Finale Ligure EWS

For the fourth year in a row it was the Finale Ligure Enduro World Series that ended my racing season. As always, Finale delivered. Photos and videos are below. 

Casual clothes cruise on arrival.

I was fortunate to have my brother come along on this trip, which marked the first time we’ve travelled together – crazy. Rhys Verner was rooming with us and we practiced together each day with Marty Schaffer. It was honestly one of the best trips I’ve had this year and many things contributed to that; nice weather, having family around, being a little more relaxed as it’s not my focused discipline, the location, and everyone involved in the event. Plus, this was the final race of 2017 for me. 

Day 2 practice with the boys! Marty Schaffer on the left and Rhys Verner on the right.

The first two days we eased into the trip and tried to beat the jet lag. Lots of coffee, little rides, swims in the ocean, and race planning is what we did. Our two practice days on Thursday and Friday were quite long and we rode the entire day(s) for each race day. Being a privateer is tough at these races, especially when you’re pedalling up the 1 hr climbs for transition while a lot of others are shuttling up them. Being an “XC guy” means just another training day, but they were hard ~4 hr days just to get around.  We took video of each stage and would watch them at night in prep for the weekend. 

Office views.

On day 1 everything went smoothly and I was slotted in with my buddies from last year – Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Sam Dale, and new faces of Loris Vergier and Luca Shaw.

Last year I was fortunate to ride the weekend with these guys and it happened again this year! Missing is Greg Minnaar and new was Luca Shaw on the left. Sam Dale next, Steve Peat and then myself. 

Day one was the toughest both physically and technically on all the tracks. They were very “pedally” and quite technical. I had a clean day that felt normal but I was able to pull out my best-ever stage at an EWS with a 9th. That was incredible and gave me a lot more confidence going into day two. It wasn’t the smoothest run into this race the last month with a less than stellar approach, but it was already a successful weekend after that stage result. I came back to the apartment to hear Rhys was leading the U21 mens category – wow, just wow. Him and I were on the same program this year with an XC focus and enduro switch over once hitting mid-August. It was amazing to be rooming with him and share the excitement. 

Day 1 practice video with short highlights of what the stages looked like

Day 2 was again smooth and I just made sure of making no major mistakes. I did take it a little too safe not eh first stage of the day and was quite far back. The stage just had some very rough and rocky sections that I was a little nervous about flat tires and flat spotting the rims. After that we just survived the rest of the day. The Santa Cruz-Syndicate team invited me to their pit set up for our lunch break. Thank you to the team and Kathy for cooking up a mean mid-race meal. I was just going to get some croissants at the cafe but the homemade pasta, sandwiches, fruit, and recovery mixes absolutely toppled my original plan. After making it through the final and most famous stage in Finale, it was home free to the finish. 23rd overall, 9th and 11th place stages, and a huge smile was how things ended. 

Racing down the final stage to safely secure my best-ever Enduro World Series result. 

The famous “DH” stage that takes us to the ocean in Varigotti.

The following two days I spent in Nice with my brother as we toured around and soaked in the city. One day we rented scooters and went up to Monaco for the day but unfortunately couldn’t figure out how to drive around the Formula 1 course!

It’s now the off-season and I will be working hard again for next year. Thank you to everyone who was involved this season. I can’t thank you enough and that doesn’t begin to express my gratitude for the support. It was my best-ever season in the pro ranks and I couldn’t have done it without the support circle. Ready to rumble for 2018 already!

 

 

Day 2 practice video

 

First day riding in Finale to kick the jet lag. 

 

 

 

Day 1 before the first stage on the highest mountain in the Liguria region of Italy. 

Only half way through day 1 and we were feelin’ it.

Commuting to our final stage on day 1 through the small villages.

The liaisons from stage to stage always amaze me at this event. Year four for me and it just gets better each year. 

 

 

Here we rented scooters and cruised up the coast to Monaco.

More liaisons and Marty making the most of this tunnel

More views.

Practice for this race was just as good as the racing.

 

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