To the Limit: SRAM Canadian Open Enduro

Bikers drifted by on the chairlift, the strain palatable on their faces and sagging shoulders. Many were lying prone or had their legs strung haphazardly to the side so they could be massaged by equally exhausted hands. All were bound for Top of the World, the start of the fifth and final stage of the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro. And although there was still more than 1500 vertical meters between Stage 5 and the finish line, it was hard to imagine they were thinking about much more then making it down.

Widely recognized as the toughest stop on the Enduro World Series, the Crankworx Enduro course is punctuated by long climbs and technical descents that push riders (and their bikes) to the limit. The stats alone are enough to scare off all but the toughest: More than 65km covered. 2300m of climbing. 3300m of descending. It is, as Giant Factory Off-Road team rider and 12th place finisher Josh Carlson put, “a legal way to try to kill someone.”

But then again, these riders aren’t just ‘someone,’ and their supreme fitness and overall biking ability was enough to prevent anything verging on murder (although more than a few forks, tires and chains went down as casualties to the course.) In the final seconds, Australian Jared Graves took the top men’s spot despite blowing a fork—and reinflating it with a CO2 canister—during the first stage. And Frenchwoman Cecile Ravanel led the ladies after a dominant Anne-Caroline Chausson went down with a flat during the final stage. But as the dozens of riders milled around the finish line, seemingly reinvigorated by the realization they were done, it was obvious that more than just the podium were deserving of congratulations.

Top finishers in the men’s and women’s race:
1. Jared Graves
2. Nico Lau
3. Curtis Keene
4. Damien Oton
5. Justin Leov

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1. Cecile Ravanel
2. Tracy Moseley
3. Anne-Caroline Chausson
4. Anneke Beerten
5. Rosara Joseph

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Alex Lupato on Crazy Train. Photo by Nick Race.
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Dylan Wolsky on Crazy Train. Photo by Nick Race.
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Richie Rude on Crazy Train. Photo by Nick Race.
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Lorraine Truong on Crazy Train. Photo by Nick Race.
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Kyle Mears on Top of the World. Photo by Coralie Leblanc.
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Charles Sponsel on Top of the World. Photo by Coralie Leblanc.
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On Top of the World. Photo by Coralie Leblanc.
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James Green on Top of the World. Photo by Coralie Leblanc.
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On Top of the World. Photo by Coralie Leblanc.

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