Hattie Harden jumped from fourth to first overall on her final run
Somehow, Hattie Harnden keeps finding ways to up her game in the Enduro World Series.
When we last saw her on the EWS circuit, she was in La Thuile becoming the youngest rider ever to win an elite-level race. That would have been plenty for a season highlight, but then Harnden decided to repeat the trick again in Loudenvielle on Thursday.
Like in La Thuile, Harnden entered the final stage in fourth overall. And like in Thuile, she promptly smashed her last run to win the event.
“It was either the longest or the second longest stage of the day, about 10 minutes long, so I think at the end of the day, it kind of tests how much energy you have left,” Harnden said. “So I think that played to my strengths. And there were a couple of little climbs in it, which kind of gave me the edge, because that’s what I do well.”
Stage 4 in Loudenvielle was the Queen Stage, which meant bonus series points were on offer for the winner. At more than four kilometers in length and 600 meters of descent, it was also one of the more difficult stages of the race. With the challenge dialed up, Harnden turned in a perfect run, beating second place Isabeau Courdurier by 21.2 seconds.
“This is the first EWS race where I haven’t crashed, so I actually had good stages all day,” Harnden said. “I think it just took a little getting into the day.
“I think it was just hard to judge what it was gonna be like. After all the rain we had yesterday, everyone thought it was gonna be really bad. And so we all kind of feared the worst. But actually, you could push on a bit harder than I thought.”
After the last stage, Harden had an overall time of 30:41:84, nearly 12 seconds ahead of second place Melanie Pugin after entering the stage more than 14 seconds out of first.
Harnden will take on the Loudenvielle course again on Saturday and Sunday, completing what will have been a jam-packed week-plus of racing. She went to Loudenvielle straight from Val di Sole, Italy, where she competed at World Championships, taking 14th in the U23 women’s cross country race and fourth in the elite eMTB women’s cross country race.
She has just one day to rest before her next EWS race, but she’s determined to make the most of it with a game of mini golf.
“I’m hoping to go play some crazy golf,” Harnden said. “There’s one in town and I was like, ‘Oh that’s a good way to kind of switch off, relax, be outside in the fresh air.'”
Safe bet she crushes the back nine.