5 Things We Learned From EWS Whistler 2022

Aug 9, 2022
by Sarah Moore  
No one wants to win here more than hometown hero Jesse Melamed.

1. There really is a home advantage.

Seven of the top-15 Pro Men were from Canada, with season's best results for Remi Gauvin, Jack Menzies, Evan Wall, Carter Krasny, and McKay Vezina. In the Pro Women's race, there were three Canadians in the top 15 for the first time this year with Andreane Lanthier Nadeau, Miranda Miller, and Georgia Astle, while the entire U21 Men's top-5 was Canadian. In the U21 women's category, series leader Emmy Lan had to sit out her home race after a crash in practice left her with a separated shoulder, but Lily Boucher brought it home for the Canadians with a fifth place.

Compare that to EWS Tweed Valley, where there were just two Canadian men in the top-15 and one Canadian in the top-15 in the women's race. The most Canadian men we've seen in the top-15 so far this year was less than half at three, while every women's race has had just Andreane Lanthier Nadeau making it into the top-15.


Fox suspension. Photo by Stefan Licko

2. Fox's new electronic suspension has a win before it's even been released.

EWS winner Jesse Melamed rode Fox's new electronic suspension to its maiden win in Whistler. Before it’s even been released (or been given a name), Fox’s new electronic suspension has secured an Enduro World Series win, something that RockShox’s athletes on Flight Attendant have yet to do, despite the system being officially released in October 2021. Women's race winner Harriet Harnden's Trek Slash is compatible with the new electronic offering from RockShox, but Harnden chose to ride a coil shock for Whistler.

Mike Levy and Matt Beer tagged along to watch Jesse Melamed try the electronic air-sprung shock for the first time in Squamish earlier this summer. You can watch that video here.


Florencia Espiniera off the E-Bike and back fighting with the EWS ladies once again here in Whistler.

3. Pinkbike Academy alumni had career-best finishes.

It was an incredible weekend of racing for Pinkbike Academy alumni. Evan Wall claimed his best-ever EWS finish with a 12th place, knocking Sam Hill out of the hot seat and holding down the hot seat until the last half of the top-30 men came down, Emmett Hancock took second place in the U21 Men’s category, just ten seconds off the win, and Flo Espiñeira took third place in the Pro Women’s race. Season one finalist Jo Peters also won the EWS80 on Saturday.

Filming for season three will get underway later this month in Big White and we've got another great crop of riders that will be contending for the win.


Richie Rude prepping to take the fight to his rival Jesse Melamed s back yard this weekend.

4. Mechanicals played a big part in this round for top contenders.

It was heartbreak in the final stage of the day for Andreane Lanthier Nadeau and Richie Rude as they had their podium hopes dashed after mechanicals. For the second year in a row, Andreane Lanthier Nadeau was leading the race right up until the final stage and it looked like she might finally be able to clinch her first Enduro World Series win, despite an ankle injury sustained in the week leading up to the race. Racing was tight so it was no done deal, but a flat at the end of Stage 4 had her scrambling to make the tight time cut before the final stage of the day, and while she was able to fix her tire trailside in time to drop in for the final stage of the day, a harder than usual air pressure and likely added fatigue and stress contributed to a crash during the stage. She would finish fifth on the day.

As for Richie Rude, he was sitting in a close second for the entire day, and with the final stage taking top place finishers over eight minutes, a win could have been in the cards. Unfortunately, a flat partway down the long stage meant that he would finish a distant 44th, over three and a half minutes back. Jesse Melamed also suffered a flat, on the third stage of the day, which had him take his worst finish of the day, a ninth place. Luckily, he was able to reset for the second half of the race and make a podium at home a reality once again.

Richie Rude was leading the overall at 1615 points to Jesse Melamed's 1535 points, but he slips to second in the overall standings with that result. Melamed now leads with 2080 points to Rude's 1785 as the racers head to the United States for the next two rounds.


