Photo Epic from EWS Colombia: Two For Two

Apr 2, 2018 at 8:12
by Matthew DeLorme  


Two weeks, two races. Both on the same continent but worlds apart. Yet there was a small commonality - the lack of traction. While Chile is home to the legendary loose anti-grip, the rains here in Colombia turned these tracks into greased lightning making the day one of the hardest in memory. Just after the urban stage finished up, the heavens opened up and the rain came down by the bucket full. Water gushed out of the small mountainside streams, and we knew this was going to be a tough one. The call was made to cancel stage six because the conditions made the track dangerous. There was plenty of tripoding, seat bouncing, sliding, crashing, and flat out running when one's wheels got so clogged they stopped spinning. Racers used the flooded creek at the bottom of stage four to clean off bikes caked with mud that probably added up to eight pounds of weight in some cases. If one was the betting type of person, you would have put your money on Sam Hill on Saturday night.

After Marcelo won the urban stage it remained to be seen if he could edge out Sam on his home tracks, but after the rains, the tracks had changed drastically. Sam Hill's performance reminded many of us of the days when he was at the peak of his downhill career. There was no stopping the man in the slick. Sam won four of seven stages and took stage two by about twenty-five seconds. Marcelo would take second on the day, and Damien Oton was back in form with a third-place finish. Frenchman Youn Deniaud had a breakout ride to take fourth. Cecile once again couldn't be stopped despite the slick conditions. She was followed by Isabeau who won stage five, and Katy Winton in third who won stage seven.

Colombia has exceeded all expectations. While this one was one of the hardest days out in racers memories, the memories are indeed going to be fond. The people of this country are incredibly kind and welcoming. The tracks were wild, the racing exciting. Thank you, Colombia. We can't wait to return.

The opening stage of the weekend looked quite a bit different to the lush green hillsides that would make up the rest of the race in Colombia.
The opening stage of the weekend looked quite a bit different to the lush green hillsides that would make up the rest of the race in Colombia.

Randy gets ready for a wet and wild day two.
Randy gets ready for a wet and wild day two.

Interviews left and right for hometown hero Marcelo Gutierrez.
Interviews left and right for hometown hero Marcelo Gutierrez.

Sam Hill looked pleased about the conditions at the start of day two.
Sam Hill looked pleased about the conditions at the start of day two.

After a huge crash in Chile Anita Gehrig s hands are both taped and stitched together but she still soldiered on here in Colombia.
After a huge crash in Chile, Anita Gehrig's hands are both taped and stitched together, but she still soldiered on here in Colombia.

Rain threaten the urban jungle on stage 1 for a few riders luckily holding off the worst until the overnight hours.
Rain threatens the urban jungle on stage 1 for a few riders, luckily the worst of it held off until the overnight hours.

The Enduro Wet Series continues with a massive storm overnight in Colombia.
The Enduro Wet Series continues with a massive storm overnight in Colombia.

Mark Scott took 8th for the weekend. He got massive cheers on the urban stage in his Colombia soccer jersey.
Mark Scott took 8th for the weekend. He got massive cheers on the urban stage in his Colombia soccer jersey.

Wrong hat for the country but it keeps your head from getting severely sunburned when the clouds lift.
Wrong hat for the country, but it keeps your head from getting severely sunburned when the clouds lift.

Katy Winton Took third on the weekend. The crowds were wild for the urban stage.
Katy Winton took third on the weekend. The crowds were wild for the urban stage.

Jared Graces took fourth on the urban stage only to have a race ending mechanical thirty seconds into stage two.
Jared Graves took fourth on the urban stage only to have a race-ending mechanical thirty seconds into stage two.

Meliciades Jaque plays Where s Waldo in the street of Manizales during stage 1.
Meliciades Jaque plays Where's Waldo in the streets of Manizales during stage 1.

Sam Hill eyes at nearly bar level on the urban stage.
Sam Hill's eyes at nearly bar level on the urban stage.

