Enduro World Series 2016 race 1 in Valdivia Chile Posted on: 03/28/2016

Welcometo Corral Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.Welcome to Corral!

The international racing season kicked off this past weekend near Valdivia, Chile, capital of the southern Los Rios region. The tracks and race village were in Corral, a jungle outcrop on the Pacific shore. Once the most important steel mill city in South America and a prominent port for traffic between Atlantic and Pacific, it is now a tiny entry port to the Corral peninsula for the National Reserve of Valdivia and the Coastal Reserve of Valdiviana. While it is only a few kilometers from Valdivia, the roads there are twisting and unsealed, so the best way to reach the race was by the ferries that dot the waterways between the two sides.
 
Loading in the ferry between Niebla and Corral. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.Loading in the ferry between Niebla and Corral.

Traveling halfway across the world for racing is always a dive into the unknown. Will your bikes or luggage arrive at the same time you do at the airport? Will the gear you shipped specifically for the race be there on time and not stop at customs for some obscure reason and for an unlimited amount of time? This makes for quite an adventure and even if it can be frustrating at times, you always need to keep a positive outlook as it is a lesson learned and your spanish will have dramatically improved by the end of the trip!

For this first race of the season, the organizers had a rally format setup for us. Riders had two days of practice with a set schedule to practice each day, followed by two days of racing. Here everything had to be done by pedaling, no shuttles were allowed. With around 50km and over 1500m of climbing each day, and temperatures above 30C, it was a tough four days.

Trails were on couple different faces of the hills above Corral. The south-facing trails had the ocean views with more sandy terrain, while the north facing trails were rockier, combining pedally sections with technical sections with boulders and treacherous ruts.
 
On the morning of the race we were greeted by the ashes of a wildfire which started at dusk the previous day and had been burning through the night on the hills above Corral. The Bomberos firefighters worked all night to control and contain it before the race started. Helicopters ran relentless water drops all weekend to make sure it did not start again.On the morning of the race, we were greeted by the ashes of a wildfire which started at dusk the previous day and had been burning through the night on the hills above Corral. The Bomberos (firefighters) worked all night to control and contain it before the race started. Helicopters ran relentless water drops all weekend to make sure it did not start again.

Everyone has their own routine comes practice and race days, our boys, Robin Wallner, Pedro Burns and Gary Forrest like to do a bit of stretching to loosen up any tight, hamstrings, back or quads.
 
After the lining up and a quick interview on the main stage the riders were off to the first climb of the day ...After the lining up and a quick interview on the main stage, the riders were off to the first climb of the day ...
 
... a grueling 11km climb on an exposed fireroad that they would have to do another three times during the two days of racing. Despite this Caro Gehrig kept on smiling through the pain. ... a grueling 11km climb on an exposed fireroad that they would have to do another three times during the two days of racing. Despite this Caro Gehrig kept on smiling through the pain.
 
Anita Gehrig got her best EWS result this weekend with a 5th place overall and her best stage result with a 3rd place on the third stage of the weekend. Anita Gehrig got her best EWS result this weekend with a 5th place overall and her best stage result with a 3rd place on the third stage of the weekend.
 
Caro Gehrig also got her best EWS result this past weekend she rode consistently all weekend to secure the 8th spot in GC.Caro Gehrig also got her best EWS result this past weekend, she rode consistently all weekend to secure the 8th spot in GC.
 
Returning to the international scene after a big injury is always tough. When it s a spinal injury it is especially hard. Gary Forrest has had a long road back to racing and just to be back on track is a massive victory in itselft. Racing at this level he found out where he still has some weakness and is looking forward to putting the time into working on that when he returns to Europe. This weekend he rode to a steady 52nd place which was a good clean ride to start his year.Returning to the international scene after a big injury is always tough. When it's a spinal injury it is especially hard. Gary Forrest has had a long road back to racing and just to be back on track is a massive victory in itselft. Racing at this level he found out where he still has some weakness and is looking forward to putting the time into working on that when he returns to Europe. This weekend he rode to a steady 52nd place, which was a good, clean ride to start his year.
 
After a snowy Swedish winter Robin Wallner managed a solid 23rd place in conditions that could not be more unlike his home.After a snowy Swedish winter, Robin Wallner managed a solid 23rd place in conditions that could not be more unlike his home.
 
Our Chilean youngster Pedro Burns wrapped up his weekend with a fantastic 3rd spot in the Under 21 category.Our Chilean youngster, Pedro Burns wrapped up his weekend with a fantastic 3rd spot in the Under 21 category.

Thanks a lot Chile for the great memories and the wild adventures, it wasrad. We are now off to Bariloche, Argentina in the Andes for the second round of the Enduro World Series.

Some news from Anne-Caroline Chausson Posted on: 03/23/2016

In July of 2015, At the Samoens Enduro World Series race, the winningest mountain biker in history, Anne-Caroline Chausson, suddenly quit the race and disappeared from view.

Anne had not been feeling right for quite some time, and had an MRI before the race. When she returned to the doctor the following week, she found out that she had Ovarian cancer.

After a long fall and winter of numerous operations, surprises and chemo, ACC is on the road to recovery, and hopes to be racing again this summer.

