Archive for the ‘Canyon Factory Enduro Team’ Category

The Strive Diaries: Entry 6 – Canadian Judgement Day

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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Getting to Whistler was way easier than any other race so far this season – a short hop from Colorado followed by a two hour drive and we’d arrived at Mecca for gravity riding. Last year’s Enduro World Series Round in Whistler got Pinkbike’s nod as the “Best Race of the Year” – no pressure then, expectations for 2014 were sky high.

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When the stages were unveiled on Wednesday, the riders’ jaws hit the floor when it became apparent what lay ahead of them. The Crankworx organisers couldn’t be serious – oh but they were: five stages, 60 km, over 2400 metres of climbing and 33 degree-heat forecast. On top of all this, a classic one-day format. This was going to be harder than the rounds in Scotland and Valloire put together… The stages could be walked in the lead-up, but most decided to save their legs for the two practice days before judgement day on Sunday.

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The race started out perfectly for us. Ludo May got 8th on the first stage, showcasing his potential, while Joe Barnes was just off the podium in 4th, with Ines Thoma 6th. Steep and dusty but loads of grip to get the tyres stuck in, the guys were loving it at the sharp end.

On Stage 2 things started to come unstuck for Ludo:
“I had a tough time out there – it all kind of went to pieces on stage 2 when I took a little trip OTB. It wasn’t too bad, but my shoe didn’t come with me, it stayed clicked in and then the cleat got damaged when the bike fell, it took me ages to get my foot back in and get going again when I realised my bars weren’t straight, so I had to get off and sort that out. Man that was some crucial time I lost there.”

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Luckily it wasn’t game over for Ludo and his times were back towards the top on Stage 3 down “27 Switchbacks”. Joe’s consistency shone through again as he moved up to third overall before things also began to slide downhill down “Ride Don’t Slide” on Stage 5:
“That was actually one of my favourite stages. I felt really good on it in training but half way down I got something caught right in my front spokes so had to stop and sort that out. That cost me a few seconds and after that I just lost the flow.”

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The tech check between the fourth and fifth stages provided a much needed break in the action before taking the lift up to start the final epic run down from “Top of the World”. Ines was already at the limit before the 25 km stage even began:
”I thought I knew the stages quite well from training but right after the first corner I barely even recognised the trail anymore. When 500 people have already ridden it at race pace, everything is totally bombed out. I had loads of energy on Stage 1 and was pedalling everything but on the climb up to Stage 2 I had nothing left in the legs. There’s only “Top of the World” to go, I think I’m gonna need a new body after that…”

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Unfortunately for Ines, she didn’t get to give it her best on the final stage as a puncture from the sharp rocks put an end to her challenge:
”That sucked… At first it was just a just soft, as soon as I noticed it I tried to keep my weight up front to unload the rear. That didn’t work for long so I could only roll down to the bottom.”

All in all, a tough day in Whistler where all the guys had a touch of bad luck: Joe got another solid top-10 coming 9th, while Ines’ flat tyre dropped her to 10th and Ludo ended up 25th. Now it’s time for a well-earned break. We’re heading back to Europe to recoup before Trans Provence in mid-September and then the final round of the EWS in Finale Ligure.

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Before all of that, the entire Canyon Factory Enduro Team will be at Eurobike 2015. Come down for the chance to chat with Fabien Barel, Joe, Ines and Ludo – Saturday, Hall B4, Stand 404 – Don’t miss it!

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team

The Strive Diaries: Entry 5 – EWS Reborn in the USA

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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With a block of European racing behind us, the Enduro World Series (EWS) headed stateside to kick off the final three rounds of the season. Winter Park in Colorado lies right at the heart of the Rocky Mountains and was familiar territory for the EWS having also been visited back in 2013.

After a rough time here last year, we’d learnt from our mistakes by flying over a week earlier to help combat the eight hour time difference, but most importantly to acclimatise to the altitude. Although the mountains around Winter Park don’t look much like the soaring peaks of the Alps, the fact that the base lift for Trestle Bike Park sits way up at 2800 m above sea level meant that we were actually far higher than at any point in Europe, and that was before we’d even got to the top. Coping with the thin air was therefore one of the major challenges everyone faced; even just sleeping at this height, your heart beats twice as fast than at sea level. This meant that the locals would definitely have a home advantage.

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In contrast to previous rounds, this time we had three and a half days of racing with seven special stages ahead of us. Timed runs were held in the morning to avoid thunderstorms later on and the next day’s stages were only unveiled the afternoon before with practice allowed following the announcement. This made each day long and intense for riders and staff, but especially for our mechanics, Dougie and Marc.

Day one was spent lapping the bike park. Typically in the EWS, the riders aren’t so used to constantly hitting groomed doubles, berms and wallrides, and that was reflected in the results. While the big names were scattered throughout the field, the local riders, who could have ridden the course blind were filling out the top spots. Joe still had reason to be happy after the first test:

“I was 30th in that first stage last year and coming in 17th this time is a step in the right direction. Stage was good, but my stomach was playing up a bit in the middle. Strange feelings… Coming to a big jump I hit it longer than I did in the training run. I landed hanging off the bike like a motocross racer, but it was perfect. I was really stoked riding down afterwards. It’s really tough out there.”

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Day two promised more variety with a load of previously unknown and unridden hiking trails away from the resort. However, Ludo wasn’t loving the lack of flow offered by the terrain:

“Stages 4 and 5 were really short, like even less than two minutes so that’s also what we’re not really used to racing. Those hiking trails are dusty and really tight at the top – not really made for riding. Through the trees it was really difficult not to catch your bars. It’s really flat, not what I prefer and it´s definitely not sexy, but I guess that’s just the American interpretation of Enduro.”

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Coming in to the third day there was controversy after one of the local women came down hard on Stage 6, meaning the course had to be shut down. There’s never a good time for a big crash, but the accident happened after 10 men had already completed the stage. Chris Ball, who runs this whole show, had a tough decision to make and rightly decided that a re-run of the stage was the fairest way to continue the race, triggering protests from those who had already put times on the board.