Clint Trahan photo
Clint Trahan photo

5. The women’s racing was tighter than the men’s for the first time this season.

The time difference between first and third in the women's race was the same as the men's in Tweed Valley, a very close 14 seconds. In Petzen-Jamnica, just 15 seconds separated the men's podium, while 45 seconds separated the women's podium. In Val di Fassa, third place in the men's field was 26 seconds behind first, while the women's podium was separated by 37 seconds.

In Whistler however, just 11 seconds separated third-placed Flo Espiñeira from race winner Harriet Harnden. In the men's race, Remi Gauvin took third place, but finished 52 seconds behind his teammate Jesse Melamed.


Other facts:
• The World Cup DH and XC seasons are wrapping up, but EWS Whistler merely marked the halfway point to the season, with four races still to go.
• We’re still waiting on a Mike vs Mike, but we were treated to an Alicia vs Christina showdown in the EWS100 on Saturday. Unfortunately, Christina sustained an injury on Stage 2 and was unable to complete the race and so Alicia took top honours in this round, but we’re already looking forward to the next match up!


115 Comments

  • 210 2
 Mike vs Mike; give the people what we want.
  • 5 2
 +1!
  • 19 0
 Let's throw in Henry, Matt, Palmer, and Engel too.
  • 15 0
 Super impressed with Kazimer's 7th in Masters. Strong finish with a 5th and 6th on the last two stages.
  • 6 0
 Levy is running scared
  • 38 0
 I tried - someone didn’t show up.
  • 2 0
 @Fullsend2-13: and dont forget Bradshaw - not a bad result in Pro Mens
  • 127 8
 Jesse has won this year without electronic suspension, and likely would have won regardless....Spend your money on coaching guys, not gadgets.
  • 77 11
 He won this race despite having that shock Wink
  • 23 1
 @bartonw: Whaaaa?!?!! You mean it’s not the BIKE, it’s the RIDER?! But what will the marketing overlords think? #buybuybuy
  • 45 3
 Top riders are pretty particular about their setup, so I doubt he would have used it if he didn't like it / think it gave him an advantage. You may not like gadgets / batteries, but I think there's a clear competitive edge to being able to change suspension settings without taking your hands off the bar. Each little punch of a climb he could firm it up for, or to have one setting for bermy / jumpy sections vs steep / rough sections - those microseconds add up segment after segment, stage after stage.
  • 4 2
 @chakaping: Most accurate statement indeed
  • 13 3
 @Lokirides: You strongly underestimate the "sway" sponsors have on riders. (coming from a 15-year industry veteran)
  • 8 0
 I'd also throw in there: Jesse's been mixing it up for first all season. Yet, despite a massive home-field advantage, he only won by 16 seconds. I'm not saying the shock is good or bad, but I would say that touting it as an advantage is a bit premature.
  • 2 0
 @rockandride6: Fox is definitely going to milk it for everything they can though.
  • 6 0
 @rockandride6: 16 seconds plus a flat fix. So pretty dominant. Don't really care if the gizmos helped mind you.
  • 1 2
 Coaching? Lol
  • 5 0
 "It's not the plane; it's the pilot." ~Maverick~
  • 4 2
 Everything you're saying about this race is conjecture. The fact is, he won with electric suspension here.
  • 1 0
 @rockandride6:
Take a look into the photo epic. Rude rode the same shock there but flatted.
  • 20 1
 @rockandride6: I had absolutely zero pressure from fox to ride this shock.

I have been testing it for the last month and consistently found myself faster on my local trails. That is to say, I firmly believe this shock was an advantage for this race, but I will continue to bring my coil shock to the races in case I feel like there is more of an advantage with the suppleness it provides.
  • 1 0
 @nickfranko: it’s all true, all facts, very objective comments
  • 84 1
 What a suprise that people who have ridden trails dozens or hundreds of times are faster than people who have ridden these trails once in practice.
  • 26 1
 I wonder if we will see the same from Americans at Burke
  • 19 2
 @swenzowski: I think Richie is from near there. I’d be surprised if many US based riders went there frequently though. Whistler is a destination for people around the world to ride and pros move there to live, but I feel like Burke is more of “I’ll take a weekend trip because it’s convenient and I live relatively close” type of place. But I also do not race so I’m not location scouting to get better at enduro
  • 11 0
 I think we need a nerding out article on how strong the home advantage is. It's not enough to just compare number of top 15 competitors because in Enduro many of them may be unable to travel to all the races. A better comparison would be % of time off the winning pace for racers that compete the whole season and have a home race. @brianpark?
  • 9 0
 @swenzowski: Richie has definitely spent a fair amount of time up there. I'm sure he'll do well. Though if it is Wet, it is a total toss-up as Burke is brutally slippery in the mud.

