Video: Jared & Curtis Talk the Highs & Lows of Racing the EWS

Aug 31, 2018
by Enduro World Series  


Everyone knows racing the Enduro World Series isn't easy - but how hard is it really? Jared Graves and Curtis Keene discuss what it's like to be a pro racer in the EWS and just how much hard work (and luck) it takes to get on that podium. Follow the highs and lows of the season so far through their eyes and discover what goes on behind the scenes both on and off the tracks.


MENTIONS: @EnduroWorldSeries



109 Comments

  • + 138
 I thought that video would have been longer given the amount of lows.
  • + 4
 Came here to say something along these lines. You win!
  • + 5
 You win the internet today. Nuns have more highs them the specialized team
  • + 32
 Congrats on the awesome race at Whistler this year, boys!

And 3rd and 14th on Top of the World?!?! Holy balls.

I've missed the "On Track" series this year..... Frown
  • + 11
 Now back to Sam Hill talking about just another day in office with his monotone accent.
  • + 8
 I think that’s just part of being a real pro. Positivity and optimism even when it’s been tough. They always know the win can be the very next one and always work towards it.
  • - 3
 Be positive so Specialized doesn't drop your ass next year.
  • + 0
 @chyu: jealous hey
  • + 62
 Highs: We get to ride our bikes for a living!
Lows: We ride for Specialized Frown
  • + 22
 You're just grumpy cuz you got to pay for all your Specialized stuff.
  • + 31
 @racecase: we don't buy specialized stuff!
  • - 12
flag CaptainSnappy (Aug 31, 2018 at 9:25) (Below Threshold)
 @racecase: Have you experienced how low Spesh BBs are? Can you say 'repeated pedal strikes'?
  • + 4
 @CaptainSnappy: dude, who the f*ck cares
  • + 6
 @pogan: Graves and Rude back together in 3..2..
  • + 49
 Came to the comment sections expecting to see all the answers from the weekend warriors and was not disappointed. If only Jared and Curtis would read the comments and take on board the
‘Expert ‘ advice they would surely be winning every round.
  • + 5
 Seriously. I'm sure there are some rippers in these forums, but I'm willing to bet not too many expert or above level racers with any real level of accomplishment that are posting negative comments regarding bikes, riders, courses, or coverage. Racing is a real test and it's a big sacrifice considering what they get paid for the level of risk and time away.
  • + 0
 @eurojuice: don’t think I would say these guys are sacrificing much... no one is forcing them to take these risks
  • + 8
 @mkotowski1: Then my point is not clear. My point is that it takes a great deal of time and energy to compete and be relevant at this level. Time and energy that people with a passion for this sport elect to place into it versus other things. We, the audience, are the beneficiaries of that. So my real point is that it is in poor taste to make unwarranted or unconstructive comments on riders, bikes, courses, or coverage...particularly if one has no f--king clue what one is talking about. And, I mean this in a very general way in terms of the quality of the comments we see here...which are not always poor.
  • + 2
 @mkotowski1: gotta' look at missed holidays with family, living on the road/out of a van/spending all your savings from that year on race fees, desperately hoping in the beginning you'll even get a free frame, some free tires, and service from the Sram or Shimano tent, being exhausted every race weekend from the traveling, not spending time with friends, not having control of your diet, have a girlfriend? Well you did but now you don't, not being sure where or when you'll get to do laundry...it takes all that and more to get into racing. Even Gwin had a rough go with good results when he started out. Yeti only had him sponsored regionally pending good results.

On the other hand, I agree. It's like when people praise an actor for losing/gaining 50 lbs for a role "I could never do that" yeah well put enough money and food for your ego/status/fame on the table and most people wouldn't mind at all. If I was younger all the road tripping and sleeplessness would just be fun, not a sacrifice.

It's real similar to the MLB. Sure some players get 300 million dollars a year. Most get to live on a bus/out of a hotel and make 100 grand doing something that is not sustainable long term.