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Fortunately, the rider is in a stable condition having been airlifted to hospital in Denver. The fact that some riders had to tackle the most physically-challenging stage of the race twice may have affected the overall result, but we’ll never know. Stage 7 was back to the bike park bombing of the first day, with everyone able to get back on the gas again. When the results came in it showed a mixed weekend for the team. Joe kept up his good run of form to finish 7th and Ines had a solid race coming in 10th, while Ludo never got in the right groove, dropping down to 52nd.

Joe was satisfied with how the weekend turned out and another top-10 result:
“This was actually quite a good race for me. Much better than last year and it went even better than I’d expected. It’s good to see that I can constantly cope with all the big boys out there and I came dead close to winning a stage again this weekend. I felt really good the whole weekend, therefore I´m really disappointed with the last stage on Sunday. My run was okay but then I saw my time and couldn´t believe it at first that I was so slow. I thought there must be a mistake, but the timing back-up was okay. I could have easily gained two places if I’d pushed it harder. But anyway it’s another solid top-ten. Let’s go to Whistler – Yeah Baeys!”

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We’ve got one day to give bikes and bodies a rest before catching the flight to Vancouver and then next stop Whistler, where riding Mecca awaits us. Catch the next entry of the Strive Diaries then in two weeks!

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team

The Strive Diaries: Entry 3 – Feeling the Alpine Burn

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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After the last round in Scotland, where Joe tore it up in front of his home crowd to get his first ever podium, this week it felt like there was another homecoming on the cards. France is and always will be the spiritual home of Enduro. With so many events on offer, it’s easy to see how the French keep churning out so many of the world’s best riders. Our spot in Valloire, high up in the Alps at the foot of the legendary Galibier pass, has hosted Enduro racing for almost a decade and finally got the recognition it deserved with a spot in the 2014 Enduro World Series – we were about to find out just why.

After drifting through sand in Chile and sliding over roots in Scotland, it was time to get back to lift-assisted, full-gas, high-alpine terrain. The course in Valloire was a real mix of steep, technical scree slopes and flat-out meadows, with more descending on the menu than an entire season of DH World Cups.

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Racing in France is known for having its super strict formats and in Valloire this was no exception. The course remained top-secret until Thursday evening before the race to make it even more challenging for the riders. With extremely limited time to inspect the tracks, just one day to walk them and one practise run, getting to know the trails inside out was entirely out of the question. Attacking stages that were up to 20 minutes long at racing speeds was a real wild ride into the unknown.

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Ines on Day 1: “It’s proper alpine, mega steep, with tight switchbacks right from the start and then really fast sections straight through meadows with massive boulders all over the place. You have to concentrate 100% all of the time and just stay off the brakes – that’s the key to going quick here.”

How would you describe the first day? Brutal. But that’s what we expect from Enduro. Crashes, flats and all mechanicals imaginable got the better of many riders right from the gun. Just getting to the finish with bike and body in one piece was a challenge in itself. Fortunately, Joe, Ludo and Ines kept it clean and consistent, choosing the right lines to avoid any problems with solid top-10s firmly in their sights going into day two.

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Our mechanics had to work late into the night to get the bikes back into shape for Sunday, but even having everything running perfectly wasn’t enough to avoid mishaps out on track. Ines hit the deck hard going through one of the many challenging rock sections during the first stage on Sunday morning, putting her out of contention to defend her strong overnight position. It was unlucky, but things like that happen. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.

Joe and Ludo found their rhythm quickly and were able to put down some good runs. Having given it everything, Joe was rewarded with 10th and Ludo 16th, solid results on terrain that wasn’t ideally suited to their riding styles.

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Joe after the race: “Coming into the French round there are always a lot of surprises over the whole weekend. How the courses are set out, what the format’s like and the racing itself. But it was all good and really fun for me. On a personal level, I gradually got faster and faster over the whole weekend, so I feel lucky to finish with another top ten.”

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After tackling the high mountains surrounding Valloire, it’s time to take a breather, rest some tired legs and get rid of the arm pump from all that downhill. In three weeks-time we’re hopping over the border to Italy for more action at Round 4 in La Thuille!

The Strive Diaries: Entry 2 – Enduro’s Coming Home!

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

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Even though we’re now into the second season, there are times when the Enduro World Series (EWS) feels like a completely new experience. This was our first big race without Fabien. Still wrapped up in a back brace in Nice, Fab had his fingers crossed for us over the weekend and is raring to get back on the bike.

A brand new destination for the EWS also added to the excitement, especially racing in the homeland of Top Chief Joe Barnes. Anyone who has ever competed in front of a home crowd has experienced that extra hit of adrenaline you get. Joe was no exception. Having grown up on Scottish trails, Joe knew exactly what lay in store and was unsurprisingly one of the bookies’ favourites for the podium before the race.

Armed with thick jackets, heaters and every waterproof clothing product going, we were slightly disappointed when the weather didn’t play ball. Despite Thursday practice being a total wash out, the sun shone down for the rest of the weekend to the surprise of pretty much everyone. Thursday’s mud bath gave way to mostly dry trails for the start of the race, so all that was left to contend with were tons of roots, tight tree-lined trails and mad steep sections. Add to that over 100 km of racing and 3000 metres of altitude gain over two days, EWS Round 2 was anything but a walk in the park.

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Homeboy Joe just missed out on the top step after the first day, lying in second place overnight with the top riders mixed up all over the place in the rankings. It was impossible to pick out any of the big favourites. Ludo was also one of the riders to have a patchy first day and found himself down in the middle of the pack.

Ines after suffering through Day 1:
“It’s brutal, especially the long pedal sections. You’re totally spent and then after that you’ve got massive drops with trees everywhere to duck through while avoiding all the roots – it completely finished me off!”