Anneke Beerten kicked off the weekend on a high note by taking the win on stage 1. Eventually she would have to settle for 7th once the mud started flying.
Anneke Beerten kicked off the weekend on a high note by taking the win on stage 1. Eventually, she would have to settle for 7th once the mud started flying.

Marcelo Gutierrez proves he is the king of the the street taking the opening stage win in front of a hometown crowd.
Marcelo Gutierrez proves he is the king of the street, taking the opening stage win in front of a hometown crowd.

All hail the Rat. 18th with a second place on stage 5.
All hail the Rat. 18th with a second place on stage 5.

Dimitri Tordo on his way to 12th.
Dimitri Tordo on his way to 12th.

Marcelo Gutierrez backed up his performance on the streets of Manizales with an impressive performance on the muddy hillsides outside of the city. With a 2nd place finish the hometown fans were thrilled to have a Colombian on the EWS podium this weekend.
Marcelo Gutierrez backed up his performance on the streets of Manizales with an impressive performance on the muddy hillsides outside of the city. With a 2nd place finish, the hometown fans were thrilled to have a Colombian on the EWS podium this weekend.

Matt Walker cuts to the inside line while trying to avoid the monster ruts on stage 2.
Matt Walker cuts to the inside line while trying to avoid the monster ruts on stage 2.

2nd today for Isabeau Courdurier after a long day of battling it out in the mud.
2nd today for Isabeau Courdurier after a long day of battling it out in the mud.

Another EWS and another trip to the top of the podium for Cecile Ravanel.
Another EWS and another trip to the top of the podium for Cecile Ravanel.

Do you even drift bro
Do you even drift bro?

fighting to the end Damien Oton landed himself on the podium with a third place.
Fighting to the end, Damien Oton landed himself on the podium with a third place.

Adrien Dailly goes down on stage four and laughed as he got back up. The conditions were insane.
Adrien Dailly goes down on stage four, and laughed as he got back up. The conditions were insane.

Robin Walner gets loos on stage four. Walner took an impressive 6th in the slop.
Robin Walner gets loose on stage four. Walner took an impressive 6th in the slop.

Pedro Burns gets loose in another kind of anti-grip. Burns finished in 15th.
Pedro Burns gets loose in another kind of anti-grip. Burns finished in 15th.

Jesse Melamed gets his composure back after getting off line and crashing on stage three.
Jesse Melamed gets his composure back after getting off line and crashing on stage three.

It was about to go wrong fro Melamed and time for me to duck and cover.
It was about to go wrong for Melamed, and time for me to duck and cover.

once the sun began to shine things turned from slime to peanut butter in a hurry.
Once the sun began to shine, things turned from slime to peanut butter in a hurry.

After battling at the front all day Damien Oton fuels up before the final two stages.
After battling at the front all day, Damien Oton fuels up before the final two stages.

A hard fought 6th on the day for Bex Baraona.
A hard fought 6th on the day for Bex Baraona.

Youn Deniaud has been showing consistency this year after his breakout performance in Finale to close out 2017. He would come 4th today just 5 seconds off the podium.
Youn Deniaud has been showing consistency this year after his breakout performance in Finale to close out 2017. He would come 4th today, just 5 seconds off the podium.

Cecile makes the final turns on four with both feet out.
Cecile makes the final turns on four with both feet out.

At some point the wheels stopped turning.
At some point the wheels stopped turning.

Rope-a-dope diving into the gully on stage three. Mitch took 16th.
Rope-a-dope diving into the gully on stage three. Mitch took 16th.

Marco Osborne had several loose moments out there. He finished 22nd.
Marco Osborne had several loose moments out there. He finished 22nd.

With a wheel in both the inside and outside line Richie Rude backs it in through the very steep and slippery stage 5.
With a wheel in both the inside and outside line Richie Rude backs it in through the very steep and slippery stage 5.

It s pretty safe to say that with the number of spectators here in Colombia every inch of every stage has been digitally captured in both photo and video form.
It's pretty safe to say that with the number of spectators here in Colombia, every inch of every stage has been digitally captured in both photo and video form.

