With two events on two continents, the Pivot factory racing team was split between round 7 of the UCI downhill World Cup in Lenzerheide and round 6 of the Enduro World Series in Whistler. Eddie and Matt were performing strongly in 2nd and 16th in the EWS overall and were keen to push for high season finishes. This left Emilie to ride her home race in Lenzerheide, while Bernard was still recovering from a hand injury.
Wednesday – DH Track Walk
Track walk in Lenzerheide was a wet affair. Heavy rain from the previous days did not relent and the track was looking muddy, slick and challenging. A few changes from previous years were welcomed. Missing the top rock garden was a blessing in the wet conditions, but lower down, a fresh, muddy shoot was going to cut up, expose roots and cause some puzzlement.
Thursday – Training
Emilie started her training later in the day, to let the track dry and allow some ruts and lines to cut in. She was enjoying the track, and the added technical challenge that the muddy conditions gave. The full mud spike tires that Emilie ran in the morning were swapped out for dry tires, as the sun came out and dried the track with every passing hour.
Emilie finished the day with three runs in the timed training session, with loads of new lines opening up on the drying track. Following the day of training, Emilie learned a lot and was building speed, ready to race.
For the first time ever, the Whistler EWS was held over two days. This gave riders two days’ training to learn the tracks, scope out lines, and prepare for the race. Day-one training was on stages 5, 6 and 1. Eddie and Matt were enjoying riding in Canada and having fun on the bikes down the challenging tracks.
Stage 6 was a tough track, including bike park trails such as In Deep, Whistler DH and Joyride. It was going to be a killer on the arms to finish the weekend’s racing. Stage 1 was the classic Top of the World trail. From Whistler Peak to the village, it was well entitled to be the Queen Stage title. Over 11km of alpine single track into a full top-to-bottom bike park lap was going to separate the best riders in the world.
Eddie used the training day to his advantage, blowing through the tape and going straight on after high-speed sections of track. Three times, he made a mental note to slow up for the race run.
Friday – Qualification and Training
By the time Emilie’s qualification run came around, the track was running dry and fast. She was enjoying the conditions, so she added grip and set off hard on the qualifying run. Peddling hard at the top and committing through the steeper looser sections, she knew she was on a good run. Posting the fastest times at each section, she crossed the line 5 seconds up on the current fastest qualifier. As more and more women finished their runs, Emilie’s time held. Only the last few riders could better her time, and Emilie finished with a great 5th place qualifying.
Training on stages 2, 3 and 4 awaited Matt and Eddie on Thursday. Stages 2 and 3 were outside the bike park and required a little more pedaling effort to get to. Stage 3, down Roam in the Loam and Golden Boner, was a rider favorite. Natural roots and loamy ground are fun to ride and race, and Eddie and Matt were having fun following each other, filming GoPro footage and learning lines.
Saturday – Finals
Morning rain and fog threw a spanner in the works for downhill finals. The rain made the track slick and Emilie was enjoying sliding around and getting a bit loose on track. The fog lingered for Emilie’s final run. The track remained slick and some risks were needed for a fast time.
Emilie attacked out of the gate with a hard sprint and settled into her run. Attacking and taking risks, you could see her tires sliding on the big screen in front of the packed crowd. Going fastest through the first two splits, Emilie was having a flying run. Off the final drop into the finish area, Emilie crossed the line in 1st by the smallest of margins. A fantastic ride guaranteed Emilie another podium finish and, following an exciting women’s race, she finished 3rd.
With fantastic result at her home race and a challenging weekend of conditions changing, Emilie soaked up the home support with friends and family congratulating her on her best result of the 2019 season.
Day one of the EWS in Whistler started with a bang. The Queen Stage was an 11km race from Whistler Peak to the village. At almost 20 minutes of race time, this is one of the most physical tracks that the riders will tackle all year. Matt was the first Pivot rider down and was on a flyer. Riding strong, but being careful not to push too hard, he measured his efforts brilliantly. Posting the 4th fastest time on the stage set off Matt’s weekend perfectly.
Eddie was the second-to-last rider to drop in, due to his high overall placing. This late start time caused some hindrance, as the rain started to fall when he took the track. Riding the track in the rain, with changing conditions top-to-bottom, was challenging for Eddie and he was disappointed to finish 13th.
Sunday – Finals Day 2
Day two at the EWS in Whistler started in the rain. Wet conditions made the tracks slick, particularly the roots on stage 5. After a disappointing start, Eddie was revved up for the second race day and started off in the best way possible – winning stage 2 and coming second on stage 3. The technical stages, with mid-stage climbs, made for awkward and physical riding—where Eddie thrives—and moved him up to 2nd in the overall.
Matt’s motivation was high after a great stage 1 performance. Attacking hard on stage 2, Matt was going well until he got caught out on some wet roots. A small crash didn’t cost Matt too much time and he was soon back up to speed. Opting for a safer approach on stage 3, Matt rode a clean stage, finishing 13th and moving him to 5th in the overall.
Stage 4 headed back into the bike park and although the roots were slippery, the moist dirt and rocks offered a surprising amount of grip. Matt tackled the stage with confidence, but a few mistakes took him off his line and he lost time in crucial sections. Eddie continued his good run with the 4th fastest stage time, enjoying the bike park sections and the big rock rolls Whistler is famous for.
Stage 5 had the riders nervous all day. One of the more freshly made trails the riders raced on, the rain would make the going muddy and tough. Wet roots sprawling in all directions on corners, shoots and climbs would cause an even bigger problem.
Matt rode a solid stage to finish 11th, putting him in 9th overall going into the final stage. Eddie had an admittedly scruffy run, losing some time to his rivals, but keeping him in podium contention for the overall.
The final stage was another physical challenge down some of the fastest and roughest trails in the bike park. Matt attacked hard, putting down a brilliant ride to take 5th on the stage and move him up to finish the day 8th overall.
Eddie started the stage hard, but two crashes cost him time. Getting back on the bike, he took risks and pushed hard to maintain his podium finish for the second year in a row. Both riders were chuffed with their performances over the weekend, strengthening their positions in the Enduro World Series 2019 overall standings.
After two well-earned 3rd place finishes at both events, the whole team will be racing next week in Whistler for Crankworx. Stay tuned for more exciting racing!