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After a rough and dusty round one of the Enduro World Series, the trails above Canazei, Italy, were well worn and full of holes. The opening track, called Titans, was freshly re-cut this spring, and the loose soil quickly became a minefield of hub-deep holes between the roots that swallowed a lot of speed. For the Pro Stage on Friday, riders had to get air anywhere they could to avoid those wheel-eating depressions, which became trickier as the race continued thanks to heavy rain that rolled in shortly after the start.
The original plan was to race Titans one more time on Saturday, but by the racing hour, the track needed far too much work so it was cut from the roster. With three stages left, the EWS organizers also decided to neutralize a longer climb on Animal House trail. During round one several riders had mentioned that the steep climb had their heart rates so high that the following root-field was decidedly more dangerous. To neutralize the climb, riders passed a checkpoint that deactivated their timing chips, and then passed a new start line near the top of the climb. They had a reasonable amount of time to walk or ride between the electric chip readers, though a lot of folks said that they kept the pace pinned so that muscle fatigue wouldn’t set in and mess up the extremely physical following segment.