Practice Photo Epic: Dust Storm - EWS Northstar 2019

Aug 24, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  



It's the penultimate race of the year, and the stakes couldn't be higher. With the 2019 Series Champion titles still up for grabs, Northstar in California is about to play host to one of the most intense EWS battles to date. Add to the mix some otherworldly trail conditions and you have a recipe for plenty of drama.

With the last rainfall in Northstar happening sometime in June and lasting for a quick 15 minutes, the trails sitting just north of Lake Tahoe in California are about as dry as they can possibly get. With dust often swallowing tires whole and ruts to match it feels more like surfing in some spots than mountain biking. Some riders have adapted well and are looking right at home, while an equal amount are most definitely struggling to come to terms with the loose terrain.

The race will consist of six stages. Stages one and two will be run on Saturday and three through six will run Sunday. None of them are incredibly long, especially compared to the last round in Whistler, but with an elevation of well over 2000m, any physical effort is going to hurt.

In the women's race, Isabeau Courdurier is looking to seal the championship up this weekend, and in the men's it is looking to be an epic battle between Florian Nicolai, Eddie Masters, and Sam Hill. Let's not forget the return of Martin Maes who will be looking to pick up right where he left off after having won the first three rounds of the season. Richie Rude certainly has the momentum in his favor after a dominating performance in Whistler but if there is anyone that can derail that speed it is Martin Maes.

Up with the sun and ready to go
Up with the sun and ready to go.

Lewis Buchanan has been pinned in practice and has been smashing corners more aggressively than anyone on the mountain
Lewis Buchanan has been pinned in practice and has been smashing corners more aggressively than anyone on the mountain.

Thomas Lapeyrie riding the rut of dust on Stage 1
Thomas Lapeyrie riding the rut of dust on Stage 1.

in a word... It s Loose
In a word... It's loose.

ALN found out the hard way just how touchy the dirt can be in Northstar
ALN found out the hard way just how touchy the dirt can be in Northstar.

Dimitri Tordo sending it on stage one.
Dimitri Tordo sending it on stage one.

Lots of dust hanging in the woods making it hard to see and breath
Lots of dust hanging in the woods making it hard to see and breath'

The dust hung in the air clung to the trees and invaded nose holes eye sockets and ear canals.
The dust hung in the air, clung to the trees, and invaded nose holes, eye sockets, and ear canals.

A little lightbro on Stage 1
A little lightbro on Stage 1.

Youn Deniaud surfing some dust on stage 1
Youn Deniaud surfing some dust on stage 1.

It s always great when the GT Team Manager drops into a gnarly line during practice and shows the racers how it s done
It's great when the GT Team Manager drops into a gnarly line during practice and shows the racers how it's done.

Martin Maes is back an looking to pick up where he left off after winning the first three rounds of the season
Martin Maes is back and looking to pick up where he left off after winning the first three rounds of the season.

Martin Maes is beyond stoked to be back.
Martin Maes is beyond stoked to be back.

Robin Wallner runs warp speed through the drop on stage three.
Robin Wallner runs warp speed through the drop on stage three.

Josh Carlson had a good result in Whitsler and will be looking to keep the momentum going.
Josh Carlson had a good result in Whistler and will be looking to keep the momentum going.

Rhys Verner dives into a day of dust and rocks in early morning practice.
Rhys Verner dives into a day of dust and rocks in early morning practice.

Mckay Vezina finds the limits of traction in the moon dust
Mckay Vezina finds the limits of traction in the moon dust.

Remi Gauvin on Stage 3
Remi Gauvin on Stage 3.

Richie Rude has been on a tear this season with two wins and a second place. He has always done well in the dry an loose conditions and will certainly the one to beat this weekend
Richie Rude has been on a tear this season with two wins and a second place. He has always done well in the dry an loose conditions and will certainly the one to beat this weekend.

Local hero Marco Randy Bo Bandy Osborne tweaks it for the camera. Full send as always.
Local hero Marco "Randy Bo Bandy" Osborne tweaks it for the camera. Full send, as always.

Matt Walker and the rest of the Kiwis always seem to adapt quite well to dry and loose conditions
Matt Walker and the rest of the Kiwis always seem to adapt quite well to dry and loose conditions

Eddie the Eagle Masters is always a threat. Can he pull off another win here in Northstar
Eddie the Eagle Masters is always a threat. Can he pull off another win here in Northstar?

Richie Rude is on a tear. Will he take another win here in Tahoe
Richie Rude is on a tear. Will he take another win here in Tahoe?

Sam Hill will be an absolute danger in these conditions.
Sam Hill will be an absolute danger in these conditions.

Katrina Nash is making the move from World Cup XC to dipping a toe into EWS.
Katrina Nash is making the move from World Cup XC to dipping a toe into EWS.

Did we mention that it is rocky here
Did we mention that it is rocky here?

Wheels. This place is going to eat them.
Wheels. This place is going to eat them.

Isabeau Courdurier has yet to be beaten this season and a win here would all but assure her the overall title
Isabeau Courdurier has yet to be beaten this season and a win here would all but assure her the overall title.

