Moseley and Graves declared it the hardest round yet, with Graves telling Dirt TV in the first day’s highlight video, “It’s real riding. Your heart rate’s on max, you’ve got arm-pump, your legs are burning up and you’re just ploughing through rock gardens at 50 kms/hr. It’s awesome.”

Navigating snow patches, endlessly unfurling singletrack and menacing alpine rock at full-throttle took its toll on the field.

Wildman Wildhaber in his natural habitat, shredding humungous mountains.
Wildman Wildhaber in his natural habitat, shredding humungous mountains.

France’s Francois Bailly-Maitre (BMC Enduro Racing Team) started strong, winning the first stage ahead of Graves and Leov, and holding the lead after the second stage, but a spate of mechanical issues saw him drop back to 19th.

After a second place finish at TweedLove, New Zealand’s Justin Leov (Trek Factory Racing) had his eye on the top step this weekend. After winning two stages, he finished day one in the lead, only to see a 38 second lead eaten up by a puncture on stage 5. Leov rallied to win the final stage and finish 11th overall, keeping him in second place in the Overall Series Rankings.

Nico's comeback didn't go to plan - he picked a tough venue to return to racing.
Nico’s comeback didn’t go to plan – he picked a tough venue to return to racing.
TweedLove winner, and the current French Enduro Series leader, Nico Lau (Cube Action Team), was another threat thwarted by a puncture. Lau salvaged his race, coming back on Sunday to win stage 4 and 5 and take second on the final stage, for a top 20 result and 5th in the Overall rankings.

Nico Vouilloz (Lapierre Gravity Republic) who finished the inaugural Enduro World Series season in 5th, but has been rehabilitating from knee surgeries and a broken scaphoid, made his comeback ride this weekend, but retired from the race with fatigue, saving himself for round four in La Thuile in three weeks.

Having identified himself at TweedLove as one to watch, France’s Damien Oton proved to be the most consistent rider amongst the field, clinching top 8 finishes in every single stage to secure second place.

Bringing his deep alpine racing experience and swag of Megavalanche victories to bear, Switzerland’s Rene Wildhaber (Trek Factory Racing) held strong through the race to secure third place, his first EWS podium.

Curtis Keene (Specialized Racing Team) and Ben Cruz (Cannondale Overmountain) both rode on pace to put the USA into the top 10.

Series leaders, EWS round 3 2014, Valloire. Photo by Matt Wragg
EWS leaders: Moseley and Grubby Graves.

“This was the tenth anniversary of the Valloire French Series Enduro and it went down in style, securing itself as a classic that will not be forgotten by many of the riders for a long time,” says Enduro World Series Managing Director Chris Ball. “The diversity we saw in the top 10 in the men’s and women’s, in ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, is a real testament to the demands of enduro mountain biking. It’s physically and mechanically challenging. I think this weekend was a bit of a surprise to those who expected the alpine specialists to dominate.”

To indulge in further speculation as to who is primed to dominate in three weeks time when round 4 kicks off, review the results in detail and visit the Rider Results Analyser tool at http://www.enduroworldseries.com/results.php.

Race coverage from Dirt TV can be viewed at enduroworldseries.com. A full race highlights edit will be released on Wednesday.
Riders now move to a new battlefield just across the border in the north-west of Italy for the La Thuile Superenduro powered by SRAM, 12-13 July. http://www.enduroworldseries.com/events/ews4-superenduro-lathuile

Jared Graves Interview, Part 1: Enduro World Series and the DH World Champs

Jared Graves has had an incredible year. Perhaps the most versatile and dedicated mountain biker of our time, in 2013 he claimed second overall in the inaugural Enduro World Series, bagged a spectacular third place at the World Champs in downhill and raced at the sharp end of XCO at the National Champs.

We caught up with Jared Graves, calling in from his hometown of Toowoomba. Incidentally our chat came just a couple of days before his local club played host to the Queensland State Enduro Championships (on the same day as his first wedding anniversary!). In part one of our interview, we chat with Jared about his successes in both the Enduro World Series and the World Champs, but we begin by asking him about the scene right there in Toowoomba.


How’s it all looking for the race this weekend?

Yeah, it should be good. We’ve got great trails for Enduro racing. There’s about 300 metres vertical to play with here, so for Australia that’s pretty solid. One stage is about six minutes if I have a good run, so that’s pretty decent.


Things really seem like they’re going very well for Enduro in Queensland.

Yep, we’ve got some good guys here, people like Ian Hardwood really pushing it. That’s what you really need, some people who just push it. It’s been really successful; I’ve got a few downhill bikes in the garage I’m trying to sell, but no one wants to buy them! Everyone just wants the enduro bike, something they can do anything on.


You’ve probably had a bit of an impact on that.

I don’t know, I feel like that’s the way the club has been going for a few years now. There used to be talk about getting another downhill track, but more and more trails general have been going in. We’ve got a really solid network now – it’s probably a good three-hour ride to take in everything we’ve got. There’s new stuff going in all the time. You’ll go out and suddenly see a new section of singletrack with a couple of diggers parked in the middle of it. It’s cool. We’ve got a good group of maybe 20 guys who love getting in there with a shovel.


