Round 6 of the Enduro World Series brought the Giant Factory Off-Road Team to North America for the first time this year. After a string of soggy races in Europe, they were treated to sunshine and dry trails in Aspen, Colorado—along with the lung-searing challenge of racing at altitudes topping 10,000 feet.
The team was back to full strength in the Rocky Mountains, following a tough spring season that saw them endure crashes and injuries. With everything clicking, they racked up some solid top-10 stage finishes during the two-day event, gaining momentum heading into the next round at Whistler, British Columbia.
Riding their new Reign Advanced team bikes and wearing the recently introduced Giant Line shoes, Australian Josh Carlson and Canadian Mckay Vezina both finished the weekend on a high note with top-10 finishes in the final stage. In women’s racing, Rae Morrison, representing the Liv brand, came back from an injury to score a top-10 overall in the elite women’s category racing on her Liv Hail Advanced.
“Colorado provided the best race of the season so far,” said Carlson, who finished seventh on Stage 6. “I was stoked to get some mojo back and have a reminder of the speed needed to be up front. The new Reign Advanced loved the wide open fast, wild trails! Having so much confidence in my bike made it that much easier to push hard over the weekend. Finishing with a solid stage result in Colorado is a great confidence boost heading into round 7 in Whistler.”
Carlson’s teammate Vezina had his best EWS race so far this year, posting two top-10 stage finishes including a fifth place on Stage 6.
“Colorado was my favorite race of the season,” said Vezina, who finished the weekend 16th overall after six tough stages. “The fast, wide-open singletrack mixed with fresh cut trail was an absolute blast to ride and race. It felt great to get two top-10 stage results and feel the speed coming back after such an up and down season.”
Morrison said she felt fully recovered from her ankle injury, and enjoyed the high-altitude conditions at Aspen. “I enjoyed the challenge of the fast, rough and physical tracks while in oxygen debt at altitude,” she said. “I felt great on the bike and I am really happy I finally feel fully recovered from my ankle injury as I get my speed back. To have a top-10 overall result and a fourth place on Stage 6, which was the most technical track, is a great confidence boost. It’s been a long struggle this year recovering from injury, but I finally feel I’m there and so excited to the final two rounds.”