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.