Richie Rude Interview
Posted : 21/04/2017
Richie Rude is the most successful Elite male Enduro World Series competitor, having won the series back to back in both 2015 and 2016. This year see’s Richie’s fifth year riding Renthal components and we wanted to get to know a little more about his training, racing and bike set-up;
How would describe yourself, in four words, when the race clock starts?
Focused yet unfocused. Bikes!
And how would you describe yourself off the bike, again in four words?
I like caffeine, friends
Having won the EWS for the last two years, you’re obviously the favourite coming into the 2017 season. Can you tell us a little about your training regime, preparing for this year?
My Training program is probably like any others, I work with Todd Schumlick from PerformX. We work together to make a schedule that works, usually a good mix of just getting out on the bike as much as I can and a couple gym workouts a week.
And how do you fill your time in between training sessions?
By trying not to tell myself I don’t need to be riding that second. I enjoy time by myself or with the girlfriend. I keep it pretty simple.
Most people know you as the current Enduro World Champion and as an incredibly successful Enduro athlete, but you’ve had considerable success racing DH. Notably becoming Junior World Champion in 2013. Can you tell us about your decision to switch to racing Enduro full time in 2014?
For me at that point I was ok with moving away from downhill and starting fresh with Enduro. Yeti was considering moving their program to fully support Jared Graves at the Enduro World Series, and wondered if I was interesting in doing the same. It didn’t take me long to make a choice and I went with it. I ride my trail bike at home all the time, so it only made sense to race that. Plus, the thought of being able to ride my bike all day at races made the change worth it.
It’s obvious you still have the speed to race downhill. Do you think you’ll ever be tempted to race at World level again, and do you miss racing World Cup DH?
I have thought about this a lot and am curious to see how I would go at a world cup. I was very tempted to try and qualify to World Champs this year in Cairns.
2016 was an incredible year for you, with four EWS victories from eight rounds, being crowned the EWS champion and taking the lead of overall EWS stage wins from Jared Graves, with 31 in total. What was the highlight of the season for you?
Highlight for me this season was racing the final stage in Whistler, top of the world. What started as a horrible day turned into a great one. I had no clue where I was sitting in the GC for the day, I was just out riding my bike that stage trying to get the win. Crossing the finish line and moving into the number one place in the GC was the greatest feeling.
The conditions at EWS#1 looked terrible for you late running, seeded riders, which unquestionably affected the final results. Can you describe your experience of the New Zealand event?
Rotorua, NZ... Rain, mud, and peanut butter (not the kind you put on a sandwhich). I had high expectations going in Rotorua, but they were quickly shut down by the pouring rain as Damion Oton and I pedalled to stage one. For me starting last, I got the worst end of it all, I just rode and got through it the best I could and that’s all I could do. Better to keep fighting than to give up. I might not be the best in the mud but I still went for it. The day turned around a fair bit for stages 6 and 7, which weren’t plagued by deep mud and ruts. I was happy to come out of that race mechanical and injury free, it was a win for me.
You’re into your fifth year with Renthal now. Can you tell us about the Renthal set-up you are using and if you’ve changed anything for 2017?
This year I have made the move up to 35mm diameter bars. All of 2016 I ran Renthal Fatbar Lite Carbons 30mm rise at 740mm. It was my go to setup up for the past 2 years. Moving to the 35mm bars now allows me to get 750mm in length with it pretty spot on for me! Depending on bikes I run a 50 or 60mm stem.
You use a fairly narrow bar for your build and compared to the majority of riders. Can you tell us what width you use and the reasons behind this?
I now run 750mm width thanks to the 35mm bars. It all started my first year racing enduro, we were in Scotland for one of the rounds. I quickly found out that 780mm bars don’t fit so well through tight trees, although I liked the wide setup my knuckles did not. After that race I sized down the to Fatbar Lites to give me added clearance around trees and they’ve been perfect ever since. I personally think they feel wide sometimes!
And finally, what advice would you give to people getting into the sport of Enduro?
The best piece of advice I can give is to just go out and have fun. Enjoy the weekend or day of racing like any other day out on the trails. But this time you’ve really got to beat your friends on the stages. Get out and ride your bike!
Additional question – Post EWS#2; Can you tell us about your race in Australia?
Once again we had a race in the rain! The dirt is Tasmania held up a lot better than that in Rotorua. I turned my day around once again and pulled through to end up 4th! A happy finish compared to the 20th of Rotorua. The tracks I thought were more my style so I was excited to get out and race, it was a bit tough for me in some of the slow moving mud sections, but none the less a great hill to race on. Just wish it didn’t rain all day!