The inaugural round of the Enduro World Series (EWS) North American Series got underway in the big mountains of Colorado earlier this month and this weekend it switches to the dusty trails of California for round two.
The Yeti Cycles Big Mountain Enduro presented by Shimano kicked off the series in style in Aspen Snowmass on August 5, with Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Shox Factory Race Team) taking a commanding win.
Starting on the iconic Aspen Mountain stage, the longest of the race, two times Enduro World Champion Rude stomped his authority on the field right from the start, winning stage one by an impressive 25 seconds. It was a win that would set the tone of his race, going on to win three of the five stages, finishing the weekend in first place with a commanding lead of over one minute. A stage win boosted Marco Osborne (Cannondale) into second place, with David Camp in third.
Series leader Rude remains the man to beat this weekend at round two, taking place in Northstar Resort as part of the California Enduro Series. Fresh from the disappointment of a mechanical ending his EWS race in Whistler last weekend, Rude will no doubt be looking for redemption in California. However, with a stacked men’s field, he faces competition from the likes of Osborne, Curtis Keene (Specialized), Mitch Ropelato, Geoff Kabush and Mckay Vezina (Giant Factory Off-Road Team).
In the women’s category Cooper Ott had a near perfect race in Aspen Snowmass, winning all but the final stage, securing her the race win. But Lia Westermann pushed her all the way, and it paid off with a stage five win on Bonsai DH, and saw her claim the second step of the podium. Amy Morrison’s consistency throughout the weekend meant she was rewarded with third place.
However, Ott won’t be in Northstar this weekend, leaving the series race wide open in the women’s field. Amy Morrison has the chance to capitalise on that podium place from Aspen to boost her rankings, but with the likes of Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau (Rocky Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team) chasing her down, it’s not going to be an easy task.
Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “It’s great to see such a strong turnout for the inaugural race of the EWS North American Series.
“Big Mountain Enduro, as ever, created an amazing course for the riders in Aspen Snowmass and it was great to see the inclusion of some new trail in there too. It was the perfect way to kick off the series. Now on to round two in California and some very different trails so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
"After this weekend we’ll have a better idea who we’ll see crowned the champions at the Clif Enduro East Series finals at Burke Mountain / Victory Hill in September, but with such a strong start list ahead of us in California, right now it’s anyone’s to play for.”