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EWS Val Di Fassa


Enduro World Series 2019 - Round 4 - Val Di Fassa

July 02 — 2019 | Val Di Fassa, Italy

Our EWS Road Manager, Krunk Shox, gave us the rundown of the fourth stop of the 2019 Enduro World Series. Read on for more.

It’s July now. Rewind to mid-May and we’re heading home from the third race of The Enduro World Series in Madiera. The Santa Cruz X SRAM Enduro Team had high-hopes for the month of challenges to come. Iago, hopeful to continue his racing momentum, went home to prepare for the Spanish National Championships. Mark, hopeful to return to health, went home to diagnose, repair and recover from his injured wrist.  Both boys were looking forward to returning to June’s EWS for some fast-paced shredding in the unforgiving, although picturesque, Dolomites.

Now that we’re all caught up, press play, it’s July and at present The Santa Cruz X SRAM Enduro Team has just finished the fourth round of The Enduro World Series. Based out of the small Dolomiti town of Canazei—nestled deep in the Val di Fassa, a fertile nook of Italy’s Trentino region—the team was treated to epic views of the Dolomites and ruthless descents. EWS Canazei was a one-day event comprised of five stages. Most of the stages were over five minutes and the Queen stage was raced in thirteen minutes.

All totaled the race included nine thousand feet of descending. Fast and loose, technically demanding, and of course, extremely difficult, are trail attributes that are not new to the EWS and the tracks here in Canazei were no exception. The Val di Fassa trail-team did an outstanding job at linking together treacherous trails, some fresh-cut, others centuries old, from the top of the ski area all the way into the town’s center.

I really enjoyed practice, taking the approach of a happy-go-lucky summer holiday tourist—stopping frequently to admire the beauty that surrounded me. My approach to the practice days is quite a bit different from that of our protagonists, Mark and Iago. Our guys are not here for the views or the selfies, they’re here for the sending, shredding and flat-out racing. A contrast which I prefer to be on the observer’s side of.  

Saturday’s race was full-on for everyone. Mark’s 42nd place and Iago’s 47th place finishes are not results they consider their best by any means. 

I talked with Mark and Iago on the morning after the race. I asked Mark how his day went he told me that “I just struggled to get my flow. My confidence after banging my wrist-up is just not there. It’s more of a mental thing really, getting my head back in it. Getting comfortable going full attack on these stages. I’ve never really had to come back from an injury and, I just wasn’t as comfortable as I needed to be.”

When I asked Mark how he would like to spend the next few days leading up to the fifth round he said: "I’ve got a bit of work to do, I may play around with some things and obviously I’ll try to get back up there as soon as possible.” I also asked Mark if there was one thing you could change about Saturday’s race what would it be?  He told me “…nothing really, I did what I could on the day. My progress with feeling comfortable isn’t a matter of rushing to find reckless speed. I've been looking—I spent the beginning of June in Morzine working on my wrist and getting back to strength. I’ve come a long way from where I was in May after the crash. From riding my gravel bike to sending laps in the bike park.”

Here's what Iago had to say about Saturday’s race. “ day was pretty hard. I struggled to find the pace on the very long, and physical stages. I had a small mechanical that put me a bit back on stage three. I was happy to finish the race healthy. I'm leaving Italy with some homework to do. I am motivated for next week.” Lastly, I asked Iago what he would change if he could change one thing about yesterday’s race what it would be and he told me "I would have done everything the same yesterday. But, I would change some things leading up to the race. Maybe less racing and traveling, with more time to focus on preparation. I think National Champs has caught-up with me.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Santa Cruz  X SRAM Enduro Team is moving onwards and upwards. We’re headed to Les Orres, France for round five of the EWS. 

On a much more positive note, we’re celebrating a bit of a milestone for a member of the Santa Cruz X SRAM Enduro Team this weekend. Our favorite Scotsman has successfully completed every Enduro World Series race since the series began in 2013. Meaning, Mark has completed all fifty EWS races, totaling just over twenty-four hours of racing, three hundred stages and half a million feet descended.

I asked Mark how he felt about the milestone and what it means to him to have persisted through the highs and lows of six years between the tapes. Here’s what he wanted to share “Pretty cool, not the way I would have liked my fiftieth EWS to have gone, hopefully, there’s another fifty coming my way. I love racing and so I’m ready for mixing it up and the challenges that come with it. I’ve spent the last three seasons with Santa Cruz X SRAM and their support has made finishing the races easier. I guess finishing all fifty races means that there are some really good people behind me. Being present at the start, and making it to the finish lines, is my way of saying thank you.”

Congrats Marky, here’s to another fifty—and many more after that.

As with every Enduro World Series event the level of competition is high and so are the stakes. Everyone on the team is all-in when it comes to making this team work. We do that with the hope that we will come out on top. We’re observant. We’re resilient. We’re strong. We’re strapped-up lads on well-oiled vessels; racing with aggression. that being said—we carry-on. Looking forward, heads held high and positive into next weekend’s cycling competition in France. From Iago, Mark, Bo and myself—arrivederci!

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