Round four of the Enduro World Series saw one massive contingent of Kona riders descend from all corners of the globe. Rhys Verner and Miranda Miller of the Kona Gravity Team were of course in attendance, also flying in from Canada was east coast cross country weapon Rebecca Beaumont and Vancouver Island U21 shredder Lucy Schick. Alexander Kangas made the trip from Sweden and Junya Nagata from Japan, Leah Maunsell fresh off her Irish national title win had driven down and Australian DH rider Jackson Frew also threw his hat in the enduro ring. We even had some staff racing, our Czech distributors marketing manager (and absolute pinner) Jakub Riha rounded out the huge Kona crew in Canazei, Italy for what was to be one HOTLY contested race.
In the Under 21 women’s category Leah and Lucy would battle it out for the top spot all day, Lucy in her first EWS race in Europe would take stages 1 and 2 while Leah would put in a solid showing on the epic 17 minute Queens stage. After the loam settled Lucy would be standing on top of the U21 Podium with her 27.5 Process proudly on display.
Some extremely tight racing made for an epic day on the bike, and I couldn’t be happier to take my first ever EWS win! It was a hot and challenging race, and I was happy to cross the finish line! Thanks to all the Kona guys for the support this weekend and to everyone back home who got me here. Ready to battle it out again next weekend in France! – Lucy Schick
You’ve got to take the good with the bad sometimes. I had a slow start to my day but left it all on the Queen Stage to pull back a heck of a time but it wasn’t enough. Ended up in second place by just 1 second. It was a tight battle and I enjoyed the close racing. Absolutely buzzing for the Kona 1-2 with Lucy. I’ll be back to battle next week in Les Orres for sure. Also, a huge thanks to everyone for the help and support over the weekend! – Leah Maunsell
Rhys Verner didn’t have the start he wanted to the 2019 EWS season. After struggling with injuries he’s been trying to find the right balance of speed and consistency, so far this season he’s had a top 50 and two top 40’s. Well, he found his pre-injury form on stage 1 on the loamy Italian trails, posting the 13th fastest time on the long 10-minute stage. He’d sneak back close to the pointy end on stage 4 with a 25th place and would finish round 4 of the EWS in 26th place. This solid result sees him move up into 31st in the overall series rankings.
Coming into race day I felt like I had a good shot at a solid result on stage 1. The long stages normally suit me, so I really went for it on this one. I’m really happy with how that stage went and I ended up 13th overall at the end of it. I really left it all out there on that stage and was completely spent after. It took me a few stages to feel good again and I came back strong for stage 4. In the end, I finished up in 26th place, my best result of the year so far. It was awesome to see such a strong showing in the U21 women’s field for Kona with a 1-2 as well! – Rhys Verner
Miranda Miller’s first full season of enduro is motoring along, the World Champion downhiller is new to the discipline and has been working on different training/practice strategies over these first few rounds. The change from riding one track all weekend in DH to having to memorize up to an hour of trails in Enduro is not a small change. A big crash on stage 4 took its toll and eliminated the gains made by solid stage results. Miranda would finish the day in 11th place.
For having very little liaison climbing, this race was insanely hard. My strategy for the weekend was to increase my practice pace, without walking the tracks but trying to ride a faster first lap. I was happy with how I reacted based on instinct vs memory. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into any sort of rhythm for my race and struggled most of the day. A big crash on 4 put me way back and I lacked the umpf to make up significant time on stage 5. Very proud of Rice Burner on his performance this weekend, as well as both Lucy and Leah. – Miranda Miller
And then there are the privateers. Our Czech distributor’s marketing manager, Jakub Riha, put down some solid stage times on his Process 153 CR 29 to finish the day in 44th place, not a bad effort at all.
Swede Alexander Kangas, who for the first time in the last few years is not racing every EWS round, posted a respectable 52nd.
And Junya Nagata, who made the long trip from Japan, struggled with the European heat wave and managed to end the day mechanical free in 117th.
There’s no rest for Miranda, Rhys and most of these enduro privateers as they head to France for round 5 of the EWS at Les Orres this weekend. Connor Fearon and Jackson Frew, will be heading to Vallnord, Andorra for the fourth round of the UCI DH World Cup.
It’s going to be an exciting weekend of racing!