Practice Photo Report: Diamond in the Rough - EWS Whistler 2018

Aug 11, 2018
by Matthew DeLorme  


After a brief break from the massively rough round five in La Thuile, Italy, we find ourselves in Whistler for round six of the Enduro World Series. While previous versions of the Whistler round have been dubbed "Crankzilla" due to the sheer length and brutality of the one day round, this instalment is a touch gentler. Whistler this year may not have the mileage as years before, but a summer with little rain has made these tracks incredibly rough. Littered with wheel swallowing holes, big slabs, and massive roots, there is plenty to keep the riders on their toes.

Sam Hill has proven nearly unstoppable this season, but the battle between Sam and Martin Maes in La Thuile was one of the most exciting of the season. Richie Rude has had one win this season and Whistler is always in the cards for him. Can he take win number two here? Cecile Ravanel maintains her hold on the perfect season and it looks like nothing is stopping her. Jesse Melamed may or may not race due to a broken hand on stage one in practice today, a massive disappointment not to be able to take a win at home again.

With badly needed rain moving in tonight, it is anyone's guess how things will play out tomorrow. We will have to wait and see what this diamond in the rough will serve up, this is one of the better iterations of Whistler EWS. One could say it's a real gem.

Welcome to Canada eh.
Welcome to Canada, eh.

It s back to the big mountains this round.
It's back to the big mountains this round.

The view from the start of the weekend s final stage is always next level here in Whistler.
The view from the start of the weekend's final stage is always next level here in Whistler.

All the views from the top of Whistler Peak.
All the views from the top of Whistler Peak.

Twice Richie Rude has smashed out incredible times on the final stage to steal the win here in Whistler. He excels on these fast dry and loose conditions and with one win under his belt already this year we know he s capable of big things here.
Twice Richie Rude has smashed out incredible times on the final stage to steal the win here in Whistler. He excels in these fast dry and loose conditions, and with one win under his belt already this year, we know he's capable of big things here.

Jesse Melamed broke his hand on stage one this morning but may try and race tomorrow.
Jesse Melamed broke his hand on Stage 1 this morning but may still try and race tomorrow.

Damien Oton will be on the hunt for the podium tomorrow.
Damien Oton will be on the hunt for the podium tomorrow.

Isabeau is on the hunt for that win will it come here in Whistler
Isabeau is on the hunt for that win. Will it come here in Whistler?

Eddie Masters finished third in the big mountains of Italy last round and the long rough stages should suit his once agin here in Whistler.
Eddie Masters finished third in the big mountains of Italy last round, and the long rough stages should suit his once agin here in Whistler.

It s been a few months but both Caro and Anita Gehrig are finally healthy and racing together once again in Whistler.
It's been a few months, but both Caro and Anita Gehrig are finally healthy and racing together once again in Whistler.

The high alpine sigletrack that makes up the start of Stage 5 is sublime.
The high alpine singletrack that makes up the start of Stage 5 is sublime.

When there are delays you find ways to amuse yourself even if it s just kicking clumps of dirt.
When there are delays, you find ways to amuse yourself, even if it's just kicking clumps of dirt.

Lewis Buchanan skimming his way across the roots here in Whistler.
Lewis Buchanan skimming his way across the roots here in Whistler.

Youn Deniaud stepped over the edge of grip on stage three.
Youn Deniaud stepped over the edge of grip on Stage 3.

Greg Callaghan on Top of the World
Greg Callaghan on Top of the World

Stages 1 and 2 make their way down some classic trails through the woods on Blackcomb.
Stages 1 and 2 make their way down some classic trails through the woods on Blackcomb.

Thomas Lapeyrie has been on a roll late in the season and will be looking leave his mark on Whistler s dry and dusty trails.
Thomas Lapeyrie has been on a roll late in the season and will be looking leave his mark on Whistler's dry and dusty trails.

Some of the trackside spectators are more friendly than others.
Some of the trackside spectators are more friendly than others.