With just a few hours to recover overnight, the second day kicked off with an 8.30 start and headed straight for the famous Glentress Trail Centre. Ines was able to defend her 5th place on the flatter, pedal-intensive stages. Unfortunately, Ludo was never really able to find his rhythm in the deep dark woods and ended up back in 34th.

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Wearing number 10 but with a less than ideal start position because of seeding after Round 1 in Chile, the stage was set for the final day showdown between Joe and Nico Lau. The sounds of battle echoed around the Scottish hills as Joe turned himself inside out for every second available. Spurred on by a home crowd and the local racers, the timings at the end showed third place for the Top Chief, and with it a historic first ever podium for a British male in the Enduro World Series!

Joe on going in to Day 2:
“Starting the second day my body felt quite tired after the first day, but I came down and I hit just one left-hand corner – just got it perfect. It’s moments like that when you think – “Oh yeah, there you go! That’s what you gotta do!” I was really pleased just for that one moment, but then I set the pace for the whole day. So, I was really happy about that.”

The EWS organisers got it spot on again when choosing a new location, just like in Chile. Scotland is a stunning country and makes a fantastic addition to the racing calendar. Friendly locals, a mad riding scene, cool trails and even nice weather made it an awesome experience for everyone.

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Joe after the race:
“It was so good to have all the Scots out cheering and it really felt like a home race. I’m really happy with 3rd place.”

Looking back at a race that definitely raised the bar in terms of difficulty, there are still a few tweaks to be made here and there to get right to the top of the leader board… Bring on Round 3!

Stay tuned for a special edition of the Strive Diaries coming your way in mid-June!

The Strive Diaries: Entry 1 – EWS Round 1 in Chile

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

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Ein Tagebuch lebt von Erlebnissen, Eindrücken und Erfahrungen – den guten wie den weniger guten. Nur die schönen Momente für die Ewigkeit festzuhalten, wird den „Strive Diaries“ nicht gerecht. Das Athletenleben des Canyon Factory Enduro Teams ist voller Höhen und Tiefen, die wir Euch mitteilen möchten. Wir könnten hier also ausnahmslos über die genialen Trails in Chile schreiben, wollen Euch in diesem Eintrag aber auch die Rückschläge nahe bringen.

Unsere Reise nach Chile war ein Trip ins Unbekannte, in vielerlei Hinsicht. Neben den logistischen Unwägbarkeiten hat uns vor allem die wahnsinnig dynamische Mountainbike-Szene überrascht. In Chile wird Enduro mit Hingabe gelebt – davon könnten sich viele europäische Länder eine Scheibe abschneiden. Das südamerikanische Land hatte es auf jeden Fall verdient, den Premierenlauf der Enduro World Series (EWS) 2014 auszurichten.

Das Strive AL – die Abfahrt beginnt bergauf

Um die Zeit in Chile optimal zu nutzen, reisten wir mit einer größeren Crew als üblich an. Die Vorbereitungszeit auf das erste EWS Rennen war mit Trainingseinheiten, Film- und Fotoaufnahmen voll durchgeplant. Auf die Videos und Bilder dürft Ihr gespannt sein. Nachdem die Aufnahmen im Kasten waren, ließen wir uns beim Warm-Up Race „Montenbaik Enduro 2014“ in La Parva auf den ersten Schlagabtausch mit der Szene ein. Die Konkurrenz hatte die letzten Monate ja auch nicht im Winterschlaf verbracht. Fabien Barel fuhr den fünften Platz ein und Ines Thoma schaffte als Dritte sogar den Schritt aufs Treppchen.

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Auch Ludo May, unser Schweizer Neuzugang, war nach dem Rennen noch heißer auf die Saison: „Der Trip nach Chile ist der erste mit meinem neuen Team. Es ist toll, die CFET Crew mit Manager und Mechanikern an meiner Seite zu wissen. Ich fühle mich als Teil einer großen Familie! Leider hat mich beim Rennen in La Parva ein kleiner Defekt ausgebremst, aber ich konnte einige gute Stages fahren. Das macht mich sehr zuversichtlich für die Enduro World Series.“

Nach dem Einstand in der „Antigrip-Country“ reisten wir mit Selbstvertrauen fünf Stunden gen Süden nach Nevados de Chillan zum heiß ersehnten Start der EWS. Donnerstag und Freitag standen Trainingstage auf dem Programm. Am Wochenende erwarteten uns zwei Renntage mit je drei Wertungsprüfungen. Wir waren also bestens ausgelastet.

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Ines beschreibt ihre Aufregung vor dem ersten EWS Rennen so: „Ich denke, dass jeder ein bisschen nervös ist. Irgendwie weiß man noch nicht so richtig, was kommt – obwohl man schon gefühlt 1000 Rennen gefahren ist. Es ist trotzdem was anderes, hier zu sein. Die Strecken sind total geil, das Wetter ist perfekt und drum freu‘ ich mich!“

Schon auf der ersten Stage zeigte sich, dass nicht nur mit den Topfavoriten, sondern auch mit etlichen Newcomern in diesem Jahr zu rechnen sein wird. Bei Fabiens Zieleinlauf stockte allen allerdings der Atem. Was war passiert?

