The long and the short of Georgia Astle's performance at the Canadian National Enduro Series opener in the Fraser Valley on May 13 was that she can win on any stage, be it long or short.
Competing in the women's pro category, the Whistler rider won the first stage in a quick one minute, 26.24 seconds (1:26.24) and the final one, in 14:24.00, to emerge in seesaw battle with Laura Battista. Astle said Saturday's scorching practice session took a fair bit out of her, but she rallied to ride quickly when it mattered.
"It was a pretty hot day and I was tired, but I got through it and had some good stages, but it was definitely close between Laura and I," she said.
Vedder Mountain provided several different looks for riders, as the shorter, mellower stages gave way to longer, gnarlier ones as the day progressed.
"Stage 1 and 2 were definitely different from the other ones. (Stages) 1 and 2 were a little less steep and, I don't even know what style they were, but they were very fun and had lots of ruts.
"Stage 5 was super long. It had a little bit of everything. I had a second wind of energy on that one and you definitely needed it. You throw in the extra pedal strokes everywhere and it just adds up."
And if the finisher wasn't enough of a challenge, the route to get there left competitors gassed, Astle said.
"It was a very, very big climb up so we had huge descending, but it flipped back and forth. We really did have a little bit of everything. There were jumps on it. There were a few flat sections and a few really steep ones," she said.
Astle plans on challenging the two remaining Canadian National Enduro Series races in B.C. on June 3 in Kamloops and on June 17 in Panorama for national championships before the circuit shifts eastward to Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. She'll also take on this weekend's BC Enduro Series race in Kelowna.
She'll then shift her focus to downhill, as she'll race the BC Cup opener here in Whistler on June 24 and return to Panorama for the downhill nationals on July 29.
"I'm just keeping it open because last year I didn't feel super comfortable on the downhill bike. I'm hoping the enduro helps me find my spot again and then I can race more Crankworx stuff in Whistler and you never know, maybe I'll make it out to Mont-Ste-Anne again (for the World Cup)," she said.
On the men's side, Whistler resident Yoann Barelli took a seventh place showing as Max Leyen, Matt Beer and Carson Eiswald took the top three steps.
In the amateur categories, Whistler's Julia Long took the win in the U21 women's event while Carter Krasny took third in the men's division. Meanwhile, Steve Storey won the men's 30 to 39 race by less than a second over Bob Jones.
Complete results are available at www.canadianenduro.com.
MELAMED CRASHES IN FRANCE
Whistler's Jesse Melamed got off to a strong start at the third Enduro World Series race of the season in Montagnes du Caroux, France on the weekend.
After posting the second-best time on the first stage, the 26-year-old crashed on the second stage and broke his collarbone.
"A 2nd on the first stage yesterday is a small consolation. But it just makes the injury more frustrating because I know I could have been battling for that top spot this weekend," Melamed posted to Instagram after the race finishes on May 13.
The Enduro World Series schedule will resume on June 30 in Petzen, Austria and July 1 in Jamnica, Slovenia.