Evan Wall is Devinci Global Racing’s newest signing. Originally from Calgary, Alta, Wall now lives and trains in Squamish, B.C. after a stop over in Revelstoke. He’s also the first winner of mountain biking’s reality TV show, Pinkbike Academy’s first season.
These days, Wall’s competition is the top pro riders on the Enduro World Series circuit. I caught up with the 23-year-old enduro racer to talk about the big first block of European EWS races, joining Devinci and, of course, the reality TV experience.
CanadianMTB: So you grew up in Calgary. When did you move to Revelstoke, and what led you there?
Evan Wall: Since I was around 12, I’ve been taking trips to Revelstoke with my dad. one trip in the winter, one in the summer. Every time I went there I thought “this place is where I wanna live.” So, once I finished high school I moved out there. Primarily for biking, but also for skiing.
You ended up leaving Revy for Squamish. What drove that move?
Once I wanted to train full time for racing I cam out here. I can ride year round and be surrounded by other professional riders as well as have a coach in the same town as me.
Does having that big group of pro riders make a difference?
For sure. There’s always people on a similar schedule, so there’s good people to go to the gym with, and people are always trying to push their riding.
You’re now living in one of the mecca’s of global mountain biking. Is there anything you miss about Alberta riding?
The Team Pilsner crew was deadly. I miss them. I don’t know if you know Reg Mullet or Danny Larouche, all those guys, but they’re wicked to ride with. Real good, older dudes but more stoked to ride than anyone else I’ve met.
You were on, and won, Pinkbike Academy’s first season. What was the reality TV experience like?
Uh, it was pretty funny. For some reason I didn’t expect it to actually be a reality TV show. I kind of expected it to be like Drop-In, that old TV show where they just went around in a bus and just shredded like a bunch of dirtbags. So that’s what I thought it would be like. Instead, we were actually doing reality TV, which was pretty funny.
This year, you’re on Divinci Global Racing, with Greg Callaghan and Georgia Astle. How did that switch from Orbea come about?
From the Pinkbike Academy, I had a one year contract with the Orbea Factory Team and went and raced in Europe with them. From those results, and connections I made there, I got in contact with Devinci and joined their team this year.
That’s a full factory team. How much does that factory support make a difference?
Huge difference. You have the resources and time to just focus all your effort on training, rather than trying to balance a job and training and planning for the season. Especially at the races, being able to just focus on racing instead of practicing, then having to fix your bike and figure out dinner and all that extra stuff.
Greg Callaghan’s been around the EWS for a while. Does it help having him as a teammate?
For sure, he’s super smart just around race strategy and getting the most out of a weekend. Getting to follow him around, even just seeing what lines he takes and the little details he has dialled in. It’s huge to be able to follow him around.
This EWS season started with a big block of racing, kicking off at Tweed Valley in Scotland. That’s a venue you’ve done well at in the past. What were your expectations going into this year?
I was hoping to be top 20, top 30 consistently. I only ended up with one top 30, so it wasn’t quite what i’d hoped for. But I think I’ll get there with a bit more time before the next block of racing.
Austria was definitely my favourite. The style of trail, and really long, rough stages. All the trails there were, not similar to home but resembling what I like to ride most.
That race weekend had a few 10-plus minute long stages, right?
Yeah, a 14-minute stage and a 12-minute stage. Two big ones.
How hard is it to race something that long when you’re usually racing four to five minutes?
I’d say it’s different. A three or four minute stage you’re going 100 per cent. You end up feeling similarly tired, just pacing differently through the stage. On longer stages, fatigue in arms can become a thing. Luckily I’ve never really had trouble with arm pump, so those longer stages suit me pretty well.
That must be good heading into Whistler.
Yeah, I’m really excited for that. It’ll be cool to race on home trails. Now that I live out west, it’s basically a home race for me.
What’s on tap for you after Whistler?
The night of the Whistler race we fly to Quebec, spend the night there, then go to Burke and Sugarloaf for the next rounds. We have that, then back to Quebec for a film project with Devinci.
Is it nice being on a Canadian-based team? Or is that not really a factor?
It’s nice because they feel closer, you feel a bit more connected to the team. And there’s more communication, and it’s easier to get things done quickly.
Evan Wall is racing the Whistler Enduro World Series round this weekend, from Aug 6-7. The event kicks off the return of the week-long Crankworx festival to Canada, though it doesn’t sound like Wall and his teammates will have time to stick around when their racing’s done.