The entire Intense Mavic Enduro Collective was in Rotorua - New Zealand for the Crankworx and the first round of the Enduro World Series.
Here the team share with us the experience with their own words:
"As soon as the 2019 EWS Calendar was released, I couldn't help but feeling anxious about heading back to Rotorua for the opening round. I first came here in 2015, straight after a winter studying in Montreal. I was obviously out of shape and had to battle all day just to cross the finish line.
The race was hard, but riding my bike in New Zealand made me realize I wanted to make MTB my lifestyle above anything else. It is this trip which made me want to become a professional rider.
I had to wait until 2017 to come back to Rotorua, this time on top of my game and ready to start the season in the best conditions. Unfortunately, I got sick just a few days before the race... and wasn't able to cross the finish line.
I have been racing bikes for 20 years now, and there are only 3 finish lines that I didn't cross, including this one. That was hard to swallow.
I only knew one thing before coming to Rotorua this year: I wanted to leave this place being happy about my race.
Here is why Rotorua holds such a special place in my heart. It made me go through pretty much all the emotions: disapointment, rage, anxiety. But I can now add pride, joy and excitement to the list!"
The fact that Cécile crashed this winter and is unable to race also changes things up. I have been training harder than ever this winter to be able to chase her down the trails and I would have loved the chance to do it. I hope she will be back soon and I wish her a strong and quick recovery. I can't wait to have her back in the race.
I imagined all winter long what the first race would look like. I was seeing myself chasing down my opponents, not the one being chased! I had a lot of pressure coming from this last change and it was hard to deal with. But I knew the battle was going to happen anyway since the women's field is stronger than ever.
I felt good after the practices and was ready to race full on as I always do. I was lucky enough to have my best friends coming from France to cheer me up. It definitely gave me some additional strenght.
I started the race on a good flow. Stage 1 and 2 went well. I felt good on stage 3 but I was not enough on the pedals... Which cost my ranking to fall to 3rd, with almost 10 seconds to make up. I gave everything I had on stage 4, also the queen stage, and made it back to the 1st seat.
I then focused on the last one to make this victory finally happen! My last and only victory was back in 2017. It is also the first one under the Intense Mavic Collective colors.
I am so proud of the hard work and incredibly thankful to everyone that helped me reaching this goal. Massive thanks to Kilian and Cédric for always believing in me.
To begin with, I'm so incredibly proud of our collective. We're not only 2 pilots and a team manager sharing the same structure. The involvement of us all in the collective's vision has been the key to our success. We ride together - we share adventures across the world together - we are thrilled together and for one another. Our involvement goes way further our personal gains.
This is the best season start I could wish for. Isabeau has earned a huge first win thanks to her boundless determination, and I can't wait to see her ride in Tasmania for the next EWS round. Congrats again Isa!
As for me, I spent the past week on my bike shooting our new red (and rad!) race kit and racing the Crankworx Air DH (12th) and the first round of the EWS. I ranked 11th on the first stage of the EWS, my best result yet in a World Cup!
Unfortunately I crashed too many times to stay in the game. Despite good sensations on my bike those crashes left me without enough energy make up for the time I lost. A good reminder for my future races to stay focused all along. I finished the race ranking 36th.
As you probably know, my season started way before last weekend. I had an amazing winter riding in Australia and New Zealand, with some great content that we have already shared with you. But, not to worry, some more is coming shortly!
I have also been racking my brain on what the next steps of my webserie MISSION should be. The first season went really well, but I don't want to rest on my laurel, which is why season 2 will have some surprises in store for you.
When working on a new video project we usually focus on 4 essential parts:
- Filming techniques
- Riding skills
- Moments of life // sharing moments
The first season filming my MISSION has taught me that combining new ideas in those categories are the first steps towards a great video.
This year will definitely focus on the "sharing" side. I'll try to capture some more moments of life.
After a first project with Sam Hill supported by Mavic, we are now working with Skoda, planning a trip to Chile.
During the past few months, we have been organizing a social media contest to invite one lucky pilot to ride with me. The best 10 videos were narrowed down to the best 3 who were all invited to an amazing ride weekend in Italy.
Yannis Pelé ended up the lucky winner of this contest! You will see what a great mountain biker he is, but that's not it... The next newsletter should reveal the full story
Thanks everyone for your continuous support and allowing us to make our dreams come true, every day. Feeling blessed!
Cédric Carrez - Team Manager:
After a very promising first season and a short winter break, the Intense Mavic Collective is ready to battle for a new season!
The winter break allowed us to focus on what could be improved on all grounds: riding, communication, set up. We wanted to start the season on a high note for the Crankworx in Rotorua.
Most of the week was spent shooting our new race kit, racing the Air DH and training for the first round of the EWS. The sunday race being our main priority. And what a race it was!
This victory is the result of Isa's hard winter prep. It's incredible to see the women's field continuously improving. The first round of the EWS showed us we can count on a new generation of pilots, bringing new blood and energy to the race. The battle for the podium will only get more exciting!
I would like to thank Isa and Kilian for their involvement into the structure. Their talent and hard work makes it a real pleasure to be part of the adventure. We had an amazing first season, but I can't wait to show you what these two have in-store for 2019.
Let's keep rocking!
Photo Credit: Dave Trumpore & Kike Abelleira