Overnight rain did little to dampen the deep dust coating Whistler’s famous trails on Sunday for the sixth round of the Enduro World Series.
Many racers crossed the finish line with stories of crashes and mechanicals, as weeks of dry weather made for an especially rough edition of the notoriously gnarly CamelBack Canadian Open Enduro.
Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing) rode smooth and consistently all day, and was ecstatic to claim his second EWS win after a long string of second places. On the Women’s side, it was again Cecile Ravanel taking the win, her sixth in six races. Making the most of racing on home trails, there were three Canadian Women inside the top-15 on Sunday.
56km on the bike, and 3,500m of descending in a single day, capped off with the 20 minute, 1,500m descent from the mountain summit Top of the World trail down to Whistler Village made for tired hands, sore bodies, and battered bikes.
Cecile Ravanel (Commencal Vallnord) continued her undefeated season, winning the Whistler round with a perfect five of five stage wins. Her day was far from uneventful though, with a flat tire and crash in the early going threatening to disrupt her undefeated run. With Ravanel sewing up first, it was Isabeau Courdurier (Intense Mavic Collective) again locking down second place. Courdurier was second on every stage except the fourth, where Andréane Lanthier Nadeau pushed the French rider down to third.
After riding in third most of the day, ALN was pushed off the podium on the last stage by GT Factory Racing’s Noga Korem. Korem lay down an impressive time on the epic Top of the World run, just squeezing ahead of Lanthier Nadeau by 7 seconds in the overall. While losing the podium on the last stage must have been disappointing, Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain / Race Face) had an incredible ride in Whistler, finishing fourth in just her third EWS race back after a year off sidelined by injury.
Joining ALN in the top-1o were Whistler locals Christina Chappetta (Transition Bikes / Evolution Whistler) and Canadian Olympian in Ski Cross Britt Phelan. Chappetta landed just off the podium in 6th, with Phelan not far behind in 8th. Emily Slaco, the first Canadian Enduro national champion after her win in Panorama earlier this year, added to the Canadian presence at the front of the race, finishing 14th in Whistler.
Going into the monsterous final stage it was a three person race between Maes, Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic) and Richie Rude (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Team). Maes set the fastest time of the day, and was the only racer to break the 21 minute mark with a single stage time of 20:58.58, to take the win. Hill ended his day fourth on the stage, but held on to second in the race. With Rude flatting near the top of the stage, an sliding down to 10th, third went to New Zealand’s Eddie Masters (Pivot Cycles).
After his teammate Jesse Melamed injured his hand in a hard crash during training, it was down to Remi Gauvin to lay down a solid home town result in the Men’s field for the Rocky Mountain / Race Face team. Gauvin landed in sixth overall, joining Andréane Lanthier Nadeau’s fourth place to make for two RM/RF racers in the top ten.
Fifth went to the French rider Whistler has adopted as it’s own, Yoann Barelli (Comencal Vallnord). Through an eventful day, with a near wheel destruction on Stage 2, Barelli held on for his best EWS finish to date. Also laying down a huge result was Frasier Valley local Max Leyen. The young Canadian has had luck in Whistler in the past as a U21 rider, and finished fourth on Sunday in Whistler. Along the way Leyen nabbed a fourth in Stage 3, showing he has the pace to ride with the best on the EWS circuit.
While many EWS racers have some sort of background in downhill, cross country cross-over Evan Guthrie (Pivot/Maxxis/Kal Tire) had his best Enduro World Series result ever, finishing 22nd after five stages of racing. Close behind Guthrie was Giant Factory Off-Roads Mckay Vezina, in 27th.
A strong crew of young Canadian’s swarmed the Under-21 podium at the only Canadian stop on the Enduro World Series. Max McCulloch was second in the U21 Men’s race behind Theotim Trabac (Commencal Vallnord). In the U21 Women’s race Lucy Schick was second, and Julia Long third behind race winner Ella Connolly.
Along with the three podium placings, there was a crowd of young Canadians at the front end of the U21 EWS field. Kasper Woolley in seventh, Carter Krasny in 11th, Jacob Tooke in 13th, and McCulloch’s Slightly Rad Racing teammate Merin Pearce in 18th.