Let’s have a chat about the Enduro World Series (EWS). What are your thoughts about the series in its inaugural year?

Going into it I had no idea what it’d be like. I had the idea that if you were a well-rounded rider, you’d go ok. I mean I’ve got a downhill background, and a cross-country background from when I was a young fella. And so I sort of trained with that in mind; I really just worked on everything to be as fit and strong as possible.

One thing I knew would work in my favour is that I’ve always ridden the smaller bikes better than the downhill bike. It’s almost like that as downhill bikes got better, as suspension technology improved, my results went down. I mean my focus changed too, but the smaller bikes suits my style a bit more, I tend to go faster on the small bikes. I think it’s just my technique – I’ve got a good position on the bike, using my body more than just the suspension. You see so many young guys now on World Cups who you can just tell have never had to ride the fully rigid cromo bikes with cantilever brakes. I started pre v-brakes.

You see these young guys now who absolutely rely on the bike, they just plough through a section. If you put them on hardtail they’d have no idea at all. The really good kids would be fine, because they ride all kinds of different bikes. But there are so many kids who just say ‘I want to be a downhiller’ and all they ride is their downhill bike.


When did you make the decision to make the EWS your focus?

Well, the start of 2012 I trained hard for downhill, but as soon as we got underway with the World Cups, I realised that deep down it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing.

It was kind of a bit of a weird time. We did this one enduro in Spain, we thought we’d do it for a bit of fun, for a bit of variety in the training. It wasn’t the most competitive field, but I won it and I really enjoyed it. After that I thought I’d do Crankworx, because I was going to Whistler anyhow to train. So I did the Enduro there and won a stage, and I thought I had just been stuffing around, I only got there the day before and did a tiny bit of practice. So I thought, ‘shit, I could probably go pretty good at this’. And I just love the style of riding too, you get more time on your bike, it’s just how I wanted to ride.


So how did the actual series go from your perspective? Was it a good cohesive kind of series even with the variety of different formats?

Yeah, I think everyone really liked the varying formats! Some people got confused with it, but you really only needed to spend half an hour on the internet to work out exactly what was going on – there are a few different formats, the Italian format, the French format etc. But once you read about them, you knew what you were in for. Some riders did better at a certain format where you might get more practice, while other riders did better at the French format where you only get one practice run then have to go flat out into it. And again I think it showed the more rounded rider as you needed to be good regardless of the format. I hope they continue doing it like that.


Do you think we’ll see more specialist Enduro riders in 2014?

I think that’s how it’s going already. For the downhill guys though, enduro is really the perfect way to train. You get a lot of time on your bike, it’s physically hard, and you’re in that race frame of mind.

Still, it doesn’t necessarily translate; there are some guys who are fast on downhill bikes who aren’t nearly so quick in Enduro, and vice versa. I mean, there are a lot of downhill guys who were scratching their heads wondering why they weren’t going faster or placing higher in the Enduros.

I was thinking about it the other day; I don’t think you’ll ever be at your full potential in downhill without motocross, I don’t think you’ll ever be at the top of 4X without BMX and I don’t think you’ll ever be at the top of Enduro unless you race a bit of downhill. The cross-training goes hand in hand.


What makes a good Enduro rider fast?

When you look at downill and Enduro, the mentality is the same. But the trails and style are different. Enduro trails tend to be more raw, more natural. But downhill I feel is getting more like motocross. The tracks are very man made; the trails start off quite man made and groomed and then get more and more rutted out. To me it’s not really a pure form of mountain biking anymore.

Perhaps that’s why the speed doesn’t always translate. Minnaar for example, at the first round in Italy, he didn’t do that well. And everyone on the forums was saying, ‘oh he was just there having fun,’ but he was deadset scratching his head wondering why he was so far off the pace, losing 30 seconds in a five-minute stage. I can’t put a finger on what it is, but I had expected Minnaar to be up there too.

Then at the second round, Greg turned it around and got third overall, he got a stage win. It’s just a different form of racing and something doesn’t always click.


From a rider’s point of view, do you feel like the coverage missed anything?

Oh yeah, sometimes, for instance there might only be time for media to film the pedally bit at the bottom because there hasn’t been enough time for them to get tot the gnarly bit up the top. A bit like the World’s course in South Africa – on TV you’d think it was all just pedalling and the groomed jumps at the bottom, when there was actually some proper full-on downhill up the top. But then you’d rather have that coverage then no coverage at all.


Spectating must be hard.

Yeah sure, but at some races the spectators were wild. Like in Whistler or in Italy – in Italy there were masses of people out on course.


Can you quickly explain the different formats?

The Italian format generally sees you climbing to the top yourself. The stages are generally shorter because you can’t obviously have five stages in a day where you need to climb a thousand vertical metres each stage. You tended to have two days of practice before the race, which was normally enough to have a couple of runs down each of the stages.

