Pinkbike Primer: The EWS Season Kicks Off on Dusty Trails in the Tweed Valley This Week

May 29, 2022 at 8:46
by Ed Spratt  
Hometown hero Katy Winton could well have had the loudest cheers of all today.

After closing out the 2021 season, the Tweed Valley hosts the opening round of this year's EWS for more racing on tight, steep and technical trails. Before a packed week of racing kicks off, check out all the details you need to know ahead of the 2022 season opener.



The Venue



Unlike last year, it looks like riders will be treated to dry and dusty Scottish trails, making the techy roots slightly easier for racers. Even with the very rare Scottish dust hopefully gracing the riders for the 2022 season opener, there is still plenty of challenge with tight manoeuvres, steep challenges and an abundance of roots. For the week of racing, we will see both the EWS and EWS-E kick off in Scotland.

Harriet Harnden was leading going into the final stage but would struggle to keep pace eventually slipping to 2nd.
Isabeau Courdurier on the long climb to the top of stage 3.

Aggression right to the end for Jesse Melamed who would take 2nd on the day and 3rd in the series
6th place today for Matt Walker in the challenging conditions.



The Schedule


Adrien Dailly finishes off his 2021 season with a third place.

A packed schedule for the EWS Tweed Valley sees both the EWS and EWS-E kick off in Scotland with riders facing the Pro Stage on Saturday before a full-on day of six stages on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 31

10:00-12:00 // EWS & EWS-E Shakedown

Wednesday, June 1

09:00-17:00 // EWS-E Training

Thursday, June 2

09:00-17:00 // EWS-E Race

Friday, June 3

09:00-17:00 // EWS Training

Saturday, June 4

TBC // EWS Pro Stage Training
TBC // EWS Pro Stage

Sunday, June 5

09:00-17:00 EWS Race



The Stages




Total: 42.5km / 9.2km Stages / 1797m climb




DH Mashup: 1.5km / 310m descent / 2m climb - Stage 1 / Pro Stage & Stage 6

Dances with Wolves: 1km / 185m descent / 0m climb - Stage 2

Repeat Offender: 2.1km / 320m descent / 1m climb - Stage 3

Big Baw: 1.5km / 250m descent / 0m climb - Stage 4 & Queen Stage

Big Deal: 2km / 350m descent / 7m climb - Stage 5



The Weather


Lewis Buchanan threw down an awesome time to kick things of on Saturday s Pro Stage but would slip down the order come Sunday

2021 saw a mud bath for riders when they last took on the Tweed Valley trails, but this year with the trails already running perfectly with even a bit of dust. We could get some great conditions for racing. There is a hint of moisture earlier in the week, but for Saturday and Sunday things are looking great for flat out racing.

Tuesday, May 31

A couple of showers; areas of low clouds and fog in the morning followed by variable cloudiness // 12°C // 87% probability of precipitation // wind 11km/h

Wednesday, June 1

Periods of clouds and sunshine with a couple of showers // 15°C // 91% probability of precipitation // wind 11km/h

Thursday, June 2

Mostly cloudy with a passing shower; milder // 16°C // 64% probability of precipitation // wind 15km/h

Friday, June 3

Variable clouds with a couple of showers // 16°C // 84% probability of precipitation // wind 13km/h

Saturday, June 4

Sunny to partly cloudy // 16°C // 10% probability of precipitation // wind 6km/h

Sunday, June 5

Partly sunny // 16°C // 2% probability of precipitation // wind 15km/h


Weather forecast as of Sunday, May 29 from Accuweather.



What Happened Last Time We Were Here?



After a six-year hiatus, 2021 saw a return to the Tweed Valley for the EWS with the race centering around the town of Innerleithen. We were treated to an amazingly display of riding all week as racers battled the thick mud and steeps of the Scottish trails. Come race day and it was Bex Baraona and Martin Maes who bested the conditions and came out on top in the Elites. We did have some drama off the track as Richie Rude was disqualified after riding outside of the course markings.


Elite Women


1st. Bex Baraona: 28:50.89
2nd. Hattie Harden: 28:51.21
3rd. Morgane Charre: 28:52.40
4th. Noga Korem: 28:59.07
5th. Isabeau Courdurier: 29:11.82


Elite Men


1st. Martin Maes: 23:53.12
2nd. Jesse Melamed: 23:59.70
3rd. Adrien Dailly: 24:06.36
4th. Jack Moir: 24:27.17
5th. Charlie Murray: 24:43.96



U21 Women


1st. Polly Henderson: 29:43.42
2nd. Sophie Riva: 31:31.42
3rd. Ellen Flewitt: 34:14.94
4th. Justine Henry: 34:39.02