So really I don't agree or disagree, those are just my crazy brains thoughts on the subject.
  • + 1
 Well said
  • + 1
 @eurojuice: dam straight
  • + 27
 I wasn't aware they only have 1 practice run...kudos to all these riders.
  • + 19
 Today: Jared & Curtis do an EWS interview
Tomorrow: Specialized drops their new, revised, 2019 Enduro

Mark my works Pinkbike, mark my words.
  • + 1
 No 2019ers are out already -look at the Australien specialized page.... Same look as 18ers just better equipped
  • + 2
 @ferenooo: I see that they've dropped Ohlins and gone to Fox for the 2019 year across the range (with RS Yari on the lowest spec models). I feel like I got lucky in my selection by going with the Ohlins coil equipped Enduro when I bought mine in 2017, seems to be the suspension setup with the fewest issues. Lots of guys over at MTBR complaining about how the Ohlins air suspension performed less than expected given the brand's haloed history in motorsport.
  • + 9
 @rnayel: Just swapped my Ohlins for the Fox X2. Had to air up the ohlins more often than my tires!
  • + 1
 @Monsoon3: My coil setup has been problem free since I brought the fork into my local Ohlins shop for a warranty service that required the bushings to be resized as they were over tight from the factory. The rear has been great A++++ (knock on wood)
  • + 1
 @rnayel: guys at mtbr suck
  • + 5
 @rnayel: owned a 17 s works and currently own an 18 s works. Over the course of two years blew out four Öh-no-lins rear shocks. Turnaround time on Öhlins was absolutely absurd. Specialized finally concede that the öhlins was trash and replaced it with an X2 through warranty. Gotta say, I’m pretty pleased how it was handled by Spesh in the long run.
  • + 1
 @Monsoon3: Same exact thing happened to me. Thankfully Spesh stepped up and offered the X2 at no charge. Sadly I'd already paid to rebuild the Ohlins once and I didn't get that "routine service" money back. Oh well, the X2 has been a sweet upgrade.
  • + 0
 @rnayel: Ohlins are like manitou forks from 12 yrs ago, amazing when they work. Fox on the ‘19 s works does look pimp tho
  • + 1
 @bmcel: Did you work directly with Spesh to get it replaced or through your local bike shop?
  • + 1
 @Monsoon3: my LBS did all the work/lobbying on my behalf.
  • + 1
 @Trudeez: ohlins could are sick... never have a problem. And ride awesome... 100% the way to go
  • + 1
 @bmcel: ohlins Coils are sick and ride awesome.. 100% the way to go
  • + 16
 Regardless of the bike, the results and the company, the On Track series was a great watch and sorely missed by me this year.
  • + 14
 I love this type of content. Thanks, PB. I’m sure all of you hyper-critical commenters race at this level. Oh, wait, I bet none of you could carry either of those racers’ jocks, regardless of what company they ride for.
  • + 11
 2 great riders and cool people, thanks for sharing.
  • + 4
 I feel for graves....he is one of the best all rounders but has had some bad luck. Curtis came good last year but no seemed to have dropped off again. No videos from him this year. Specialized has a good image but not sure that the bikes are that special. We are all critics......
  • + 1
 I think the sport has moved on a long way in the past 2-3 seasons. Graves was awesome at 4x. He is a good rider, but the game has changed now.
  • + 4
 They are pro's. I wish I could ride a bike like that. I do not understand that kind of "hate" from so many people. You can not always be on the top you have to accept that but give always 100% and do what you can. That is the most important thing. Plus we are talking about seconds in this sport. Respect these guys because I am sure that we could learn at least one very useful technic from them or from the other riders. Peace!
  • + 1
 I haven't read anyone dissing or slagging off either graves or Keane in these comments. It's more people criticising Specialized bikes and the choice of SJ over Enduro. No doubt most of the problems the last couple of seasons have been kit related. Why continue using it if there is another option. IMO the decision for them to ride the Stumpy is one lead by Spesh's marketing dept.
  • + 1
 @Nairnster: I don't know. I think they ride what they want from the catalogue, but Sam Hill has forced everyone to step their game up and now they are all breaking stuff and flatting because he's so effing good and they are riding beyond their limits too often now just trying to get a look in.
  • + 2
 I think Jared and Curtis speak frankly and honestly on what our sport is all about and more interestingly what at a pro level they are prepared. The positive thing are that they are human and talk about the hard work. com'on look at the carnage also on many stage. big kudos for this 2 PRO. wish great line, flow for Finale !!
  • + 2
 Release a video on how Graves and Keene have both had their highs and lows racing enduro, right before Graves is diagnosed with brain cancer. I think that trumps all the lows mentioned. beat that cancer Graves, I want to see you ripping next season
  • + 1
 Biggest problem is the bike. I don't know if its Specialized or the riders deciding to ride the Stumpy, but that bike is undergunned on "5 world cup downhilll tracks" (Kurtis's words not mine)