Robin Walner is back racing after becoming a dad Will he be straight back to the podium
Robin Wallner is back racing after becoming a dad! Will he be straight back to the podium?

Richie Rude retired early in La Thuile but can he take his second win of the season here
Richie Rude retired early in La Thuile, but can he take his second win of the season here?

Jared Graves smoothing out the rough stuff on stage four.
Jared Graves smoothing out the rough stuff on Stage 4.

Shawn Neer makes his way through the greenery on Stage 1.
Shawn Neer makes his way through the greenery on Stage 1.

With Jesse Melamed out this weekend it s up to teammate Remi Gauvin to pleas the hometown crowd.
With Jesse Melamed out this weekend, it's up to teammate Remi Gauvin to please the hometown crowd.

Mark Scott finished on the podium here last year and the long rough tracks will certainly play to his strengths.
Mark Scott finished on the podium here last year and the long rough tracks will certainly play to his strengths.

You gotta love these tall pine forests.
You gotta love these tall pine forests.

Cecile is crushing these tracks.
Cecile is crushing these tracks.

Will Yoann Barelli be inside the top ten on his home tracks One can hope.
Will Yoann Barelli be inside the top ten on his home tracks? One can hope.

Martin Maes going crazy in practice today. We hope to see another Hill Maes Battle tomorrow.
Martin Maes going crazy in practice today. We hope to see another Hill / Maes Battle tomorrow.

Florian Nicolai launches into the steep chute on Stage 1.
Florian Nicolai launches into the steep chute on Stage 1.

Cody Kelley is rallying around on a band new Alchemy 29er this week in Whistler.
Cody Kelley is rallying around on a band new Alchemy 29er this week in Whistler.

Keegan Wright drops into the classic rock face on Crazy Train.
Keegan Wright drops into the classic rock face on Crazy Train.

Katy Winton is looking to climb back on the podium this weekend.
Katy Winton is looking to climb back on the podium this weekend.

Caro Gerhig rides among giants.
Caro Gehrig rides amongst giants.

Greg Callaghan has found the podium elusive this season can he make it back on tomorrow
Greg Callaghan has found the podium elusive this season, can he make it back on tomorrow?

It wouldn t be an EWS without a little rain and while it fell pretty hard for part of Saturday afternoon it should not be a factor in Sundays race.
It wouldn't be an EWS without a little rain, and while it fell pretty hard for part of Saturday afternoon, it should not be a factor in Sunday's race.

The final liason to reach Stage 5 is not for those who have a fear of heights.
The final liason to reach Stage 5 is not for those who have a fear of heights.

Remi Gauvin diving into the Top of the World.
Remi Gauvin diving into the Top of the World.

Josh Carlson is out this weekend due to injury.
Josh Carlson is out this weekend due to a broken thumb.

Mitch Ropelato is one of a few hundred racers who are more than thrilled that rain hasn t been a factor in this round of the EWS.
Mitch Ropelato is one of a few hundred racers who are more than thrilled that rain hasn't been a factor in this round of the EWS.

Peter Ostroski monster trucks through the thunder on Stage 5.
Peter Ostroski monster trucks through the thunder on Stage 5.

Yoann Barelli just had a seasons best finish last round and will be looking to put on a show in his adopted home town.
Yoann Barelli just had a season's best finish last round and will be looking to put on a show in his adopted home town.

Isabeau Courdurier floats over the deep loam on the bottom of Stage 3 on Delayed Fuse.
Isabeau Courdurier floats over the deep loam on the bottom of Stage 3 on Delayed Fuse.

Andre Bretas pinned through the bottom of Stage 3.
Andre Bretas pinned through the bottom of Stage 3.

Canadian McKay Vezina racking up some extra air miles on Top of the Word.
Canadian McKay Vezina racking up some extra air miles on Top of the Word.