U21 Men


1st. Jamie Edmondson: 25:03.87
2nd. Jack Menzies: 25:15.53
3rd. Jake Ebdon: 25:25.43
4th. Luke Meier Smith: 25:30.12
5th. Manu Warnet: 25:32.53






79 Comments

  • 40 12
 These highlight videos are so lame, with almost no riding and are old style linear tv design: interview, charts, same riders on the same couple of seconds of track over and over again.
  • 40 0
 the WRC had huge broadcasting issues because of how sprawling the event was, it was only until more recently with drones their footage has improved a lot. EWS has it even harder because the trails arent wide enough to move the trees far enough apart to fit drones and helicopters. I'd say their recaps are brilliant considering how difficult it is to get all that riding footage and how small the EWS is compared to other more mainstream sports and events
  • 10 0
 I quite like the highlight videos, definitely a lot more than the daily coverage during the event of dudes sitting around talking to each other... One improvement I would like to see is the highlight focusing a bit less on the top three and more on interesting stories of the event. That said the whole video is shot and edited in 48h which seems completely insane for something of that quality.
  • 5 41
flag thenotoriousmic (May 31, 2022 at 6:19) (Below Threshold)
 It’s a shame enduro died. It showed a lot of promise in its hey day when Sam Hill joined. The fans wanted to see the worlds best pinning it on trail bikes but instead we got massive sprawling 50km bike rides which are impossible to cover and crappy highlight videos of someone who’s capable of riding a bike really fast going deliberately slowly because they’re tired and having to pace themselves down a 25 min descent after being flogged riding what’s essentially a single crown downhill bike on a 50km bike ride in a full face.
  • 10 1
 Where is Richard `Cuningam'? Is he alive ? That guy was the best all in one pack ever seen. Def the best vibe to the sport EWS ever had.
  • 26 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I mean....thats what enduro is. It was never meant or supposed to be a DH stage race. If that were the case they would just run 5 stages all with lift access. I like the difference. Enduro was started as a 'race' on stuff that we all ride regularly and not just bike park.
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: he was sent to the naught corner.
  • 5 0
 I don't like being negative (really!) but the in-house coverage somehow manages to be too flashy but bland at the same time, IMO.
For the reasons @JohSch mentions, plus Ric's bombastic presentation style gets right on my tits.
  • 4 0
 @chakaping: I agree the highlights are a bit rubbish, not enough riding etc. Maybe they should concentrate on trying to get some decent footage of 2 or 3 stages rather then just one corner on each of the 6.
  • 2 11
flag thenotoriousmic (May 31, 2022 at 7:59) (Below Threshold)
 @wilsonians: Yep but that’s not what people wanted to see and they never changed the format to cater for their audience and now the interest enduro has long gone. It’s still the exact same format as it was ten years ago when people were riding in half shells and back packs with triple chain rings except now they race in full faces, with coil shocks and dh tyres.
  • 4 1
 @thenotoriousmic: To each there own. Like I said, never supposed to be a DH stage race. They have those in the US in a few places that covers that audience. Considering enduro has been for a while and still is the fastest growing mtb discipline, I think they are doing just fine. The crowds there seemed wild and crazy passionate based on how the riders were reacting to them in the video.
  • 1 0
 @wilsonians: and dont forget to sell more bikes
  • 4 11
flag thenotoriousmic (May 31, 2022 at 9:01) (Below Threshold)
 @wilsonians: I agree it was never supposed to be downhill event but that’s what people wanted to see and they didn’t deliver and now everyone’s moved on to something newer and more exciting things. There’s absolutely no point sending Sam Hill on a 50km bike ride in a full face on dh tyres and then sending him down a 30 min descent. Cut out the flab. Don’t flog riders for the sake of it and make the stages a length where it’s all about who’s the fastest not who can hold on for the longest then you might end up with a highlight video that gets more than 50k views.
  • 10 2
 Where in the tweed valley and by extension the entire EWS series are you getting a half hour descent? All of the stages are exactly about who's fastest you xc lemon. Sounds like you need to get off the computer and go do some enduro yourself.
@thenotoriousmic:
  • 6 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Curious....what has everyone moved on to since apparently enduro has died in your eyes? Everyone still watches DH that watched DH before. Enduro has exploded in popularity so I am not sure where the evidence is showing that no one wants these kinds of races. Also, none of the stages at Tweed valley were longer than 4:30-5 min for the top guys. The longest stage in all of last year was 11 min in Val di Fassa with the next longest being under 8 min. Feel free to be angry at enduro, but the logic just isn't there.
  • 2 2
 Aren't all pre-bike race media highlights lame? I mean, how exciting can it be to talk about weather, bikes, and trails? Not to mention an individual sport like dh/enduro which is basically a time trial. No offense to the media-makers, it just isn't a very interesting topic even to someone that rides mountain bikes a lot.
  • 3 0
 EWS really needs to get better video coverage somehow. I understand the limitations, but it's hard to get excited about EWS when you can barely see any of the racing. Downhill coverage has gotten way better over the years. EWS can too.
  • 1 0
 @BaeckerX1: Limitations? Where is gone the millionaire budget from discovery? To youtubers as well?...
  • 2 0
 @PauRexs: I just put that in so I didn't get all the comments about the trails being so remote and so tight, and I didn't want to deal with them. I didn't expect to get a contradictory comment by putting that disclaimer in there ha.
  • 3 0
 I agree it was better before gmbn got this kids involved
  • 2 0
 @wilsonians: agreed. It’s important to see people pedal. You’re supposed to ‘endure’ right? I’d be happy to see more pedaling, even in some of the timed stages. Other wise it’s just DH on trail bikes.
  • 4 6
 @wilsonians: How has it exploded in popularity? It had its moment back in 17-18. Didn’t build on it and died a death and now here we are in 2022 and nobody’s watching. The highlight videos do well to hit 40k in the first week and eventually land on 60-100k = nobody cares. The media outfits aren’t covering the events as intensively as they used to, you’re no longer getting a million and one bike checks, track previews and all the rest the week leading up to the race and personally pretty much everyone I know raced or dabbled in enduro to some extent back then and now I don’t know a single person and all the local and regional events have disappeared with it. We’re not even talking about it anymore. It’s a shame because it really showed promise it’s just impossible to cover and there’s not enough excitement to keep people interested. All they needed to do is put all the tracks reasonably close together so the media teams and spectators can follow the action and attract sponsors. Take the quickest easiest way to the top of the next stage so the riders are fresher and more able to put on a show and don’t make Sam Hill ride 25 mins descents like the one that ruins the whistler event every year. Nobody wants to see Sam Hill pacing it we want to see him riding the arse of a trail bike. That being said the inners event will pretty much be how in my personal opinion should be and so was the Ireland event. One fire road up and all the tracks reasonably close together.
  • 4 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Go watch downhill.
Enduro it's a participator sport,not a viewer one.
Right now, it's the most representative of what the everyday mtb'er is riding,along with xc marathon.
I don't want it to be changed just so you can watch it live on your phone.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: too bad there's no money without sponsors, and sponsors quickly disappear with no viewers or viewer interest.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: there's Schwalbes podcast where they interviewed Cube Action Teams Claus Wachsmann. He said they're already changing towards more DH, shorter events, more close together to please sponsors and media.

