From day one, the Enduro World Series has been aware that our races, and the sport itself, can only exist thanks to the dedicated work of a huge network of trail builders. Our races impact local trail networks, and while we already have procedures in place to minimise that impact, we’re always striving to hold ourselves to higher standards. So earlier this year the series joined forces with Specialized on a new project to honor the people who build the trails we love to race, as well as promote sustainability and trail maintenance.
Fanie Kok is Specialized’s Global Trail Advocate and heads up a project called Soil Searching, which aims to tell the story of the people behind the scenes who are out there building the trails we all love to ride.
Fanie said: “The role really started out as a global mountain bike product and rider market research program, but the more trail advocates I met, the more apparent it became how disconnected the whole industry is from what’s happening at the grassroots level. We’ve literally built a whole industry with a few die-hard souls who get very little recognition, let alone compensation for their behind-the-scenes work. It’s time we change this, collectively.”
And so Fanie travels the world meeting trail builders and organizing dig days to encourage mountain bike communities to embrace trail repair and maintenance, it’s an ethos shared by the EWS.One of the projects they’re working on is a number of dig days, where riders and communities can get together after an EWS and work on the trails that have been raced. To see what goes into one of these dig days check out the video above to see what went down on Billy Epic after round seven in Whistler at the Freehub Magazine’s Crankworx Trail Day.
Another aspect of the trail partnership is the Trail of the Year Award.
Fanie explains how the award came about: “I’ve been to a few EWS events and locations to meet the builders of these iconic trails. I found out that the EWS was keen on doing a special trail award and was looking for a partner. I immediately got on a call with Chris Ball. The stoke was bouncing off the walls for almost two hours and Skype almost crashed! The rest is history.”
In order to judge the award, riders who had been to all eight of this year’s EWS races were polled and asked to vote on their favorite stage of the season. There was a clear winner; Detonate, aka stage two from round two, the Shimano Enduro Tasmania. Built by World Trail, Detonate became famous for that rock gap that was only just wide enough to squeeze a set of handlebars though.
All trails that were nominated received a customised Trail Boss tool, but as the builders of the winning trail, World Trail will also be gifted £2000 to donate to a trail association or charity of their choice.