No one hit this rock slap faster than Sam Hill drifting into the corner above fully committed. If this section is any indication of the pace Sam will be carrying come race day the competition should be worried.
No one hit this rock slab faster than Sam Hill, drifting into the corner above fully committed. If this section is any indication of the pace Sam will be carrying come race day, the competition should be worried.

Pedro Burns throws a little style into it at days end.
Pedro Burns throws a little style into it at days end.

Can Eddie Masters repeat his stellar 3rd place from La Thuile
Can Eddie Masters repeat his stellar 3rd place from La Thuile?

Will Whistler by the comeback race for Jared Graves Time will tell.
Will Whistler by the comeback race for Jared Graves? Time will tell.

The Cube in Sync
The Cube in Sync


Lets hope Curtis can overcome the issues that have troubled him so far this season. Whistler has been good to him in the past.
Let's hope Curtis can overcome the issues that have troubled him so far this season. Whistler has been good to him in the past.

Thomas Lapierye picking it up through Crazy Train
Thomas Lapierye picking it up through Crazy Train

The Commute.
The Commute.

Ratboy toying with it.
Ratboy toying with it.

Many might think that squids like water but not media squids.
Many might think that squids like water, but not media squids.

Practice is over it s time to strip the beasts down and build them back up for a long day of punishment.
Practice is over, it's time to strip the beasts down and build them back up for a long day of punishment.



41 Comments

  • + 26
 Will Whistler by the comeback race for Jared Graves? Sadly, no , unless he switches bike sponsor overnight

#getthatmanonabetterteam
  • + 4
 No kidding - specialized needs to blow that team up and start again. They can do better. It’s time.
  • + 5
 Why's that? What's wrong wirh his sponsor!
  • + 11
 Maybe is Graves actually rode the enduro bike they make he'd do better...
  • + 3
 I am no Spesh hater (have two of them in the shed) but something seems wrong with how they run their 'factory' teams. DH team blew up in the end but the bike performs well when under different management. And in enduro they have hardly any good results. Maybe Anneke did best when she was on the Enduro 29-er? Only XC seems to work. Do they take the XC approach to gravity? The vibe in XC is so different to gravity, that it might be it?

Hope everything clicks into place soon because this is no way to end Jared's career
  • + 2
 @kusanagi72: could be a good shout, bikes are pretty damn good, the funding is there but is the attitude slightly misplaced? Guess we'll never know unless one of their athletes writes about it further down the line.
I'd like to see them put their faith in an up and coming racer too, plenty of racers on privateer or support only deals that they could make an offer to for next season.
  • + 4
 @frankwizza: tyres are whatever. Can’t match Maxxis, Michelin, E13 and possibly not even Schwalbe. Just look at Grid casing that got lighter in the latest versions, “great idea” considering they had issues with punctures aready. They may be fine for mortals but EWS is the roughest test any tyre can take. But then you have to admit Graves had a hell of a bad luck with all sorts of mechanicals. That also may be due to the tyres. When you have less grip you have to push harder.
  • + 4
 @vhdh666: everything. apparently. I can hardly think of a single thing jared graves and curtis keene haven't managed to break from their sponsors in these last 3 seasons. It's honestly miraculous the two of them are still alive at this point that team got some bad mojo going around.
  • - 27
flag fecalmaster (Aug 12, 2018 at 4:01) (Below Threshold)
 Graves is washed up, can his ass and get some new talent.
  • + 13
 @fecalmaster: he’s going to be less washed at 70 than you have ever been.
  • - 19
flag fecalmaster (Aug 12, 2018 at 6:20) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: Try changing the subject but he can't ride through a paper bag any more. You can take down his nude photo off you wall now.
  • + 4
 What @headshot said. The Stumpjumper is a great *trail* bike. I've been on a few of them this summer (evo and normal). Both are piles of fun, but at this level you'd have to be a total ninja to limp one of those down the track.

