A New World Beginning - Enduro World Series, Round 1

Apr 18, 2014
by Matthew DeLorme  
EWS Logo - image by Matt Wragg

It has been nearly six months since the inaugural Enduro World Series season wrapped on the shores of the Ligurian Sea last October. Those months are usually called the off-season, but maybe that's not the best word for it. If you want to have a chance to stand on the podium you can't spend that time sitting on the sofa, eating, drinking and watching your favourite TV show. Those months are for work. While the race season is demanding, it's during the winters that riders put themselves through the bile-wrenching interval sessions, the long, lonely miles on the road bike and the brutal conditioning in the gym. The question that is posed in the coming days will be - whose sacrifice paid off the most? Who worked hardest and who maybe should have stayed on the sofa?

As a sign of how they see the future of the Enduro World Series, for 2014 it leaves the comfort of the Northen Hemisphere for the opening round. Half a world away from the familiar terrain of Europe and North America, the racing will start on the long strip of mountains that borders the Pacific Ocean: Chile. It was Fabien Barel who said that the core of enduro is adventure, and that's just what this race is for most of the international riders. Few of them have ever ventured here before, so part of the challenge of the week is racing in unfamiliar surrounds, on terrain unlike anything you find north of the equator and with a race format that is just different enough to throw off an routines that may have formed. It also acknowledges the spread of enduro as a truly international sport, one that has reached far and wide, reaffirming the work of the race organisers here in Chile and offering hope to other countries with emerging enduro race scenes that they too could be part of the big show...

15 hours in the air here we go...
  15 hours in the air, here we go...

Nevados de Chillan where the EWS is being held is some seven hours drive south of the capital Santiago. The entire way the Andes flanked the lefthand side of the vehicle - putting into perspective just how vast the mountain range is.
  Nevados de Chillan, where the EWS is being held, is some seven hours' drive south of the capital, Santiago. The entire way the Andes flanked the left hand side of the vehicle - putting into perspective just how vast the mountain range is.

In the days running up to the event organisers Mathias Del Solar left and Nacho centre were flatout making sure every little details was ready for practice to begin.
  In the days running up to the event, organisers, Mathias Del Solar (left) and Nacho (centre), were flatout making sure every little details was ready for practice to begin.

We re not going to give too much about the trail away today but once you reach the woods the ground turns from sand to perfect soil...
  We're not going to give too much about the trail away today, but once you reach the woods, the ground turns from sand to perfect soil...

Can t get enough of the landscape here in Chillan. This is just above the start of Stage two. Black volcanic sands on the upper sections of the tracks give way to amazing dark brown dirt in the woods. Chillan is roost heaven.
  Can't get enough of the landscape here in Chillan. This is just above the start of stage two. Black volcanic sands on the upper sections of the tracks give way to amazing dark brown dirt in the woods. Chillan is roost heaven.

Most of the riders arrived a couple of days before to relax before the race - with the trails closed until Thursday the bar and the thermal spas were the order of the day for most people.
  Most of the riders arrived a couple of days before to relax before the race - with the trails closed until Thursday, the bar and the thermal spas were the order of the day for most people.

Coming from the Northern Hemisphere it s a little disconcerting going from Spring to Autumn - and Autumn is at the height of its magnificence right now with much of the landscape covered with these burning red trees.
  Coming from the Northern Hemisphere, it's a little disconcerting going from spring to autumn - and autumn is at the height of its magnificence right now, with much of the landscape covered with these burning red trees.

Trek Factory Enduro goes over their plan of attack for the weekend before things start really get rolling. Mosley Leov and where all Trek sponsored last year and were running their own privateer programs now there are all full Trek Factory. With the added support they can pay more attention to their racing and less attention to all the other minute details that go on behind the scenes.
  Trek Factory Enduro goes over their plan of attack for the weekend before things start really get rolling. Mosley and Leov were all Trek sponsored last year and were running their own privateer programs, now there are all full Trek Factory. With the added support they can pay more attention to their racing and less attention to all the other minute details that go on behind the scenes.

