For the third stop of this year's EWS, the riders of the RAAW // Levelnine Gravity Team went to Val di Fassa in Trentino. Find out how the riders did in front of the Dolomites backdrop in the team's race report.
While Chris drove directly from Petzen to Val di Fassa in Italy on Sunday, Torben was on the upswing again at home after the Corona illness. The hope of being able to participate in the upcoming EWS event in Canazei grew. Since the aftermath of a Covid course with severe symptoms should not be underestimated, especially as an athlete, Torben underwent a medical checkup with an expert before the first sports units.
Fortunately, all examinations remained unremarkable. Combined with a good feeling about his body, this meant: Off to Canazei!
The Dolomites showed themselves from the most beautiful side
On Wednesday Chris and Torben started together with a few other German riders for a trackwalk. With hiking boots and trekking poles they went up the mountains, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Dolomites. The tracks had pretty much everything to offer what a good Enduro Stage needs: technical sections with roots and stones, fast passages with bends and jumps, new sections on fresh forest soil and above all decent Drop meters.
The weather also played along most of the time.
After two stages, Torben left in order to keep the physical strain after the illness as low as possible. Chris and the others looked at two more stages. Overall, the forest was still very wet from previous thunderstorms, which made the roots and stones very slippery. Although little rain was forecast for the coming days, it was expected that the conditions would still be difficult in training.
On Thursday, we finally got on the bikes. The media shakedown took place this time on the Rodeline, a flowline with some small jumps in the upper part of the bike park.
The shakedown track had great fun potential!
The ground of the track was fresh and still slightly wet, which made for wild drifts and wild drifts and fast maneuvers. One feature of the track quickly attracted the full attention: On a relatively small table, the challenge arose to do the craziest tricks and jump as high as possible for the photographers. Here Chris was able to shine with his dirtbike past and impressed many with his jumps.
Photographers: "Have a session at the table," Chris: "Say no more!"
Chris steals the show from the mountains...
For Torben, the shakedown was the perfect opportunity to get back into the flow after the bike break. Nevertheless, he felt the strain and needed the afternoon to regenerate, while Chris and some other riders still drove a few party laps.
...and because it was so nice another one.
In the evening Chris and Torben prepared everything for the first training day. That meant cleaning the bikes, checking all the screws again, preparing the equipment and talking through the rough plan for the day. With the large number of starters, a lot of traffic on the tracks was to be expected again. Therefore, the two decided to start early in training to avoid the rush hour. After a hearty pizza dinner, they went to bed with anticipation for the next day.
The training on Friday started for the EWS riders directly on one of the most most difficult tracks: Titans.
Short queue at the entrance of the stage: time to enjoy the view!
After some meadow curves, the track led into the forest. The surface was still very slippery and with the many roots and stones it was very difficult to ride the lines cleanly.
The course was freshly marked out in some sections.
Therefore, Chris and Torben took a closer look at some sections and pushed some parts back up in order to be able to ride spots again. Both knew that it would be extremely important on Sunday to find a good rhythm and to always stay on speed with clean lines.
The flow trail segment was a fun introduction to the stage.
The longest and most breathtaking stage was again the Queenstage Tutti Frutti. With a length of 6.2km and almost 1000 meters of drop, the course brought the riders back to Canazei at the end of the training. Starting on the Col Rodella, it went at top speed over the ridge towards the forest sections.
In the distance you can see the starting point of the stage and the ridgeline.
There awaited a few crisp counter-climbs, but also fresh loamy trails that guaranteed a lot of riding fun. Once in the village, the route ran between the houses, over a wooden double and an artificially created rock gardend on the village square to the finish.
As usual, the prostage was on the agenda on Saturday. In the morning the track could be trained once, before it was about the time in the afternoon. After a short transfer to the start, Chris and Torben went to the track for training. training on the track.
The first day of racing is upon us.
With just 200 meters of descent and a little more than a kilometer, it was a very short stage, but still very intense due to its characteristics. The speed was rather low due to the many roots and stones with little gradient and you had to pedal and push a lot to be able to master the sections with momentum. Together with various key technical sections, it was a very demanding trail.
Full concentration on the narrow, winding trail.
After exiting the forest at the end of the stage, a 100-meter-long sprint to the finish on the meadow demanded everything from the riders. After the training there was time for a small lunch. Chris and Torben watched the GoPro recordings from the morning to better memorize the course and the most important lines.
In the race Chris had some difficulties to find the right rhythm in the different sections and was not completely satisfied with his performance. But the main part of the race was on Sunday.
Prostage was mostly unrhythmic and thus very challenging.
For Torben it was not yet possible to foresee how his body would react to the high intensity. That's why he took a more relaxed approach to the prostage to be able to divide the forces better. With this strategy he could finish a clean run and hit all lines. The joy afterwards was when he saw that he would start the main race in 48th place.
On Sunday the stages were run in the same order as in the training. After the traditional rollout from the village square in Canazei, the riders made their way to the first gondola to reach the start of the "Titans" stage.
For Chris, however, the first stage of the day was unfortunate. Already in the first half of the track he had a technical defect and had to make a longer stop.
…do you spot the problem?
About 10 minutes were lost in the process, denying him any chance of a good result. After the stage he was able to fix the problem completely and at least enjoy the rest of the race on the fun trails.
Torben's initial tactic was the same as the day before: to save energy. It was a hot day and in the high air the strain is even more intense. On the first two stages, he was able to build on the performance of the previous day.
The right pacing strategy was key in the race.
After completing two stages and still feeling good physically, it was time to attack. The following stage was a bit shorter than the previous ones and was therefore a good opportunity to test the limits. His plan worked and rewarded him with 28th place on this stage, which pushed him further up the rankings.
Every millisecond counts in enduro racing.
Now he had to mobilize all his strength again on the last stage to keep his strong ranking. A long and hard course awaited him with steep climbs and technical passages, which led down the entire mountain and ended directly on the piazza in the town.
Chris at the jump towards the finish line
After all riders had crossed the finish line, the results were in. With the fortieth place Torben achieved his best EWS result in a long time!
Once again we had a fun race weekend and are looking forward to the next EWS races!