Louise Kelly's EWS 2020 Experience

Evo Crew | Thu 10th Dec 2020 16:23

Evo ambassador Louise Kelly recently got back from Europe where she got a last minute call up from Liv Racing for this years Enduro World Series. Leaving the NZ winter behind on 8 days notice, in a COVID-19 world, for an unknown number of races in Europe. We caught up with Lou after she got back to find out how she found the experience.

How did you get the call up for EWS?

The good humans that are Rae and Jesse put in a word to Liv about me potentially filling a spot for an injured rider.... 8 days before they were set to fly out I got a message asking if I wanted join them! I jumped at the opportunity not really thinking about it all and just got my bike and packed all my things are we were off!!

What was it like travelling across the globe in a COVID-19 world?

Strangely it was really nice, the planes were nearly empty so there was heaps of room to stretch out and have a good sleep. The airports were so quite and we shepherded into holding pens to minimise contact with others so that was really weird but it’s good to know how other countries deal with covid.

How was the event atmosphere under COVID-19 restrictions?

Really weird, with no spectators allowed it made the tracks feel empty. But it was also really lovely in a way, so peaceful racing full gas down some of the most amazing trails in the world with no distractions

What bike did you take with you to race?

I took my 2020 Liv Hail advanced that I run as a mullet (29 up front 27.5 out back)

What were the trails like? How did they differ from home?

Rocky! So many rocks. The trails were sort of similar to home, with rocks and roots. Fast high speed sections followed by some really hectic rock sections. Super physical trails, with no time to relax, you had to be on your game the whole time.

How did your races play out?

My goal was to finish top 20 in both races and to have a good time. I managed to achieve those goals, so I was really happy with my results. I was just super stoked to make it down each stage without any crashes and only making a few mistakes on each race.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your trip?

I guess just travelling during Covid. All the travel restrictions and the ever changing requirements to get into counties. Day by day countries would change what was required to enter, did you need to quarantine?, Did you need to have a negative covid test to enter.? Etc. This all meant a few changes to flights home but all in all it was nothing major.

Any lessons you can take away from the race?

For me learning to utilise a GoPro during practice days and then watching it all later to remember key features of tracks so they aren’t as much if a surprise when I’m racing.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

I don’t have one favourite part but having Rae and Jesse there was probably my favourite thing. I think it made a huge difference having friends that have done this all before. They know what’s going on and have a routine and that was super helpful to have some familiarity around.

Looking back, would you change how you prepared for the race, or how you raced during the event?

In the short turn around from working and training at home to being overseas and racing I don’t think I could have done anything different. In terms of preparation once we were there, we just spent heaps of time riding and getting to know the terrain in Italy so come race day I felt pretty comfortable with the types of tracks that were in the races.

What next?

Not really sure what’s next. I’m just going to ride my bike all summer and enter as many NZ races I can.