Video: The Working Man's World Series - Episode 1

Aug 5, 2018
by adam morse  


Views: 6,941    Faves: 33    Comments: 0


Since the age of 3, stories of burning holes in my shoes and busted "Big Wheels" from skidding turns or rumbling downstairs in a hilly New England neighborhood ruled my childhood. Riding bikes around town to get places, I found myself enjoying the ride to and from the destination more than the event set in the middle. I got a job in a shop, I broke a lot of parts, I had a lot crashes, but all I wanted to do was keep riding. The ride has driven every decision in my adult life, from where I went to school, to where I travel in my free time, its all ride driven. I went north to Vermont to attend college with more mountains and more riding. I met a few notable racers like Dave and Lee Trumpore and began chasing them and the clock from that point on. A few years later, I achieved a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a pro cycling license and an empty bank account all in the same year. I took the logical path, thanks to my education in complex problem solving and began a career in my field of study. All the while, I ran to the hills every evening and weekend I could, because I simply love riding my bike. A decade later, after countless hours in the office daydreaming about what it would be like to ride my bike all around the world racing with the best, I decided it was time to wonder no more.

Things in the bike industry seem to trend together all at once. It's as if riders and brands all the sudden reflect on what is unique and marketable, then deliver all at the same time. Shred edits, raw edits, epic destination photo stories, carbon whatever, wheel size this, hub spacing that, you name it. This year seems to be all about the privateer and here I am to bring another story to the table. There are heaps of passionate riders with varying degrees of support and lifestyles out there every day pursuing what they love. The truth is, we are all hardworking men and women with similar, but unique stories about how we get to these impressive venues with intense competition.

Monday through Friday its a different race a production race
Monday through Friday, its a different race, a production race

When initially planning for a season of Enduro World Series racing, there was a long list of reasons not to do it. The logistics of travel, the funds to get me through the season, the time needed away from work and a fully dedicated lifestyle to make it all happen. It would have been easy to turn the opportunity down, but I kept repeating this one question over and over in my head. "What are you going to remember or regret more in 15 years, the time you got qualified for the EWS and went on a cool vacation for a week to race one in Europe somewhere or embarking on a year full of unknowns and risk to experience it all. The logistics will be tough and my time will be precious. I was able to come to an agreement with work, but flights will need to be tight, often overnight, to get me at the events without missing too much time. When I am home, there are no days off. Training during the winter had me running to the gym on lunch breaks a few days a week and on the evenings as well. The weekends sent me 4 or more hours south several times a month to find trails that were not completely covered in ice. With the amount of time and funds being invested in this season, I want to be comforted knowing no opportunity was spared and I gave it all I have. Whether that's 50th or dead last, cause let's be honest, there's a reason I don't ride bikes full time after 15 years of racing... I'm not here to win. I love it just the same as those that do and that's why I'm here.



VASTA is a performance training and physical therapy facility locally in Vermont that has been helping target some weaknesses
VASTA is a performance training and physical therapy facility locally in Vermont that has been helping target some weaknesses

Long winters in Vermont leave the trails unrideable for 5 months out of the year so alternative training is a necessity
Long winters in Vermont leave the trails unrideable for 5 months out of the year, so alternative training is a necessity

There was so much anticipation leading up to the first 2 rounds. I was concerned about if I had ridden enough through the winter or if I had trained hard enough to simply be physically able to finish the races. Round 1 in Lo Barnechea, Chile would serve up the longest stage the EWS has ever seen, above tree line high altitude terrain and the infamous anti-grip soil. All these elements could not be further from what I am used to riding at home and during the middle of our winter nonetheless. I approached this race with the ultimate mindset of first and foremost, finish the race and secondly, start practice slow to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Although I had my share of crashes in practice, I was elated to not have any during the race and really enjoyed the polar opposite terrain I am used to. With the length of these courses paired with the technicality of trail, it is nearly impossible to have a perfect race. I had my share of issues throughout the 2 days and know there was lots of time left on track, but overall round 1 was a success with some stage results that had me smiling.

