The EWS started a Trail of the Year award this year to reward the builders of the stages raced throughout the year. With the honours going to one of our own from Derby, Detonate which was Stage 2 there back in April. Words below from EWS and the main trail builder, Ryan de la Rue from World Trail.

Words & Photos: Enduro World Series

If you’ve ever wondered what goes into the creation of an Enduro World Series race stage, that’s an easy answer – a lot of hard work. Which is why the EWS has created a new award to recognise the people behind the scenes who wield the tools that create the trails we love to see raced. The Trail of the Year Award presented by Specialized will be voted for by the riders and team managers who have been at every round in 2017, with the winning trail builders awarded $2000 to go to a trail association or charity of their choice, and all the nominees will be given a Trail Boss tool as well.

Bryan Regnier threading the needle through the giant rock slabs.

Trail Builders: Main designers were Rhys Atkinson, Max Connor and myself, Ryan De La Rue. 

Trail Distance: The new section of trail was about 700m and shoots into Flickety Sticks which is about 1.6 km long.

How long did it take to build: The Detonate trail took a day to explore the natural rock features and link them up, then flag the alignment for approval. Once construction started it took 2 weeks to cut in. The lower half of the trail, Flickety Sticks, was built in early 2015 and took roughly 4 weeks to build.

Hours of Labour: Just Detonate itself took about 240 man hours to cut in by hand. That’s not including Flickety Sticks which was machine built.

Did it get built for the EWS: Detonate, which is the top half of the stage was specifically built for the EWS, we decided to take advantage of some of the extra elevation and natural features above the existing trail – Flickety Sticks.

Was it volunteer built: All the trails in the Blue Derby network have been professionally designed and built by World Trail.

How many people were involved: We had a 3 man team building the trail, it was all hand built so some sections were easier where we scraped lines on the massive granite rock slabs. Other sections required some heavy work moving rocks in to place by using hand winches and chain slings.

How did it impact the town: Detonate has added a new flavor of trail to the Blue Derby network, it has some very raw natural features and is one of the few advanced black trails.  Where as Flickety Sticks is a perfect intermediate trail that allows beginner riders get up to speed and really start feeling some flow.

The dam at Derby, the site of a tragic devastation to the town almost a century ago.

What was your inspiration: We were inspired by the massive granite rock slabs and boulders we found while exploring the hill side. We had a high point we needed to start at that had an amazing view of the Derby township and a finish point on Flickety Sticks where we wanted to join in. We aimed to challenge racers with the natural rock features and left a lot of the corners raw so the riders them selves would define the ride lines.  We were really stoked to be able to incorporate the unique gap between two massive boulders that was only just wide enough for handlebars to squeeze through.

Hardest part: We winched some massive rocks to allow us to make natural boulder lines rideable.  We pushed our hand winch to its limits but there’s always a huge sense of satisfaction when the crew moves massive rocks in to a rideable line.  All the trails specifically built for the EWS were hand built and were incredibly physical on the crew but we were all so stoked to be building trails for the worlds best to come and enjoy.

Describe trail in your own words: Detonate starts up on a ridge overlooking Derby, a few pedal strokes in and your pointing straight down a massive granite rock slab that’s slightly off camber and has you guessing whether or not your tires are going to grip or slip.  You get catapulted off the slab into some trademark World Trail whoops before hitting a couple of nice loose flat corners.  You then have to keep your eyes up while picking your way over a bunch of natural boulders and loose right corners.  Then you turn down in to the signature feature of the trail, the handle bar width chute that gets you stressing about scraping your pinky fingers off. A few more tight steep corners then spit you out on to the Flickety Sticks trail where you can pedal and pump your way down some sweet Derby style flow.

Sam Hill in practice over the rocks of Detonate