Pinkbike Primer - Everything You Need to Know Ahead of EWS Northstar

Aug 23, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  


All photos: California Enduro Series

Round Seven, California Dreamin'
Northstar Resort hosts the latest new EWS round

After the Whistler wash out, riders will get a chance to get some dust under their tyres at a new EWS venue that promises some lunar conditions in California. On the shores of Lake Tahoe, Northstar will provide a mix of bike park and back country trails in deep dust to test riders over the two-day race.

The big news this week isn't just Martin Maes making his return after a failed drugs test as there's also an EWS first with Sean Simonson set to become the first adaptive athlete in Enduro World Series history on his three-wheeled bike.

Let's get into all the details for the weekend ahead:

The Shakedown

With the penultimate round of this year's Enduro World Series coming up this weekend in Northstar California, the pressure is on for the pro riders to grab as many points as possible. There can’t be many more tricky places to do so either - the stages here are steep, rocky and covered in a seemingly infinite layer of ultra-fine dust. Shakedown day was as ever the unofficial starter's pistol for the weekend's riding and with plenty of technical riding to come over the next few days, it was decided that the teams would get a chance to get used to the loose in the slightly more bike park surroundings of two trails called Livewire and Gypsy.

The Course

STAGE 1: 2.96km, 365m descent
Sticks & Stones > (New) River Styx > Woods > Manure Pile > Kickback Tech > Kickback.

STAGE 2: 2.12km, 356m descent
Sinuous > Karpiel

STAGE 3: 5.40 km, 633m descent
Tahoe Trail > (New) Tahoe Trail Short Cut > Upper Karpiel > Sticks & Stones > Mineshaft > Liftline

STAGE 4: 1.50km, 258m descent
(New) Tell No Tails

STAGE 5: 1.20km, 207m descent
Dog Bone

STAGE 6: 2.20km, 306m descent

What Happened at the Last Round

With the Top of the World stage on day 1, Richie Rude and Isabeau Courdurier strode into early leads and seemed to be on for comfortable wins but the weather had other ideas. Whistler in the dry is challenging enough with all its raw technical elements and weathered trails, but add a heavy dose of moisture to the equation and facing five muddy stages would not be for the faint of heart. It would be a battle of attrition and nerves to keep bike and body in one piece, all while riding that fine line of aggressive and fast, without crashing or blowing off track. It would be unreasonable think anyone could have a clean race in conditions like this, so it would come down to minimizing mistakes and adapting on the fly to ever-changing conditions.

Masters and Hill charged hard in their chase of Rude and made big strides towards catching Florent Nicolai in the overall but it was not enough to beat the marauding American. In the women's race, Courdurier continued her quest for a perfect season and now has just two rounds remaining to cement it.

Pro Women's Overall
1st. Isabeau Courdurier 1:01:59.71
2nd. Noga Korem 1:02:15.49
3rd. Andreane Lanthier Nadeau 1:02:28.90
4th. Katy Winton 1:03:42.43
5th. Ines Thoma 1:04:08.54
6th. Rae Morrison 1:04:40.77
7th. Anita Gehrig 1:04:45.59
8th. Becky Cook 1:05:02.09
9th. Miranda Miller 1:05:32.63
10th. Bex Baraona 1:06:00.05

Pro Men's Overall
1st. Richie Rude 52:41.29
2nd. Sam Hill 53:36.68
3rd. Edward Masters 54:05.29
4th. Adrien Dailly 54:07.01
5th. Remi Gauvin 54:37.16
6th. Joshua Carlson 54:37.26
7th. Thomas Lapeyrie 54:48.14
8th. Matthew Walker 54:48.25
9th. Florian Nicolai 54:59.59
10th. Robin Wallner 55:03.36

See the full results here.

Theo Gally looking strong in stage 3

The Standings

1st // Florian Nicolai // FRA // 2490
2nd // Edward Masters // NZL // 2380
3rd // Sam Hill // AUS // 2315
4th // Kevin Miquel // FRA // 2110
5th // Dimitri Tordo // FRA // 2100
6th // Adrien Dailly // FRA // 1993
7th // Remi Gauvin // CAN // 1975
8th // Robin Wallner // SWE // 1840
9th // Matt Walker // NZL // 1681
10th // Cole Lucas // NZL // 1645

1st // Isabeau Courdurier // FRA // 3240
2nd // Noga Korem // ISR // 2395
3rd // Morgane Charre // FRA // 1775
4th // Andreane Lanthier Nadeau // CAN // 1760
5th // Anita Gehrig // SUI // 1265
6th // Becky Cook // GBR // 1175
7th // Bex Baraona // GBR // 1170
8th // Ines Thoma // GER // 1135
9th // Miranda Miller // CAN // 1110
10th // Rae Morrison // NZL // 1055

Weather Forecast

We're on for a scorcher in California with dry, dusty conditions on the cards all weekend.

