There's a certain degree of guilt to not open with Cecile Ravanel this evening. Her performance has been nothing short of masterful so far this season, and only one woman, who is arguably the greatest female enduro racer ever (Tracy Moseley, for those slow on the uptake), has been able to best her so far. Yet, winning every week breeds familiarity, it becomes expected. The big story today is about a rider who also knows how that feels. Back in 2014, Jared Graves could do no wrong, but he had a difficult season in 2015 after Specialized took him into their fold. They surely wanted wins and titles to follow, but so far, that has not happened. 2016 has also been a difficult year for him, but he has worked to get up to the speed he knows he is capable of. Today, as series leader Richie Rude struggles with injury, Graves stepped to the plate and his name currently fills the number one slot so many people having been waiting to see him in. Of course, this is only the halfway mark, there is a long way to go tomorrow, but a comfortable, confident Graves is something that will make his rivals nervous.



The afternoon clouds started to build but the rain never materialized.
The clouds started to build, but the rain never materialized.

The race village waiting for the drama to begin today.
The race village, waiting for the drama to begin today.

After hanging on the rack all weekend Richie Rude s race bike finally got prepped for some action.
After hanging on the rack all weekend, Richie Rude's race bike finally got prepped for some action.

With racing not starting too early for the pros there is time to enjoy breakfast here before the day gets under way.
Racing did not start early for the pros, so there was time to enjoy breakfast here before the day got underway.

If there was one event event on the Calendar the Jared Graves has had his sights on all year it would be this round in Aspen. His season has not gone to plan and the pressure he s put on himself to perform here in colorado is massive.
If there was one event on the calendar that Jared Graves had had his sights on all year, it would be this round in Aspen. His season has not gone to plan, and the pressure he's put on himself to perform here in Colorado is massive.

There are all kinds of ways to hide important parts that could end up saving your race.
There are all kinds of ways to stash important parts that could end up saving your race.




// UNDER 21 RACE

What can we say about Adrien Dailly Dominating the under-21 field once more with a time that would put him in 9th in the GC.
What can we say about Adrien Dailly? Dominating the under-21 field once more with a time that would put him in 9th in the GC.

Seb Claquin pushed hard despite his injured hand for second in under-21 and for reference he still pulled a time good enough to match World Cup DH standout Sam Blenkinsop.
Seb Claquin pushed hard despite his injured hand for second in under-21, and for reference, he still pulled a time good enough to match World Cup DH standout Sam Blenkinsop.




// WOMEN'S RACE

7th on the day for Ines Thoma
Seventh on the day for Ines Thoma

Sarah Leishman powers through stage 2 while probably thinking about how much easier it will be to breathe at the next round coming up next in her home town of Whistler.
Sarah Leishman powers through stage two, while probably thinking about how much easier it will be to breathe at the next round coming up next in her home town of Whistler.

Anneke Beerten started well this morning but lost time on the long third stage. With the tracks taking a turn for the bike park tomorrow expect to see her pushing hard to get back on the podium this weekend.
Anneke Beerten started well this morning, but lost time on the long third stage. With the tracks taking a turn for the bike park tomorrow, expect to see her pushing hard to get back on the podium.

Cecile is in a class of her own at the moment. She holds nearly a full minute advantage on the rest of the field.
Cecile is in a class of her own at the moment. She holds nearly a full minute advantage on the rest of the field.

Isabeau Courdurier couldn t match Ravanel on any stage today but consistent clean stages land her in second this evening.
Isabeau Courdurier couldn't match Ravanel on any stage today, but consistent, clean stages landed her in second this evening.

Anita Gehrig charging into the top of the long stage three. Gehrig sits in third after day one.
Anita Gehrig charging into the top of the long stage three. Gehrig sits in third after day one.

Anka Martin is the leading Julianna rider so far edging out her teammates for 18th in her first EWS race of the year.
Anka Martin is the leading Julianna rider so far, edging out her teammates for 18th in her first EWS race of the year.

Hannah Barnes is always smooth always smiling and always having fun no matter the conditions.
Hannah Barnes is always smooth, always smiling, and always having fun no matter the conditions.

Rae Morrison is one of the best technical riders out there but physical stages at high altitude are a whole other ball game and she ends the day in and uncharacteristic 8th.
Rae Morrison is one of the best technical riders out there but physical stages at high altitude are a whole other ball game and she ends the day in and uncharacteristic 8th.