If it is dry, my money is on Mr. Rude.
  • 2 16
flag snarlymarley (Aug 9, 2022 at 6:30) (Below Threshold)
 @threecats: Pretty easy to argue in favor of Kingdom Trails being a strong destination as well like Whistler, especially for folks in the US
  • 6 2
 @snarlymarley: Maybe 5 years ago, but now? I am not so sure. I changed trip destinations this year partially because of the ongoing landowner issues.
  • 9 0
 @snarlymarley: Kindgom can get busy but it sees a tiny tiny fraction of what Whistler sees every year.
  • 2 3
 @Dtwillow: me too. Wont go anymore. Turned into joey world
  • 2 1
 Especially since whistler enduros are multiples longer in lenght/time riding, it really is an unbalanced playing field in almost ever regard, especially since wasn't the whole "enduro" schtick, being that you're supposed to be riding blind?
  • 4 0
 @pbfan08: It's pretty tough to find venues where folks are actually riding blind these days. They do have rules about not riding the courses in the week or two proceeding, and then only getting the specific practice day.

I'm sure a lot of the home advantage also comes from being used to the type of dirt/roots/rocks/corners, and having a bike setup for that. It's not just knowing the track.
  • 3 0
 @snarlymarley: they're certainly not racing an EWS on the Kingdom Trails
  • 2 0
 @Dtwillow: To my knowledge it was a single (substantial) land owner that pulled out, and closed access to bikers. And due to that loss KT stepped up their game massively, collaborating with landowners, creating new trails, and buying up some new land for further expansion. But perhaps there are ongoing issues still? I was there a few weeks ago and it was better than ever, especially all the new gravity trails in East Haven.

Of course all of that has little to do with Buke Mnt, and Victory Forest where they've been working on new enduro trails for this event.
  • 3 0
 @swenzowski: Richie knows those trails well, there is even a trail from the top of Burke that is called Rude Awakening on his honor. Trails from the top of Burke like upper J bar are very technical and if is wet ….. mama mia, super sketchy!!
  • 1 0
 Same thing happened at Northstar a few years ago. The racers from the Western US we able to handle the blown out conditions much better.

Europeans definitely have an advantage when racing in the EU. The style of trails is completely different from 99.9% of US trails.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: is it possible the timing officials are local and do stuff for their comrades
  • 38 1
 Most Canadians seen in the results this year at an event in Canada. Go figure.
  • 16 0
 I haven't actually checked but compared to travelling half way around the world, I assume when you hold a race in the backyard of a huge number of Canadian racers, most of them compete!
  • 7 0
 @plyawn: in France there were 7 or 8 frenchies in the top 10 a few years ago, kiwis on the podium in Derby… it is quite obvious that playing at home is a huge advantage in enduro.
Go to Olargues or Millau during winter you have almost all the pros doing laps on the EWS stages
  • 6 0
 There are a lot of retired racers and racers living in North America who may only go to a few stops that will compete at this one. Some are top 50 like Yoann Barelli or others like Georgia Astle and Miranda Miller are top 10. Makes you realize how deep the field truly is and how little money there is in the sport to allow all the best riders to compete.
  • 8 0
 @pasteque51:
Derby = Australia
Kiwi = New Zealand
  • 22 3
 6. Fans want more race coverage.
Not just an updated list of the top 5 riders.

Im not the most tech-aqcuanted guy out here but isn't there a way of streaming live from go-pro camers? I think this would work well for ews formats. Or drones following riders down stages like 1 drone guy per stage flying up and down.