Ride the Enduro bros! Its faster and more forgiving for this type of riding.And its called, the endduuurro. This shouldn't be that hard.
  • + 5
 Yes always wondering why the stumpy is the choice of weapon... in think specialized would love to see Jared on the enduro. I think that’s coming from his days at yeti small travel in the back more up front...
  • + 2
 sj is very capable . especially now that they upped the fork travel . if im not mistaken Graves runs a stump and Keene runs an enduro kinda just preference
  • + 2
 @Ayyggss: Obviously its working well for them...
  • + 1
 After watching On Track over the past years Keene got his best results on an Enduro, so why he doesn’t ride one baffles me
  • + 4
 Probably becouse stumpy is shorter and rides better on closed tracks with lots of switchbacks
  • - 2
 The Enduro rear kinematics and the geo is horrible....under steers at speed and is designed to be pedal friendly...I didn't like the Enduro and expect them to modernize their platform like Santa Cruz
  • + 9
 The Enduro pedals like garbage, is heavier, doesn't corner as well, and is only moderately more capable than a coil-equipped Stumpy. And before you're all like "uphill doesn't matter in enduro", check yourself. It absolutely matters. You can't pin it for 8-10 minutes on a downhill if you're gassed from pedaling a beast up 1,500 feet for the last hour. Go ride a 30 mile 5,000ft day on the Enduro, and then repeat that same day a week later on a Stumpy, and TELL me you weren't faster on the last 2 descents.

I own a very comparable comparable set of bikes (jeffsy/capra) and I'd race the Jeffsy over the Capra in 8/10 enduros.
  • - 1
 I've also found this baffling. Why wouldn't they ride the rig designed (and named) specifically for this format? I have to think there's element of marketing priority at play. The SJ is all new for this year while the Enduro is just refreshed. The big S may care more about the marketing exposure of elite level riders hucking the clearly capable SJ down these trails that it's worth more to them than podium's (at least for this year).
  • + 15
 One name, Joseph Nation. He rides for the Specialized distributorship in Aus or NZ and is *ahead* of both Graves and Keene in the overall with missing a round (not DNF, he just missed one).

Guess what bike he's on? The Enduro.

I'm not saying this based purely off numbers, I've ridden the new enduro in both the standard carbon (what the boys are on) iteration and the evo iteration. I've also tested tens of longer travel 29ers. The Stumpy is the most anemic of them all when it comes to a 140mm bike. It rides closer to 120mm. Why? I'm not sure. I think the 3/1 leverage ratio off the top is just too much for the modern damper to really control effectively.

Either way, I'd 100% rather take some time to setup the Enduro, whcih at the factory level you could absolutely make rip, than to continue to make the Stumpy punch above its weight.
  • + 2
 EDIT: I've ridden the new Stumpjumper (not enduro). I can't edit these can I? Spelled Curtis's name wrong too. Grrr.
  • + 4
 Man there's some morons on here. Look at Jesse's and Remi's results on the Instinct and explain how they're getting results on a steeper bike with less travel. It's all in the head.
  • + 1
 @jclnv have you ridden the new Stumpy? On paper, I agree, the bike should be a viable option. Numbers don't always add up however, which is certainly the case here. The bike does not feel like a 140mm bike, and I've ridden a lot of them.