It doesn t look like this weekend will bring a second podium for ALN as she is about a minute off the pace of the top three this week.
It doesn't look like this weekend will bring a second podium for Andreanne Nadier-Lantheau. ALN is about a minute off the pace of the top three this week.

While Casey Brown may have started a little slowly this morning she picked up speed through the day to cap it all with a second on the long third stage to land her in fifth this evening.
While Casey Brown may have started a little slowly this morning, she picked up speed through the day to cap it all with a second on the long third stage to land her in fifth this evening.

Miranda Miller started well this morning but lost a little time on stage three to be sitting in tenth this evening
Miranda started the day in 4th on the relatively short and DH oriented stage one, but would fade as the stages became longer and longer to eventually settle into 10th.

It was a rough day out there for many. Miranda started the day in 4th on the relatively short and DH oriented stage 1 but would fade as the stages became longer and longer to eventually settle into 10th.
It was a rough day out there for many.

Casey Brown is sitting in fifth place and pumped to have a popsicle and a biscuit.
Casey Brown is sitting in fifth place and pumped to have a popsicle and a biscuit.

After racing at this altitude some canned oxygen is welcome relief.
After racing at this altitude, some canned oxygen is welcome relief.




// MEN'S RACE

The day started with a fairly quick DH stage but as the day went on and the heat went up the stages would get longer and more physical while pushing riders to the max.
The day started with a fairly quick DH stage, but as the day went on and the heat went up, the stages would get longer and more physical, pushing riders to the max.

Coday Kelly smashed it on stage three to take 5th place and sits in 14th in the overall after day one.
Cody Kelley smashed it on stage three to take 5th place, and sits in 14th in the overall after day one.

Utah resident Mitch Ropelato knows how to ride the loose Colorado dirt and has drifted his way right up into 17th.
Utah resident Mitch Ropelato knows how to ride the loose Colorado dirt and has drifted his way right up into 17th.

Not the day Yoan Barelli was hoping for as he struggled with the heat and altitude falling back to 35th.
Not the day Yoan Barelli was hoping for as he struggled with the heat and altitude, falling back to 35th.

With no tech zone at the end of stage one even the 2013 champion found himself scrambling to get a tube in and get on to the next stage.
With no tech zone at the end of stage one, even the 2013 champion found himself scrambling to get a tube in and get on to the next stage.

Jared admits tight switchbacks are his nemesis but he made quick work of the through The Dumps on stage 3 to solidify his lead going into day 2.
Jared admits tight switchbacks are his nemesis, but he made quick work of the through "The Dumps" on stage three to solidify his lead going into day two.

Chris Johnston was on fire on the first two stages today sitting in third in the GC until a couple of small crashes on stage three dropped him back to 38th.
Chris Johnston was on fire on the first two stages today, sitting in third in the GC, until a couple of small crashes on stage three dropped him back to 38th.

Curtis Keene has his eye on the podium. He could pull it off here in Aspen.
Curtis Keene has his eye on the podium. He could pull it off here in Aspen.

Blenki leans it in on the meadows on stage two.
Blenki leans it in on the meadows on stage two.

Todays tracks were rough and loose. Richie Rude powered through it all.
Today's tracks were rough and loose. Richie Rude powers through it all.

Nico Lau is a ninja on a bike and also just a tad bit crazy when it comes to fast one sections as well as switchbacks. Not at all surprisingly he is sitting in 2nd right now.
Nico Lau is a ninja on a bike, and also just a tad bit crazy when it comes to fast sections as well as switchbacks. Not at all surprisingly he is sitting in second right now.

If he s not drifting Iago Garay is boosting.
If he's not drifting, Iago Garay is boosting.

Loose Dog takes the inside line on one of the many blown out switchbacks on stage three.
Loose Dog takes the inside line on one of the many blown-out switchbacks on stage three.

Sixth today for the ever-fast Clementz.
Sixth today for the ever-fast Clementz.

Josh Carlson knows how to carry speed on fast open sections but will need to find a little extra horsepower if he wants to move from his current 18th into the top 10.
Josh Carlson knows how to carry speed on fast open sections, but will need to find a little extra horsepower if he wants to move from his current 18th, into the top ten.

The luck of the Irish landed Greg Callaghan into lucky number 13th spot after the first day of racing.
The luck of the Irish landed Greg Callaghan into the lucky number 13 spot after the first day of racing.

pinned and committed Damien Oton is holding onto 5th and trying to take as many points as he can out of the injured series leader Richie Rude.
Pinned and committed, Damien Oton is holding onto fifth and trying to take as many points as he can out of the injured series leader Richie Rude.