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Fabien über einen Tag, den er wohl nie vergessen wird: “Ich hätte mir niemals träumen lassen, was am ersten Tag, bei der ersten Stage passiert ist. Ich bin die erste Kurve wie ein 15-jähriger Junge angegangen, bei voller Geschwindigkeit durch den Sand gerippt, gedriftet und dann die Fahrspur entlang gehüpft. Mit blindem Vertrauen dachte ich, mir kann nichts passieren. Diese Aufregung kann ich selbst nach 20 Jahren Rennerfahrung einfach nicht kontrollieren. Auf halber Strecke bin ich dann mit 40 km/h über den Lenker gegangen und kopfüber im Sand gelandet. Dabei stauchte sich mein Rücken in einer Weise, wie er es sicher nicht sollte und ich rutschte fünf Meter Böschung herunter. Nach zehn Minuten war ich wieder zurück auf dem Trail. Ich konnte mich kaum bewegen. Ich schaffte es, wieder auf mein Bike zu steigen und die Ziellinie zu überqueren. Danach ging es ab zum medizinischen Support. Nach einem langen Check entschied ich mich, die zweite Stage anzugehen. Hätte ich das für ein paar Punkte wirklich machen sollen? War das Risiko zu hoch? Soll ich am nächsten Tag überhaupt antreten? Hatte ich mir die erste Runde so vorgestellt? Viele Fragen, die unbeantwortet bleiben werden. Ich war mir nur sicher, dass ich zum Biken hier bin und mein Bestes geben will. Nur weil man stolpert, heißt es ja nicht, dass man liegenbleiben sollte. Mein Motto lautet: Gib niemals auf!“

Profisport bei Canyon

Am Sonntagmorgen stand das endgültige Aus für Fabien dann fest. Keine leichte Entscheidung, aber eine absolut richtige, wie sich bei der medizinischen Untersuchung am gleichen Tag herausstellte: Bruch eines Lendenwirbels. Fabien war um Haaresbreite an einer Querschnittslähmung vorbeigeschrammt. An Biken war erstmal nicht zu denken, darüber war sich das ganze Team einig.

Ludo feierte derweil bei seinem ersten EWS Rennen im Canyon-Jersey mit Platz 13 einen super Einstand. Joe Barnes kam mit gutem Tempo, aber etwas Platten-Pech auf Rang 25 und Ines belegte Platz sechs bei den Damen.

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Joe beschreibt sein Rennen folgendermaßen: „In der Vorbereitung jagte ein Highlight das nächste. Bei jeder Trainingsrunde hatten wir mehr Spaß in den Hügeln Chiles. Auf der ersten Stage fühlte ich mich auf dem Bike sehr wohl und ging die Sache ruhig an. Anschließend war ich bereit für die physisch anstrengende Stage zwei, die ich mit dem 11. Platz beendete. Soweit, so gut. Mit dem ersten Tag war ich zufrieden und wusste, dass ich am Sonntag noch einen raushauen kann. Der nächste Tag begann mit einem flowigen, schnellen und doch lockeren Trail, den ich voll angehen konnte. Mit einer starken Verbesserung kletterte ich vor der letzten Stage im Ranking nach oben. Diese Stage war dann ganz nach meinem Geschmack, ähnlich den Trails in meiner Heimat Schottland. Meine Begeisterung kannte keine Grenzen mehr. Nachdem ich eine steinige Passage etwas zu stark genommen hatte, verlor plötzlich mein Vorderreifen Luft. Bald schon war er komplett platt und dabei lag noch die halbe Strecke vor mir. Ich tat alles, was ich konnte, aber musste einige Kollegen passieren lassen und verlor viel Zeit auf die Konkurrenz. Was für eine Enttäuschung! Mit dem 25. Platz habe ich ein paar Punkte ins Ziel gerettet, aber das war nicht mein Anspruch. Ich kann die nächsten Rennen kaum erwarten und muss mir nur merken: Take it easy on the rocks.“

Auf unseren Trip blicken wir nun mit gemischten Gefühlen zurück. Es war alles dabei: totale Begeisterung beim Biken auf den chilenischen Trails, verhaltener Stolz ob der Rennergebnisse bis hin zu dem Schock nach Fabiens schwerem Sturz. Nun machen wir uns auf den weiten Heimweg und werden uns bis zum BIKE Festival in Riva erstmal sammeln. Vielen Dank für die vielen Genesungswünsche für Fabien, die uns bereits erreicht haben. Wir müssen jetzt Geduld haben, bis weitere Untersuchungen durchgeführt werden. Wir hoffen, dass es unserem „Fab“ bald wieder richtig gut geht.

Mehr über das Canyon Factory Enduro Team

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With the Strive Diaries we hope to capture the wide range of experiences, events and emotions that the Canyon Factory Enduro Team goes through. Just focussing on the good times doesn’t cut it, you’ve also got to reflect on when stuff doesn’t go right, and in some cases, badly wrong. The lives of high-level athletes are full of ups and downs, which is exactly what we want to expose. In this entry, we could bang on about how amazing it was to race in Chile with its incredible terrain and the support we experienced, but to do that would ignore the setbacks, and near disaster we had along the way.

Travelling to Chile was a complete step into the unknown on a number of levels. Despite being a bit of a logistical nightmare, nothing could prepare us for how how diverse and dynamic the riding scene is over there. People in Chile are absolutely mad for Enduro – some European countries could really take note. It was immediately clear to us that with a fan base like this, the country had truly earned the right to host the first round of the 2014 Enduro World Series (EWS).

The Canyon Crew was rolling deeper than usual to get the most of our time on the other side of the world. We spent build-up to racing doing film and photo shoots with the Andes as a backdrop, as well as training. Having got the shots we were after, it was time to really get to grips with the terrain at the warm-up race, “Montenbaik Enduro 2014” in La Parva. Just like us, it was clear that our competitors had also been putting in the hard hours over the winter months. Fabien finished up in fifth place, while Ines got onto the podium with a fantastic effort by taking third.

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Our Swiss newbie, Ludo May, couldn’t wait to get his first ever race in CFET colours underway: “Coming here to Chile was the first real trip I’ve done with the team and it feels great having a mechanic and manager at my side. I really felt this support, it’s like being part of a big family. Unfortunately a small mechanical held me back, but I’m still happy because I had good stages, which makes me confident for the EWS.”

After a solid performance by the guys drifting their way through “Antigrip Country”, we felt good on the five hour drive south to Nevados de Chillan, with everyone super keen to get EWS 2014 underway. Thursday and Friday were spent trying to get as much practise in on the course as possible, while the real action kicked off at the weekend, with six stages spread over Saturday and Sunday. Time was tight for everyone.