The high alpine landscape of Chile was rugged and devoid of all life
Round 1 was settled high in the Andes mountains of Chile with some areas devoid of all life

Anticipation for this first round had been building for months so fresh off a redeye flight we couldn t help but go for a sampling of the foreign soil
Anticipation for this first round had been building for months, so fresh off a redeye flight we couldn't help but go for a sampling of the foreign soil


Round 1 done next stop Colombia
The evening ritual in the Andes

Keeping your eyes on track proved to be a challenge throughout this race
Keeping your eyes on track proved to be a challenge throughout this race

Practice brought loads of crashes in the dust but after few practice days I began to settle in to the loose traction nicely and had a race I was pleased with
Practice brought loads of crashes in the dust, but after few practice days I began to settle into the loose traction nicely and had a race I was pleased with


Mid run of the longest EWS stage to date 7.3 miles long 6000 ft of descending with an average speed of 22 mph nice knowing you forearms
Mid run of the longest EWS stage to date, 7.3 miles long, 6000 ft of descending with an average speed of 22 mph, nice knowing you forearms

Round 1 done, on to Colombia

Now it was time to move onto round 2 in Colombia, but first task was getting there. Hustling to pack bikes after the race, drive down to Santiago, a few brief hours of sleep and a very early morning trip to the airport. I will never forget being greeted at the airport by Yoann Barelli who happens to be walking by. He quickly stops and turns to us as we walk into the airport and says (insert French accent) "Okee, you are going to go ova zare, to the right, and just bring your bike and whatever you do, don't freeeeak out! Just ova zare, everything will be fine, just don't freeeak out!!!" I awkwardly laughed to myself thinking, yea everything you see of this guy, he is legit crazy. I continue on to round the corner for flight check-in only to find a queue filled behind the ropes with every major factory team and rider all in line for the same flight to Bogota. Literally hundreds of bikes lined up in the oversize line and all I could do inside was FREAK OUT! How would we make our flight and how many days later will our bikes arrive I thought to myself. Yoann was right though, everything was fine, we made our flights and the bikes came to us just 1 day later.

Round 2 in Colombia brought us to landscapes that could not be more opposite than the week before
Round 2 in Colombia brought us to landscapes that could not be more opposite than the week before

With a little bit of downtime between events most riders took advantage of a special organized shuttle through some of the nearby coffee plantations
With a little bit of downtime between events, most riders took advantage of a special organized shuttle through some of the nearby coffee plantations


The mountains are steep and the tracks were sweet
The mountains are steep and the tracks were sweet

It seems to be a trend to do some mandatory soil samples before the event starts
It seems to be a trend to do some mandatory soil samples before the event starts

The few days leading up to the next event, although being in large crowded cities like Santiago or Manizales, it all seemed so small. The flight to Bogota might as well have been a charter flight for all the racers with so many teams and individuals booking the same flight. Once settled in Colombia, you couldn't go for a walk to the grocery store, have a coffee outside or a drink in a bar without seeing other racers doing the same. These familiar faces from the city all joined up for some incredible riding 2 days before practice started through nearby coffee plantations. The riders were greeted by excited and smiling locals. Again, something I will never forget was the pride these hard-working farmers showed in their faces to be hosting riders from all over the world in their home village and trails. The fears of embarking on this wild season were instantly justified at that moment.

