Video: Steps to the Top - Damien Oton

Aug 12, 2014
by SRAM  
Views: 24,013    Faves: 89    Comments: 6

Damien Oton arrives at the race trailer and flashes a friendly smile. It’s the morning of the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro — Round 6 in the Enduro World Series — and the 26-year-old rider is here check in with his mechanic and find a bit of shade. He calls the Whistler event his favorite of the series, but knows it will be a long day.

The Canadian Open course is the most brutal of the seven-round EWS, and packs five stages into a single day of competition. He’s scheduled to roll down the start ramp at 11:03 a.m. and will expect to be done with his workday roughly eight-and-a half hours later.

Steps to the Top - Damien Oton

Steps to the Top - Damien Oton

Oton is a natural — both on and off the bike. The Devinci rider is currently ranked second in the EWS and has been the revelation of the 2014 season, with an overall win at La Thuille and a second at Valloire. His performances have garnered him a lot of attention, but he generously accepts requests for interviews, even though he’s not completely comfortable with the English language.

Steps to the Top - Damien Oton

On the course, however, Oton looks completely comfortable. His riding style is not flamboyant, but playful, nonchalant — like he’s just having a bit of fun in the woods. And between stages, Oton remains relaxed, chatting with sponsors, reporters and fans before heading off to another start line.

At the end of Stage 4, he sits in second place, just 12:04 seconds behind Belgium’s Martin Maes. If Stage 5 were any “ordinary” enduro stage Maes’ cushion would look insurmountable, but the final stage here is a massive plunge from Whistler’s Top of the World, through the Garbanzo Zone and down to the base of the mountain. It’s a stage designed to keep riders at their absolute limit for more than 20 minutes, so coming back from a 12-second deficit is hardly out of the question.

Steps to the Top - Damien Oton

Taking on a bit of fluid and making one last check of his bike before departing for the Top of the World, though, Oton can’t hide the physical stress of the already long day.

“Are you ready for Stage 5?” we ask.

“I’m ready…but maybe not my legs.”

Despite that, he’s not stingy with his smiles and high-fives as he rolls away from the pit and toward the gondola.

Steps to the Top - Damien Oton

When he crosses the line at 7:23 p.m. it’s clear that Oton has gone deep on this one. He’s got the signature 1000-yard stare of an athlete who has given everything. But it’s obvious that he knows this ride wasn’t good enough for the win.

Oton’s 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 8th and 12th-place stage finishes net him a 4th place overall — just one spot off of the podium. But he retains a solid 2nd in the overall series standings with just one round to go.

He might not have nabbed a win at his favorite event this time, but Damien Oton will be back.

sram.com


24 Comments

  • 11 1
 Damien looks like such a chill guy!
  • 2 0
 Salut champion tout le monde,de est surpris mais toute la famille des PEGOUS connait tes valeurs et te soutient dans tous les instants qu'ils soient bons ou moyens et nous savons qu'il y a en toi une graine de champion, ne lâche rien on te soutient même si beaucoup de kilomètres nous séparent!!!!
  • 4 1
 Wow what an awesome looking event! Those trails looked all time for Whistler. I want to do this race next year! Big day but big reward at the end.
  • 3 1
 Its interesting how every week pb promo's a differant bike company, this week has been a lotta devinci stuff the week before was giant and trek and the week before that was spesh's turn.
  • 3 0
 that's usually how magazines work
  • 2 0
 Yeah it is. They wana get u all hyped up on their latest bike. It just makes me wish i had some extra loot on hand cuz all these new bikes coming out look so nice including damiens devinci.
  • 3 0
 Met the guy the day before was super nice showing us his carbon sparten etc
  • 3 0
 Getting to the point where these videos are depressing because of how badly I want to trade lives with these guys...
  • 3 0
 Love that Devinci colorway
  • 2 0
 Just swap the blue for red, and I be Irie.
  • 2 0
 Those stages almost look like they'd suit a full bore DH bike better minus the transition pedals. Gnarly for sure.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I'd think a longer travel fork with travel adjust at the very least but everyone seams to be running 160mm.
  • 1 0
 Did anyone ride down that section where Damien had his off? Would love to see that.
  • 2 5
 Yeah, the winners.
  • 2 0
 why no carbon spartan?
  • 2 0
 Damien is still working on suspension tuning on his carbon version. Stiffness is quite different on Alloy vs Carbon. He was much comfortable on his alloy version (which he won Lathuile a couple weeks ago). Hope it answer the question. Mason was riding his carbon spartan thought.
  • 1 0
 And what about Théo Gally? Carbon or alu?
  • 1 0
 Pretty much the same. It happened the same thing with Stevie when he got on Carbon Wilson. They will put some miles on this bike to dial it perfectly.
  • 1 0
 interesting, thanks!
  • 1 0
 What was the song playing in the beginning?
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