With a massive bike wash line and lack of hoses on the pits the mechanics had to improvise in order clean drivetrains during the racers one pit stop of the day.
With a massive bike wash line and lack of hoses on the pits, the mechanics had to improvise in order clean drivetrains during the racers one pit stop of the day.

Adrien Dailly finished ninth despite taking a big penalty for illegal shuttling in practice.
Adrien Dailly finished ninth despite taking a penalty for illegal shuttling in practice.

Damien Oton riding his way to third.
Damien Oton riding his way to third.

Mud covered and shattered by stage three.
Mud covered and shattered by stage three.

Isabeau kept it together to take second place.
Isabeau kept it together to take second place.

After receiving a 20 second penalty for illegally shuttling a stage in practice Adrien Dailly would be pushed down from 5th to 9th in Colombia.
After receiving a 20-second penalty for illegally shuttling a stage in practice, Adrien Dailly would be pushed down from 5th to 9th in Colombia.

After a disappointing start to the season last week in Chile Greg Callaghan came rebounding right back to take 5th in Colombia.
After a disappointing start to the season last week in Chile, Greg Callaghan came rebounding right back to take 5th in Colombia.

Shawn Neer came into the week on a high after a top 10 in Chile but would struggle to back that result up in the Colombian mud.
Shawn Neer came into the week on a high after a top 10 in Chile, but would struggle to back that result up in the Colombian mud.

Katy Winton left nothing out there.
Katy Winton left nothing out there.

Richie Rude gassed at the end of a long day.
Richie Rude gassed at the end of a long day.

13th on the day for Remy Absalon despite being forced to race one stage with no chain.
13th on the day for Remy Absalon despite being forced to race one stage with no chain.

It was a battle to the end for Gusti Wildhaber but he was unable to match his performance from round one just one week ago.
It was a battle to the end for Gusti Wildhaber, but he was unable to match his performance from round one just one week ago.

The women s podium was a mirror image of last weeks round with Cecile Ravanel once again taking a convincing win.
The women's podium was a mirror image of last week's round, with Cecile Ravanel once again taking a convincing win.

The fastest men through the rain and mud of Colombia.
The fastest men through the rain and mud of Colombia.




102 Comments

  • + 155
 Santa Cruz etc need to get Josh and Mitch on some sort of unofficial, semi-competitive, happy with a top 20, fast as f*ck but still whip, Enduro team that Josh Lewis films over the weekend and pumps out after the race.

I can't think of a better marketing/PR idea than that. They have the two best trail slayers on the planet, they may as well do something with them.
  • + 23
 couldn't agree more
  • + 40
 They can do for Enduro what Cedric did for DH at the end of his career. Have fun, please the crowds while still beating the most guys.
  • + 17
 Look for the video(s) being pushed out from Alex Rankin via Fabric Saddles... Some gold in there
  • + 13
 Dont forget Mark scott
  • + 26
 Right?!?! Bring back the Syndicate-style edits from 2-3 years ago but for EWS! That'd be YouTube GOLD!
  • + 1
 Not even just for making edits, I bet the Rat, Josh, and Mitch could all do really well at Crankworx. Great riders in all disciplines.
  • + 1
 Thats would sick. I guess if you've got the tour leader smashing the field you might as well go have some fun because it looks like theres no catching him.
  • + 47
 Wow what a recap! You guys did another amazing job at capturing the spirit and the difficulties of a wild event! Thankyou for all the hard work that goes into bringing these features to all of us. As brutal as those stages looked I desperately wish I could have been there flopping around in the mud. Hats off to Chris Ball and his team for continuing to pour their hearts and passion into creating these awesome events!
  • + 33
 The EWS is definitely fueled by a passion for riding, racing, and exploring new places and cultures. It's a passion that comes from the top down and transcends everyone involved from promoters to racers to media... definitely something special.
  • + 33
 So....Graves! WTF!!!!!!! Is there a single bike component that the man has not broken? This is now beyond bad luck.