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Like all of us, Ines was feeling it before the race: “I was a bit nervous to be honest, but I think everyone else felt the same. You never know what’s going to happen, even if you’ve done thousands of races before. Being here is something else though, the trails are super fun to ride and we’ve got great weather so I’m happy!”

Even after the very first stage, it was clear that racing will be super close this season, with the rookies mixing it up with the big guns. Then Fabien came across the line. It was clear something was up and everyone looked on with concern etched on their faces. What the hell happened?

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Despite that crash and unaware of the damage he’d done, Fab still fought to the finish of day one: “I am not sure I should start it this way, but what a day. I did not expect the first day, the first stage happening this way. I started the first corner like a 15 year old kid, ripping the sand full speed, drifting, bunny-hopping the ruts of the others. A feeling where confidence makes you believe nothing can happen. An excitement that even after 20 years of racing, I cannot control… Half way down the track at 40km/h flat out, I go over the bar, face plant my head in the sand, bend my back like it shouldn’t and fall 5 meters below the trail. It took me 10 minutes to get climb back up my back hurt so much. I could barely move. I managed to go back on the bike and cross the finish line and go direct to the medical staff. After a long check, I decided to start the liaison to go to the second stage anyway… Should I have pushed today for a couple points? Are the risks worth it? Should I ride tomorrow? Did I plan the first round this way? All questions without answers but the only thing I know, is that I am here to ride my bike and give my best to compete. One knee on the floor does not mean that you are out… I would say, don’t ever give up!”

Canyon Pro Sports

It was an incredibly difficult and emotional decision to make on Sunday morning, but Fabien could go no further. As it turned out, it was absolutely the right decision. A proper check-up and scans in hospital that afternoon revealed that he’d broken his back at the 8th dorsal vertebra, coming within a hair’s breadth of being paralysed below the waist. It’s definitely at times like these that any thoughts about riding and racing take a backseat. We all realise just how close we came to absolute disaster.

Back on course, Ludo made a big impact in his first ever EWS race by finishing 13th. Meanwhile, Joe had great pace but was struck down by a flat tyre, which dropped him down to 25th.

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The Top Chief had a blast nonetheless: “My first race of the year was an amazing one to start with bringing us all the way to Chile. All through practice we would ride a stage and think it was the best thing ever and then move on to the next and think the same thing again. So much fun to be had in them Chilean hills.

I took it easy in the first stage as I knew the year was long and felt comfortable on my bike. After this I was ready to attack in the longer more physical stage 2. This stage came good for me with an 11th place finish. Day one was good but with my casual start I still felt that I had more to give and so was excited for the bigger, and possibly better second day of racing.

Stage 4 was a really flowy, fast and definitely loose trail. I pushed a bit harder where I could and came away with a 5th place finish and a personal best stage finish that helped me climb in the overall positions. Stage 5 became tight and technical and what I love riding at home in Scotland so excitement levels were at an all-time high. Unfortunately after galloping through a rock garden a bit too keen my front tyre started to lose air and was soon completely flat with half the stage still to go. I rode as fast as I could but lost a good amount of time to my competitors.

This was a huge disappointment for me for the first race of the year and first of the EWS series. I finished 25th in the end so still got some points but not where I really want to be. The fun I had over the whole weekend has made me keen for more and can’t wait for the second round coming up. Just going to take it easy in them rocks…”

It’s with mixed emotions that we look back on our time in Chile. Feelings range from being “totally stoked” after riding such incredible terrain and seeing the enthusiasm of the Chilean fans, to disappointment with our results, to complete shock following Fab’s crash. Heading back to Europe, we’ll regroup and be ready to go again at the Riva BIKE Festival in Italy.

Thank you very much for all the “get well” wishes we have already received for Fabien. We have to be patient and wait for further examinations, but like all of you, we hope to see Fab back on the bike as soon as possible!

Canyon Factory Enduro Team

The Strive Diaries: Entry 0 – Training Camp South France

Friday, March 28th, 2014

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“Last season couldn’t have started any better for the Canyon Factory Enduro Team when we won the first round of the Enduro World Series in Punta Ala. But beyond this, we made it clear to everyone throughout the season that we belong right at the very top of the sport. Competing on the pro scene is not a walk in the park, which was something we learnt at every event. All kinds of emotions, from joy to suffering come thick and fast alongside countless unforgettable moments.

To give our fans and anyone interested in Enduro a chance to look behind the scenes and get involved in what we do, we’ve created the “Strive Diaries”. You’ll get instalments from the team after every round of the Enduro World Series as well as other events. Get ready to take on the season with us!” Flo Goral, CFET Team Manager

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team often feels more like a family than a team, so when we all got back together it felt a lot like a Christmas family reunion, even though we were there for some serious pre-season training and testing. Of course we also had a whole load of new team bikes and other cool stuff to dole out as well, so in that sense it was a bit like Christmas…

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“Well on my side it’s really important getting together at the beginning of the season just to create synergy and team spirit for the season being able to support each other. Racing and competition is always tough but good moments and I think the general spirit of the team is a key point. That’s the first parameter. The second one is clearly to be able to share our experience and learn about our preparation, the bike setting to be able to pull the team towards the top and to create real teambuilding through that moment. That’s what a training camp all together is for – to get motivated all together.” Fabien Barel

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We wanted to hold the camp a little later this year so we could put the final touches on our preparation for the first Enduro World Series (EWS) round in Chile. Everyone on the team is a little different, which is a great, and means they all turned up having prepared in all kinds of ways. Last year was a step into the unknown as no one really knew what a whole season of Enduro would be like but this year we’re more prepared as we now know what to expect.

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Joe Barnes spent the winter building trails back home and was a pretty good shape following hours of sprint training on the rollers as well as soaking up the sun on a training camp in Madeira. Ines Thoma found a new love in “functional fitness”, spent plenty of time cross-country skiing, which is practically the law when you come from the Bavarian Alps, and she also took her campervan on a road trip to do some training on the roads down in Tuscany. Nobody understands perfect preparation quite like Master Fabien with all his years of experience and accumulated knowledge; he chose to do most of his winter training riding XC. And last but not least, our Swiss newbie, Ludo May, was down enjoying the trails in Spain, preparing for his new challenge with the team.

