EWS Petzen-Jamnica | Liv Racing Report


We’re officially in Enduro World Series season. Just a couple of weeks after Rae Morrison of the Liv Racing Collective collected a top-ten result in Tweed Valley, Scotland, it was already time to learn a completely different set of tracks in Petzen, Austria and Jamnica, Slovenia. It’s been quite a while since the EWS last made a stop in this location and the athletes were in for one of the most challenging races of the year. After five stages, over 40km of racing, 1246m of climbing, 3108m of descending, and a few crashes, Rae finished with a solid 12th place. Already on site for the next EWS round this weekend in Val di Fassa, Italy, we caught up with Rae to recap her race in Petzen-Jamnica.

Rae Morrison's Petzen-Jamnica EWS prep

Liv: What are a couple of unique factors about racing on the border of Austria and Slovenia?

Rae: The most obvious factor would be that we race in two countries which was a pretty cool experience. The two countries had very different trails and terrain. In Jamnica, Slovenia the courses were very flat and physical with some flat turns and a few short janky root sections. In Petzen, Austria we had a 15 minute that was extremely rough and demanding on the body just to hold on and descend for that amount of time.

Liv: What were some of the key characteristics of the tracks for this race?

Rae: Race day was over 30 degrees heat (90 F), and the tracks were extremely physical with big pedally sections and huge holes. It was one of the toughest races we have had in a while. Looking back, I think the way the tracks were and length of race time you had to be tactical and have patience with the stages. The tracks had deteriorated so much with corners getting blown out, so it was easy to make a mistake. Those who paced themselves and avoided crashing and mechanicals did really well.

Liv: Did your bike setup change at all from Tweed Valley?

Rae: I only made a few little chances from Scotland. There was a lot more rock and descending here so I put my tire pressure up 4psi to help protect from punctures. I also raised my bars slightly to help keep the front end higher on the steeper terrain.

Rae Morrison Pro Stage Petzen-Jamnica

Liv: The first stage of the race (the Pro Stage) takes place on Saturday, the day before the other four stages. You had a rough run with a couple of falls during that stage. How did you mentally shake off a fall during a stage and keep charging? How did you mentally and physically recover overnight going into the second day of racing?

Rae: The Pro stage was around 15 minutes of race time. I unfortunately had a big over the bars crash right up the top. There was a big hole/ compression where I wasn’t expecting one over a blind rise. My bike went down the bank, so I retrieved it as fast as I could and got back on track.

The most important thing after a crash is not to panic. Instead, breathe and try to not make up for lost time as that often leads to more mistakes and crashes. As soon as I’m back on the bike, that crash is behind me and I kind of do a mental restart. My middle split was good time-wise and I was riding well right until one of the last corners where there was a big hole. I entered the corner a little too late to try and avoid the hole and washed out.

Mentally, it was hard to bounce back the next day, I had low energy levels from an illness leading into the race, and my arms were quite sore and swollen making it hard to hold onto the bike. I iced heaps that night and saw a Physio in the morning who taped up my forearm and shoulder. Despite the two crashes, I think I was only about 10 seconds off the top 10, so that was definitely a big motivating factor to give it my all the next day.

Rae at the top of the course in Tweed Valley

Liv: The final stage of the race was a similar track to the stage you had crashed on the day before – with 1000m of descending over 6km. You smashed it for a 10th place finish on the stage. How did you manage the fatigue of the day to finish so well on such a long and tough stage?

Rae: The first stage of day two I had a mechanical where my chain got jammed between my cassette and frame after I hit a tree. I lost about 20-30 seconds first running and then unjamming my chain. So, in my mind the race was over – normally that time deficit is impossible to come back from. I just focused on each stage as its own race, trying to salvage points for the overall. It wasn’t until I came back to the pits before the final stage where I saw a lot of other people were having a rough day as well. I was still in 15th with the chance to make up positions if I had a good final stage.

The final stage was slightly different to the pro stage so shorter in distance but a lot more turns. This time around I rode smart, I conserved at the top and just rode consistently to not risk crashing or mechanicals. At around halfway, it becomes really hard to hold on to the bike through all the holes and compressions. Around the end, I was using all my strength to not let my hands slip off the bars. I would say out loud, "Ok BRACE," when a big compression was coming up. It must have sounded really funny to the spectators nearby. My body was pretty fatigued, so riding conservatively definitely worked for me and it helped move me up to 12th in the overall.

Liv: With a quick turn around to racing in Italy this weekend, what is your focus for the days leading into training?

Rae: My main focus is recovery and to reduce the swelling. Lots of sleep, food and ice.

All photos by Sven Martin Photography.