Two weeks after the Enduro World Series kicked off in Scotland the battle continues along the Austrian and Slovenian borders where the venue and terrain could not be more different. Gone are the tight dark trees and slippery rocks and roots, and short intense stages, as this weekend it's all about vertical drop and some brutally rough stages in Petzen and Jamnica.
The EWS stopped here once prior in 2018 for a two-day slog through the mud in conditions that could only be described as miserable. So when everyone arrived to dry trails and a forecast of sunshine you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief. It's not that racers hate the rain, but more so that the white limestone rocks in the Slovenian hills and what seem like never-ending off-camber roots are so incredibly slippery when wet that it's nice to know you aren't rolling the dice as much each run. And honestly... Who doesn't like dry loamy dirt when already doing battle with multiple stages lasting over 10 minutes.
The split venue between two countries is unique at this stop of the series and each side of the border comes with its own unique flavor. On the Slovenian side the trails are more remote and natural, the type you might find in your own local forest. Lots of fresh loamy dirt, a bit tighter, lots of roots all connected by traversing pasture land. The Austrian side on the other hand is an absolute monster. With the race beginning and ending there on two separate 1100m stages that riders have described as just savage. Steep, rough, long, and arm pump inducing it is these two stages that will possibly blow the race wide open, similar to what we have seen with the Whistler classic, Top of the World.
Racing gets underway in Austria on Saturday with the Pro Stage, and continues Sunday in Slovenia before returning to Austria for the finish. Stay tuned for all the updates as they happen