Crankworx Canadian Open Enduro Recap

By: Colin Meagher

Try this on for size: blazing down the Garbanzo run into Original Sin and then down into the village utilizing a variety of black and double black trails—3800 vertical feet of descending—elbow to elbow with 20 or so of your closest friends or enemies. Welcome to the Canadian Open Enduro at Crankworx.

The format is simple: a mass start, but no La Mans style of silliness. A short downhill, then an uphill to separate the field, and finally the hole shot into the woods. From there it’s elbow to elbow, trying not to make any mistakes and get caught, or trying to stay just enough on the gas to maintain contact and pass on one of the more open sections of the track. Or if you’re Nicolas Vouilloz, doubling lines in the woods and passing people in mid-air.

The French–once again–reigned supreme. Their Enduro racing roots run deep, what with the aptly named Enduro series and the Mega and Maxi avalanche series as well, they are used to this longer style of racing format. Remy Absalon came out on top in the pro men’s race, initially leading with US Enduro racer Ross Schnell hot on his heels, then getting passed by Vouilloz in the upper section of Original Sin before both were able to get back around the legendary DH racer on an uphill section. With two minutes of racing left, it was Absalon, Schnell, and then Vouilloz, but a late pass in a switchback by Vouilloz saw Schnell relegated to third.

In the women’s race, it was Anne Caroline Chausson crushing the field, and Emmeline Ragot in second (despite making a major wrong turn on the poorly marked course and having to hike back up to the proper line), and Katherine Short rounded off the podium in third.

The legendary Nicolas Vouilloz was leading the race at this point, but a determined Remy Absalon was marking his enduro racing rival and eventually took the win.

The legendary Nicolas Vouilloz was leading the race at this point, but a determined Remy Absalon was marking his enduro racing rival and eventually took the win.

Note the full Euro style: full face and sunglasses. Of course you can rock that look when you're as blazing fast as Absalon is, having won the Alpe d'Huez Megavalanche race earlier this year.

Note the full Euro style: full face and sunglasses. Of course you can rock that look when you're as blazing fast as Absalon is, having won the Alpe d'Huez Megavalanche race earlier this year.

Ross Schnell loves this racing format so much he's considering a move to Europe specifically for racing next season.

Ross Schnell loves this racing format so much he's considering a move to Europe specifically for racing next season.

Justin Leov came home 8th in the Enduro on a track that utilized many of the same trails as the Garbanzo DH two days ago, only this time he was racing on a single crown Scratch borrowed from Andrew Shandro. ''It was good fun, and good training, but I was so knackered by the uphill sections, it was all I could do to maintain contact on the downhill sections. I definitely needed something like a Remedy with a 160 or so fork. And a chainguide.''

Justin Leov came home 8th in the Enduro on a track that utilized many of the same trails as the Garbanzo DH two days ago, only this time he was racing on a single crown Scratch borrowed from Andrew Shandro. ''It was good fun, and good training, but I was so knackered by the uphill sections, it was all I could do to maintain contact on the downhill sections. I definitely needed something like a Remedy with a 160 or so fork. And a chainguide.''

Anne Caro looks to be a lock for the women's overall gravity racing here at Crankworx. Her performance is pretty much dominating.

Anne Caro looks to be a lock for the women's overall gravity racing here at Crankworx. Her performance is pretty much dominating.

Emmeline Ragot was a not so distant second to Chausson. It's a shame that Ragot's World Cup team is closing up shop for this next season; as of now Ragot has no idea what team or bike she will be on for next season.

Emmeline Ragot was a not so distant second to Chausson. It's a shame that Ragot's World Cup team is closing up shop for this next season; as of now Ragot has no idea what team or bike she will be on for next season.

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