To add, Graves and Keene aren't exactly "light on the bike". They ride like big dudes, which they are.

If you start to really dive into results, you'll see longer travel bikes are doing better and better. Just because I can ride a shorter travel bike through a section faster doesn't make it a better race bike. You've got to get the bike to the finish line.

As a hack pro, I'm going with a bike with more travel at the expense of raciness the same way I'm going with CushCore and DH casing ahead of EXO and light weight.

The bike HAS to make it. Obviously both Graves and Keene struggle with this, as well as consistency. Everything points to a longer travel bike being a good idea for both to improve their overall race results...
  • + 1
 @JeffreyJim: not for nothing, but the ews team races whatever the newest released bike for sale is. Currently that's the new stumpy.

Last I heard Keene will be managing the team next season, and I'd assume Graves will be going elsewhere? Of course, rumors aren't very reliable in the bike business.
  • + 1
 @yzedf: Not really, if you look back when they launched the new Enduro Graves was shy to race it. I don't doubt Specialized putting some pressure on them to ride the Stumpy, but they really want wins.

I think it is highly dependent on the company, how much input the rider had on the design, etc etc.
  • + 1
 @JeffreyJim: Graves sells stumpy and Keeene sells Enduro (the vitalmtb coil vids). That's how I see it anyhow.
  • + 2
 It's not about the bike. Neither of them is good enough to win at EWS level nowadays. Everyone thought it was easier than DH, where washed up DH has beens go to make money for a few more seasons... but it's not that now. It's hard core! Yes, Graves is an awesome rider, but being awesome isn't enough to win against The Sam Hill.
  • + 2
 @jaame: I thought Sam Hill was a washed up DH racer that wasn't beating Minaar and Gwin and moved over to enduro?
  • + 2
 @yzedf: So did I, but it turned out the reason he wasn't winning was because he was over the whole thing. Now he's rejuvenated by the new and constantly changing race venues, he's back to his best. Maes dog has had to put pedal to metal just to win a bloody EWS race and he's inadvertently gone and surpassed the entire DH field in the process!
  • + 2
 Oh man, the course is like 110% DH course. I'm gonna opt for my freeride bike with a 203mm travel DH forks. I'm willing to walk the climb sections. On 2nd thought, I will use my DH bike......please, forgive me!
  • + 4
 I still don't understand why they are racing on the SJ instead of the Enduro
  • + 14
 Same reason none of the Rocky guys race the Slayer. Its not faster.
  • - 9
flag RedRedRe (Aug 31, 2018 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 Becuase the enduro is a slow bike... So they prefer to ride the SJ which can not handle it and always breaks. Specialized new “longer travel - beefier SJ” is a slouch too. Their words in various interviews.
  • + 3
 whatever works for you, so that works for them, its abo0ut the time not the comfort Wink
  • + 3
 @elsinore: its all about the instinct!
  • + 10
 @diego-b Skill. Becau se you can make up significantly more time in a short pedal section than you can hucking the whole rock garden.
  • + 1
 Yes thats his point... The Stumpy does not seem to be giving them an advantage so why not try the Enduro for a change
  • + 2
 @Jsmoke: Hucking the rock garden, and possibly blowing a tire which costs you time.
  • + 2
 @elsinore: Or altitude for that matter!
  • - 8
flag chriskneeland (Aug 31, 2018 at 10:05) (Below Threshold)
 I hope both of these guys are getting PAID. At least enough to make up for the frustrations of losing to lesser riders on more capable bikes.
  • + 6
 @cmkneeland: Wouldnt call Greg Callaghan a lesser rider, and the cube stereo certainly isnt a better bike, yet he consistently outperforms Graves at every round.
  • + 1
 @Jsmoke: your not making up time on anyone. . . . Your just losing time by not going (hucking) fast as you can. Races are won/lost by seconds or less!
  • + 8
 It's not the bike. Gwin was fastest in the world on a demo, now he is fastest in the world on a Tues...The SJ is capable of going crazy fast with proper tune/suspension setup.
  • - 1
 @Billjohn6: The Stumpy is under built and the Enduro is a slug. Some of it's their luck, some of it's the bike.
  • + 0
 @Billjohn6: Truer words have never been spoken on this forum.
  • + 0
 @doe222: greg is younger an has skills
  • + 1
 Probably lots of punchy pedal sections on stages and just a livelier bike for less fatigue.
  • - 7
flag RedRedRe (Aug 31, 2018 at 17:36) (Below Threshold)
 @T1mb0: because the enduro is a slow bike, with low bb (besides questionable numbers). And it does not take droppers over 120... graves said the same thing of the new beefier SJ that just come out... head angle is too slack... these bikes are designed for California fireroads. Look it up, there are a couple of interviews where graves and brosnan clearly say these things-just read between the lines.
  • + 3
 @RedRedRe: Enduro has a low bb. You're clueless
  • + 0
 @bootyslap1: i guess you never rode one
  • + 0
 @RedRedRe: you must be thinking stumpjumper
  • + 5
 Racing history plays a role. Having done BMX and 4x Jared prefers shorter travel, snappy bikes. I suspect he’s done more than enough testing to know what works best for him. If you can hold on to less suspension and be faster on the sprints and climbs, why not? He didn’t win an EWS title by chance. He’s won with a blown fork. Competition has picked up dramatically, like he said in the video, and the stars really do need to align to win.
  • + 2
 @RedRedRe: lol if you have to read between the lines then they haven't clearly said it.