Transfer Stage 1
Transfer Stage 1

Colombia had fans come out in the thousands something I have never quite experienced until now
Colombia had fans come out in the thousands, something I have never quite experienced until now

The put a stair anywhere infrastructure of Manizales made stage 1 a unique challenge
The "put a stair anywhere" infrastructure of Manizales made stage 1 a unique challenge

The race consisted of 1 relatively light day with just the urban downhill stage and 1 heavy day of pedaling with 7 stages and no uplifts. Similar to the excited smiling faces on the coffee ride, the urban downhill stage brought out thousands of people from the city to watch and cheer. The entire course was lined with cheering fans and the experience alone was worth every dime to get me there. Now on day 2, I'm not sure if it was too much Aguardiente a few nights earlier that week, something mysterious in the food or my body shutting down after an intense week and a half, but energy was low and my body wasn't right. This paired with intense rainfall made several of the stages unrideable in sections. Another memory I will never forget (seems like there will be many of those this year) was running portions of stages while my wheels dragged behind me because they were so clogged with mud that they could not spin. It didn't feel like a race to me and there were some new mental lows during that day that I had not experienced previously in an event. The ultimate goal this year is to just finish all 8 races. Nearly 25% of the field did not complete the race in Chile. Just to finish is an achievement in itself that you have to remember as you run into issues out there in the remote deserts and jungles.

Naturally on race day the weather moves in
Naturally, on race day, the weather moves in

Day 2 in Colombia was all about the jungle tunnel
Day 2 in Colombia was all about the jungle tunnel

Hanging a foot off and trying to stay out of the fan area
Hanging a foot off and trying to stay out of the fan area

Next up Europe
Next up, Europe


Must Read This Week

55 Comments

  • + 67
 “...there's a reason I don't ride bikes full time after 15 years of racing... I'm not here to win. I love it just the same as those that do and that's why I'm here.”

I once had a mentor/professor tell me there’s no point in competition unless one is competing to win. I always hated that mindset. I like competing even when there’s prerty much zero chance of winning. I’m no racer but jumped at the chance to race a freeride race in Davos Switzerland and the Whoke Enchilada Enduro knowing both times I had zero chance of winning. I was just happy to finish ‘not last’ and had a blast in the process. The thrill, the nervous stomach, the anxiousness, the adrenaline - all of it was amazingly thrilling.

In my mind, saying you should only compete if you’re out to win is like a child packing up his toys mid-game and going home once he realizes he’s losing.
And besides, one never knows - you might just win one. Can’t do that if you never suit up because you have no chance.
  • + 5
 I see it as yourself against the terrain. And boy, was that difficult in Manizales ! .. we amateurs race our buddies, but some people have that competitive bug, some others "race" just to go to places/tracks and have fun
  • + 4
 Well said. Even Zero Chancers can get faster, stronger, and sneak aboard a podium from time to time, Racing is a rush that a lot of people can't handle, so win or lose, even lining up and facing the demons can be a victory. You can have racing in your DNA even though you don't have the genes of an EWS athlete like these guys.
  • + 1
 "Winning" is not necessarily finishing 1st, u know. Maybe that is what the professor forgot to say. For some, finishing super tough race and being able to go to work the day after is winning. That is why many of us compete.
  • + 3
 @lp130i: People often define winning differently. I think winning is just what it means: 1st place. ‘He/she won the race.’ Saying it’s something else is how we get to the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ for participating culture.

He (my mentor) was pretty clear though - ‘why enter a competition unless you intend on winning?’ My point is there are other reasons/benefits to competing even if you know you won’t be 1st - but I don’t want to water down what winning really means: 1st. That takes away form the awesome accomplishment of beating all the other competitors.
  • - 35
flag OffTrackBouncer (Aug 5, 2018 at 11:51) (Below Threshold)
 "Long winters in Vermont leave the trails unrideable for 5 months out of the year, so alternative training is a necessity"

