Rocky Mountain High: EWS Round 5, Aspen-Snowmass

Jul 29, 2016
by Matthew DeLorme  




Here we are in Aspen, Colorado for round five of the Enduro World Series. One of the poshest ski communities in the United States, the median home price in Aspen is $1,533,000. Not only are the home prices lofty, so is the elevation. Aspen sits at about 10,000 feet, you could say the air is rare up here. We are looking at two days of racing hosted by the Big Mountain Enduro series. Six stages with over 15,000 feet of descending on sweet Colorado singletrack. Most of the racing will be lift accessed and this time around we are only looking at 1,700 feet of climbing, which is all for the better considering the lack of oxygen. The trails are dry and dusty, and some stages have estimated times of 15 plus minutes. BME has put in some fresh new sections of trail, so this will be an interesting one.

Richie Rude comes off a dominating win in La Thuile and will be guns a blazing. Martin Maes will be returning after his crash in Fort Bill to give chase to Rude. Sam Hill will be sitting this one out, but Oton and Nicolai will be doing their best to put the pressure on Richie. Cecile Ravanel is clearly out in front with Isabeau Courdurier closing the gap as the season progresses. Anneke Beerten returns from illness and will also be in the mix here in Aspen, and could pull off a win. For now though, we get a lay of the land and check out some of the stages on the media recce before racing gets underway.

Coming to Colorado from the American West and things look a bit different. To get to the high Mountains one must travel through miles upon mile of high altitude desert.
Coming to Colorado from the American West, things look a bit different. To get to the high mountains one must travel through mile upon mile of high altitude desert.

Aspen trees staked upon aspen trees in Aspen.
Aspen trees stacked upon aspen trees in Aspen.

We stopped along the way from Denver to get some views in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
We stopped along the way from Denver to get some views in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Brainard lake the gateway to the Indian peaks wilderness sits at over 10 000 feet.
Brainard lake, the gateway to the Indian Peaks Wilderness sits at over 10,000 feet.

Colorado certainly isn t short on views.
Colorado certainly isn't short on views.

Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm at these elevation and while common they don t really ever drop enough moisture to relieve the dry and dusty ground.
Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm at these elevations, and while common, they don't really ever drop enough moisture to relieve the dry and dusty ground.

Media recce day isn t just a chance for the photographers to preview the stages it is also a chance for organizers to have one last dry run through everything before racers set off. Often times that means quite a bit of course maintenance either the name of safety or for better flow.
Media recce day isn't just a chance for the photographers to preview the stages, it is also a chance for organizers to have one last dry run through everything before racers set off. Often times that means quite a bit of course maintenance either in the name of safety or for better flow.

Glacial streams run off the higher summits to feed the alpine lakes below.
Glacial streams run off the higher summits to feed the alpine lakes below.

The last remnants of winter are melting fast under the hot Colorado summer sun.
The last remnants of winter are melting fast under the hot Colorado summer sun.

Lots of fresh cut trails were added to stages 1 and 3 and while the surface is fairly soft and almost loamy it is turning to dust very quickly in the dry summer heat.
Lots of fresh cut trails were added to stages 1 and 3, and while the surface is fairly soft and almost loamy, it is turning to dust very quickly in the dry summer heat.

It s pretty hard to beat the feeling of fast flow sigletrack through a grove of aspen trees. Luckily there are plenty section like this on just about every stage.
It's pretty hard to beat the feeling of fast flowy singletrack through a grove of aspen trees. Luckily there are plenty of sections like this on just about every stage.

There is a bike park on the Snowmass side of the venue but other than this jump and maybe a berm or two racers won t be riding any of it.
There is a bike park on the Snowmass side of the venue, but other than this jump and maybe a berm or two, racers won't be riding any of it.

Two thirds of the way up the gondola and we are at 3140 meters. That s over 12 000 feet in America speak.
Two-thirds of the way up the gondola, and we are at 3140 meters. That's over 12,000 feet in America speak.

Tucking through the flowers near the top of stage 3.
Tucking through the flowers near the top of stage 3.

Big mountains and even bigger skies and when you get up high enough you can see for miles and miles.
Big mountains and even bigger skies, and when you get up high enough you can see for miles and miles.

It s a long way to the top of stage 3. Over 3 000 vertical feet to be exact and the way back down will be one of the hardest challenges of the weekend. Both technical amp physical as well as devoid of oxygen riders are going to be completely spent at the end of this one
It's a long way to the top of stage 3. Over 3,000 vertical feet to be exact, and the way back down will be one of the hardest challenges of the weekend. Both technical and physical, as well as devoid of oxygen, riders are going to be completely spent at the end of this one.

Chris Seager limbers up before jumping into the media recce.
Chris Seager limbers up before jumping into the media recce.

Big views and big beers. EWS round five is in the land of the large.
Big views and big beers. EWS round five is in the land of the large.

Dave Trumpore lays it into some fresh Colorado brown pow on stage three.
Dave Trumpore lays it into some fresh Colorado brown pow on stage three.