What is going on? Anyone got any ideas? My personal thoughts are: its specialized fault. This is purely based on the fact the i’ve owned one s-works in my life and everything fecken broken on it...the brand has bad karma.
  • + 28
 I have laughed at people and ridiculed them for saying Specialized is an evil organisation that ruins careers of Champions. I must say... I apologize. It seems that the "Curse of the S" is real... Hill, Gwin, now Graves - Jared, get back to Yeti. And Maxxis. While you still can!
  • + 13
 somebody should do a article on the curse of the big-s. as am sure this isn't the first time somebody has been having an amazing career, then made the switch and then fallen by the way.
  • + 21
 @TomsiR: we need someone to go full geek and run some stats on it, cos its proper weird.
  • + 4
 Dig that. Something is fishy here. Maybe an awkward mechanic who is drunk, insane or just completely off line technically speaking. Had there ever been an enduro racer struck down with as many mechanicals as Graves? Give that dude a decent bike plus a decent mechanic for christ‘s sakes!!!
  • + 7
 I don’t think this can be specialized’s fault. Curtis Keene made it through. Graves has been having problems every single race. He should have been able to work out his problems with the team from previous seasons, and at the very least get down the mountain. If his mechanic is f*cking it up then Graves should just do it or teach them. I’m sure he knows how. He can’t keep blaming it on the bike. Learn to ride it! Loic, Finn and Miranda are doing great on their s-works along with all their XC racers. Big S knows how to make a race winning bike
  • + 26
 I don’t think it’s fair to blame it on the mechanic. Too personal. If we sht on the whole company it somehow feels fine, and if it’s a big company, it actually feels like you are making the world a better place. But never blame it on the rider. Hell no, nobody likes that, it’s super uncool. Unless it’s Gee Atherton or Aaron Gwin. Those can get sht. And E-bikes, yeah... Sam Pilgrim. Such a fail. You’re not Nico Sam. Nico can ride E-bikes as much as he wants.

So as we see, while online warriors do not like new standards, they always roll on double standard.
  • - 4
flag ryanandrewrogers (Apr 2, 2018 at 11:43) (Below Threshold)
 @johannensc: Loic has been doing worse and worse, plauged by injuries and mechanicals ever since his world championship run two years ago. Finn and Miranda are doing just fine I guess. Curtis Keene hasn't hardly made it onto an EWS podium in the last couple years at all though. I think the big S curse only applies to riders who have reached the pinnacle of their careers, then it sends them down in a flaming fury of injuries, mechanicals, mistakes, and poor results.
  • + 8
 @WAKIdesigns : Hill won 2010 world champs on Spesh. Brosnan didn't do too badly on spesh either.
  • + 9
 @WAKIdesigns: well, gwin took a WC overall and won a race without a chain while on specialized... wouldn't call that half bad.
  • + 15
 @ryanandrewrogers: Loic is the current World DH champion. It would appear he has bounced back quite well.
  • + 3
 @G-A-R-Y, @striveCF15 and so what, where’s the allure of the evil Empire in your stories?
  • + 6
 @ryanandrewrogers: Do you happen to know who the current DH world champion is? Also Finn’s season last year was not just alright. He won every race but worlds! Gwin didn’t do too bad either when he rode S-works (he had some bad races but killed it his last season with them). I respect the hell out of Jared and all that he’s done in his career, but honestly if he hasn’t learned from last year and adapted to the bike then I don’t see what else the problem could be. He’s in a contract and probably can’t do much about what they give him, but Spesh’s bikes are not inherently bad and even the Downhillers have been able to keep their tires in for the most part. Jared is one of the greatest this sport has seen and clearly has a bunch of natural talent and he works quite hard. I think he and Mr. Rude both need to get their heads on straight. Then they’ll be back and competing with Sam no matter what bike they’re “forced” to ride.
  • + 6
 Graves his his shifter with his knee on the 3rd corner of stage 2, when he hit them both shift paddles snapped off!! So nothing really any “fault” of the Shimano equipment here.
  • + 5
 Where is @Protour to weigh in when we need him?
  • - 5
flag enjurobro (Apr 2, 2018 at 13:38) (Below Threshold)
 @johannensc: Curtis Keene never made it through lol. I mean the best he had was a 3rd or 4th place podium. Cant compare him to Graves as he was once a champ. I think Red Bull should change the ontrack main guy to Richie Rude or Greg Callaghan. LOL
  • + 1
 Specialized is killing it (including road and triathlons) just their enduro team isn't. Second broken snifter though for Graves.
  • + 1
 @enjurobro: atleast he can finish a race
  • + 0
 @johannensc: I would be more surprised if he does not considering he's one of the most hyped pro in the world. lol
  • + 4
 The ghost of Shaun Palmer.
  • + 2
 @enjurobro: I’d argue that Graves is hyped even more because of his domination in previous years.
  • + 1
 @aushred: Second time. He needs to switch to grip shift.
  • + 1
 I believe this is the second or third time that Graves has broken the shifter off his Specialized. My guess is that he is dealing with a sizing/geo issue. His current Stumpjumper is a frankenbike and he might be having to adapt his riding style. Remember that the SB6c was built directly off his geo requests so he went from a custom built frame to a production frame. It is obviously getting him into some weird positions.
  • + 2
 I was neg propped to death on the other article for saying something bizarre is happening to Jared Graves. And no, I don't blame it on the Specialized curse because you can't call a team/company who has the reigning Men's and Women's DH Champions, Reigning Junior DH Overall Champion as cursed. It's just their Enduro team that's underperforming. I don't know if it's their staff, their mechanics or their methods of working but since 2016, thru either injury, bad luck or mechanicals, Jared Graves almost has as many DNFs as clean finishes. Case in point, since 2016, Sam Hill has no DNFs or mechanicals in the EWS.
  • + 11
 @Monkeyass