Not that rider focused adventure with racing involved style it has had in earlier years.
  • 1 0
 @nozes: Yes that’s exactly what we’ve all been doing and exactly why enduro died. I agree the riders are have a great day out but no so much the sponsors paying to fly the around the world to promote whatever it is they’re being paid to promote.
  • 1 0
 @chakaping: Well said.
Also, it's quite hard for me to get his accent. I get Aussies, Kiwis, many of the British, SA, US and Canadian obviously, but even after watching every event over the last few years, I'm still having problems understanding that guy.
  • 1 0
 double post, sorry
  • 1 1
 @PauRexs: Nah, he was quite boring :p
On the plus side though, his style wasn't as irritatingly bombastic (as someone here said) as Ric's and GMBN's, also he was much easier to understand than Ric.
  • 2 0
 Haha well this aged well. The highlight video from the opening event so far only has 10k views despite being hosted by the biggest mtb YouTube channel. Barely anyone commenting on the pinkbike articles and it’s 90% negative. EWS is dead and buried.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: yeah, just invest some money to provide better coverage and perhaps people would watch. People only watch highlights when they miss the game or sporting event. People don't want to watch only highlights in lieu of race coverage. I love EWS as a concept but frankly it just pisses me off I can't ever watch it, which makes me hate it.
  • 3 0
 @BaeckerX1: it’s dead nobody cares anymore. Highlights have been up for a day now and it’s only on 25k. A thousand views per hour when it’s top of everyone’s feeds. Hopefully someone like red bull will launch a rival series without the crap and do it properly.
  • 19 1
 Dusty? In Scotland? Are you sure you are actually in Scotland?
  • 11 0
 They were dusty..until today Smile
  • 53 0
 I've been leaving small bowls of water out for the haggis.
  • 3 0
 @glasvagas: have you ever managed to capture and train a wild haggis? Some say they are as elusive as drop bears and trapdoor badgers.
  • 7 0
 @fatduke: i once came across a pack of anti-clockwise ones just north of Auchenshuggle Bridge. feisty wee buggers, just about managed to escape with my balls. I hear the clockwise ones are much more placid.
  • 11 0
 "We did have some drama off the track as Richie Rude was disqualified after riding outside of the course markings.", yes, that was some drama off the track alright
  • 16 2
 Ebike racing is so dumb
  • 3 0
 You might want to change your tuesday forecast to "absolutely pissing it down relentlessly". If it stops today though it might work out as it's been so dry here it's getting pretty sketchy. A bit of rain might be just the ticket. Looking forward to the weekend!
  • 7 4
 I love riding and racing enduro, and all types of mountain biking. But to be honest, following the EWS sucks. Not a lot of media coverage, the racing format doesn't make it interesting for anybody. The future of watching and following enduro isn't bright and there need to be changes.
  • 8 1
 Yah, there are plans to move the events indoors based on many complaints like yours, we need to minimize the "mountain" aspect of mountain biking!
  • 2 3
 @Bomadics: Omg you're so funny, you should start a stand up show
  • 1 0
 there's Schwalbes podcast where they interviewed Cube Action Teams Claus Wachsmann. He said they're already changing towards more DH, shorter events, more close together to please sponsors and media.