Friday, August 23 - Practice - all stages
Plenty of sunshine; warm // 30°C // 0% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Saturday, August 24 - Race Day - Stage 1,2
Mostly sunny; warm // 31°C // 0% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Sunday, August 25 - Race Day - Stage 3, 4, 5, 6
Plenty of sun; warm; air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive groups // 31°C // 0% precipitation // wind 9km/h

Weather forecast from Accuweather as of August 21.

The Schedule

Thursday, August 22
• 09:00-14:00 Course Walk

Friday, August 23
• 09:30-17:30 Training - Stages 1, 2, 3, 5, 6

Saturday, August 24
• 10:00-12:00 Training - Stage 4
• 10:30-16:45 Race Day 1 - Stages 1, 2

Sunday, August 25
• 10:00-16:30 Race Day 2 - Stages 3, 4, 5, 6

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.

Follow Along

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team in California this week. Tune in to Pinkbike to catch photo epics, videos and results from practice and race day, as well as tech bits and news.

Following the Enduro World Series live can be a struggle with remote stages and hundreds of riders tackling trails at the same time. We're lucky to have Polygon rider Dan Wolfe bringing you behind the scenes action from each round LIVE through the Pinkbike Instagram stories this year. Find what's going down on course during training and race day through our Instagram. Be sure to follow @pinkbike to keep up with the action.

Pinkbike Predictions

bigquotesWith Hill and Masters on the hunt for the overall series, they'll be fired up for racing in Northstar. Sam Hill won in similar conditions in Chile last year and has been improving round upon round this year. He picked up his third second-place finish of the year in Whistler and will be desperate to take the next step up the podium before the end of the year. Ed Masters is also challenging for the overall and will be familiar with the dusty conditions coming from the southern hemisphere so will be charging again in Northstar. It's going to be one hell of a battle between these two in the final rounds of the season. Martin Maes is coming back this weekend and will be fresher than the other riders with plenty to prove. Watch out for a big result from him.

It's hard to look past Isabeau Courdurier for the rest of the season as she has won every race and queen stage of the year so far. Instead, it's more like a battle for second place in the women's field. So far this year, Noga Korem has proven herself to be the most consistent of the rest of the riders on the circuit and hasn't been out of the top 5 all year. She will also be a fan of the conditions coming from Israel. ALN took two stage ins in Whistler and is coming into great form at the end of the season. She'll be looking for another podium result in California.

1 // Sam HILL
3 // Martin MAES
1 // Isabeau COURDURIER
2 // Noga KOREM

Fantasy League

Don't forget to complete your EWS Fantasy team before the race starts on Saturday. If you don't know who to pick, check the Start List . There are prizes for each round, so if you haven't already, make sure to build your team today! If you've already got a team in the mix you're in the running to win the Grand Prize, so visit the Fantasy homepage to make sure you have the fastest team possible for Round 6.

The Fantasy Enduro League is Presented by Shimano.

MENTIONS: @shimano


  • 22 1
 Damn with Rude winning the last few rounds and Maes not “racing” this prediction seems a bit off.
  • 3 0
 Why racing in quotes?
  • 1 0
 Maes is on for this round. His ban's finished.
  • 9 0
 Lol right? I say Rude, Maes, Masters
  • 4 3
 Especially as Richie Rude will be on home soil.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, I'll be surprised if Rude's not up there on one of the podium steps. I won't be surprised if Maes does the same as Richie did earlier this season and storm back onto the podium after his absence though.
  • 2 0
 Sorry I meant to say Maes hasn’t been racing. No doubt about Maes’s speed, but that may take a race or two to be at where he was.
  • 13 0
 @dizIzib: Isn't Rude from the East Coast?
  • 2 0
 Agreed. Richie won here last year at the CES, so he's at least somewhat familiar with the bike park. I think he'll do really well.
  • 3 0
 @dizlzib: Rude rules in these conditions even though he's from about 3,000 miles (sorry - 4828.032 KM) away. Might be his home country but not his home soil per se. Still, I think he will do very well.
  • 5 6
 rude is going to puncture on stage 2
  • 1 1
 @endlessblockades: I did not know where is he exactly from. I just wanted to say that usually it's an advantage if someone races at his/her home country.
  • 4 0
 These conditions favor flat pedals, Sam's gonna kill it.
  • 1 0
 @krazieghost: Bulk of the punctures will be on stage 3 and 5. Sticks and Stones and Dogbone are sidewall destroyers. There's also one high-speed g-out at the bottom of Phodog that catches people off-guard.
  • 14 0
 Mention the 3-wheeled adaptive bike, but no photo in the run-down? C’mon,man! I want o see this tri-moto beast that’s going through those chunky trails! I’ve never heard of Sean, but I’m curious to see how he does. Ride on, Sean!
  • 1 0
 I've ridden with Sean a couple times, the dude is a legend. Super friendly guy, really positive, motivated, smart, definitely someone to look up to.