Is the EWS even trying to get some "live coverage" on? (seriously asking).

I am aware, not many will seat infront fo their screen watching a 4h+ race but still, would be pretty cool to able to follow the riders along ....

Just throwing thoughts out there...
  • 3 0
 Based on my reading of GoPro's website, you can live-stream from their camera if you have a nearby phone or other mobile hotspot. So live-streamed EWS runs are technically possible if they are racing some where with adequate cellular coverage. Whistler would certainly fit that requirement. Other courses may be in areas with poor coverage which would hamper true live streaming.

A couple hurdles would be convincing ALL top riders to 1) Wear the GoPro and 2) Carry a phone or small hotspot on their person or their bike. Perhaps GoPro or someone will build cellular into their camera which would eliminate #2. Then I don't think #1 would be a major issue (no GoPro, no $$$).
  • 3 0
 @bocomtb: You can stream live from them, but the quality is god aweful even on wifi/5G UW. Plus the odds of even half of most enduro courses even having cell coverage is being generous. It's not feasible in any regard and even if they could pull it off no body would watch and complain about the quality cause it would be aweful.
  • 2 0
 @bocomtb: Whistler would not fit the adequate coverage criteria. Technically, there is coverage, but practically, it's not good when usage increases. When I was there on Sunday a number of bike vendors were having difficulty inputting data by using their phones as hotspots. This would be a disaster if live broadcasting depended on stable connection.
  • 1 0
 @pbfan08: alright so at the end of each stage you have a guy at a table with a generator, a laptop, and a Starlink dish. The guy frantically takes SD cards from the pro's gopro then hands them a fresh one, pops the SD card in the laptop, then uploads the video over the Starlink connection. Then put the live timing website on a 10 minute delay to give them time to get the footage uploaded and synced up. Riders get a time bonus for sharing their footy. Easy peasy (lol), you got yourself a full live-ish broadcast.

Real talk though, Enduro seems almost completely impossible to broadcast in a way that won't suck / leave people unsatisfied. Not entirely surprised that less effort is being put into the broadcast.
  • 2 0
 What we need is not more POV footage. We need more dudes stood at the side of the tracks with cameras.
It doesn't need to be "broadcast quality" either. Someone with a semi-pro camera and half a clue how to use it would be fine.
  • 2 1
 @Paco77: This ^^ POV sucks.. at least for action sports.. lol
  • 1 0
 The problem would be the number of cameras necessary because of the spread in the field. Lets say we approach it like a DH race. - If you focused on the fastest men, you'd probably miss out on the fastest women. I'm not sure that both groups are on the same stage at the same time. - If tried to grab footage of the entire field, it'd get boring real quick. - If you focused only on the fastest of each group, you'd only get the top 10, which might mean missing someone popular like Hill or Wall. - It'd be very difficult to do live due to lack of infrastructure and connectivity. I think the last part there is the biggest challenges. World Cup races involve a fair amount of prep for broadcast, and thats even with small courses concentrated around resort infrastructure. It'd be interesting to hear from someone who is familiar with the broadcast logistics of World Cup events, and their opinions on the challenges facing a similar style of broadcast for EWS.
  • 3 0
 They should crowd-source the race footage. Get fans to upload or tag their video clips online and then if it's good enough to use pay them $50 or whatever per clip.
Most of it would be garbage but there would be some usable stuff out there, and also once this was established it would encourage semi-pro people to get involved (who could earn a really good days money if a lot of their footage was used).
  • 2 0
 @Paco77: I had this thought as well actually. Have some sort of cloud/database where fans or independent media types could upload their videos and then someone can piece together usable footage? Seems like A LOT of sifting through clips but I got some decent videos on the stages I watched this weekend.
  • 1 0
 In order for GoPro live streaming to be consistent and decent quality they would need something akin to this on every stage youtu.be/13OtZFWdhwQ

Maybe could work without that as 5G Ultra Wideband gets deployed to more and more areas but wireless signal transmission will always have consistency issues. Nothing beats a physical connection. The TV crews at the world cups run tons of wire through the woods for this reason. Same thing with concerts. (Except for wireless mics, which are worth the minor consistency issues. A signer doesn’t move as far as an enduro racer.)
  • 1 0
 Personally, aside from a good wreck, rad save, or a key feature (drop or jump) - I wouldn't watch an event after the fact.

