The unofficial kick-off to the Enduro Season has begun down under and Shimano athletes ruled the top steps of the hot, challenging Enduro in New Zealand. Eddie Masters, back from a season-ending injury last year, started off this season with a 5.91-second gap to take the win ahead of 2nd place finisher Cole Lucas of the Ibis Team and Eddie's Pivot teammate Matt Walker in 3rd. We caught up with Eddie shortly after the event to get his take on the big win and what he thought of Rotorua and the upcoming EWS Season.
Can you tell us a brief recap of the event and how it felt to be back out racing after having a season ending injury last year?
So Rotorua Crankworx is always the first real hit out of the season for me. It's as close as I get to racing at home and I always enjoy the opportunity to race a bigger race at home in New Zealand in front of friends and family. This year's Enduro was pretty tough, it hadn’t rained in the area for 50 days and the day of the race was no different - very hot and very dry. After my injury at the end of last season, it was up in the air if I would be able to race at the beginning of the season as it was quite a complicated injury. Luckily things worked out and I was able to get a few weeks of riding under my belt before heading up to Rotorua. For this reason, I didn’t really have any expectations and was pretty relaxed going into the race as I was just happy to be there. The race consisted of six stages, using some of the finest native trails Rotorua has to offer, because of the heat and the nature of the stages, the race was very physical and the hardest part was managing to stay hydrated and fed while also battling with the tech trails and intense heat. Each stage went well for me and while I had no idea how the race was going, I had a feeling I was riding well. Coming into the finish after a clean race was a huge relief for me and then to find out I had won, I was over the moon. After a rollercoaster of an offseason, it was a dream come true and to be honest I couldn’t quite believe it.
Can you tell us a little bit about your new bike set up?
For this race, I decided to ride the new Pivot Switchblade, despite not having ridden it before, I knew that it would be perfect for the style of riding in Rotorua and I was stoked on the new bike vibes. I was pretty confident that I had a bike that would be more than competitive. My set up is generally pretty run of the mill, I’m a set and forget type guy so there was nothing out of the ordinary and straight off the bat my bike felt dialed. I’d been riding a pretty well-used bike up until this point so running a fresh XTR drivetrain and a completely new bike was a dream. If I’m honest, I couldn’t have put together a better build or bike for the weekend's race!
Any thoughts about the event? Is it an event you would recommend people attend?
Crankworx Rotorua is such a great event, mountain biking is such a big part of the community and they get behind it in a big way. It's definitely worth putting on the to-do list as the riding around Rotorua is amazing and the events during the week are so much fun to both compete in or just to watch. My favorite has to be the Slopestyle as the course is insane and the level of riding always blows me away.
What are you looking forward to most with the upcoming Enduro World Series?
For the EWS this season I’m most looking forward to racing in Chile. We visited the same spot two years ago and it was my favorite venue I’ve ever raced at. The speeds are high, the stages are long and the locals are legends. I can’t wait to get back there again and I’d recommend visiting if you ever got the chance.