If those boys would realize this isn't 2013 and the EWS is really Group B Rally, (hint, you need a big bike....like the enduro), they'd start being competitive again.
  • + 1
 @JeffreyJim: Yep. Keene was 6th in La Thuille in 2016 riding an Enduro while Graves was nowhere on the old Stumpy.
  • - 1
 Why do they call that model the Enduro, I know it's a crazy question.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: the new blckdmnd casing is much better. Very similar to Super Gravity. Hes been running them all season from back when they were prototypes. Still, no luck. The issue is the overall tread width and spacing compared to the carcass size, more than anything. Its far too narrow.
  • + 1
 @JeffreyJim:

JJ but his is far from stock, like halfway between the stump and enduro cuz he upforks and long shocks it. Plus dh casing tires.

Actually would like a bike check to see if he’s long shocking the new one like he was the old one or sticking to a 140 rear. Keep in mind a handful of racers on less than 150 rear like anyone on an sb5.5 and ripmo at 145.

I would think with access to their lineup he’d ride the enduro if he felt better on it. Tho for the gnarliest races, like this one, it does seem crazy to go for the stumpy. I’d reach for the enduro but of course my goal would be to just get down the mountain as opposed to putting down a fast run.
  • + 2
 @JeffreyJim: We can all eat humble pie - Graves in 7th on his bike of choice.
  • + 1
 @headshot:
In one of the article i’ve read if im not mistaken Jared said its all about geo and what he comfortable in. Enduro maybe can take the gnarlier part than stumpy. But will it be quicker for him to use is a different story. Maybe he need a different geo than stock bike, just like what he did with Yeti. He help the design part.
  • + 1
 Or they can modify an Enduro frame to his needs. Coming from DH I can't imagine wanting a short travel bike. Specially since Enduro is basically 5-6 stages of DH.
  • + 16
 "you gotta love these tall pine forests".
no pine trees in sight, those are douglas fir.
  • + 1
 Agree no pines, but I think most of those in that pic are western hemlock.
  • + 11
 Is “rock slap” a new term for what Sam does to trails ?
  • + 2
 I saw that too! I think you’re going to get a “rock slap” if you don’t ride that slab like Sam. ????
  • + 8
 Tell us what we all are eagerly awaiting to hear, how’s our boy Adam The Privateer getting on?? Hope he has a great race, good to see Rat Boy enjoying a race also
  • + 6
 nice pics, thanks PB
  • + 2
 Anyone know why YT don't go in on an enduro team? Capra is a beast and they've done pretty well in their first foray into DH.
  • - 15
flag fecalmaster (Aug 12, 2018 at 4:02) (Below Threshold)
 Their idiots and too focused on Gwin.
  • + 2
 @fecalmaster: I don't think you're an idiot when you focus on "DH only" and do that perfectly. Qou have to manage resources (money, people, energy, R&D)
  • - 8
flag fecalmaster (Aug 12, 2018 at 4:28) (Below Threshold)
 Everything is perfect, specially YT in every aspect. Their use pornography should be cutting by 35 % but everything else perfect.
  • + 4
 I think they spent their whole budget on Gwin..
  • + 16
 @fecalmaster: “They’re”, idiot.
  • - 8
flag fecalmaster (Aug 12, 2018 at 5:02) (Below Threshold)
 @Wamprat: Agreed their idiots
  • + 2
 Capra doesn't hold a bidon inside the frame triangle.
  • + 4
 So many typos omg and wrong kinda forest bud. Editor sorely needed
  • + 0
 Dude there is EWS, other Crankworx events and the WCDH this weekend. Everyone wants everything now, and then complains when its not 100% perfect. WTF?
  • + 3
 So. Many. Typos.
  • + 2
 Whistler looks amazing on the ole enduro bike
  • - 9
flag fecalmaster (Aug 12, 2018 at 3:00) (Below Threshold)
 Thank you
  • + 1
 Go Pedro Burns!!! with all the wuapa!!!!!!
  • + 1
 Is the EWS race being shown live online today?
  • + 1
 Looks like it starts at 5:30 and will just be the very end of stage 5 www.crankworx.com

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