Even with how good DH coverage is, I prefer to watch it live.
  • 12 0
 Nummer 2; this just tells med Jesse world have won no matter if his suspension has battery or not. Meaning I wonthave to buy an electric suspension platform. Thanks Fox!
  • 24 3
 If he had used a X2, I would not have been so sure about him even finishing the race...
  • 1 0
 From what I saw Richie Rude also had this new Fox in his Yeti
  • 4 0
 @bashhard: stop for a quick air can reseal halfway down... Big Grin

"I was gutted when my shock got a flat halfway down... But that's racing for ya!"
  • 11 0
 #6 Matthew Fairbrother is still fantastic - completed the race and then rode 8+ hours through the night over 90 miles.
  • 10 0
 Martin Maes also destroyed his rear wheel on the Pro stage, his mechanic had to fix it for the race day
  • 16 0
 Yeah the video of him jogging his bike to the finish line was looking really hard but he came back for a Top10 finish which is incredible
  • 3 0
 @bashhard: Super impressive effort. If you look at how much time he lost on that stage he would probably have been on the podium without it.
  • 2 0
 His wheel sounded messed up on Sunday when I saw him fly by on Stage 2, like he broke a spoke maybe.
  • 3 0
 I don’t follow ews that closely and am not too familiar with the rules. Why would getting/fixing a flat have resulted in Lanthier having a harder than usual air pressure? Was this like a trackside fix where she had no pressure gauge?
  • 8 1
 Filled it with a co2 to 40psi and didn't have a gauge to knock it back down?
  • 4 1
 Probably something like that. Not enough time for a proper, dialed fix.
  • 3 0
 That's one element (trackside job with CO2s or a pump w/o gauge). The other is that elite racers are under time pressure to make their stage start times (fixed) or risk a time penalty if they miss it (especially if everyone else makes their start in time). Time cuts are more relaxed for the EWS100 (the open race) where there is only a time limit for the day but no fixed start times for the stages.
  • 2 0
 Easy: you get your starting time for each stage, by which you must have arrived to the start of the stage. You are late--> you get a penalty.

Tranfers between stages are long or shorter but are fixed, but still dont run near any mechanical post. If you go another route also a penalty. So you fix your stuff on the go, with what you have. I bet she just used a cartridge and kept going. Many riders dont take a lot of stuff with them, just the bare basics since they are long exhausting days.

Matthew Fairbrother fixed his broken rim with ductape and cable binders... so yeah
  • 12 0
 I think most riders will tend to run slightly higher pressure after fixing a flat either to give themselves some margin if the tyre is slowly leaking air from a bodged fix, or simply to give the tyre more support and reduce the risk of further flats/issues.
  • 8 1
 Or was she running tubeless and threw in a tube, which needed to be harder to avoid pinching?
  • 2 0
 @mountainsofsussex: I was going to mention that too, but I seem to remember in one of The Jank Files videos she can't get the tyre off with a Cushcore in so will usually just try and fix the tyre and keep it tubeless. Could be wrong on that though!
  • 4 1
 Is a flat tire seriously considered a mechanical? Not being sarcastic here - I would genuinely like to hear what people think on this.
  • 8 1
 @teamcliff: of course, a "mechanical" is any failure of a bike component
  • 1 3
 @teamcliff: No - it's something that always has me scratching my head. In motorsport a flat/puncture would never be classed as mechanical - as, well it's not mechanical, is it? Gears, brakes, suspension are all mechanical, but a tyre isn't.

A flat/ puncture is a tyre issue.....
  • 3 0
 @Starch-Anton: I don't follow your rationale. If your fork seals failed and you lost all of the air in your fork, would that be a "suspension issue" instead of a mechanical?
  • 2 0
 @Starch-Anton: in motor sports you also have a pit team or an entire spare wheel on the back.