Not that rider focused adventure with racing involved style it has had in earlier years.

pumped.podigee.io/85-cubeactionteam
  • 6 0
 Is there a rider start list ?

My Fantasy team is wondering if they’ll be racing.
  • 6 0
 Can we get Dan Booker on the fantasy list??
  • 2 0
 Sam Walsh as well as the meir- smith boys??
  • 5 0
 Note to myself: invest in tape stocks before Tweed Valley race next year.
  • 3 1
 Wait wait wait ! Did I just see "Dusty trails" for the scottish venue ?? No that can't be possible ! And some are still questioning the climate change !!! Smile
  • 1 0
 That's bs, look at the weather forecasts, just only 4 days of moderate rain before two sunny days Wink
  • 3 0
 @lkubica: them trees are thirsty and the trails are very dry - rain will just make them run better!
  • 3 0
 I've only been to Scotland once and the day I rode Innerleithen the weather was so good I got sunburnt. I'm hesitant to ever go back as I assume I'll just be drowned as a way of the universe balancing itself out.
  • 1 0
 @secondtimeuser: It's a great place to ride in the wet though, so don't worry.
  • 2 0
 "hint of moisture earlier in the week", ha, it's going to rain until Friday I read it on the internet
  • 2 2
 Would love for this to be the final round like last season, instead of the first round. The EWS version of the old RAC Rally....a final round in the forests of the UK in the autumn.
  • 2 0
 Not at the end of October perhaps! Have you raced it?
  • 3 0
 Can you please add Innes Graham and Gloria Scarsi to the fantasy lists?
  • 3 0
 Polly Henderson and Corey Watson too
  • 2 0
 It looks quite a short race in terms of stage lengths especially when considering how many amazing trails there are there
  • 1 0
 Done on purpose for media
  • 2 1
 I'm taking a Magic Mary regardless! Just gotta hope those new headset bearings arrive in time!
  • 1 0
 I was at the Golfie on saturday and the trails were dry and dusty as hell, perfect!
  • 5 4
 EWS with a combined 12 meters of climbing on all the stages?? What is this, DH?
  • 3 0
 that is just the climbing part of the timed downhill runs, but the riders also have to get to the start of each trail by pedaling (usually)...on the screenshot of the trail map it clearly says +1797 m of climbing, as well as on the trailforks route calculation +1.8 km of climbing...
  • 2 1
 @Stonerz94: Lol. I know how Enduro works. I was joking about all the people who complain about mid stage climbs.
  • 1 0
 Is big deal not just feed the pony?
  • 3 0
 @militantmandy: Wonder why they've re-named it? And I'm not saying some of the track choices seem a bit easy for the pros, but some of the track choices seem a bit easy for the pros.
  • 1 0
 As soon as I saw the map I thought that looks like feed the pony. I wonder if they'll have time for cake at the bottom.
  • 2 0
 @chakaping: I thought that too. I can ride an off then and I ain’t no pro. Happy to script it will probably take me twice as long to complete the stages
  • 1 1
 @commental: Maybe people aren't supposed to feed the pony, in case it gets an upset tum?
  • 3 3
 You can tell he was following Rude in practice without the name check because he went outside the race course :-)
  • 1 0
 Dusty trails in scotland. Must be April fools
  • 1 0
 Yess....
  • 4 5
 If there's no shuttle for the race, finally they are going to have to use their legs to gain the vertical.
  • 18 0
 It's about 1,700m of climbing - which is a solid day out for us normal riders at Inners/Golfie. Shouldn't trouble the pros in the slightest.
  • 4 18
flag dick-pound (May 31, 2022 at 3:31) (Below Threshold)
 @chakaping: 1800m is more like half morning but not a matter of troubling the pros, it's just that the current EWS is mostly lift served/ shuttle and there's very few races where all the vertical is self earned.
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