Shade was rare out there today and trying to keep cool and hydrated was a huge challenge.
Shade was rare out there today. Trying to keep cool and hydrated was a huge challenge.

The elite men take refuge from the sun at the start of stage three.
The elite men take refuge from the sun at the start of stage three.

Bloody arms and smiles for Greg Callaghan this evening he actually did this on the kids track by the pits this morning but who s counting .
Bloody arms and smiles for Greg Callaghan this evening. (He actually did this on the kids' track by the pits this morning, but who's counting?)

Blenki didn t have the best of days out there he finished in 27th. He ll be on the gas tomorrow and could make up some time on stages 4 though 6.
Blenki didn't have the best of days out there. He finished in 27th. He'll be on the gas tomorrow and could make up some time on stages four through six.

Rene Wildhaber is returning to form. The Swiss Muscle sits in 12th place.
Rene Wildhaber is returning to form. The Swiss Muscle sits in 12th place, but was still caught and passed by Jared Graves on stage three.

Fifteenth this evening for Robin Wallner who was another rider who came alive on the long third stage.
Fifteenth this evening for Robin Wallner, who was another rider who came alive on the long third stage.

Remy Absalon is currently sitting in 7th and still within striking distance of the podium if he can turn it up a notch on Sunday.
Remy Absalon is currently sitting in seventh, and still within striking distance of the podium if he can turn it up a notch on Sunday.

After a resurgence of form in La Thuile Curtis Keene seems to have finally hit his stride and is riding to his true potential once again. 4th on day one and only one second off Martin Maes and the final podium position going not the final day of racing. Could we possibly see a double podium for Specialized this weekend with Jared and Curtis
After a resurgence of form in La Thuile, Curtis Keene seems to have finally hit his stride and is riding to his true potential once again. Fourth on day one and only one second off Martin Maes and the final podium position. Could we possibly see a double podium for Specialized tomorrow with Jared and Curtis?

If the rocks don t get you the trees will. One racer found out the hard way what happens when you get too close to the broken off branches of a pine tree.
If the rocks don't get you, the trees will. One racer found out the hard way, what happens when you get too close to the broken branches of a pine tree.

Jared Graves dropped the hammer today. He finished 21.30 seconds up on the rest of the field. The Aussie could take his first win of the season tomorrow.
Jared Graves dropped the hammer today. He finished 21.30 seconds up on the rest of the field. The Aussie could take his first win of the season tomorrow.

Martin Maes takes the fast route over a drainage on stage one. Maes sits in third after day one.
Martin Maes takes the fast route over a drainage on stage one. Maes sits in third after day one.

Flying Flo pushing through the flat grass turns at the bottom of stage one.
Flying Flo pushing through the flat grass turns at the bottom of stage one.

Jerome Clementz sits in sixth after day one and reckons he can make up a couple spots come tomorrow.
Jerome Clementz sits in sixth after day one and reckons he can make up a couple spots come tomorrow.

Rude essentially raced today blind and injured. He sits in 41st.
Rude raced today, essentially blind and injured. He sits in 41st.

Despite having sat out day two of practice after getting stitches in his arm Francois Bailly-Maitre is up to 28th today.
Despite sitting out day two of practice (after getting stitches in his arm), Francois Bailly-Maitre is up to 28th today.

It s another slightly off weekend for Florian Nicolai so far eighth this evening and he seems to have the snap missing from his riding somewhat at the moment.
It's another slightly off weekend for Florian Nicolai. So far, eighth this evening and he seems to have the snap missing from his riding at the moment.

Toni Ferreiro suffered big mechanical on stage three and finds himself well off the back this evening
Toni Ferreiro suffered a big mechanical on stage three and finds himself well off the back this evening,

If the flat tire wasn t enough...
If the flat tire wasn't enough...
The mesh netting caught up in this riders gears must surely have been the final straw.
...The mesh netting caught up in this rider's gears must surely have been the final straw.

Richie Rude is a man of steel. Todd Schumlick checks out the champs range of motion after a day of racing with an injured shoulder.
Richie Rude is a man of steel. Todd Schumlick checks out the Champ's range of motion after a day of racing with an injured shoulder.

Today was a battle for this guy...
Today was a battle for this guy...
But championships are won by riders who are able make the most out of their worst days.
...But, championships are won by riders who are able make the most out of their worst days.