Jesse Melamed blasting through the dust at gull gas. The chances he can actually see where he is going is slim to none
Jesse Melamed blasting through the dust at full gas. The chances he can actually see where he is going are slim to none.

Jesse Melamed is still nursing an injured hand but the shorter stages here in Northstar should feel a whole lot better than last round in Whistler
Jesse Melamed is still nursing an injured hand. The shorter stages in Northstar should feel a whole lot better than last round in Whistler.

Ines Thoma was one of the few trying this inside line on Stage 3 s big rock garden
Ines Thoma was one of the few trying this inside line on Stage Three's big rock garden.

Remy Absalon coming through a cloud while attempting to see the trial in front of him
Remy Absalon coming through a cloud while attempting to see the trail in front of him.

Joe Nation is back after injury and will be looking to move up in the rankings.
Joe Nation is back after injury and will be looking to move up in the rankings.

Florian Nicolai is well aware of what is at stake here. Will he be able to hold on to the overall in such a stacked field
Florian Nicolai is well aware of what is at stake here. Will he be able to hold on to the overall in such a stacked field?

Keegan Wright comes to grip with the brutality of the rocks here in Northstar.
Keegan Wright comes to grip with the brutality of the rocks here in Northstar.

Bex Baraona and some big trees on Stage 2
Bex Baraona and some big trees on Stage 2.

Bex Baraona is pumped on her dust mask while practicing through the never ending cloud of dust
Bex Baraona is pumped on her dust mask while practicing through the never-ending clouds.

Kevin Miquel blasting rocks in between all the dust and ruts
Kevin Miquel blasting rocks in between all the dust and ruts.

Katy Winton is still in search of her first podium appearance this season and with this being the second to last race time is running out
Katy Winton is still in search of her first podium appearance this season and with this being the second to last race, time is running out.


Katy Winton took fourth in Whistler and will be looking to get back on the podium.
Winton took fourth in Whistler and will be looking to get back on the podium.

The dust was flying everywhere we looked today.
Dust was flying everywhere we looked today.

Do you ever drift bro Iago Garay sends it sideways.
Do you even drift bro? Iago Garay sends it sideways.

Things are about to get rowdy here in Northstar
Be sure to check back tomorrow. Things are about to get rowdy here in Northstar.


Regions in Article
Northstar


40 Comments

  • 80 0
 there is dust on my keyboard now...
  • 2 0
 lmfaoo
  • 22 0
 Hope ALN is ok....way to face plant into a rock. Full face helmet doing its job!
  • 13 0
 That photo is incredible though, wicked shot @davetrumpore
  • 9 0
 Loose is where Sam Hill performs best
  • 5 0
 Can't wait for the race photo epic. These dust clouds look amazing in the pictures.
  • 5 0
 Directly or indirectly...that dust is going to kill someone. On the upside, it looks amazing!!
  • 4 0
 Pinkbike: Richie Rude "will certainly be the one to beat this weekend." And yet he's not in their top three for Pinkbike predictions lol.
  • 6 0
 Different people write those predictions... Not sure why a guy who has two wins, a second this season, and slays in loose conditions was left out...
  • 2 0
 Yeah I totally understand. Just pointing out a funny contradiction Smile sweet photos though and I'm stoked for the racing!
  • 1 0
 He's even raced there before. Should be familiar with the trails and riding
  • 5 0
 Careful Jesse never go gull gas
  • 5 0
 petition for a separate POY: only roost shots category.
  • 4 0
 Incredible photos!! Also glad to see Randy tearing it up - when does the guy not hit send?!
  • 4 0
 My lungs are hurting just from looking at these pictures!
  • 4 0
 Collection of POY!
\m/
  • 2 0
 These dusty conditions gives the opportunity of epic wide-angle godray shoots! More of them, please!
  • 8 6
 "Let's forget the return of Martin Maes who will be looking to pick up right where he left off" or perhaps "not forget"?
  • 6 0
 Normally a typo here and there. There are a lot in these subtitles...
  • 3 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: Not there fault, they could hardly see there keyboard for all the dust.
  • 4 0
 *their - it's catching
  • 2 1
 With motherf*cker downvoted proofreading?! You're a disgrace.
  • 1 1
 @BenPea: Of course they've corrected it now leaving your original comment looking out to lunch.
  • 1 0
 @h82crash: yeah, also "which" not "with" lol. Bit myself on the butt.
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli. So in other words their trails are crappily made. Nothing like a smooth jump line trail with pot holes. There's an oxymoron for ya.
  • 1 0
 The dust definitely is a factor because of visibility. Will seriously affect passing and just being behind someone.
  • 1 0
 @mdelorme @davetrumpore Your poor camera gear. Dustmagedon. That last shot reminds me of a volcanic pyroclastic flow
  • 1 0
 So many dusty roosts... this should probably just be the photo of the year contest right here.
  • 1 1
 That last shot looks like a grenade exploding! Awesome pictures, should be exciting stages.
  • 1 0
 The Edururo World Series, eh? Next best thing in enduro?
  • 1 0
 Was just there, so rad!
  • 1 0
 Amazing photos!
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