Chris Ball was out in Chile in February to race the Andes Pacifico and local photographer Claudio Olugin Para grabbed this shot of him at full attack. Chris had never seen this before he arrived in Nevados so it was a little surreal for him to sit down and see his face looking back at him from the coffee table.
  Chris Ball was out in Chile in February to race the Andes Pacifico and local photographer, Claudio Olugin Para grabbed this shot of him at full attack. Chris had never seen this before he arrived in Nevados, so it was a little surreal for him to sit down and see his face looking back at him from the coffee table.

We all know about the change at Yeti this year as the make the switch to full Enduro many are probably Wondering how Richie Rude Jr. will do. Considering he already did all of his training at home on his trail bike he should do just fine on the Enduro circuit. He is has the fitness to make the climbs without being gased and still plenty of power to smash the downhills.
  We all know about the change at Yeti this year,and as they make the switch to full enduro many are probably wondering how Richie Rude Jr. will do. Considering he already did all of his training at home on his trail bike he should do just fine on the enduro circuit. He has the fitness to make the climbs without being gassed, and still plenty of power to smash the downhills.

Jerome Clementz stopped by the shop too to see the Montainbaik guys and chat about race formats and how the timing system would work during the race.
  Jerome Clementz stopped by the shop too, to see the Montainbaik guys and chat about race formats and how the timing system would work during the race.

Midnight Madrid Airport 9 April. With only a few flight a day from mainland Europe to Chile it turned out that quite a few of the European riders headed out on the same flight. We saw Jerome Clementz Remy Absalon Nico Lau and Manuel Ducci all in the airport at the same time.
  Midnight, Madrid Airport, 9 April. With only a few flight a day from mainland Europe to Chile, it turned out that quite a few of the European riders headed out on the same flight. We saw Jerome Clementz, Remy Absalon, Nico Lau and Manuel Ducci all in the airport at the same time.

The race organisers Montenbaik have played a huge part in making travelling to Chile as easy as possible for many of the racers. Damien met us four heavily jet-lagged Europeans and drove us to the Mountain Works bikeshop where we could unpack the bikes eat and work out where we were supposed to be heading next.
  The race organisers, Montenbaik, have played a huge part in making travelling to Chile as easy as possible for many of the racers. Damien met us four heavily jet-lagged Europeans and drove us to the Mountain Works bikes hop, where we could unpack the bikes, eat and work out where we were supposed to be heading next.

The only way to travel in Chile is by pickup truck especially if you are travelling with bikes. Alex Luapto stands proud of his packing fitting everything three racers and one photographer need for a fortnight into the back of a single pickup.
  The only way to travel in Chile is by pickup truck, especially if you are travelling with bikes. Alex Luapto stands proud of his packing, fitting everything three racers and one photographer need for a fortnight into the back of a single pickup.

A little volcanic rock texture probably cracked as it was cooling after the volcano hurtled out of the belly of the earth.
  A little volcanic rock texture, probably cracked as it was cooling after the volcano hurtled out of the belly of the earth. While this one is almost shiny smooth, there are plenty of jagged nasty ones beneath the black sand waiting to shred tires.

Canyon have some rather special but heavily camouflaged bikes with them here in Chile Fab wasn t going to let a camera come anywhere near them though.
  Canyon have some rather special, but heavily camouflaged bikes with them here in Chile, but Fab wasn't going to let a camera come anywhere near them.

No set of photos from Chile would be complete without a picture of a condor the largest flying bird in the world and one of the most majestic things I have ever seen. So here you go...
  No set of photos from Chile would be complete without a picture of a condor, the largest flying bird in the world, and one of the most majestic things I have ever seen. So here you go...

Temps were definitely on the chilly side this morning as riders attended the meeting before registration. Things warm up quickly though once the sun raeches the valley.
  Temps were definitely on the chilly side this morning as riders attended the meeting before registration. Things warm up quickly though once the sun reaches the valley.

Nearly everyone who has spent time riding in Chile seems to have stories of these holes. They are created by a small burrowing mammal that digs beneath the surface. Completely invisible from above you only know they are there when you put a foot or a tyre on top and the earth gives way.
  Nearly everyone who has spent time riding in Chile seems to have stories of these holes. They are created by a small, burrowing mammal that digs beneath the surface. Completely invisible from above, you only know they are there when you put a foot or a tyre on top and the earth gives way.