Check out "kneeling offroad hand cycle", you'll see something similar to what he rides.

However, If I were a betting man I'd reckon he's not going to do much of the course. Most of those trails are simply too narrow for his bike.
  • 1 0
 @mensch-mueller: never saw the jeremy video, I am really impressed by the climbing up, it is awsome
  • 13 0
 just curious, are you cali boyz yellin' "northstarrrrrrrrrrr" like "worldstar" when sumbuddy gets KO'd in the rocks?
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 that's great
  • 12 0
 Bike check on that 3 wheeler please! so rad Sean Simonson!
  • 5 0
 Hill is such a legend- and Florian has been so consistent... but for that overall I don't the "The Spirit of Enduro" is getting the attention he deserves. Eddie is riding unreal this year with a bit of discipline/maturity, a whole bunch of skill, and top style. I think he needs more attention and if he can keep riding the way he has been I think he is the front runner for the overall. My vote is for Eddie! One of my favorite riders to watch on and off the track so would love to see him cap this amazing season with a win.
  • 2 0
 Totally agree, Eddie is the man!
  • 4 0
 The battle between Rude, Maes and Sam is going to be epic this round. With the physical nature of this round my prediction is that we will see Maes on the top step just because he is fresh and hungry with Richey second and Sam third.
  • 1 0
 I do hope so, at least Martin might be able to redeem himself that way.
  • 4 0
 It would be good to know what each of the contenders needs to do to win the overall. Looking at the impenetrable EWS site, it's hard to find simple things like how many points are awarded for each place. JP
  • 2 0
 Gets tricky with the queen stage winner getting 50 bonus points .
If neither Edward or Florian win the queen stage and Ed wins Northstar. Florian needs 4th or better to win overall.
If Edward gets 5th in northstar, Florian needs 15th or better to win overall.

Look at page 37
  • 2 0
 @gcrider: Cheers!

  • 7 2
 Unless Richie gets a mechanical or puncture no way he is not on podium if not for the win.
  • 8 9
 Depends what he drinks you mean
  • 4 4
 @CM999: you are a idiot.
  • 2 0
 The Rude Maes Hill Masters showdown is ON. Can Nicolai hold onto the series win? Hill and Masters are gonna be pushing hard...
  • 3 0
 That's a lot of lift access.
  • 1 4
 Yes way too much. Is this enduro ?
(No pedaling ? Now i better understand why usa don't need e-mtb :-D ! )
  • 1 0
 500m climb on day 2, none on day 1.

Or I’m reading it wrong.
  • 1 0
 @dubod22: Nope that's correct.
  • 2 0
 If the local boy Evan Geankopolis is racing y'all better watch out. he's been crushing it at N* this season...
  • 1 0
 I hope he does well. A few decent crashes in training though. Might be pushing too hard
  • 2 0
 Go Martin! Need a revenge here!
  • 1 0
 How does a guy find out if Jill Kintner is racing or not? Fantasy EWS depends on it
  • 2 0
 According to her IG, she is still sick from Whistler and a no-go for this round Frown .
  • 1 0
 Check the official rider list at Big Grin Hint, b/c CWX, she's not.
  • 1 0
 @mtbikeaddict: Moran tang (Many thanks)
  • 1 0
 @WRainey88: Thanks kindly
  • 1 0
 @blanshard16: No problem... I see @jamessmurthwaite answered it better below. There's a Participating Riders tab under Smile
  • 1 0
 Is there a problem with the schedule dates ?
  • 1 0
 Is there is a rider start list?
  • 1 0
 Bike checks dudes. C’mon
  • 1 0
 4 French, 3 Kiwis on the top ten...
  • 1 0
 ...2 turtle doves and an Aussie on top of the tree!
  • 1 0
 Woa, that chick with the beard and the cone on her head. Freaky.......

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