Even though it's now the second season of the Enduro World Series (EWS), everything still feels new. The race in Scotland was also the first major race without Fabien Barel. He is still trapped in his corset and keeps his fingers crossed for us from home. Fab can't wait to attack again.
After Chile, it was a new location and – for most of the Canyon crew – an unknown country that had to be conquered. But for Joe Barnes - ours "Top Chief" – this round of the EWS brought with it a special portion of excitement. On his "home turf" should Joe really impress us and the competition. A typical Scottish rider like Joe knows exactly what to expect in the race. Clear home advantage - and so it is hardly surprising that he was listed as a hot candidate for victory by the local bookmakers.
Arrived with thick jackets, fan heaters and lots of rain pants, we were almost disappointed when the weather showed its absolutely atypical, most beautiful side. Except for the rainy Thursday, May 29th, we were continuously blessed with sunshine. On the second day of practice it was a huge mud battle, but the stages were almost completely dry by the time the race started. So all that remained was to solve the problem of the many roots, narrow trees and nasty steep steps. Last, but not least, the race with almost 100 kilometers and 3000 meters of altitude difference spread over two days was absolutely no small matter.
Our local hero Joe showed on the first day that he is a force to be reckoned with and, as the first pursuer, took second place in a completely mixed ranking. You had to look twice to find the actual favorites in the ranking. Ludo May also had a mixed first day and found himself in the middle of the rankings.
Ines Thomas' conclusion after the first day of racing, Saturday, May 30th:
“The race is so brutally demanding, especially the pedaling passages. You are totally floored and then it goes very steeply downhill, then there are trees everywhere that you have to duck through first and roots that you have to avoid all the time – that really got me going.”
Completely exhausted, it was no less strenuous to continue on Sunday, June 1st, around 8:30 a.m. On the second part around the well-known trail center in Glenntress, Ines was able to defend her fifth place from the day before on the flatter and more pedal-intensive stages. Unfortunately, Ludo continued to lose his rhythm in the dark woods and had to settle for 34th place at the end of the race. With start number 10, but a less than ideal starting position due to the seeding in Chile, the start of Joe's run on the last and longest stage of the day led to a showdown between him and the leader Nico Lau. Brutal volleys of cheering echoed through the Scottish woods as the "Top Chief" turned into the last kilometers of the stage. Pushed by numerous spectators and race colleagues, the time measurement showed a third overall place for Joe. Historical! Because it was the first podium for a Brit in the Enduro World Series!
Joe describes his highlight of the weekend like this:
“After the tough first day, I was pretty tired on Sunday. Then I took a left turn perfectly and thought: 'Oh yeah, that was perfect! That's the way it has to be!' At that moment it was clear to me that I had found the right pace for today and the rest went by itself.”
As in Chile, the organizers of the EWS also had the right instincts with Scotland. The country showed itself from its best side with the warm-hearted locals, its riders and trails. The race has also set a new standard in terms of toughness. Everyone agreed that there is a lot to be done to be at the forefront.
Stay on the handlebars - we'll be hearing from you again in mid-June with a special 'Entry'!