The Best Tech from Whistler EWS Rounds

Aug 8, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Jared Graves suffered another round of mishaps on stage 1 which would effectively end his day before it really even began. That didn t stop him from carrying on and having a bit of fun on stage five s Top of the World trail.

The streak is finally broken. Whistler has featured in every Enduro World Series since its inception in 2013, but due to COVID restrictions we won't be enjoying another edition of Crankzilla this year. The Crankworx crew have been doing a great job bringing us loads of racing from around BC in the Summer Series but there's no substitute for one of enduro's most prestigious races.

To remind us of the past 7 years of intense action from Whistler, here's a look back at some of the best tech we've spotted from the Top of the World all the way down to the event village.

2013

Jerome Clementz poses with his Cannondale Jekyll
Jerome Clementz's Cannondale Jekyll complete with a 120mm Reverb that we considered long back in 2013.

Jerome Clementz s Cannondale Jekyll details
There were plenty of prototype bits on the bike as companies rushed to bring out new products for the emerging enduro discipline.

Kenny Belaey World Trials Champion poses with his GT Force Carbon enduro racer
World Trials Champion Kenny Belaey raced his first and only EWS in 2013 before going back to riding tightropes over ravines.

2014

Nico Lau was showing his support for Canada today.
Just in case you forgot where Whistler was.

Damien Oton dons the armour for the final brutal stage of the day.
Most years Whistler is bathed in baking sunshine but that doesn't stop the riders from fully kitting up in protection for its brutal and unforgiving stages.

Crankworx 2014 - Bikes of the EWS
Mr Team Robot, Charlie Sponsel, on a Felt Compulsion.

Anne-Caroline Chausson was close so close to victory today but the rocks of stage five could be cruel.
This was the end of Martin Maes victory hopes.
2014 saw both Martin Maes and ACC's hopes of victory dashed by mechanicals on the final stage.

After such a long hot day Nico Lau needed some serious refreshment.
Some serious refreshment for Nico Lau.

2015

Practice started in earnest this morning with the riders briefing then most of the field headed up to stage one the longest pedal of the weekend although still only 40 minutes to an hour of climbing .
The GLC, home to only the most serious of athletes.

Yoann Barelli got Believe--Attack--Execute on his handlebars and the Giant rider took that literally coming in second on the day.
"Believe, execute, attack"

Anytime cut spike are needed for racing you know it is going to be a good day.
Cut spikes are normally an indication of a good time.

GT Mechanic Mark Maurissen finally has his favorite energy drink as a sponsor
GT Mechanic Mark Maurissen finally got his favorite "energy drink" as a sponsor

Fabien Barrel dodges trees on stage three.
Backpacks were definitely still a thing even just 5 years ago in enduro, but Fabien Barel's didn't hamper him from dodging between the trees.

The tech zone at the end of stage 4 was a hive of activity with mechanics swapping tires and chain rings in an effort to give the riders the maximum advantage for the final romp through the bike park.
The hectic tech zone sat at the end of stage 4 in 2015. Swapping tires and fitting larger chainrings was the priority to give riders an advantage on the final stage that took in No Joke, Freight Train, Too Tight and Angry Pirate.

Marco Osborne continues his tradition of working on his own bike swapping out the 34 tooth chainring from stages 1-4 for a 36 tooth for the final stage.
Marco Osborne self-spanners and here he is swapping out a 34t chainring for a 36.

This was maybe the best sight of the day. Nico Lau flatted on stage four and Cube mechanic Jan was fighting to get his bike turned around for stage five. Larry from Canyon and Paddy from Specialized didn t think twice about pitching in to help get things back up and running.
Here's what you don't often see in race coverage. Nico Lau flatted on stage four and Cube mechanic Jan was fighting to get his bike turned around for stage five. Larry from Canyon and Paddy from Specialized didn't think twice about pitching in to help get things back up and running.

Nico Lau checking tire pressure for the final stage.
Nico on the pressure gauge checking the tire was holding.

2016

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.

What can you say to Anne Caroline Chausson other than "Chapeau"? She's an undefeatable legend of the sport both on and off the track in a career that spanned nearly 30 years. A little over a year before this photo was taken, ACC received a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. She endured seven months of gruelling chemotherapy and surgery, but was declared cancer free in February 2016. After that diagnosis, the 12x DH champion had one goal in mind - race an enduro again.

Six months later she did just that in Whistler and this was the bike she did it with. It was to be ACC's final sendoff as she waved farewell to the discipline that reignited her career with one last race. Unfortunately, her cancer returned, but we were given the good news again at the start of 2019 that she had beaten it for a second time. ACC is still riding but we understand has no plans to return to racing in future.

