Words by Kona Supreme, Hannah Bergemann
I successfully finished my first EWS at Whistler last weekend. It was such a cool experience to ride and race with some of the world’s best in one of the best places!
Some highlights of the weekend started with practice on Friday and Saturday. I got to ride some amazing and classic Whistler trails in the bike park and in the valley with people from all over the world. Some rain on Saturday evening made for some tacky dirt and helped hold off the dust for the race.
Race day started with a pedal through the village over to the Blackcomb trails. I was nervous about making my start time and pedaled maybe a little too quickly up the steep road to Microclimate for stage 1. I rode conservatively on this stage with my nerves running pretty high, but rode clean and relatively smooth for such a technical trail.
Stage 2 brought us back up the road to Crazy Train, an even steeper, gnarlier version of stage 1, with more than a few big moves. I felt like I rode my best on this stage, passing a few people and riding clean on all the big features.
After pedaling around Lost Lake and getting stuck in a long line for the Creekside gondola, I rushed over to stage 3 and made my start time with a few minutes to spare. Stage 3 on Delayed Fuse was a bit of a contrast to the previous stages with some steep chutes and greasy roots. I made a few mistakes and ended the stage with a slightly crooked brake lever after a minor tumble in some wet roots.
After a short transfer, I started down stage 4. This stage had a bit more flow, a lot more pedaling than previous stages. I finished completely out of breath but had a clean run.
For the last stage, I took 3 different lifts and gondolas to get to the Top of the World. This stage started us across a suspension bridge hanging across two peaks. The final stage was expectedly brutal, descending 5500 feet from the Top of the World to the bottom of the bike park, and I was definitely low on steam at the end of the day. The top of the stage is basically a 3.5 mile long rock garden. After descending that, we still had to descend another 3000 feet all the way down the bike park (through some rather bump filled, dusty and blown out trails) to the base of the park where we started. When I finally finished the race, I had to peel my hands from the handlebars.
I ended up placing 25th overall, a solid midpack finish for my first EWS. My bike was running great all weekend despite taking some serious abuse on all the Whistler trails. Thanks to everyone for all the support this season!! Looking forward to trying some more big races next season!