The French format, because they have such big mountains, it’s good to take advantage of that vertical and have some really long stages, so they tended to have uplifts. Some of the races had a minimum of 800 metres vertical descent each stage, with up to 1500m – 15 minutes of pure downhill, very physical, high speed. Some people say ‘that’s not enduro’, but the enduro aspect comes from having very long, very physical descents. Some of the French races had two hours of racing per race.

In the French format you have one practice run per stage, right before the race. So you do a practice of stage 1, then your race run of stage 1, then a practice of stage 2, then your race of stage 2.


That sounds so awesome.

Yeah, I loved them. The courses flow really well and you can see far enough ahead that you can hit them very fast even on the first run. They’re careful to not put things in that will completely catch you off guard. I like to go pretty much flat out on my sighting run, so I can see how it all feels at speed and see what might catch you out. And that’s kind of a skill in itself, knowing how to make the most out of a practice run. You don’t have time to stress about it.

The two in America, at Crankworx and at the Winter Park race, they had a combination of formats. Actually at Winter Park we mainly used the chairlift because of the altitude. They actually ended up shortening some of the stages because people were passing out in their race runs; a lot of the stages started at over 11,000ft, the base of the mountain was even over 9,000ft. At that altitude you can go into oxygen debt in like 30 seconds. A well-paced race run at altitude should feel very slow at first. If you’re breathing hard in the first few minutes, you’ve blown it pretty much!


In Australia, there’s definitely a lot of discussion of what the most appropriate format is. 

I think the Italian format is definitely the best in most instances in Australia. But still, that can be hard too because that’s a lot of pedalling for the some riders you’re trying to encourage into the sport. But overall I think riding to the top is the best option. Shuttles can be a pain in the butt to organise, they can add to the expense and things go wrong. I mean, some places like Thredbo or Buller obviously use the chairlift, but somewhere like Stromlo you should definitely be pedalling back up.

One thing I have seen from race reports in Australia is that some Enduros just become mini downhills on trail bikes. To me, that’s not what Enduro is, that’s just multiple stage downhill racing. Even here in Toowoomba, when I was riding with some of the guys and looking at trails to include in the Enduro State Champs, I pointed out one trail and said it’d be good, but they said ‘oh, but it’s got a little climb in it.’ But that’s just meant to be part of it – it brings the fitness side into it. I mean, the good thing is that Enduro can be whatever the race organiser wants it to be. The only thing I don’t like is when there’s just a one-minute downhill – that seems pointless to me.


Did you change your bike setup much during the season with the massive variety in formats?

I tried to keep it the same mostly. I guess the thing is, when you practice the track you get an idea of what the terrain is like you might make a few tiny changes – chain ring size, brake rotors perhaps. But the pressure in my fork and shock didn’t change one bit all year. You just don’t have time to change your setup to suit different stages, and every time you change your setup it takes a run or two to adapt and get comfortable.

I think that’s good too, especially for people getting into the sport, that you don’t need to make that many changes. At World Cup level in downhill, suspension can make such a huge difference, but in Enduro you can kind if take that aspect out of it and just go ride.


What’s your relationship with Jerome Clementz like?

He’s a really good guy! I mean, the Frenchies can have a reputation for being a bit happy to get into the grey areas when it comes to shortcuts on the course. But Jerome isn’t like that; he’s the perfect guy to have as the face of Enduro, he’s a nice guy who loves riding his bike. He’s everything that Enduro is all about in my mind.


Moving on to downhill. What was more important to you; getting third in downhill at the Worlds or second overall in Enduro?

Well in terms of my year goals, I was more focused on Enduro results for sure. But at Worlds I knew it was a track I could do well at and a medal was always my goal. And I didn’t realise until after the result what an effect my result would have; so many people just blew up about it, it got so much attention, it’s been really cool and a nice bonus at the end of the year.

I knew it’d take a really good run, and that’s what I got. I had to take it a bit steady up top on the little bike, but on the bottom half of the track the bike paid dividends. As far as a single result of the year goes, it’s the best.


Was there a point that you regretted riding the SB66?

Well, my downhill bike was there. But it came down to what I was comfortable on. At the Fort William World Cup at the start of the year I was just there having fun, but even still I didn’t really ever feel comfortable on the downhill bike, even after three days straight on it. For me it takes a couple of weeks on a bike before I feel like I know exactly what it’s doing, like it has become an extension of my body. And at Fort William I was coming into rough sections and not knowing fully how the bike was going to react. And that’s always going to slow you down.

I knew I’d need to be fully comfortable on the bike to get the result I wanted at World Champs. And when we walked the track after the juniors had been on it for two days, I was a bit unsure – you sort of forget how rough bits get after they get chopped up during practice. It felt a bit sketchy at the start of practice on the SB66, but then everyone was saying they couldn’t find grip out there, so I wasn’t the only one. But then by the day before race day I knew I’d made the right choice.


Come back soon for part two of our chat with Jared Graves where we talk about training, racing across multiple disciplines and Jared answers your questions.


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










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.