From Rotorua to Tasmania. Around the globe for Madeira, Canazei, and Les Orres. Across the Atlantic for Whistler & Northstar CA. The EWS truly is a global adventure for the athletes, and final stop in Zermatt, Switzerland didn't disappoint. Here's a overview of round 8 courtesy of the Gehrig twins, and the Pivot Factory Racing crew...
Zermatt lies at the foot of the Matterhorn on 1605m above sea level. The town's touristic development is closely linked to what is most probably the world's most famous mountain. The vacation destination is a car-free zone, has preserved its original character and offers nearly unlimited possibilities as far as excursions are concerned. Although it's very touristic and popular for hiking, mountaineering and sightseeing the mountain biking in Zermatt didn't really take off yet here, but this might change soon as this epic footage will go around the world!
The 2019 EWS season came to a close in Zermatt. It was simply amazing to be racing in our home country in front of the Matterhorn and a whole lot of our friends, family and fans. It's always special to be celebrated as the locals favorite, that's for sure! Since the EWS calendar of 2019 came out we were waiting for this event and excited to have this race in Switzerland! On race day Zermatt and the Matterhorn shone in full glory and showed itself in the very best way possible.The five stages were super challenging and a true test of riding skills and fitness. Maybe the most "Enduro" race of the year so far which we were very happy with, a long day out on the bike with super rad stages along the way! We enjoyed racing on home soil a lot and can't wait to be back racing in Zermatt again for the series finals next year! - Anita & Caro Gehrig“So happy to finish with a solid race in Zermatt! 5th on the day and 6th in the seasons overall. It's been a challenging race, the roughed terrain, altitude, long descents and big day required full focus and strength. I had so much fun in the race, it's the best feeling when you can enjoy and push yourself at the same time. Thanks to the Traillove Crew for bringing the EWS to Switzerland, the best thing ever to race in the beloved homeland!🇨🇭Thanks to everyone for the amazing support this w-end and throughout the year!” - Anita Gehrig"Wow thanks so much everyone for the support this weekend! I enjoyed racing in Zermatt loads and it means the world to us having such a rad team of friends & family trackside cheering for us and encouraging us to give it some extra gas! This EWS was a long and tough day out on some of the most challenging terrain we had all season long. Although 11th is not what I was hoping for I'm stoked on a few solid stage results and actually my best EWS result of the year. Two big crashes into the rocks were not ideal for the confidence and have me limping a bit now but should be all good for next week Trophy of Nations!I managed to get through the day with a big smile and just loved it to race on home soil!" ❤ - Caro Gehrig
Here's what the Pivot Factory Race team had to say:
The final race of the 2019 Enduro World Series took place in Zermatt, Switzerland. With stunning alpine scenery and the Matterhorn in the background photographers were spoilt for shots. After a long season the final race was going to be a test held on one day over 5 stages. To add to the difficulty many stages were expected to start in the alpine and riders would be dealing with thin air and high altitudes.Matt was feeling confident on the bike after a great weekend at Redbull Hardline. Changing from huge jumps in the Welsh forests to tight technical corners in the Swiss mountains shows what an adaptable all round rider Matt is.Friday – Training
Training started off with a train ride through the mountains and a gondola to the top of stage 1 where the riders saw what to expect for the rest of the weekend. Alpine single track with lots of exposed rocks and tight switch backs was going to require commitment and late braking.Stage 2 started at a slightly lower elevation and therefor had more vegetation, trees and roots. Matt was enjoying the varied terrain and feeling good back on his Firebird 29er Enduro rig.Stages 3 and 4 kept the rocky feel with more alpine trails. Matt was looking at lines for speed and also safety. With sharp square edge rocks everywhere the weekend would test the equipment just as much as riders and preventing punctures was going to be important for a high placed finish.Stage 5 was the last of the year and the Queen stage. At 770m descent the longest stage of the weekend headed from the alpine back into Zermatt finishing in the car free town. With training complete Matts mind turned to recovery and refuelling to be ready to charge on race day.
Although injured, Eddie is still travelling to the events. Supporting the team and continuing his media duties by taking over the EWS Instagram. Filming the riders on the stages, getting interviews and entertaining the viewers Eddie was in his element.Saturday – Race Day
Stage 1 started well for Matt, 6th place finish showed he was on the pace but like all rider he found the stage physical and breathless. Pushing hard at the start he went into the red and due to the altitude and thin air didn’t recover until long after the stage finish.
A mistake on the next stage saw Matt loose close to 15 second to the leader. Settling back into his flow Matt made back some time on stage 3 with another 6th place finish where he gaining time on the open fast rocky section.A clean ride where Matt conserved energy and focused on carrying speed gave him 10th place finish on stage 4 and moved back inside the top 10 for the day. With the long Queen stage to come and having already raced hard for close to 30 minutes Matt and all the other riders were down to their last reserves of energy.
The last stage of the 2019 Enduro World Series had an old school feel to it. A verity of terrain, speeds and gradates tested every aspect of the rider ability. Matt was pumped up to finish on a high and charged out the start. Settling into the run he was feeling good he used some technical skills to get round the tightest of corners using an endo turns on his front wheel. Matt finished the stage 9th securing a great 8th place for the round and his fifth top ten in a row!With the season done and dusted Matt finished in a fantastic 8th, rewarding his consistent speed and top 10 finishes throughout his first full EWS season. Despite Eddie missing two rounds due to his injury he finished just behind Matt in 9th. A great placing but left everyone wondering what could have been. A congratulations for fellow Pivot rider Cole Lucas who finished off his first year racing in the Elite Men’s category with an impressive 14th overall and has been learning and improving all year.
A great 2019 season has taken the riders all over the globe and the whole teams has hugely enjoyed it, a huge thanks to everyone for all the support over the year!
Words: Anita Gehrig, Caro Gehrig, Pivot Factory Racing Team
Images: Sven Martin, Crank Visuals