Jared Graves

2016
R1 Corral - 8th overall
R2 Cerro Catedral - DNF (Injured)
R3 Wicklow - 155th (Mechanicals/Flats)
R4 La Thuile - DNF (Mechanicals)
R5 Aspen - 1st (Wow!)
R6 Whistler - DNF (Flat)
R7 Valberg - 23rd
R8 Finale - DNF (Mechanical/Flat)

2017
R1 Rotorua - 36th (Rain)
R2 Tasmania - 6th
R3 Madeira - 4th
R4 Wicklow - 13th (Mechanical on tage 6)
R5 Millau - DNF (Mechanical)
R6 Aspen - 3rd
R7 Whistler - DNF (Flat)
R8 Finale - 50th (Mechanical at stage 1)

2018
R1 Chile - DNF (Flat)
R2 Columbia - DNF (Mechanical)
  • + 4
 hes probably too much of a unit for a bike to handle. i wouldnt lend him my bike to ride
  • + 1
 @almacigatrailrider: Thanks. And prior to that he was doing pretty well...
  • + 1
 @Monkeyass: That's 8 DNFs out of 18 races so far. And that's not counting the issues he had eventhough he finished the race. Since he joined spesh, Jared Graves has had a total of 5 clean races with no mechanical or flat issues. Bad luck is not that strong to keep Jared Graves down like that. It has to be something more.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Its true, I fell off my Enduro yesterday and ruined my Strava...
  • + 2
 @aushred: I would imagine we have all whacked our knees on shifter pods at some point? I know I have, just never hard enough to break one, just get a sore knee. It is strange that he has repeat problems here. Are his bars especially low?
  • + 1
 @headshot: he should go do for grip shift.
  • + 1
 @ryanandrewrogers: People already pointed out that Loic Bruni is the men's DH world champ but you can't forget about Miranda Miller as the women's champ. Both ride for Specialized. Matt Walker beat Finn the junior men but Iles won the World Cup overall as well so they're doing more than just fine.
  • + 33
 Daiily taking "French lines" to a whole new level.
  • + 1
 Barel done that on Whistler so nothing new
  • + 4
 @kanasasa: except Barel shuttled his bike down hill...
  • - 4
flag PauRexs (Apr 2, 2018 at 15:20) (Below Threshold)
 Not fair they are mentioning again and again ilegal shuteling.when they.simply.pedal to the top for another way not as stupid as a muddy fireroad. I can understand this mistake...
  • + 17
 Out of curiosity has PB ever done a piece on what it actually takes to be a photographer at an EWS. Stuff like prep and what equipment the good folk use.
  • + 7
 @mdelorme @davetrumpore please make this happen. It would be great to see how you guys keep your gear intact and to learn more about what it takes to get the shots.
  • + 1
 yep, would love to know what their schedules look like, travel, how they scout shooting locations, their movements throughout the race, compiling the recap and making tough choices, etc. Sven Martin went into some detail about this on vital's coverage of the Chile ews. I've always been fascinated by the process.
  • + 10
 Sam Hill is currently the most complete mountain biker out there. Last year was probably just a warm up for what could be an historic EWS season. Cecile Ravanel, meanwhile, is also on track for what could be a perfect season. It's amazing how two all-time great racers have had different routes going to the EWS and yet still dominate.
  • + 8
 @mdelorme @davetrumpore
So what's worse for the camera gear? Dust from Round 1 or mud from Round 2?