The tall grass will be another challenge for riders as it limits their sight around some corners as well as their ability to look ahead. This wouldn t be a huge deal except the speeds in these open sections are some of the fastest we will see all year.
The tall grass will be another challenge for riders as it limits their sight around some corners as well as their ability to look ahead. This wouldn't be a huge deal except the speeds in these open sections are some of the fastest we will see all year.

Matt Delorme navigates through the aspens on stage 3.
Matt Delorme navigates through the aspens on stage 3.

Peak wildflower season is a bit sparse this year due to the extremely high heat and summer dry spell but a few of the more hardy ones are still around in the big open meadows.
Peak wildflower season is a bit sparse this year due to the extremely high heat and a summer dry spell, but a few of the more hardy ones are still around in the big open meadows.

Classic Colorado riding is on top this weekend with single track twisting in and out of aspen trees and across open grassy meadows often times at very high speed.
Classic Colorado riding is on top this weekend with singletrack twisting in and out of aspen trees and across open grassy meadows, often times at very high speed.

Seager takes the huck to flat line not the racer line on stage two.
Seager takes the huck to flat line, not the racer line on stage two.

GT mechanic Eli Woody gets some early laps in at the park.
GT mechanic, Eli Woody gets some early laps in at the park.

We weren t sure if this was the real deal but we figured we could get a sample tested.
We weren't sure if this was the real deal, but we figured we could get a sample tested.

After a rough season Jared Graves is looking for some redemption here in Aspen. Colorado has always treated Jared well during the EWS in years past and we have a feeling this year will be no different.
After a rough season, Jared Graves is looking for some redemption here in Aspen. Colorado has always treated Jared well during the EWS in years past and we have a feeling this year will be no different.

New wheels and new van graphics with Cody Kelley in the Yeti pits.
New wheels and new van graphics with Cody Kelley in the Yeti pits.

Mitch Ropelato claims he got lost on his way to Mont Saint Anne. We re not fully buying that story but either way we are glad to see Mitch back at the EWS.
Mitch Ropelato claims he got lost on his way to Mont-Sainte-Anne. We're not fully buying that story, but either way, we are glad to see Mitch back at the EWS.

After a terrific result a few weeks ago in La Thuile Curtis Keen arrives to his home EWS with that ever important boost in confidence.
After a terrific result a few weeks ago in La Thuile, Curtis Keen arrives at his "home" EWS with that ever important boost in confidence.

Whoa Brown that s too much Katy Winton and Casey Brown team up to make some proper racing fuel.
"Whoa Brown, that's too much!" Katy Winton and Casey Brown team up to make some proper racing fuel.

The Aspen Rodeo kicked off the week for racers on Wednesday night many of who had never seen such a spectacle in the flesh. Perhaps a few will be inspired by the horsepower on display Something they are going to need in spades this weekend.
The Aspen Rodeo kicked off the week for racers on Wednesday night, many of who had never seen such a spectacle in the flesh. Perhaps a few will be inspired by the horsepower on display; Something they are going to need in spades this weekend.

EWS Round 5 Aspen-Snowmass
Race fuel?

We watched the dirt fly during a bit of barrel racing at the Snowmass rodeo.
We watched the dirt fly during a bit of barrel racing at the Snowmass rodeo.

Real cowboy spurs not the decorative kind some of the wealthier residents might wear to certain social functions.
Real cowboy spurs, not the decorative kind some of the wealthier residents might wear to certain social functions.

If the bull tames you you lose. As will be the case for all of the EWS racers here in Aspen.
If the bull tames you, you lose. As will be the case for all of the EWS racers here in Aspen.
If you can tame the bull you win
If you can tame the bull you win.

A quick event update from the first practice session... Richie Rude took a MASSIVE crash on his 2nd training run and spent the day in the hospital. Word is he has a mild separated shoulder and is questionable for racing this weekend. He will probably sit out of all of the remaining training sessions though and if he does race he will be hitting each stage blind.

A quick event update from the first practice session... Richie Rude took a massive crash on his 2nd training run and spent the day in the hospital. Word is he has a mild separated shoulder and is questionable for racing this weekend. He will probably sit out of all of the remaining training sessions though, and if he does race he will be hitting each stage blind.

Still curious why they call it Apen.
Still curious why they call it Aspen.

Loading into the cage and onto the bull this bull rider will try and stay on for eight seconds.
Loading into the cage and onto the bull, this bull rider will try and stay on for eight seconds.

Loading onto the back of a pissed off bull is no easy task.
Loading onto the back of a pissed off bull is no easy task.

Now that the bull is out and trying to free itself of the annoyance on its back it s best to get out of the way.
Now that the bull is out and trying to free itself of the annoyance on its back, it's best to get out of the way.

Let the dust fly it s time to get buck wild here in Aspen.
Let the dust fly, it's time to get buck wild here in Aspen.


