An appreciation for one Trek Factory Racing's most versatile young riders
Roughly eight months since her last Enduro World Series race, with a road camp and LOTS of cyclocross and XC racing in the mean time, Hattie Harnden was feeling out of sorts on her enduro bike. She had just finished third out of four riders in the U21 category at the first race of the PMBA Enduro Series. She was happy to back on a Slash, but she knew she wasn’t on her form yet.
Three weeks later, Harnden looked plenty comfortable in one of the biggest enduro races of her career. In her second ever elite Enduro World Series race — the second round of a doubleheader opening week in Val di Fassa, Italy — she finished third in a field stacked with the very best riders in the discipline.
“Can’t believe this happened yesterday!” Harnden wrote on Instagram after the race. “It’s been a dream of mine to stand on this podium and it felt better than I ever imagined it would.”
Harnden’s podium campaign got off to an inauspicious start. She took 18th in Friday’s prologue stage, which was a run of the last and longest stage of the race, the 6.55-kilometer “Tutti Frutti”. Entering Saturday’s three-stage slate (shortened from four due to thunderstorms the day before), she was 36 seconds behind then-leader Camille Rast.
Harnden steadily improved from there. She took 13th in Stage 2, second in Stage 3 and third in Stage 4, which was a repeat run of Tutti Frutti. Going into the stage, she was in fifth place overall, but she made up enough time to move past Estelle Charles and 2019 EWS winner Isabeau Courdurier, who finished just 1.45 seconds back in fourth.
“The women were so strong, going into the last stage it was so close,” Harnden told Pinkbike. “It’s still sinking in. I still can’t believe it. After yesterday I was like, ‘I’ll just go out and have fun,’ and did exactly that and it worked.”
The podium capped a strong overall first week in Val di Fassa. In the first round Wednesday, she crashed several times on the course, but still finished ninth overall thanks to a stage win on Stage 3.
The performance was impressive especially given the nearly nine-month layoff from enduro racing. Harnden’s Trek Factory Racing teammates Florian Nicolai (24th and 24th overall in Rounds 1 and 2, respectively) and Pedro Burns (22nd and 27th) are still building into their season. But Harnden, whose “off” season included elite cyclocross racing throughout the winter and strong XC World Cup U23 results in Albstadt and Nové Město, may already be hitting her stride.
Just as soon as she adjusted to yet another bike change, of course.
RockShox Trek's Jamie Edmondson wins back-to-back U21 races
RockShox Trek’s Jamie Edmondson is another young, versatile rider on the come up. This past week, he took a break from downhill racing for some enduro, and gave us some thrilling racing. In Round 1, he won three of four stages to take the overall win by 6.58 seconds over Luke Meier-Smith. In Round 2, he beat Meier-Smith for the gold medal once again, but by a razor margin of just 0.69 seconds.
Edmondson lost time in Friday’s prologue, slipping on a wet course to enter Saturday in eighth by 12.74 seconds to Nathan Sterckx in first. Edmondson went on to win the next two stages to take back the overall lead, and give himself just enough cushion to hold off Meier-Smith’s charge on Tutti Frutti. On the queen stage, Meier-Smith was second, and nearly seven seconds faster than Edmondson, who finished fourth. The final margin was one of the tightest across the entire week.
Coming off the strong result, Edmondson will hop back on a Session for some downhill racing at the second downhill World Cup in Les Gets. If Saturday is an indication, he’s ready to go down to the wire in some breakneck racing.