Matt and Martha chat about their 2018 EWS season

Our Enduro racers Matt and Martha have just finished up their respective race seasons, which involved competing in the full Enduro World series. Martha finished up 13th overall and Matt finished 8th overall.

We caught up with them to discuss how it went and what they are up to next:

Matt Koen

3 words to describe your EWS season

Educational, tough, really really really fun

What kit do you run on your bike and why?

I run Shimano derailleurs because they seem to be the only derailleurs that don't break when riding or racing. I can run one for months, hitting in on rocks, and it still performs as though it is brand new. I run Deity stems because they are short (giving me more control over the front), and have 5mm bolts, which is fantastic because I like to tighten them real hard, and 4mm always snap, plus it feels badass bringing out the 5 mil to crank down with. I run WTB rims because they are made of a bit softer metal, which translates into a dented rim rather than a flat tire. Any stupid line over a microwave sized rock, or a huck into some other razor sharp rocks means a small dent I can fix later in my rim, not a flat tire, allowing me to ride away with steeze.

Best moment of the season and why?

The whole season was fantastic, opening me to so many unique cultures while riding the best trails in the world. But the best moment for me had to have been Whistler. I have always struggled with consistency as a racer, and, while I didn't feel like I was riding extraordinarily fast, I felt consistent and was having fun at the Whistler EWS. Perhaps it was the quality of trails, the lack of pressure I was putting on myself, or that I woke up on the right side of the bed, either way, it felt incredible to put together a solid race without any problems.

Favorite venue and why?

Colombia hands down. The riding wasn't the best we've encountered this season, but the vibes were spot on. Colombia is an amazing country, rich with culture and friendly people, who all dissolved the 'Narcos' stereotype I had before arriving. The combination of delicious food, incredible landscapes, good trails, and friendly people created something special I have yet to encounter again. Looking forward to going back at some point.

What are you planning for the off season?

Got a lot of plans. Looking to just surf for a bit, do some gym work, but not really touch the mtb for a few weeks. Then going to get a coach who will hopefully be able to bring my riding to the next level. Then have a few trips planned: Mexico, Hawaii. Mostly to surf and visit some friends out there, but will for sure do some riding in Hawaii. Other than that, just enjoy the time at home, riding local rut tracks and get prepared for next season.

Any tips for EWS racers?

I think the key is to just have fun with it. Too many kids stress way too hard about sponsors, results, what they're gonna do for next year. I think that as long as you are having fun and enjoying riding bikes, the rest will come. As soon as you start stressing, it makes riding bikes a chore, and that's a really strange state to be in, when your passion and hobby becomes a chore. All downhill from there. So yeah, just have fun and don't stress and the universe will do the rest for ya!

Favorite after race thing to do?

Get loose

Martha Gill

3 words to describe your EWS season

Challenging but rewarding.

What kit did you run on your bike and why

WTB tyres, rims, grips and saddle for the best comfort and traction. Deity Copperhead 35mm stem and T-Mo Carbon 760mm handlebars. Shimano drivetrain. Hopetech brakes, rotors, and crankset; I love the modulation in the brakes and they also look pretty bling! Fox 36 fork, X2 shock and Transfer seat post; they have performed faultlessly throughout the season. Crankbrothers Mallet E pedals, I find they have the perfect float to suit my riding. A front Mudhugger to keep my goggles clean!

Best moment of the season and why

That would probably be when I raced round 2 in Colombia, I really enjoyed the race despite the challenging weather conditions. I felt like I was riding good all day and was super stoked to see that I had finished up in 9th, achieving my goal of a top 10 finish and even bagged a 5th on one stage which I was super stoked with!

Favorite venue and why 

That's a hard one, but I'd say Chile. It was just all round epic: where we were staying, the amazing views, the trails, the sunsets, the mountain range we were surrounded by, the anti grip and amount of dust, the unreal stage 2 that dropped 1800m+ over 11km ... As the first round of 2018 it certainly kicked off the season with a bang!

What are you planning for the off season

I've got a few things lined up, at the end of October I'll be riding from Land's End to John O Groats, which is roughly 1000 miles over 10 days! Hopefully I'll also be going to New Zealand a few months before the first EWS round in March. I'm pretty keen to get back training and work on my strength and fitness in preparation for next season too.

Any tips for aspirational EWS racers

Don't underestimate racing an EWS! Each round brings a new challenge, just stick at it and remember to have fun and enjoy riding your bike.

Favorite after race thing to do

Dance the night away. 

Nice work Matt and Martha, we are proud to have you on board!

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