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EWS Whistler | Liv Racing Report

with RAE MORRISON

For the first time since 2019, the Enduro World Series is back in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. After some rain leading up to practice, the sun (and the heat) was out for race days on Saturday and Sunday, making for exciting racing at one of the most iconic stops on the EWS tour. The last time Rae Morrison of the Liv Racing Collective was in Whistler, she had a great performance and finished 6th. After three years, the women’s field has grown increasingly competitive. In 2019, the top-10 finishers were separated by four minutes. This year, there was just over one minute separating the top-10. Rae matched her best result of the season so far, finishing 9th.

We caught up with Rae just before she left Whistler to head to the other side of North America for the next EWS round in Vermont.

Rae Morrison in Whistler, Canada

Liv: It’s been a while since we’ve been in Whistler for an EWS, what’s it like to be back?

Rae: Whistler is my favorite stop of the year and we’ve been absent for three years now. Canada has opened its doors to travel and international racing, and I’m so excited to be back. Everyone’s in such a good mood, we’re just so happy to be here.

Liv: You arrived early to Canada, how long have you been here and what have you been up to?

Rae: Straight after the last EWS race in Italy we flew to Canada. British Columbia feels very similar to New Zealand, so I’m a little more relaxed over here. We did a short road trip around BC, but I was still suffering from a few little injuries that I wanted to get checked out by a physio. So, we came to Whistler and have been here for a couple of weeks. It’s been great to get here early, rest and have fun on my bike with no stress. I’ve just been meeting up with friends and doing ALine and Dirt Merchant laps in Whistler Bike Park.

Liv: So, you felt pretty good coming into race week?

Rae: Yes! The physio did some mobilizations and dry needling on my neck and shoulder which released everything, and then I was able to do stretches and strengthening exercises. My body bounced back, thankfully.

Rae Morrison Whistler

Liv: You had a crash in training, did that affect you coming into the pro stage on Saturday?

Rae: Yeah, unfortunately training on stage four I came over a blind crest with lots of slippery roots and a rider had his head down pushing his bike up. I collided with him, landing on my head and my back down the chute. It was completely out of my control, but it’s still frustrating, especially after just fixing my neck. I was really lucky; I was wearing a back protector and had a full-face helmet on. I was a little stiff, but didn’t feel too bad heading into the race.

Liv: What were some of the biggest challenges of this race?

Rae: Sunday was a big day, and it was extremely hot. Trying to stay on top of hydration and having enough fuel with me was super important. The stages themselves were huge, long, physical, technical tracks, so you wanted to preserve the body throughout the day. There was also a lot of mechanicals – a lot of people got punctures or broke things on their bike. Additionally, the transfers to get to the stages were difficult. There were two hike-a-bike transfers that were more than an hour long in the heat. Just getting your bike and body through the day and coming out the other end with a good time was quite an effort.

Liv: Saturday you raced the pro stage, which included some brand-new features. What was it like working up to hitting the bigger drops on this trail?  

Rae: We’ve had features in EWS tracks before, but nothing like this. I think that was the biggest drop I’ve ever done in my life – you could fit a bus under there! Because it was a fresh-cut section, the lead-in to the drop was challenging with slippery roots, so it was hard to get the speed you needed. It was completely out of my comfort zone, but for this race I knew the features were worth a lot of time and I had to do them if I wanted a good result. During practice, I needed four run-ins before I attempted the big drop because I kept messing up the corner before it. You just have to push back up and keep trying it until you feel confident. When I finally got the corner before it, I just sprinted as hard as a could, pulled off the drop, and hoped for the best! Once I did it once, it was easy for me to know I had it for my race run.

Rae Morrison in Whistler

Liv: Sunday’s stage five was the same as the pro stage. You managed to drop 17 seconds off your time from Saturday, finished fifth on the stage and moved up a position in the overall. After a long day of racing, how did you manage to have such a successful final stage?  

Rae: On Friday, we had a good bit of rain. The trail was still a little slippery for the pro stage, but by Sunday it had dried out and was running really fast. I actually felt pretty fatigued on Sunday, partially due to the heat. It was hard to conserve energy throughout the day. But every stage you have to come with a mindset that it’s a new race, because anything can happen. The racing is so tight now, that one mistake or crash could make you move back in the overall. Before the final stage, there was a course hold which gave me the opportunity to cool down and take in some fuel. Having raced the same stage the day before, I went into it knowing exactly what I wanted to do. Halfway down, I could see the rider in front of me, so I knew I was on a good run. It was like a cat and mouse; I could see my target and was just trying to bulldoze my way to her.

Liv: Whistler was the start of three back-to-back EWS races. How are you feeling heading into the next two rounds in the USA?

Rae: I’m so excited! I’ve never been to the East Coast before. I haven’t done any research, so I have no idea what to expect. With so much travel between these races, I’ll need to focus on recovery. That includes stretching, mobility, cold immersions, swims, and things like that – just taking a lot of extra time to keep the body moving.

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