Are you serious or the biggest dumbass on Vermont soil.
  • + 22
 @OffTrackBouncer: Don't Jersey VT bro. There's snow, ice or thick mud on the trails 5 months a year. Pretty much an undeniable fact.
  • + 2
 Racing is the only reason I am aware of my favourite (illegal) place to ride. I can’t help but think of the amazing trails that I wouldn’t have ever gone to for various reasons (distance, logistics, wasn’t aware of them), but did go because they were included in a race series I was doing. It’s really opened my eyes on the diversity of trails within a days travel of home, and has made me a better rider in the process.
  • + 2
 I want to race EWS just to say I was able to compete. But I'd treat it more like a vacation; get to see the area, experience the culture, truly feel what it's like to race on the world stage, ect. Of course I'd give it my all & who knows, I could end up doing well. But it's more about the experience of what these guys get to do as their job is what fascinates me. And it keeps it a bit more special.
  • - 19
flag OffTrackBouncer (Aug 6, 2018 at 1:59) (Below Threshold)
 @davetrumpore: @davetrumpore: Learn how to ski, snowshoe, snow bike, snow board, snowmobile. Or stay inside like a dumbass. Welcome to VT
  • + 8
 @OffTrackBouncer: oh this is a good laugh, please, keep commenting. We all would like to learn more from your wisdom.
  • + 6
 @OffTrackBouncer: Adam happens to be a hell of a snowboarder. But, there's a big difference between enjoying winter and trying to be in EWS capable shape.
  • + 7
 @OffTrackBouncer: It's a given that every mtb-er in VT is a seasoned expert/pro level skier/snowboarder.

Some say that he was sponsored by Burton at one point... and that he may have found the Japanese version of a yeti, in the marshmellow powder puffs of Asahidake... All we know is he's called Adam Morse.
  • + 3
 @OffTrackBouncer: you’re a fan of irony I’m guessing?
  • + 1
 @davetrumpore: deep sigh.. not everyone from jersey is like our East Rutherford friend... but you already knew that.
  • + 1
 @nmaldona: hahaha of course.

