How Hattie got her groove back
Hattie Harnden is on the board with her first Enduro World Series podium of the season. And as has become her custom, she did it in dramatic fashion. She won the last stage of the day in Val di Fassa to jump into third place for the weekend.
“I just gave it everything I had at the end, with a couple of pedally bits mixed in,” Harnden said after the race. “To win the stage felt so good. … I really wasn’t expecting to get back to the podium after how my day started. So I’m super happy with how the day went and I feel like it really came together.”
Harnden started the race taking a solid fifth in Saturday’s Pro Stage. The result set herself up well for Sunday’s main course, but she crashed twice on Stage 2 to take eighth. In her words, she needed to “get in the groove of things.” Her mechanic, Andy Lund, painted a pair of reminders on her handlebars: “Open Shock!”, a reminder to open up her coil shock before she dropped in on each stage, and “Time to Dance,” a reminder to relax and have fun.
She found her rhythm on the very next stage, taking second on Stage 3 behind only Isabeau Courdurier, who would win four of the five stages to take the overall win. Harnden took fifth again on a short Stage 4, just five seconds behind Courdurier, before charging her way to the fastest time on the last and longest stage of the weekend.
“It was the Queen Stage as well, so I earned some good valuable points for the overall,” Harnden said. “It’s nice to know I’m on the right pace and I’m just getting into the groove of things. I’m sure the next racing bloc will go really well.”
The performance was a major bounce back after a disappointing finish at Petzen Jamnica last weekend, when Harnden took 34th. There, she punctured early during a lengthy Pro Stage and was sent tumbling down the standings despite laying down a podium pace in her remaining four stages. In Val di Fassa, she showed off the form she hopes to ride to race wins and an overall podium this season.
Harnden’s big weekend put a positive spin on what began as a downer weekend for the Trek Factory Racing squad. Her teammate, Pedro Burns, had to pull out of the race after suffering a dislocated shoulder while pre-riding the track. Fortunately, he has more than a month to get healthy. EWS Round 4 will take place in Whistler on Aug. 6 and 7.
The season is still in its early stages with five races to go. It has already been a roller coaster, and there’s still so much action to come.