That said you've missed the point. I've not said the Enduro is a better bike or more suited to the EWS circuit than the Stumpy! Only that they could try it for a change as they are clearly not doing well on the Stumpy... and you don't have to read between the lines to see that.
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: 200mm dropper on my e29, have it limited to around 190, goes good.
  • - 7
flag RedRedRe (Sep 1, 2018 at 6:08) (Below Threshold)
 Obviously all the Enduro owners are feeling butt-hurted, it is not (only) myself saying the bb is low, can’t fit a decant dropper, and the bikes are slow. It is Graves, Troy and others. Do you think these people know what they are talking about? Fanboys united, unbelievable.
  • - 4
flag homerjm (Sep 2, 2018 at 3:17) (Below Threshold)
 The SJ is one of those bikes I would never ever buy. Other trail bikes are good and versatile but the SJ just can´t take any serious trail. I think it is design to be ride in a green trail made by IMBA,no bumps,no rocks no nothing....The SJ is very far away to be a comfortable bike to ride all day long in gnarly terrain and to me never inspires confidence to go full gas. I ride my mate SJ a good amount of times to say it is not a good overall bike,it is not easy to ride and it is not rewarding.
  • + 1
 @homerjm: So, I guess the EWS pros are riding only green trails with no bumps, no rocks, and flat trails all day long. Haha. I've ridden the SJ (Both 27.5 and 29) and both could handle a lot of gnarly terrain better than a lot of bikes I've ridden.
  • + 1
 Hey Spesh, just design a bike that climb like a goat and descents like a bull. Easy...you know like, everyone else?
  • + 1
 More lows than highs for Specialized boys
  • + 0
 Time for spesh to create a new baby bike between the enduro and SJ. What we they call it?
  • + 2
 Mega??? Ok, I'm out :p
  • - 1
 simply must have edited out all the times they said, 'SamfuckingHill, fuckinSamHill, Sam Hill, fuck!'
  • + 1
 Wanted more from this
  • + 1
 ????
  • - 2
 Specialized bikes are great to ride, but the proprietary shock mounts are a bummer. Swapping out a shock is a mammoth task.
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