Come Rain or Shine - Canadian Open EWS 2017

The slopes around Whistler, Canada, would once again be home to the Canadian Open EWS stop. The penultimate stop for the season started off looking like it might end up fitting the "Enduro Wet Series" nickname given to the series this year, considering the frequency of rainy enduro events. Heavy rain and gusts over 50km/h buffeted those marshalls who had camped out at the start of Stage One 'Top of the World', to make the start of their day supposedly a little earlier. 

The race would go through all kinds of trail type, starting with the opening stage down "Top of the World" a rough and rocky opener, not shy of breaking wheels or dishing out punctures, like it did to Keegan Wright, not once but twice, putting an end to his day. The track then went into 'Ride Don't Slide' for some foggy, rainy, loamy goodness. Sam Hill put a huge 16 second lead over Jessie Melamed and looked like he might be up for another win.

Stage 2 hit up rock slabs and technical gnar, followed by Stage 5, ending in "Bob's Rebob", a rooty rocky, but not overly steep stage, offering the riders a little break before a huge climb to the top of stage 4. By this time Jessie had pulled back a fair amount of time back from Sam Hill, and things were starting to heat up, including the weather with the sun now out in stark contrast to the morning.

Stage 4 down "Howler" saw some steep tech section and a lot of dust. Spitting them out in the Whistler Bike Park for the final park lap, lot's of jumps were had. Jessie went down in the first section and it looked like it was going to be a real nail biting finish. In the end, Whistlerite Jesse Melamed took the win over Sam Hill, who, may we remind you, races flat pedals! Mark Scott took the third spot on the podium. 

Jesse Melamed just by the end of Stage 1.

Jesse Melamed just by the end of Stage 1.

Sam Hill pinned through home-like conditions.

Sam Hill pinned through home-like conditions.

Mark Scott nears the end of 'Ride Don't Slide'

Mark Scott nears the end of 'Ride Don't Slide'

In the women's race, current leader Cecile Ravanel continued her reign of dominance, leading throughout the day. Isabeau Courdurier took second, and Katy Winton third, with her second podium of the season. Rae Morrison narrowly missed out on a top 10 result, but looked composed all day.

Womens Winner Cecile Ravanel

Womens Winner Cecile Ravanel

Isabeau Courdurier - smooth through the rocks.

Isabeau Courdurier - smooth through the rocks.

Katy Winton on her way to another podium.

Katy Winton on her way to another podium.

Rae Morrison heads past while being cheered on by her family just out of shot to the right.

Rae Morrison heads past while being cheered on by her family just out of shot to the right.

In the kiwi camp, Joe Nation was NZ's fastest on the day, taking 9th spot, just in front of Sam Blenkinsop. Justin Leov, Chris Johnston, Rupert Chapman, and the Masters Bro's all showed up to party. It was good to see Conor Macfarlane out there too, unluckily losing his tyre right off his rim in the last stage, but kept on sending it to the finish regardless. Also, well done to Kiwi U21 rider Ben Friel for taking 6th place in his category.

Fastest Kiwi on the day, Joe Nation boots up some roost in the dry chute of stage 3.

Fastest Kiwi on the day, Joe Nation boots up some roost in the dry chute of stage 3.

Blenki, nothing but a trail of dust behind this kid.

Blenki, nothing but a trail of dust behind this kid.

Rupert Chapman

Rupert Chapman

Eddie Masters

Eddie Masters

Wyn looking dialled in the loam.

Wyn looking dialled in the loam.

Conor just making sure that his rim can never be used again. 

Conor just making sure that his rim can never be used again. 

A great performance from Ben Friel, bright kit popping in the forest too.

A great performance from Ben Friel, bright kit popping in the forest too.

Cody Kelley, not the result he would want with a DNF, but still style all the way.

Cody Kelley, not the result he would want with a DNF, but still style all the way.

Keegan only got to the third corner of stage one. Oh, what might have been...

Keegan only got to the third corner of stage one. Oh, what might have been...

Things are looking good going into the Final Enduro, in Finale Italy. As for here in Whistler, it's on with Crankworx. Stay tuned for more action as the week continues.

Sam Hill - still rocking flats after all these years.

Sam Hill - still rocking flats after all these years.

Jesse shows the fastest way through the boulder section on the final stage.

Jesse shows the fastest way through the boulder section on the final stage.

A lovely sunset to top off a long day.

A lovely sunset to top off a long day.

Kiwi Riders

Mens U21
Ben Friel - 6th
Cole Lucas - 14th

Womens
Rae Morrison - 11th
Cati Pearson - 28th
Jo Perrott - 3rd Amateurs

Mens
Joe Nation - 9th
Sam Blenkinsop - 10th
Justin Leov - 22nd
Chris Johnston - 27th
Rupert Chapman - 29th
Wyn Masters - 33rd
Eddie Masters - 60th
Conor Macfarlane - 63rd
Jimmy Pritchard - 65th
Sam Shaw - 78th
Tom Bradshaw - 83rd
James Rennie - 91st
Mike Roberston - 101st
Tim Wilding - 114th
Harrsion Smith - 2nd - Amateurs
John Jacob - 15th - Masters