MENTIONS: @mdelorme / @davetrump




54 Comments

  • 50 1
 I hope Rude is ok.
  • 10 0
 It was a hell of an OTB. He wrote he smacked a stump he didn't see.
  • 15 0
 @garcmol: youtu.be/mw4hGU-Pnj4

Hell of a crash indeed. Right pedal hit smthing.
  • 6 0
 @garcmol: yeah watch the video closely and you can see his right foot clipping a poorly-cut sapling smack dab in the middle of the trail as he pedals.
  • 1 0
 @tbmaddux: damn.. such a bummer. To be riding like he is have something like that take you down is such a shame.
  • 8 13
flag lkubica (Jul 29, 2016 at 7:42) (Below Threshold)
 Would not crash that hard in flats.


(just kidding).
  • 2 1
 @robbienroll: exactly the same how Jerome crashed, which ended his 2014 season. Making way for Jared Graves.
  • 7 0
 Just imagine if he races and wins
  • 10 1
 @dhx42: Yeah as a trail builder it frustrates me to see any rake-and-ride trail construction, especially one that takes out a world-class athlete.
  • 6 0
 Damn - the real Rodeo was his attempt to ride that out....almost pulled it. Get well soon RR!!
  • 1 2
 @robbienroll: rider behind him is on the same line, it looks like there is nothing like a stump or so. Might be a balance thing
  • 16 1
 I live somewhat close to this area and am originally from Oklahoma, and I have to say the pics of the rodeo were cool as hell. I grew up around that stuff, and seeing it through a PB photo epic made it seem foreign, even though it's all too familiar. I look at pics of all these far-flung places where WC and EWS races are held and it all seems fun and exotic, so it was a weird twist to see something familiar through that same lens. Welcome to the American West y'all - we're happy to have you and we hope you have the time of your lives.
  • 16 5
 Why chug a Budweiser at the top of a stage in CO when you could blaze a bud instead? Much better mix for riding, imo.
  • 25 1
 Aspen: where the beer flows like wine. But if you are gonna drink a watery beer in Colorado, a Coors is in order. That's like Rocky Mountain 101.
  • 4 0
 @knarrr: extra gold gets me pretty hot in the pants too.
  • 6 0
 Why not both? That would be the true Colorado way.
  • 8 0
 Lloyd: What the hell are we doing here, Harry? We’ve gotta get out of this town!
Harry: Oh yeah, and go where? Where are we gonna go?
Lloyd: I’ll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.
Harry: Oh, I don’t know, Lloyd. The French are a*sholes.

Lloyd: So where are you headin’?
Mary: Aspen.
Lloyd: Hmmm, California! Beautiful!
  • 3 0
 @knarrr: I was waiting for this remark. Basic CO knowledge.
  • 1 2
 My first thought was big beer? Thats not even a pint in the land of the imperial. Pull yer socks up lad
  • 1 0
 @doe222: Pretty sure that's a 25oz can, not the 16oz. It's a little hard to tell in that picture, tho
  • 1 0
 @loopie: thank you sir, I did indeed miss the reference!
  • 1 0
 Aspen Brewery is legit.
  • 11 2
 Aspen most certainly does not sit at 10,000 feet. The town itself is at 7,900 feet ASL.
  • 75 1
 That was Before Pot was Legalized; its higher now.
  • 3 0
 @SteveDekker: best comment.
  • 7 0
 Looks like nobody's going to win the Aspen Fantasy Contest.
  • 7 0
 Mr Trumpmore, you've got special eyes , amazing photos.
  • 6 0
 Aspen is a real special place.
  • 9 5
 I was more interested in the rodeo pictures than anything else for some reason. The guy on the horse looked so pinned
  • 24 1
 Don't let her hear you call her a guy. Most cowgirls I've met can throw down.
  • 5 0
 @mtnbykr05: haha I was too busy looking at the horse to realise it was a girl
  • 4 0
 @mikeyspaff: i was too busy looking at the girl to realize it was a horse
  • 3 0
 @mikeyspaff: Now you're talking like a cowboy; sees the horse not the girl.
  • 5 0
 Makes me wanna get my John Denver on!
  • 3 0
 I hope Richie gets well on time! Would be great to see what he can still do hitting the stages blind
  • 6 3
 Great article! But your conversion chart is off: 3140m equals a bit more than 10300ft (to be accurate, it's 10301.84ft) Smile
  • 4 0
 It seems that in order to express the high altitude some serious rounding up was in order.
  • 3 0
 Take me home. After 8 Winters living there summer has arrived . EWS enjoy .
  • 4 0
 I'm digging that Gulf Oil Porsche paintjob on the bike Delorme is on.
  • 4 0
 Great article.
  • 1 0
 I don't buy it. I say the Cowboys thought Richie was one of there Bulls and tried riding Him during their Rodeo! GET WELL, R.R. !!!
  • 3 0
 DeLorme redefines the definition of PHOTO EPIC!
  • 3 0
 Another Photo Epic, another nonproductive day of work
  • 3 1
 Where can i find more photos of Matt Delorme's Trek :O
  • 1 0
 great photos and i hope RR is ok. i guess there are snow snakes in the brown pow too.
  • 2 0
 Bull riding is fu*king intense
  • 1 0
 Bummer for Rude, hope he's OK or at least just sit one round out instead of the rest of the season.
  • 2 0
 Bucket list now
  • 1 0
 Richie Rude races blind.......and still wins the race.
  • 1 0
 Lotsa good photos.
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