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We didn’t need to search long for a location to hold the training camp this year. Although CFET is officially based in Germany at Canyon.Home in Koblenz, Nice feels more like our spiritual home as this is where the team was born at the beginning of last year. It also happens to be Fabien Barel’s hometown, but most importantly it provides everything we need for riding Enduro: perfect trails, year-round sunshine, great food as well as comfortable accommodation.

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“Nice is a great place for the training camp as we got pretty much all facilities around to train properly for mountain biking. Having the mountains, nice landscape towards the end of the Alps to ride and train Enduro is a perfect location, because we have a high amount of trails, which are providing us all type of terrain. We also normally get really good weather and temperatures over the winter and the fact that I live here and know all the facilities as well as gym, massage, hotel fairly easily, which makes everything really simple and familiar for the team. So I would say coming to Nice gives us generally the opportunity to get in shape in a short amount of time.” Fabien Barel

The main aim of the week was to get to know our way around the new team bikes. This is not just important for the guys who have to ride the things flat out, but also for our mechanics who get the chance to work on the bikes out in the open and away from the comforts of the workshop, just like they’ll be at races throughout the season.

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In the middle of the camp we had a two day test session with our sponsors, FOX, in nearby Finale Ligure. The focus of this was to really dial the suspension setups the guys want to ride with. This is essential as they need to feel comfortable and be able to place every last ounce of trust in their machines to ride as fast as possible.

Luckily, we only got washed out by the rain on one of the ten days we were riding, but we were able to spend the time wisely by doing some work in the gym and fine-tuning the bikes. Congratulations at this point go to Joe who earned bragging rights after a spontaneous pull-up competition, and to Ludo, who triumphed in the plank-off. Competition runs in the blood for these guys!

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Anyone spending a whole season riding the same bike looks forward to a change every now and then, which is why we had an epic XC ride pencilled in for the camp. It was clear at this point that the definition of “XC” varies substantially depending on where you come from. For Fabien, XC means taking on the stages of last year’s Blausasc Enduro. Only riding cross country bikes. And doing the whole thing in reverse… Needless to say the climbs could be classed as “challenging”, but that didn’t make the whole thing any less fun.

“It’s really great to start the year with the team with an intense XC ride and having a big laugh and a great time on the bike – but these guys are insane. They pedal hard every time!” Fabien Barel

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Even on a training camp, time management plays a decisive role, just like on a race weekend. With hardly any contingencies, we had to try and get the best out of the time we had to train while keeping the stress down and allowing sufficient time for recovery. With a group like this, however, things quickly descended into a bit of a riot. We had some good times shooting the breeze and learning more about one other, and taking the mick out of each other only serves to strengthen the team’s bonds!

“Generally we had a really good laugh and our new team mate Ludo is a great fun person and really good to have fun with. We also have the opportunity to have a new mechanic called Dougie that is on the side of Joe and I would say we had a lot of good moments and I believe that the team building during this week achieved a great atmosphere and relationship which will be profitable in terms of performance all year long.” Fabien Barel

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The challenges of racing Enduro are enormous, which is something we definitely learnt throughout 2013. Enduro truly does blend together the very best parts from all disciplines of mountain biking. This year, we feel we’ve done as much as we can to be ready.

”My expectation for the 2014 season is clearly to be able to compete at the top in Enduro. I do believe that with the team synergy, the teammates, the mechanics, the quality of the bike and where we are standing at the moment in terms of R&D we have all parameters to be competitive, so I think it´s definitely gonna be a great season and our goal is clearly to be on top of the game . It’s for sure that it will be a fantastic season!” Fabien Barel

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It won’t be long before we’re back on the road after the training camp. In less than two weeks we jet off to Chile for round one of the EWS. A season packed with action and great experiences is right on our doorstep – it’s all about to kick off big time!

Canyon Year Review 2013 – Part 2

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Countdown to Christmas – 24 of the Best Canyon Moments From 2013

The Countdown continues, the third advent is already behind us. Here we present you with days 7 to 13 of the Canyon Year Review.

Again, we hope you have a great festive period!

Day 7

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Slopestyle aces Anton Thelander and Thomas Genon spend more time in the air than on the ground. Riding their new Canyon Stitched concept bikes, these guys have been whipping, quite literally up a storm across the slopestyle scene. Thomas Genon proved such with 3rd at the FISE World Montpellier Slopestyle Event and 2nd at Vienna Air King. Meanwhile, Anton “Cleanlander” Thelander fully lived up to his nickname by taking the spoils at the Red Bull Phenom Contest as well as the Martin Söderström Invitational.

Day 8

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Incredible result. We are proud. Really damn proud. Thanks to all the readers of the magazines TOUR, BIKE and FREERIDE. The survey in all three journals showed that most of you next year intend to buy a Canyon bike. And on top of that we have been chosen as the winner of the Reader’s Choice for “Best Bike Brand” in BIKE and TOUR. And the second winner in FREERIDE magazine in this category. Awesome.

Canyon is the number 1!

Day 9

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Triathlete Leanda Cave had a clear goal at Kona in 2013: the defence of her Ironman World Championship crown. In spite of a difficult build-up, the Welshwoman was not deterred, especially as she had a special weapon hidden up her sleeve. The new Speedmax CF made its debut on Hawaii to help carry Leanda to victory. Unfotunately, this year things didn’t quite work out that way, but Leanda will be back and fired up again in 2014, taking inspiration from Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez’s motto this year, “Back to Nr. 1.” We wish her the very best of luck next year and will be there to support her throughout!


Day 10

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For several years Canyon has supplied the Norwegian market with superior quality bikes. Now we are looking to expand our customer service through a local service centre in Norway. Canyon is represented in 14 European countries and in 2013 Norway will become the 15th. Welcome to the Canyon Crew!