We caught up with Anne at her home in Southern France in mid-March, 2016. Here is her story.



 

Hello Anne-Caro, happy to know that the hard part is behind you.

Yes, I had my last appointment in late February. As with every appointment, waiting for the results was unbearable. And I was really happy to know that all was well after seven difficult months.

How did you find out you had cancer?

During the winter 2014/2015, sometimes I had painful stomach aches. I went through periods of feeling great and periods of fatigue. But I was not too worried about it. In late March, I went to New Zealand and I won the first round of the Enduro World Series. The return was difficult and I was slow to recover. In late May, during the round in Scotland, I was tired, I had a stomach ache and I was not feeling well. When I returned home to France, I could not recover. I thought it was because of overtraining. Then I decided to do a blood test. We saw that there was a lack of red blood cells, which is quite surprising for an athlete. Then in late June, I raced the Coupe de France of Enduro in Millau. I won, but I was very very tired. When back, I did an MRI. Waiting for the results, I went to the EWS mid-July in Samoens. I left because I was not really good. Then I got the MRI results. At the hospital, the doctor warned me that I had a tumor to be removed. But nothing more.

And ?

In late July, the tumor has grown rapidly. It was decided to operate in early August. During the surgery, they saw that it was more serious than it appeared. We decided for a second operation in early September, just to give me time to recover from the 1st. I started chemotherapy in early October. The day after the chemo, Tom (Tom Morgan from Ibis) came to see me. We went for a walk towards the Dentelles of Montmirail. I was tired, I had back pain and trouble to breath. I thought it was because of the chemo. I spent 10 days feeling like this. One day I went to the mountains. There, I could not breathe. We went to the emergency room and I was diagnosed with a pneumothorax [collapsed lung], which was not caused by the chemo. It was the icing on the cake!

Have you had already one?

Yes, two years ago at the opening of the World Cup in Punta Ala. I fell and broke 3 ribs.

What happened next ?

I had a 3rd operation! The operation was not the most painful, it was a pleural talcage to repair the pneumothorax. After 3 operations, I had lost a lot of weight and I was down in the dumps. I had to go through a 6 chemo program, every 3 weeks. The last sessions were spaced out a little more, because my red cells were not high enough. So, they lasted from early October to late January. They call these preventive chemo. Late January, my results were good. Everything that could have been affected by the bad cells was removed. Today, we can't say I'm healed, because cancer is complicated. But everything was done so that it goes well. Above all, it was treated in time and hit nothing else. The important thing they told me, is to listen to my body. If I'm tired, I rest. And if I'm OK, I do what I want to do.

Did you do some activities during your treatment?

When you are opened in two, it takes few weeks to recover, walk or move normally. Treatment is heavy. This is not a small injury or a little weak moment. Chemo knocks you down. When you are tired, you don't need to add tiredness in your body. I tried cycling, not for training, but to clear my mind. I did a lot of skiing, a little motorcycle and electric bike. For many people, what I did was a bit too much. For me, it was just a way to clear my mind and to think about something else.

With your competitive spirit, it should not be easy to go slow.

I had no choice, I had to rest! I want to do lots of things, but I have to live at the rhythm of my body. For once, I’m listening to my body! The goal is not to tire it more, but restart it gently.

What’s the latest with your pneumothorax?

I still have pain in breathing. I do a lot of rehabilitation. I think my lung capacity decreased a little bit. So, it will take time to re-educate all this.

How do you see the future?

I need a goal, because I've always lived this way. Today, what will help me is telling myself that I will return to race. Without cutting corners. It will allow me to re-mobilize and be back in shape faster. I'm sure about that. I hope to start doing smaller competitions in June, without specific performance goals.

And you told us about another goal.

My real goal is to be able to finish a big enduro race by August. I want to go to Whistler on August 13 and finish the race. If I would race downhill or cross country, I think it would be really easy to get to the finish. On the other hand, I'm not able to spend 6 hours on a bike for 3-4 days for now, honestly speaking. But this goal will allow me to motivate me, after seven months without making real sport.

See you in Whistler?

You can count on that!

Many thanks to Arnaud Bachelard for the interview and translation.

Girls Rock Ride on Saturday Posted on: 03/01/2016

Girls Rock Ride on March 5th – All Levels Welcome!
Hosted by Bell Joy Ride & Ibis Cycles

Join us for a fun ride and launch of the national Bell Joy Ride women’s program, inspired by our very own Girls Rock group. Ibis Cycles will be hosting us for an inspiring day for all levels of riders. Please review the ride level description here - http://www.girlsrock-mtb.com/ride-levels/

Bell recently selected six US and two Canadian ambassadors to help build out the Joy Ride program, designed to replicate and promote the Girls Rock concept of casual women’s mountain bike rides. We will be introducing the eight ambassadors to our community, sharing our story and inviting them to participate in our monthly ride. Learn more about Joy Ride here -www.bellhelmets.com/joy-ride-program.

Attendees will get a chance to meet Roxy Lo​, our bike designer.

Also in attendance will be the Gehrig Twins from Switzerland, who are on their way to Chile for the first round of the Enduro World Series.