That s how you end a good day of racing. A good old fashioned American cheese burger and a pile of fruit.
That's how you end a good day of racing. A good old fashioned American cheeseburger and a pile of fruit.

Curtis heads to the final time check of the day confident that he s on his A-Game here in Aspen.
Curtis heads to the final time check of the day - confident that he's on his A-Game here in Aspen.

Always calm and collected Nico Lau isn t stressed one bit despite sitting in 2nd spot with a host of hungry riders breathing right down his neck.
Always calm and collected, Nico Lau isn't stressed one bit, despite sitting in second spot with a host of hungry riders breathing right down his neck.

Halfway to the goal this man set for himself here in Aspen. With three stages raced and three convincing wins it looks like it is Jared s to loose tomorrow. No one else is even close.
Halfway to the goal this man set for himself here in Aspen. With three stages raced and three convincing wins, it looks like it is Jared's to lose tomorrow. No one else is even close.


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Must Read This Week

78 Comments

  • + 126
 Thank you for the great coverage Pinkbike Wink it's amazing that we can follow racing thanks to such fantastic photo material. These are some great times for Mountain Biking!
  • + 15
 Agree, sensational photos as always, almost feel like I am in the Aspens. Truly fantastic work team Pinkbike.
  • - 25
flag karoliusz Plus (Jul 31, 2016 at 3:29) (Below Threshold)
 True. PB can make even enduro coverage looking interesting.
  • + 5
 it would be cool to have live streaming gopros
  • + 26
 I'm live streaming right now after that mega burrito from last night.
  • + 10
 @fecalmaster: nice username
  • + 1
 @fecalmaster: haha the mega blaster is never a good idea the next day. At that point though all you can root for is " come on ice cream"
  • + 3
 Awesome coverage of my home town! Looks even cooler through the masterful eyes of pink bike photographers!
  • + 1
 top review, blowing mind picture.
what i wanted more ? a simple tech info on wheels size,
tire choice, pressure will be a plus .
  • + 1
 @farmergilles: that would definitely give this article a boost.
  • + 0
 that photo of Iago Garay is immense
  • + 23
 I really hope Curtis Keene pulls off a podium spot. That guys's been struggling for 3 years, works his butt off, and is truly one of the nice guys
  • + 6
 Me too. I wasn't a fan of the guy before, but ended up meeting him at Santa Fe at the beginning of the season. He's such a nice guy, very accessible and friendly (not to mention an amazing rider, but that's common sense). I would be pumped if his efforts were paying !
  • + 21
 Stoked for Graves but more amazed by Richie Rudes toughness to push through what must be painful. Hopefully one of these enduros will see them face off at their respective bests.
  • + 3
 Rude is a beast plain and simple, no separated shoulder gonna keepthat guy from racing
  • + 2
 What is that abdominal scar he has?
  • + 3
 @AaGro: Spleen removal a few years back
  • + 9
 @davetrump: haha now every new hopeful gonna get his/her spleen removed cuz it makes you so much faster.
  • + 13
 "Back in 2014, Jared Graves could do no wrong, but he had a difficult season in 2015 after Specialized took him into their fold."

Wasn't he with Yeti last year(2015)?

Great photos!
  • + 1
 Indeed he was, 2016 is his first year with Specialized. But his last season was flawed as well, separating both his shoulders in pre-season training.
  • + 13
 Feel pretty bad for Rude...
  • + 10
 Is there a mistake in the text of the article? I was fairly certain this is Graves first season on Specialized, but could be wrong.
  • + 4
 Yeah, I was pretty confused by that section too. Unless I missed a year this is Graves first year off of Yeti in quite a while.
  • + 10
 is that a crankbrothers tattoo on dudes leg?!!!watch out buddy!your leg might break!
  • + 3
 I think those are temporary. In other pics I've seen Minaar and Anneke Beerten with them on - must be some weird sort of sponsorship commitment thing because you'd have to be insane to put a logo on your body forever
  • + 1
 @jaydubmah: omg!thank you for the info.i didn't think anyone was that dumb.
  • + 7
 Great pics and amazing coverage!