A small sample of the trails to come. There are a couple of bike park trails which are wide-open and loose but the rest of the trails are in the woods and are these perfect dirt ribbons. The soil is simply unbelievable soft and loose on the surface but with a damper supportive layer beneath. While the phrase all-time is over-used to hell it really does apply to the ground conditions here.
  A small sample of the trails to come. There are a couple of bike park trails, which are wide-open and loose, but the rest of the trails are in the woods and are these perfect dirt ribbons. The soil is simply unbelievable, soft and loose on the surface, but with a damper, supportive layer beneath. While the phrase "all-time" is over-used to hell, it really does apply to the ground conditions here.

To get to stage 2 first there is a forest dirt path which is too steep to ride comfortably especially in a race where you need to save your energy for the descents. Then there is this... A desert of deep grey volcanic ash. Beautiful but utterly impossible to ride in. All together it is about an hour and a half of hiking to reach the start of the stage.
  To get to stage 2, first there is a forest dirt path, which is too steep to ride comfortably, especially in a race where you need to save your energy for the descents. Then there is this... A desert of deep, grey volcanic ash. Beautiful, but utterly impossible to ride in. All together it is about an hour and a half of hiking to reach the start of the stage.

The big practice day starts tomorrow stages one through three are on Saturday and four through six are on Sunday. The courses are clearly taped hopefully there will be little to no controversy around the subject of cutting the course here. The event organizers have done a bang up job laying things out and being as clear as possible about the rules.
  The big practice day starts tomorrow, stages one through three are on Saturday and four through six are on Sunday. The courses are clearly taped, hopefully there will be little to no controversy around the subject of cutting the course here. The event organizers have done a bang up job laying things out and being as clear as possible about the rules.

Day 1
Day 2

www.enduroworldseries.com


72 Comments

  • 50 3
 Graves will smash it this year, ridden with him on his home trails. The guys an animal.
  • 11 4
 why is your username redkiwi94 when you are Australian? It just seems a bit strange...
  • 32 1
 yeah, whats up with that?!?! lol the name police are here where are your papers!!
  • 17 0
 He was a kiwi, but we claim him now
  • 6 0
 just like how you claimed Luke Ball?
  • 12 1
 Im still waiting for Eddie Masters "the spirit of enduro" video to hit pinkbike.......
  • 1 0
 yes
  • 2 1
 I really wish I had known Graves was not going to be in Petermaritzburg before I added him to my downhill fantasy team...like an idiot Frown
  • 2 0
 Haha I did the same then realised he'd be in chile. Did have richie rude though.
  • 2 1
 Do your research boys, I'm sitting in 208th.
  • 26 1
 Wow Chile looks like one damn good place to ride.
  • 17 6
 chile is one damm good dish to eat
  • 9 19
flag dbox123 (Apr 17, 2014 at 23:04) (Below Threshold)
 The course looks awesome. Is it still the case that you only get an alloted amount of time to get from the finish to the next start? I still think that the amount of time it takes to cycle back up should help decide the overall winner. I'd give each rider 5 to 6hours of time for all the transfer time between stages for both days. Then award points, even if it is a small amount to the rider who has used the least time. Surly this would progress the design of the bikes as pedalling efficency and fitness would become more important.
  • 20 2
 That's XC
  • 2 0
 guys you should come, incredible trails across our hills
  • 4 4
 Its not XC is it. The qualifying in moto GP is not part of the race but they still award points for 1st place. If you can hammer the downhills and then cycle back up the hill 10minutes quicker than every other rider on each transfer why not give points for that.
  • 5 0
 That would basically be XC marathon...
  • 4 0
 While that sounds good in theory, it sort of takes away the essence of endurp which is cruising up with ur mates and smashing down. Things wont be as fun trying to save time going up
  • 2 2
 I'm not sure why dbox is getting all the negative props. All we hear about is how Enduro is "all mountain" riding. Last I checked the "all" in "all moutain" includes the uphill sections.