Day 11

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The biggest Mountainbike event in Europe – Roc D’Azur. 250 exhibitors, 20.000 participants and 150.000 visitors from 50 countries, all of them had only one thing on their minds: bikes. Canyon was the main partner and had lots of surprises ready for everyone: some Canyon heroes visited, more than 40 bikes of the 2014 range were available for testing, afterwards the models got cleaned at the Canyon bikewash and all visitors could talk shop with Canyon mechanics while enjoying some special flavored ice cream in Canyon Factory Enduro Team and Topeak-Ergon Racing Team colors.

Roc d’Azur

Day 12

The Spectral AL – A highly versatile bike constructed for uncompromising all-mountain demands. New for the 2014 season, this is the first ever bike we have built with 27.5” wheels, providing the perfect compromise between 26” wheels’ nimble agility and the smooth rolling of 29” hoops.

Day 13

With a smile on her face, Ines Thoma acknowledges that “racing is not always about just being intelligent”. The Bavarian is the sole female representative of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team and shares her passion for enduro in the video “This is Enduro” along with her teammates Joe Barnes and Fabien Barel. Six minutes that you don’t want to miss. Enjoy!

We keep the ball rolling on our website and Facebook page, go and take a look!

Look forward to part 3!

Part 1 of the Canyon Year Review

Canyon Year Review 2013 – Part 1

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Countdown to Christmas – 24 of the Best Canyon Moments From 2013

Thanks to you, our heroes, our partners and the riding community as a whole, 2013 has been one of our most successful years ever. Before Christmas we want to take a look back and share 24 of the biggest moments with you in our Canyon Year Review. We’ve already got the ball rolling on our website and Facebook page, go and take a look!

From everyone at Canyon, we hope you have a great festive period and look forward to another fantastic year with you in 2014!

Day 1

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Canyon Goes Enduro! – The start of 2013 saw the launch of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team, our first ever works team. Seasoned campaigner Fabien Barel joined us for the ride and got the season off to the perfect start at the inaugural round of the Enduro World Series at Punta Ala. First race, first victory for the new guys! Fabien and his teammates, Joe Barnes, Ines Thoma, Maxi Dickerhoff and Marco Bühler, have been making waves in the Enduro scene all season long in 2013.

Strive for the podium

Day 2

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Flèche Wallonne – They say all good things come in threes… After commanding victories by Philippe Gilbert and Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez, it was Dani Moreno’s turn, completing a perfect hat-trick for the Aeroad CF. The Spaniard buried himself on the Muur de Huy to take the revered Flèche Wallonne, saving his best legs till the end to break away on the feared 26% drag to the line and take the title of “Conqueror of the Muur”.

Aeroad CF gets Hat-trick

Day 3

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Rent a bike from Canyon.Base at Robinson Club Cala Serena and explore Mallorca’s beautiful countryside either from the road or out on the trail. Experience the most stunning routes and the finest scenery with our guides at your side, or discover the island for yourself.

Canyon.Base Mallorca

Day 4

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Double Victory at the Leadville 100 – Alban Lakata and Sally Bigham seal the double win at Colorado′s Leadville 100 Trail Race. The two racers also both set new course records for the 100 mile distance at the legendary and hardest Mountain Bike Race in the USA.

Lux CF – The perfect Long-Distance Race-Bike

Day 5

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Modern urban mobility Canyon style – At this year’s Eurobike Show we presented our Urban Concept Bike. This bike certainly attracted a lot of attention with its fusion of great design and functionality. The cockpit is fully integrated into a single unit and the front and rear lights are also embedded into the frame, giving our Urban Concept Bike a highly distinctive, yet elegant appearance.

Canyon Urban Concept Bike

Day 6

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Speedmax CF – Winner of the “Designpreis der Bundesrepublik Deutschland” in their Product Design Category.
Our Head of Research and Development, Michael Kaiser PhD. Eng. had the following to say: “Good design is really important to us. With this award, our team gets the recognition they deserve and this will motivate us for future projects. A distinct design language allows us to express and define ourselves more clearly, which is something our customers really value.”

The new 2014 Speedmax CF models are now available to order. So it’s time to Beat the Street.

Look forward to part 2!

Final showdown in Finale Ligure

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

At the start of the year, five athletes came together to create the Canyon Factory Enduro Team (CFET). Spearheaded by the renowned Fabien Barel, the team achieved its first impressive Enduro World Series (EWS) results six months ago in Punta Ala (ITA). Fabien Barel won the men’s race and the CFET came in second overall when the remaining results were tallied up. Since then the wheels have kept on rolling and the results have been racking up. After an exhausting season, the CFET gathered last weekend for the season final of the EWS in Finale Ligure (ITA). Following the motto “start the way you intend to finish” all eyes were on Fabien Barel. Victory was not to be, however, in the end Fabien achieved a third place EWS #7 race result, which consequently awarded him with a third place overall finish in the final EWS Overall Men ranking. Thanks to a great team effort, the Canyon Factory Enduro Team can celebrate a well-deserved third place in the EWS Overall Team ranking. So, after all the sweat, aching legs and exhausted lungs the CFET team have two podium results in the EWS overall rankings under their belt after their inaugural season – a fantastic start for the young team!

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While the overall EWS titles were already sealed after round 6 in Val d’Isere (FRA), the battle for Ines Thoma and Fabien Barel was fierce until the very end of the season. Stage after stage, the ambitious young German rider, Ines, was racing head-to-head with the Dutch Anneke Beerten to secure fourth place in the overall ranking – a result which Ines was determined to achieve. Fabien Barel had a phenomenal opening victory in Punta Ala but the rest of his season was no walk in the park. With such strong competition, Fabien Barel had to ride flat out to land his podium finish in the overall ranking.