When you have to fix it solo while trying to make a time cut, it is a different story.

The bike is a mechanical object. An issue with it malfunctioning is a mechanical.
  • 1 0
 @Starch-Anton: all the sports I've been involved with classify any failure of a machine / component as a mechanical...which is what it is, there are different types of mechanical like flat tires....
  • 4 0
 If you're still wondering about homefield advantage, you may also take Innes Graham into consideration. While still fast, he hasn't been anywhere near his Tweed Valley finish.
  • 1 0
 Knocking about between 30-40th since Inners round.
  • 6 0
 RS should sue fox for electronic controlled suspension...
  • 2 0
 Where did Hattie make the difference?
Did anything happen to Isabeau?
I didn't have HH pegged for the win here, but maybe she just had the strength to stay the course (and avoid getting a flat)?
  • 2 0
 A complete guess but Hattie may have a fitness and power advantage. I think she races in XC and cyclocross a lot. On the Pro stage she went around the large drop, adding about 4 seconds but then more than made up for it on the climbing section after it.
  • 1 0
 @karatechris: yeah she’s national champ in both so probably has the fitness edge especially for longer days.
  • 1 0
 @karatechris: Ah, there was a mid-stage climb. Say no more.
  • 6 0
 Isabeau is recovering from having a branch pierce through her foot last month. Surprised she is already back on the bike and racing!
  • 3 0
 Isabeau is still recovering from getting stabbed through the foot riding the EWS-E, so I don't think she was pushing 100% this time round.
  • 2 0
 @Mugen: Can't believe I forgot that when I drafted her into my Fantasy team. Poor thing.
  • 1 0
 @johnny2shoes: national champ in what?
  • 2 0
 @jhtopilko: British CX Elite National champion and U23 XCO British Champion.
  • 1 0
 @jhtopilko: apologies I was responding to karate Chris who reckoned she did a bit of xc and cyclocross. As starch-anton says, lots of xc and cyclocross champs
  • 7 1
 Gutted for Richie
  • 4 0
 Gutted for Richie, pumped for Jesse.
  • 4 0
 Did anyone think there wasn’t a home advantage? Maybe Richie Ride.
  • 2 0
 Richie Ride Jr LOL
  • 7 6
 Tomorrow’s headline: “NSFW — 5 Things We Learned, And Wish We Hadn’t, From EWS Whistler 2022 After-Party in Whistler Village.”
  • 2 1
 Afterparty presented by Cialis and Aloe Cadabra
  • 3 0
 Bet its good for locals to compre times with the pros....
  • 3 4
 So many strava clowns with half chubs
  • 5 2
 @pargolf8: spoken like a slow joey
  • 2 0
 Can someone tell me what "1199" stands for? I presume it's a reference to Stevie.
  • 13 0
 It was Stevie's points total in his world cup winning year
  • 2 0
 final points he had in the season he won the overall
  • 2 0
 2013
  • 1 0
 It's only advantages for the enduro local guys... You see there was no substancial canadians last weekend in that looong Dh course...
  • 1 0
 well there are not many Canadians in the current pro field, but Finn Iles took the win of course, so I'm not sure your point is valid
  • 1 0
 Mt St Anne is 5000km from where all the Canadian pro DH racers live.
  • 3 0
 "Richie Ride" not bad...
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike Academy alumni Jo Peters also took P1 in the EWS 80!
  • 1 3
 I wouldn't say that the Canadians have that much of an advantage on their home turf, due to the fact that they are at home. Yes home location helps but there is a truth from motorsport that says "if you're good it doesn't matter where you race". I would say that in this case it was the non-Canadians who were worse. With a few exceptions: Jack Moir, Matt Walker, Ed Masters, Lucas Cole, Slawomir Lukasik, Richie Rude, Martin Maes, Grag Callaghan.
  • 1 0
 Richie Rude, Not Richie Ride Smile
  • 1 0
 Jack Moir is a God.





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