With the said, I have no problem with the way Enduro is set up now. I just think people need to stop calling it an all mountain race. Its not unless you time the uphills. The way its constituted now, its an endurance gravity race. The uphills simply tire the rider out for the timed downhills. Climbing skill is not rewarded at all in Enduro.
  • 1 0
 Agreed
  • 14 1
 It'd be a hard format to put on TV but I'd love to watch this series unfold instead of just the highlights.
  • 6 1
 I could see it being sweet if it was covered like wrc lol, set up camera points and a helicopter. One day...
  • 4 0
 I like some of the idea's for bike helmets and GPS to follow times and riders with comparisons. A good edit crew could make it exciting.
  • 4 0
 5 or 6 Drones with Camera's for each stage run would do the job.
  • 12 3
 More about the trail systems please. Their quality looks acceptable
  • 3 0
 With how remote some of these places are its really amazing they've got as much "fresh" trail as what they do. Who builds this stuff?
  • 2 0
 Chile has a long mountain range from north to south over the Pacific ocean almost to roam and enjoy the mountain bike all year, we have a beautiful country with all climates, from the desert to the north and south and Patagonia with its cold weather but full of life. In the central area you can enjoy all seasons of the year but very sharp with no major winter frost or snowfall that let you take advantage of all year pedaling. I am one of Chileans who want to share all this beauty with the world... All are invited. Viva Chile mierda...!!!
  • 3 0
 The shop I got my SB66 from down here say they sell more 66's than any other bike! They also sell trek, devinci, Santa Cruz and lappiere.
  • 1 0
 hey guys I have a question, since this is the first time in my country that a event like this is going to be held, I am dying for have the chance to see all the big stars of the mtb world and also to have an couple of autographs...in what moment of the whole event should I be there? friday (training day), saturday (race day 1) or sunday (race day 2) ???
(I'm injured that's why I'm able to be there just one day)

Cheers!
  • 3 0
 Why is Fabien hiding the canyon ? Whats he gonna do put it in a big box and ride it in the race ?
  • 2 0
 Last year he ran a neoprene cover over the linkage for a bunch of the races. It looked like a little sail Smile
  • 1 0
 I guess it's the new Strive.
  • 3 0
 "Bile-wrenching?!!!" What the hell is that? I thought I'd wrenched everything, but I'm clearly not going hard enough....
  • 5 3
 That mammal that creates the hole is called gopher...at least here in states..
  • 1 0
 Hilarious. Got a good laugh out of that one.
  • 3 0
 But Ive never stepped on a gopher hole and had it collapse. This rodent is called a Degu. It is a small caviomorph rodent that is endemic to the Chilean matorral ecoregion of central Chile.
  • 2 0
 @ bmar you remind me of Jamie from Euro Trip!!
  • 2 0
 haha. Google...
  • 1 0
 Its a "cururo" like mix between mole and a beaver
  • 2 0
 @ Bmar if you can put up with college humor type movies its definitely worth a watch!!
  • 3 1
 Why did Yeti cancel their DH program? Seems silly after Mr. Rude became Junior Champ..
  • 1 0
 I think because SB's sell way better than 303's ... and racing is expensive. They chose to concentrate their resources instead of half assing both.
  • 2 0
 French riders are looking ungry !
  • 3 0
 Angry? Hungry?
  • 1 0
 Hungry, indeed ;-)
  • 7 1
 Hangry.
  • 1 0
 Being an englishman living in France I have the 'angry vs. hungry' conversation regularly, this made me laugh!
  • 1 0
 Man that was funny. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 Yeah it's pretty damn funny
  • 1 0
 Haha--that was great. If you can't beat em...
  • 1 0
 Wow the colours of those trees look incredible! ........ and yeh s'pose i'm lil bit excited for racing or whatever
  • 2 0
 Welcome to the Jared Graves show!
  • 2 0
 Absolutely beautiful.
  • 1 0
 garganta del diablo... it looks good!
  • 1 0
 WHERE IS THAT NEW DEVINCI??
  • 1 0
 So is Josh Carlson out for the race? Better change my fantasy team up
  • 1 0
 youtu.be/yNWxNh7ur3Q from the other side
  • 1 0
 Man, I'm intrigued...the only thing you post all the time is "TOP"
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