Quick question: In some of the pics the riders are wearing full-faces, and in others, regular trail helmets. Have the rules changed to allow helmet swaps? I remember a few seasons ago some riders were carrying a lighter helmet on their packs for long climbs in transfer stages.
  • + 14
 The open face helmets were worn after he racing ended and riders had to make the long pedal back from Aspen to the race village in Snowmass. There was a neutral support setup on the way and a lot of riders had their mechanics waiting with open face helmets to change into.
  • + 1
 Racers should be allowed to not wear a helmet on the transfers. Forcing racers to wear a helmet on transfer encourages riders (especially amateurs without a support team) to use a half-shell.
  • + 1
 @davetrump: thanks for the info! Great work and write up - cheers Smile
  • + 7
 Sorry but that is not a worthy american cheeseburger.... unless you talking about the kraft cheese slice which isn't really cheese.
  • + 5
 Nobody eats Kraft cheese, we are actually more sophisticated than your sterotypical image of "Americans"
  • + 2
 Do you mean because its so tiny. Wink
Children eat those kraft slices its a gateway cheese. My guess is thats Tillamook mild cheddar. Never know about the meat we have bison, elk as well as beef in the supermarkets here.
  • + 4
 @SteveDekker: kraft slices --> pepperjack --> brie --> heroin
  • + 1
 @Beez177: aha, you mean its walgreens slices? my bad :-p
  • + 2
 @SteveDekker: oh how I miss a Burgerville... I always ordered the Tillamook burger....
  • + 1
 @ibeaver: Dude! Me too! The Fresh Halibut and chips. Best drive through ever!
Thanks for reminding me.
  • + 3
 man realy stoked for curtis this year. That dude definitly busted his ass. And anyone else remember a sign intentionally mocking him at this years or last year ireland ews. I forget what it said but i hope the d bags notice his recent results. It really annoyed me seeing some dudes moking a rider who is known for being one of the nicest dudes out their.
  • + 5
 Get on the Gravey Train, next stop, Top Step station!! YIIEWWWW!
  • + 4
 When Graves doesn't have a mechanical, Graves wins. It a shame Rude has been compromised.
  • + 2
 Greg Callaghan made me realize that I am not the only one who crashes in the practice area. Sometimes you just go a little too hard in the pump track.
  • + 0
 Non-EWS BMEs often have transfers without any water available, so us amateurs need bottles or packs. Do the pros who don't carry bottles or packs (like Rude) get water feeds from team support on the transfers? Is that allowed?
  • + 2
 Thank you Pinkbike for awesome coverage of the race and photos, it's hard for me to keep up with the events without your page. You guys rock!!
  • + 1
 Every single one of these pictures is a 10/10!

I looks like it was tough conditions for photographers as well. Harsh light, dark shadows, dust like crazy.

Thanks for doing such an amazing job.
  • + 2
 In that photo of Anneke Beerten does she have some kind of stealth hydration pack?
  • + 1
 probably wearing a racebak made by camelbak
  • + 3
 Canned Oxygen? Are you cereal?
  • + 1
 Dave, for those "slow on the uptake", Jared Graves joined Specialized for the 2016 season, a move announced December 2015 – great pictures, anyway.
  • + 0
 Surprised not to see a development specialized enduro doing the rounds, seems there are none left of the current design for the pro riders to use?
  • + 1
 hannah is using the current all black s-works enduro
  • + 2
 probably in whistler you see the new enduro, as it will be anounced days after
  • + 2
 Awesome photos, love those white trees!
  • + 1
 That orange Orbea Occam sneaks into Ibis photos nicely! Brother from another mother?
  • + 2
 good to see the swiss muscle Rene back in the game
  • + 1
 Martin maes wil be pinned on the less pedally stages sunday. Cant see him taking 20 seconds off jared tho
  • + 2
 That packet of Gu in Rude's sock? No, just no. Never eat out of a sock.
  • + 1
 That pic of J.C. holding the plate of food though!
  • + 1
 Props to Nick and his crew from BME, put on a great event!
  • + 1
 Does anyone know what kind of Troy Lee shorts Mitch Ropelato is wearing?
  • + 1
 Anyone knows why Sam Hill isn't racing, please ?
  • + 4
 Mont Saint Anne downhill next weekend
  • + 0
 Why are the Santa Cruz boys not racing on the nomad at all this year? Its the flagship bike.
  • + 1
 Do any of the Photographers know Chris Panozzo???
  • + 5
 Of course, but when he is seeded with the #50 plate it means he is always one stage ahead of the top women and men, and not possible to shoot.
  • + 1
 Over 20 seconds up dam!
  • + 1
 2013 champion
  • + 0
 What's Casey Brown doing with a Specialized helmet?
  • + 5
 That's Miranda Miller
  • + 1
 Brill!
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