The final leg of the EWS was a six stage race over two days. Bearing in mind the skill set of the CFET this final race should have played out to their advantage. The stages were a mixture of dusty single tracks, scattered rock gardens, unforgiving downhill shoots and of course relentless uphill climbs. Unfortunately, it did not work out like this for Joe Barnes, Maxi Dickerhoff and Marco Buehler. Later in the third stage, on the narrow, tight yet flowy switchback section, the CFET found their rhythm and pulled back the missing time. They were back on track and back in the race!

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The team momentum was abruptly stopped when the fourth and final stage of day one was cancelled after a severe crash. Although the time in the saddle was over, the riders got together to collect their thoughts and share their experiences in order to build a strategic plan for the following day and the remaining stages.

The tactics proved to be spot on – re-energised and raring to go the team set out to achieve their goals. Fabien, Joe, Ines and Marco were out of the saddle, pedaling hard and concentrating on the technical course. Fabien and Ines managed to regain the lost time from the day before, while for Joe and Marco the race was now more about self-perseverance and giving every last ounce of strength to bring home a solid final race.

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Stages 5 and 6 were lined with spectators. Scattered along the key points the Italian crowd, dressed in the recently released CFET fan jerseys cheered on the athletes. The bikes were rolling, legs were pumping – this was the final push! Fabien and Ines were steaming ahead, absorbing every bit of the motivation given to them by their fans.

Five times Fabien Barel was called onto the podium that Sunday evening. Starting with his second place in the category 30 + in the SuperEnduro ranking, then his third place in the SuperEnduro men ranking and the three crucial third place results in the EWS # 7 Men, EWS Overall Men and EWS Overall Team rankings. For Ines although her fourth place in the EWS # 7 Women and EWS Overall Women ranking denied her of that step onto the podium – she was still given the chance when the CFET team stood united to celebrate their third place EWS Overall Team ranking finish.

With this excellent result, the Canyon Factory Enduro Team is finishing its first season and is proud to have ridden and battled amoung the leading athletes. The team riders have demonstrated nothing short of world-class sportsmanship from the very beginning of this first EWS season. CFET team manager Flo Goral says: “This was an extremely exciting first season for us. Fabien Barel, Joe Barnes, Maxi Dickerhoff, Ines Thoma and Marco Buehler work together as a good team. They have performed well and we were able to reap the first fruits. We are very pleased with the results of this first season and are looking forward to next year! ”

Now, the team can enjoy the well-deserved winter break and recover from the stresses and strains. Meanwhile, if you want to dig deeper into the world of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team, check out the clip “This is enduro”. This short documentary shows the team at the fifth EWS stop in Whistler and the challenges of the daily race routine.

Canyon strikes gold: female riders secure golden hat trick

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Last weekend was nothing short of a Gold rush for the German bicycle manufacturer Canyon. Celebrations were all around for the Canyon ladies as they rode their bikes to victory in both Enduro and Cross Country races. At the first Ischgl Overmountain Challenge 2013 (AUT), Ines Thomas from the Canyon Factory Enduro Team pedaled her way to success and became the (unofficial) Enduro European Champion. Irina Kalentieva from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team celebrated her eighth World Cup triumph (Elite Women) this season at the last UCI MTB World Cup Cross Country race Hafjell (NOR). Her younger talented Cross Country colleague Malene Degn also won gold in the Women Juniors category. Making last weekend a ‘golden hat trick’!

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The first Ischgl Overmountain Challenge in the famous Tyrolean ski resort Ischgl was held as the “European Enduro Open” – and it was a test race for the Enduro European Championship next year. In almost daring winter conditions around 250 riders, among them 17 women, set off to find Europe’s fastest Enduro riders. Straight from the line, Ines Thomas was not impressed as fresh snow fall resulted in the course being shortened. But not bothered by the harsh conditions she quickly drew out a three second gap ahead of her rivals. Ines remained in the lead for the majority of the race, winning four out of five stages. Even during the heavy pedal stages, Ines powered through, proving her physical condition and earning her victory. The final clock showed that she had crossed the line in 25:38,59 min, fabulous 2:22 minutes ahead of French rival Pauline Dieffenthaler (28:01,16 min). Fellow Canyon teammates Marco Bühler (9th place) and Maxi Dickerhoff (11th place) also showed great determination and strength on this difficult course.

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In Hafjell (NOR), athletes were not exposed to such frosty conditions for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Cross Country race. Irina Kalentieva saddled up on her Canyon bike focused and fully prepared. In this last World Cup stop of the season, the 35-year-old Topeak-Ergon Racing Team rider achieved her eighth World Cup career win and sent a clear message that she can still compete with the younger guns. The Russian has been training tirelessly for three long years to be where she is today – but it was worth it. The two-time World Champion steam-trained her way up through the field to the fastest three athletes from 17th place. After spending energy moving up the field she then found herself in a tight battle with Julie Bresset (FRA) and Eva Lechner (ITA). Finally, after a grueling 1:25:34 hour race, Irina finished first. Once the wheels had stopped turning and the reality of what just happened sunk in, with tears in her eyes, Irina said: “That feels so good, especially after all the bad luck over recent years. After coming fourth at the championships I was very focused on this race. Even in South Africa, I felt really strong but now it worked out.”

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Likewise, Irina’s teammate Nadine Rieder could be more than satisfied with her performance. After the 24-year-old German rider placed sixth at the Sprint Eliminator last Thursday, she ended up 23rd – the best World Cup result of her young career.

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Danish Malene Degn demonstrated an equally impressive performance in Norway: at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Hafjell she rode onto the podium in the Cross Country Women Juniors category. With a time of 1:04:54 and a 20-second lead ahead of Meda Petrusaukaite (LTU) she grabbed the gold medal. A great comeback for the upcoming athlete after her unfortunate race in Pietermaritzburg, where she was hit by a competitor only 100m after the start, and was forced to retire.

If the Canyon athletes have inspired you then, why not join them? You can already order a 2014 Canyon Bike and get prepared for the next season. For example, this week from 19 to 22 September, the BIKE Women Camp in Caldaro (ITA) will take place. For further information just click here.