A Marmot’s Eye View of Enduro World Series Round 1 in Val di Fassa Italy [Photo Essay]

Jesse Melamed hammering toward the finish on stage one to finish in third place overall.

The dust billowed to rest after round one of the Enduro World Series, and a healthy dump of rain should add some grip to the tracks for round two. The decidedly natural trails around Canazei, Italy, are as root-strewn and dusty as a mountain bike track can get, and the steep walls of Val di Fassa keep most of the area’s trails in the black diamond zone.

With ample pandemic protocols in place, athletes from around the world were able to return to full fledged racing this season. Everyone had to pass a virus test before receiving their number plate.

Martha Gill was rippin’ it on stage one’s, Titans trail. Things didn’t go quite as planned, and she finished up in 41st of 42 elite women. We wish her better grip on Friday.

There are countless tight turns between the alpine pine, larch, and spruce stands.

Here’s that same turn from another angle. The Propain Tyee is a popular bike amongst privateer racers, thanks to its affordable pricing and candy-store-size build kit selection.

This gap at the end of stage one wasn’t any faster, but the fun factor was clear.

Canada’s Georgia Astle finished in a respectable 14th place aboard her prototype Devinci with its high pivot, idler pulley, and rearward axle path. It’s great to see the high pivot platform moving over from DH to trail bikes, as the benefits are many and appreciated.

Anita Gehrig (left) piloted her Norco high pivot rig into 13th place after just one week with the new frame. France’s Estelle Charles was also on a prototype bike, with a Horst link system from Rossignol. The historic ski brand hopes to jump deep into the mountain bike market after a long season of testing.

Andreane Lanthier Nadeau smashed home second place on stage two to finish just off the podium in fourth position.

Isabeau Courdurier won two stages to earn first place alongside two other French women, Morgane Charre and Melanie Pugin, who finished in second and third.

Throwin’ shapes with a busted number plate.

Sam Hill was on all his usual inside lines to land himself in 18th place for the day. It might take some of the top riders a race or two before the engine is fully hot and ready to win.

Dimitri Tordo rode strong for sixth position overall, while his teammate Jack Moir hopped on the second step of the podium Wednesday afternoon.

Ya can’t take too many photos of Jesse Melamed. He’s just so smooth on the bike. After a commanding season in 2020, the young Canadian will be looking for even better results in round two.

The views and marmot song above stage four will make you want to pitch a tent and stay for the summer.

Pointing that “third eye” in the right direction.

The throttle was cracked fully open for Morgane Jonnier, who slid her squishy Peugeot into 15th place.

Yes, there are climbs in EWS races. The end of stage one had a few short spikes to keep the heart rate maxed all the way through.

While there are gondolas throughout Val di Fassa, getting to the tip top still takes some work.

Something gold…

Between content creation and expert-level wheelies Wyn Masters is still super fast on an enduro bike.

The third fastest Canadian on Wednesday was none other than Miranda Miller, skillfully piloting her mixed-wheel Kona Process X into 18th place.

More high pivot goodness brought Ella Conolly to eighth place on her spankin’ new Cannondale Jekyll 29er.

With a fresh team and fast legs, Katy Winton had a fantastic day in the mountains. She earned sixth place overall, descending into ninth on stage one, 13th on the second rip, tenth on stage three, and ninth again on the brutally long Tutti Fruitti trail.

The full Ibis squad was on these special “anniversary addition” frames. Word has it the colorful frames will be sent back to Ibis and raffled off in the near future.

It’s always impressive how folks from New Zealand can deal with the time and season change when they travel for these races. Rae Morrison seemed to be feeling great as she muscled her way down the mountain to land in tenth.

The camera loves a good black and white jersey. Jonnier rode consistently through all four stages, and we expect to see her move up in the results as the season progresses.

Anita Gehrig was clearly trying to copy the shape of the mountaintop to her left. Thanks!

Several athletes wiped out on this loose dust, but it was no problem for ALN.

In case you’re curious, she did save this slide.

Noga Korem and her partner put on the first-ever EWS race in their home country of Israel this year. All of that work didn’t affect her training much, as she kept her heels down and eyes up to finish in fifth place.

Melanie Pugin has such a strong stance on the bike that it looks as if she’s deciding where the trail will be.

Does riding posture get better than that? Isabeau showed more than a few riders how it’s done on Wednesday, with more than 13 seconds between herself and the second place rider.

Tutti Fruitti trail is a mix of loose and fixed rocks up top, with loose sand-like soil between it all to keep things slick.

Portugal’s Jose Borges eyeing up the many line choices ahead.

Heap grinding some alpine gravel.

Some riders went inside, some out, and most went precisely where their tires slid.

Richard Rude Jr. was well on form, winning stages one and two and taking the overall by less than a second ahead of Canyon’s Jack Moir with all four stage times combined.

More gravel racing for Eddie Masters.

He’s tall. Very tall. And he’s constantly dancing on the bike like it’s a party. With less than a second from the top step, Jack Moir is undoubtedly ready to win an EWS round or two.

Yes, that lean works, and it’s wicked fast.

The complete results list is available on the EWS website. Stay tuned for more action with round two this Friday and Saturday.

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