But that saying is still one of my favorite bumper stickers
  • + 33
 Adam vs Adam for the privateers battle at EWS Whistler!
  • + 0
 Are there any Eves out there?
  • - 2
 Both look remarkably well sponsored for privateers to me. I thought privateers are self funding, not sponsored. Sure they may not be pro's and paid to ride but they are not privateers either.
  • + 14
 @CM999: privateer racers are almost always sponsored to some degree, but there is no mechanic working on my bike but me, no team manager booking flights and accommodations but me, there is no one shuttling me up the mountains but me, and there is certainly no one paying for all these rounds. This is the difference between the top 40 team riders and all the other 100 some odd "privateers" working extra hard to be there.
  • - 3
 @thebigheezy: I fully accept you are not pro with all the benefits of being a pro you described. But equally privateers to me are those who are self funding, not sponsored. A bike and some parts knocks thousands off the cost of the season
  • + 8
 @CM999: that's a pretty narrow view of privateer and not really even the "definition" of the term in the context of sports. Even in Moto it simply means non factory supported. Getting at best a free bike, or more commonly a bike at cost is about the only thing these guys get. Maybe that and a stack of tires if lucky. But airfare, accommodation, rental cars, food, race entry fees, logistics, practice shuttles, etc all usually in foreign countries is no easy for cheap feat. Simply being from Europe would even cut the burden of time or work and finances in half, so don't think that some discounts on equipment knock these guys down a peg.
  • + 3
 @CM999: Working a full time job is a big factor separating Adam Price and Adam Morse from the factory team riders. And part of what I consider a privateer.
  • + 16
 Yeah Adam!!. I have had the pleasure of knowing Adam a little bit. He got me into riding through our high school mountain bike club. For someone with so much skill and talent, you won't cross paths with a more humble dude.
  • + 9
 Yea Morse!!! You're an inspiration to all of the ESC kids! (including myself haha) keep it up!
  • + 6
 Met the champ Adam Morse at a ECS enduro race back in April and was invited to do some party laps with him and few others after the race What a true Pro!! Very humbal down to earth dude I ever met on that expert level..Great write up Adam! Keep up the great work! MORSE POWER!
  • + 6
 Great Story Adam!! Looking forward to your experience through the season! I reasonate with you because, with a full time job I’ve been able to race in couple of EWS events in the US. Enjoy the experience my friend!!!
  • - 8
flag makripper (Aug 5, 2018 at 9:59) (Below Threshold)
 but are you sponsored by at least 6 companies including yeti? that may help a little bit don't you think?
  • + 4
 My first thoughts of riding with Adam - this dude is way too comfortable being airborne. I can understand how competitive this series is, as you are the best rider I know. You guys are all on another level. Though I can also see the humility with your videos - you swear just like I do lol! After inheriting your bike, pushing myself harder than I thought I could, buying a new rig, being sucked into the mountain bike life and now having limited riding due to my new son, I am fully living vicariously through you right now. Keep it up!
  • + 4
 MORSEPOWER! Had the pleasure of meeting/racing an ESC event with , Adam and he is nicest most humble dudes out there just having a good time on his bike! Great write up can't wait for the next one, thanks!
  • + 2
 The only thing that makes me sad about all the privateer racing, is understanding that though it means so much to you but in the end of the day it's simple consumerism. Don't get me wrong, I'm also on this hook. But racers are good to manufactures and not so good neither to environment nor to their families. People that race don't save on new parts, especially tyres. They spend a lot of fuel to get to the racing venue and their dear ones have to deal with blood, pain, hospital visits and mental fatigue. And this makes me sad, to understand that those goals you may set in your life are not that honourable.
Despite everything said above, you learn a lot when you train and race: finding your limits, proper relaxation, dealing with the pressure and time management. No surprise that a lot of universities are glad to accept ex sportsmen students.
And the simple truth of life, you are happy when you suffer because it's the suffering you choose yourself :-)
  • + 16
 My wife has said to me me “next time you can take yourself to the the hospital”, four times now. Yet she loves that at 61 years I still send it, still push myself; and I know my 12 and 14 year old daughters see me as a role model of not being afraid to pursue something you love despite repeated setbacks. So I take your last sentence as the truth, but think maybe what precedes it as being only one of the ways we live this life. And thanks for the prompt to reply Smile
  • + 5
 The dedication to perform at this level and put in the work/money hours. Respect to Adam! Have a legendary year.
  • + 2
 Hot damn! That was a rad video. Love seeing your updates and I find the EWS races especially interesting through the eyes of a privateer. Also, glad to see you are doing this for all the right reasons. Keep it up and hurry up on the second episode.
  • + 2
 Mega Kudos to you, Adam! And thanks for sharing.

Great to see someone pursue their passion.....both mech engineer and MTB shredder!

You on an SB5.5 or SB6?

Enjoy!
  • + 4
 Good on you Adam! Great to see you representing the engineer's out there!
  • + 2
 Awesome piece Adam and Brookes!! Morse the force can ride with the best of them!
  • + 3
 Jonny Tellem how dope the working man world series is!
  • + 1
 Super cool story Adam! Glad I got to see you in Chile again, I'll see you in Whistler this weekend!
  • + 2
 @thebigheezy who's your mechanic, he keeps your bike mint!
  • + 1
 Great video! I knew I recognized the dog from somewhere: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY8ivW8oFqM
  • + 3
 Get it Adam!!! #802
  • + 2
 Respect Adam, do the remarkable.
  • + 3
 #MTBVT
  • + 2
 Good luck Adam - get it while you can!!!
  • + 0
 Fair play to you mate! Love how Enduro offers regular bikers the chance to go after their dreams!
  • + 6
 haha not a "regular" biker. Dude rips!
  • + 1
 Sweet article and amazing photography!
  • + 1
 Love your attitude! Enjoy the ride. Inspirational.
  • + 1
 Great story Adam, hope this season goes well for you
  • + 1
 Great read thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the next.
  • + 1
 Cheering for you all year! Enjoy the experience my man!
  • + 1
 Cheers Adam!
  • + 1
 Kudos to u Sir.
  • + 1
 Go get it Adam!

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