The long winter behind us it was time to pack our bags and head to South America for the first two rounds of the Enduro World Series. It was also time get acquainted with our new teammates and reacquainted with the old ones.
For Round 1 we were returning to Chile after two-year hiatus, but to a new venue - Lo Barnechea. We arrived a few days earlier than usual. We need to get acclimated, both to the high altitude and the dusty conditions known as "anti-grip". To top it off, we were about to debut our new secret weapon, the Ibis Ripmo.
Everyone was excited about unveiling the new bike and we were eager to get out for a pedal on the new rigs. On that first ride in Lo Barnechea, we were greeted with a phenomenal sunset that begged for blowing up berms and hooligan skids into the fading light.
The early arrival also allowed for some quality time to get to know our new riders, and the idyllic setting of the Andes helped foster a good banter between the teammates, as well as some good natured shenanigans.
In spite of their antics, photographer Dave Trumpore somehow managed this crew of miscreants lined up and looking somewhat serious for a team photo before the action starter.
As race day approached, everyone had their own routine, but all the riders went out for a course walk to get an idea of what the stages were going to be like. It was clear that this was going to be a burley challenge to start the season, and in more ways than one.
Lo Barnechea delivered the longest race stage in EWS history, as well as high altitude, loose dirt and sharp rocks. It was bound to be a test for both riders and their equipment.
As Lewis Buchanan put it: "It's going to really be about keeping it together and stay out of trouble"
Race days are nerve-wracking time for the team mechanics, Jesse Patel and Mats Pettersson, as well. Watching the other teams' parade of broken bikes return to the pits had them as tense as the riders.
With Bex having her career best result in 4th, Robin getting his first podium, Lewis in 21st and Dillon in 59th it was a great race for the whole team and a nice start to the season.
After all the points were tabulated, it ended up being enough to secure the team's first podium of the year, taking third place in the team standings.
Despite our jubilation over Robin and Bex's achievements, there was no time to party. After the race, it was a hectic evening of packing and preparing to head to Colombia for the second round in Manizales this coming weekend. Another new venue for all the riders and a totally different type of terrain to tackle. It will be interesting to see who adapts quickly to the change of scenery. So tune in next week for more race news!.
Ibis Cycles Enduro Race team is supported by: POC, Maxxis, KS, Fox Factory, Shimano, Joystick, LizardSkins, Muc-Off, Feedback Sports, Industry Nine, Honey Stinger, One-Up.