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EWS Loudenvielle | Liv Racing Report

with RAE MORRISON

After travelling around Europe and North America since the beginning of June, we’ve now experienced eight epic weekends of racing at the Enduro World Series. Loudenvielle, France provided a eventful conclusion to the season with changing conditions, challenging trails, and breathtaking views.

Without a day to spare between the last round in Crans Montana, Switzerland and the finale, Liv Racing Collective athlete Rae Morrison jumped in the car Monday to make the 10-hour drive to France.

“It wasn’t the best way to spend the day after racing,” said Rae. “My legs definitely felt a bit heavy coming into race weekend.”

But there would be more to contend with than just sore legs. Rain would play a key role in the weekend’s racing in Loudenvielle – and hanging in the balance was the series overall standings. Rae had her share of misfortune over the weekend, placing her 13th. Still, she was able to hold onto 10th overall; a strong showing for her hard efforts in 2022.

We caught up with Rae to take a deeper dive into her weekend.

Rae Morrison in Loudenvielle, France

Liv: Coming into the race weekend after a full day of travel, you chose to do some course walking. What was your goal of walking, and did it prove helpful for the race?  

Rae: I walked two of the tracks – stage two and the pro stage. For me, the pro stage is always worthwhile to walk, as it is usually quite technical and we get to race it twice. More time can be gained by knowing that track. Both stages were quite fresh-cut, so it gave me a good idea for what was instore for us in the race.

Liv: What exactly is the “Shakedown” which takes place on the Thursday before the race?

Rae: Shakedown is basically a media and testing ride. The team riders get a chance to hit a trail that will be similar to the race trails, get some cool photos and video clips, and set up their bikes for the terrain. It’s a lot of fun riding with your friends before the race without the stress.

Liv: How were conditions for practice? What was your practice strategy?

Rae: The conditions were amazing for practice. Dry and dusty. My strategy was a bit different for this race, as we knew the rain was coming and that the tracks would change completely. In some bits, I looked at different lines for dry and wet weather. But most of the day, I tried not to stop too much as a lot of the race was going to be about reading the tracks as they deteriorated and new lines formed.

Rae Morrison Loudenvielle

Liv: What were the conditions like for the Pro Stage and race day? How did you manage the changing tracks throughout the weekend?

Rae: It was slippery. We practiced it in the dry and it rained hard overnight. The track completely changed where there used to be nice catches in the corners, there was slippery off-camber roots. It was tough, and many people were caught out on the roots and hit the ground.

Liv: It looked like you took a nasty fall on the Pro Stage. How did you continue on without a front brake to still finish 14th on the stage?

Rae: There was one section where there was a small rock drop. In practice it was perfect, so I went for it in the race. But with the rain, the landing had changed from nice dirt to a whole bunch of wet, off-camber roots. I landed and just wiped out. I think most of the field crashed where I crashed. I was just unlucky that my brake took most of the impact and bent in and upwards. It was interesting riding with one brake down the rest of the slippery, steep track. I just had to ease up, brake super early, and put my foot out in a lot of corners.

Rae Morrison in Loudenvielle

Liv: What were the high points and low points during Sunday’s five stages?  

Rae: It was actually mostly highs! The tracks were fun, and the venue was epic. It was the last race of the year, so everyone was super happy and chatty. The low points were definitely the crashes and the time wasted with mechanicals – from losing my brake on the Pro Stage to losing my chain on another stage. On Stage 4, I broke my finger in a crash, so I rode the rest of the race just ignoring my hand. I was disappointed, as I wanted to end the season on a high, but sometimes it’s just not your day.

Liv: What are you looking forward to about the off-season?  

Rae: I’m looking forward to seeing my dog and just chilling out for a bit. I’ve been away for almost five months now, so I’m looking forward to being home. I also have a Devote gravel bike on the way, so I’m super excited to ride that a lot for the next few months.

Liv: Now for the important question… How many croissants did you eat this week?

Rae: Too many! Haha, no, you can never have too many croissants while in France. I think I averaged about one a day. The perfect amount.

All photos by Sven Martin Photography.

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