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It’s been a busy month or so for events, what with the downhill and enduro World Cups in ItalySwitzerland and Austria, plus Eurobike in Germany – the annual all-bike-industry trade fair.

This week the Enduro World Cup (EDR) circus is in Val di Fassa, Italy, for the fifth round of the seven-round series. The race for the first-ever EDR title is hotting up.

Scroll down for our notes from Val di Fassa, including top-class photos by Seb Schieck. There are some tangents too – we couldn’t help ourselves.


Misspent Summers

THE GOOD STUFF: Notes from Val di Fassa, Italy, Enduro World Cup (EDR) R5

  • Quick season recap: The EDR started with rounds one and two in Maydena and Derby in Tasmania before heading to Pietra, Italy, and then Leogang, Austria, last week
  • Series leaders: Richie Rude (USA) and Isabeau Courdurier (FRA) lead the elite rankings before Val di Fassa. Sascha Kim (AUS) and Emmy Lan (CAN) lead the under-21 points
  • EDR Val di Fassa (VDF) start lists and other official stuff here
  • Today’s EDR and E-EDR will finish a lot earlier than the Leogang round – riders were still on course after 8pm there. This time the last riders are scheduled to finish at 17:30
  • Eddie Masters’ videos are pure gold. Check out his practice and bike weigh-in videos here and here for the best action and commentary. We also love following Jack Moir’s Moi Moi TV and Jesse Melamed’s course previews
  • Every race so far this year has had six stages (always on a single day of racing). VDF has only five, but it sure ain’t going to be an easy day out. Across 44km distance there’s well over 1,000m of climbing and around 3,000m of forearm-destroying descending
  • Lifts make the difference: Riders make use of VDF’s impressive ski lift network (8 lifts and 18 trails open to mountain bikers in the valley) to gain massive height (peaking well over 2,000 metres) before plunging back down on long, physically demanding stages
  • There’s also the electric E-EDR which takes in eight stages over about 400m extra vertical and 6km extra distance

continued below…

  • There are some brutal climbs in stages. Previously in VDF the organisers have used an untimed ‘neutral zone’ to cancel out a lung-and-leg-busting climb mid-stage. This year, the open race had a neutral zone on a stage but the pros just have to get their heads down and sprint to infinity and beyond. This long endurance climb should suit the fittest, most powerful riders – it’s a place to win some serious time
  • The official spectators map page on the FassaBike site here has a decent breakdown of each stage
  • You can also check out the course map on Trailforks here. Fancy giving it a go?
  • Follow the live timing on the MTB World Series site here. Select the category you want to see then check the individual stage results and the overall race leader/results (cumulative time adding each stage time together). But…
  • …the ‘Overall’ tab shows the current race ranking and automatically updates as each rider finishes a stage. As every rider must finish the stage to know who is in the overall race lead, the current overall is usually misleading (because there are usually still riders on stage). If you’re lucky, you can click on the ‘Overall’ tab and select a stage number to scroll through the progression of the day’s results, seeing who was leading after each stage. But this function rarely seems to work for us – do you have the same problem?
  • If you’re wondering, the official event name is Val di Fassa, but everyone calls it Canazei because that’s where the event village is
  • The venue: Towering mountains, huge descents, enormous pizzas. The Dolomites at their best
  • Vibe check: Upbeat. Riders like this venue – its long and natural trails are a world away from Leogang’s whackerplated berms (although, despite some initial grumbles, most riders really enjoyed Leogang)
  • Conditions check: HOT and sunny. There were big storms forecast during practice which led to the session being split across two days instead of the planned single day of practice. In the end it wasn’t as bad as predicted, but the trails did take a dousing, making for slick conditions for Thursday and Friday practice. The sun’s been out and the trails should all be griptastic for racing
  • More practice time = more pushing up riding stuff again. While riders are still only allowed a single run on each track, a bit more time in the schedule means they have been able to stop and inspect sections and push back up to try new lines. Will this affect the results?

more below…

  • Tangent: It’s a busy week for eventing, with Crankworx Innsbruck and Stone King Rally also happening. We’ll have coverage from both in our next print publications (Spent 2 or/and Downtime EP)
  • Oh, and Eurobike! We were there midweek for two days of cruising Frankfurt’s exhibition halls checking out what’s new. Our full 2024 trends report in brief: more e-bikes; burgundy paintjobs galore; sustainable, reusable, recyclable marketing copy aplenty. It was good to see lots of downhill and enduro World Cup bikes on brands’ stands – the pointy end of mountain bike racing is as important and exciting as ever
  • Whispers from Eurobike: We know this isn’t enduro related content (ERC), but rumours travel fast when you get the entire bicycle industry in one place. You’ve probably heard about the industry over-stock crisis (brands, distributors and retailers got a bit excited with their order quantities during the Covid bicycle boom. Now things have slowed down drastically they’re left with either massive excess inventory or bills they can’t pay – or both). Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, it sounds like some big bike companies will be going deeper into full crisis mode or even shutting down completely by the end of 2023. We wish everyone the best of luck navigating the tricky times ahead
  • Anyway, back to the EDR: We’ve been enjoying the official coverage this year. The EDR VDF raw practice video is here and is well worth a watch
  • International enduro has been visiting VDF since the first Enduro World Series (EWS) here in 2019. This is the fifth VDF EWS-EDR race – there wasn’t a race here in 2020 but there were two EWS rounds back-to-back in 2021, plus the 2019 and 2022 ones
  • There are lots of trails in the area, but all of the EDR stages this year have been raced before. Any predictions based on previous performances here?
  • The open race was on Saturday and took in stages 2-5. Check out the results here
  • Use your ears to check out our ‘Views Leogang podcast-thing (downhill only) by Sven Martin here. You can find it on Spotify too (search Misspent Summers)
  • We’re a tiny company finding our way and trying out different media stuff to complement our downhill and enduro yearbooks. Let us know if you have any feedback or ideas by replying to this email
  • Final tangent: What is a bike park, anyway? Val di Fassa (raw, natural, rooty, earthy, rocky) has a very different interpretation than Leogang (some of that, but mostly berms, jumps, rollers). Both destinations refer to themselves as bike parks. Just a bit of random pondering
  • Thanks for reading! We hope you are enjoying these notes emails. We’re currently working on our 2023 yearbooks plus a load of other stuff including Spent 2 and some new clothing. Stay tuned for more! Cheers
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