The entertainment a five dollar T-Rex grabby hand will bring to a team is priceless. Team building at it s finest.
Social distancing before it was cool.

Cecile Ravanel punctured on both stages one and two - word is that her rim was some damaged that she had to beat it back into shape with a rock to keep her going until she could get to the tech area.
After punctures on stage 1 and 2 Cecile Ravanel apparently had to beat her wheel back into shape with a rock to nurse it back to the tech area.

One man has so much power that his pants can t withstand it.
When you have too many watts for your pants.

Ren Wildhaber s LITPro System
Rene Wildhaber was running the LitPro GPS tracker that we normally see on moto racers such as Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen. The unit can be used to track multiple runs and then allow riders to see where they may be losing time or even help them select lines. Rene used it to help him pick between wheelsizes and ended up going for the 29er Slash.

Ren Wildhaber s LITPro System
Runs can be watched against each other in real time on an iPad when the data has been collected.

Specialized Enduro 2017 EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Pros will go to the ends of the earth to silence their bikes and this mastic tape inside the chainguide on Curtis Keene's bike is a great example of that.

EWS 6 2016. Whistler Canada. Photo by Matt Wragg.
At 5'3", it took a few years of development before a 29er could be found that fit her properly, but at Whistler in 2016 Casey Brown got this 15.5" Slash to try out. Talk about a trial by fire!

2017

Jesse Melamed and his Rocky Mountain Altitude setup for the Whistler EWS.
Remi Gauvin and his Rocky Mountain Altitude setup for the Whistler EWS.
There isn't much to pick from between Jesse Melamed and Remi Gauvin's set ups apart from an air vs coil preference

Giant Reign 2018
A Reverb remote and shock lock out, probably two controls you wouldn't want to get mixed up at the wrong moment.

Giant Reign 2018
Mckay Vezina running a length of rubber tubing has been installed over the rear portion of the derailleur housing to help protect it from rocks and debris.

marco osborne s cannondale jekyll
A nod to a fellow racer who gave his all on Marco Osbourne's Cannondale Jekyll.

2018

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.
We unusually got a rain shower on the Saturday afternoon in Whistler 2018, here are some contrasting squid set ups for that eventuality.

Keegan Wright and his Devinci 29 Spartan
A pre-loaded tire plug tool is tucked into the crank arm spindle, where it's held in place by a bit of moto foam on Keegan's Devinci Spartan.

Keegan Wright and his Devinci 29 Spartan
The Kiwi also runs super-flat levers.

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

2019

Specialized Enduro
We sometimes wonder if these paint jobs are designed to obscure details or attract attention. Either way, Specialized's new Enduro broke cover at Whistler last year.

Mr. Berrelli watching from the sidelines after a knee injury. Clearly nothing can keep this guys spirits down.
Yoann Barelli runs his crutches super stiff with a lot of rebound.

A busted hand and custom get for Jesse Melamed who would tough out the day and help Rocky Mountain take the team title
Jesse Melamed trying to nurse a busted hand through the day as best as possible.



16 Comments

  • 32 0
 Blows my mind how much things have moved on since 2013
  • 6 0
 Agreed, Carbon bikes, Droppers, 29" wheel, 1x, internal cables, geo, just to name a few. (not all new, but more common for sure)
  • 12 0
 If there's someone I miss most from the scene, either racing or merely commenting, its Sponsel. Hope you'll be ready to come back in some capacity one day buddy.
  • 9 0
 Love seeing the goat, Anne Caroline Chausson.
  • 7 4
 Just saying, the prototype paint/vinyl job on the specialized is semi useless. The purpose is to distract the focus of the camera. Car companies do this. As well as make weird shapes with the black and white to make an area of a car look like a different shape all together. In this case its probably just for attention. But thats the reason why the pattern is used.
  • 7 0
 "close gap" was it? Looked like a gap to me.
  • 1 0
 LitPro is not the only high accuracy GPS sensor and software package on the market. A Canadian company, Protern.io protein.io is another option. They started in ski racing and are now moving into cycling. We ran tests with enduro and DH racers when I was there.
  • 1 0
 Sweet article! Cool to see the progression of bikes, behind-the-scenes, and highlights with the peeps involved.
  • 2 0
 Whatever happened to Charlie Sponsel?
  • 1 0
 Guessing the 29'er thing didn't agree with Casey - hasn't she been running a Remedy for the crankworx in BC?
  • 1 0
 Randy on the spanners
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