Great work as always.
  • + 15
 Dust and rain are not so bad but humidity is really the biggest headache when shooting in a rainforest. Even if you keep your camera dry in the rain things get complicated once it stops and the sun come out.
  • + 6
 these enduro races seem like 6 weeks of my rides crammed into a couple days
  • + 5
 Too early to start calling for a Sam Hill sweep? Probably...but maybe....but probably....but what if?
  • + 2
 Yes. Don’t try and call it until he’s got it. Bad Karma
  • + 4
 Daily won the first 2 last year but didn't get champ...
  • + 4
 The fastest man through dust mud rain wind roots rocks and the legend himself.
  • + 3
 Is there no one running a penny-farthing this year or did they just not get the same kind of coverage?
  • + 4
 Man that Jared Graces guy sure is going places
  • + 3
 What's "illegal shuttling during practice"?
  • + 1
 i also would like to know more about this, and why he was only penalized 20 seconds?! he probably saved a ton of energy not pedaling up with the rest, that sounds an awful lot like cheating.
  • + 1
 @lyleo: There was no shuttle involved - they pedaled up a side road instead of the marked muddy fire road and were penalized for it.
  • + 2
 Sooooo is Marco's pseudonym on race day Randy? Am I missing something on the third photo down?
  • + 3
 It's a nickname people call him for some reason. I don't get it
  • + 1
 Some fantastic photos there although i would have loved to see a couple more of Sam in action. I know I'm being self indulgent but hey, he's gone two for two !
  • + 2
 @mdelorme
*two for two for two
Sick work though!
  • + 2
 the old fart is on a hell of a mission \m/
  • + 2
 Gusti Wildhaber? That's not Rene's boy is it?!
  • + 1
 Younger brother,if I'm not mistaken.
  • + 2
 it's his brother
  • + 1
 ...
  • + 3
 @nozes: Oh thank God for that, for a minute there I was feeling really, really old.
  • + 1
 Was wondering the same thing. Hope someone can clarify.
  • + 2
 Someone lost a multitool on mud photo!
  • + 1
 If she isn't going to put a lens in, why is Isabeau wearing goggles at all? All its doing is restricting her field of view??
  • + 1
 helps stabilise the helmet, and also easier to carry a lens in a pocket than a full goggle when the vision is too compromised by rain and mud
  • + 1
 Looks like someone lost their multitool in the close up peanut butter/mud shot...
  • + 1
 thats Marco Osbourne in picture 3
  • + 1
 Not much sign of beefy mudguards
  • + 6
 Most riders took them off at the beginning of the day when the sun came out. The mud was so thick and sticky for the first few stages the mud was collecting under them and adding a considerable amount of drag to the wheels.
  • + 1
 @davetrumpore: what happened to Rude?
  • + 1
 @ matt delorme- jayzus. is hill as lean as he looks in that portrait pic?
  • + 1
 GRANDE MARCELO!!! BIEN ASI ES!!!
  • + 1
 Awesome coverage folks!
  • - 1
 Were full face helmets required?
  • + 34
 Only for those who enjoy their current facial structure.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.088257
Mobile Version of Website