Last year Evan Wall rode, wrenched, and raced his way to a pro contract with Orbea in the inaugural season of Pinkbike Academy.
One year later, the BC-based 22-year old is heading off to Europe for the second round of the Enduro World Series; to meet and race with his new teammates on the Orbea FOX Enduro Team.
Race Face caught up with him for a day of suspension puzzling and riding on his local trails in Squamish, BC. to see where his head's at as he gets ready for his first European tour as a pro rider.
Q: You won PB academy and are now on a pro team, has that changed your outlook on riding?
A: My outlook has remained fairly similar, always having as much fun on the bike as possible! Now I just have more structure with the ways I ride and gym/nutrition to support it. That brings higher goals for myself and I get to ride more than ever!
Q: This being your first year on a training program, do you feel ready for racing? How has training helped you?
A: This full year on a training program has been amazing. Working on cardio and strength on bike and in the gym has helped a ton, especially because the pedally stages have always been my downfall. I’ve also changed my technique quite a bit to help myself through the corners and add consistency, which will be important coming into racing.
Q: You didn’t go to the first round of EWS? Why?
A: I missed out on the first round of EWS for a few reasons. One being at the time of booking everything, I would have had to do the Covid hotel and quarantine thing when I got back. Luckily that changed for all the people who did go over and coming home in between races wasn’t too difficult. With that in mind, we decided it would be good for me to race Trans BC and the first of the Canadian National Enduro Series. Unfortunately those got cancelled and pushed back.
Q: Did you feel like you were missing out and how did you keep your focus on training for a longer period?
A: I definitely felt like I was missing out a bit - the first couple races looked unreal and I would have loved to be there, but I made the most of the scenario and kept pushing on training, as well as getting on as many media and marketing projects as I could.
Q: What have you been up to other than riding/training this year?
A: Honestly that is about it! I was able to squeak in a trip back to the Interior BC for a week, getting to ride some of my favourite stuff there. I’ve been loving spending time on the moto this year as well, but have been riding that less as we close in on race season. I recently took up frolfing, which is a deadly down day activity. haha
Q: Being at home in Squamish, you’ve had the chance to ride with a ton of local pros like Remy Metailler? How was that?
A: It's pretty cool being surrounded by so many top level riders in the Sea to Sky Corridor. Remy had me come out and spend an evening shooting together for a Youtube video which was sweet to be a part of!
I’ve also spent a fair bit of time with fellow Orbea/Fox/Race Face rider, Geoff Gullevich, which is pretty unreal after watching him in all the bike films when I was growing up.
Q: Who has helped you the most getting acquainted with this “pro” lifestyle?
A: Geoff has definitely helped quite a bit with the behind the scenes/admin stuff. Christina Chappetta and Tom Bradshaw have also been helpful with that, and of course Blueprint for all the training structure.
Q: What is the most exciting part of heading to Europe to race? What are you looking forward to?
A: It’s hard to pick one most exciting thing! A big one is just to meet the whole team for the first time. I’ve just chatted over phone call/video so far so getting to know them in person will be great! Also getting back to racing is a given - it’s been a long time and I’m super excited to get back to it! The whole travel experience will be new to me as well. I did a very quick trip to Finale Ligure for Trophy of Nations in 2019, but other than that I haven't left North America. Seeing all the places, culture, and meeting new people is super exciting!
Q: Do you have any expectations going into racing in Europe?
A: That’s a tricky one to answer - I obviously want to do as good as possible and aim high. I haven't been around the EWS for a couple years now, and it looks like times have tightened up across the field. I plan to go over there, give it my all and learn as much as possible to take into the next season, where I think I’ll have a better gauge for this question. Let ‘er buck and time will tell, eh!
Let's Talk About your Bike
Q: Fork Setup – PSI, rebound, compression, etc. and why do you like it set up the way you do?
A: I’m running a 170mm Fox 38 on my Rallon. I’ve got 2 tokens, 186psi. I run rebound one or two clicks faster than recommended from FOX, and compression is pretty open.
This also changes with conditions and trail style. I run a faster rebound, softer tune in Squamish, where trails are slower and more technical, as opposed to somewhere like Revelstoke, where trails are faster with bigger compressions, so I will slow it down rebound, and stiffen it up a bit.
Q: Shock setup - same question.
I’ve gone back and forth from the DHX2 (coil) and Float X2 (air) and settled on the coil for supple top end and consistent feel on long descents. Currently a 450 spring, slightly faster rebound than FOX recommended, LSC slightly closed for support, and HSC quite open. Same as the fork, I will change this with conditions and tracks, but that is a good baseline for me.
Q: Bar width and rise?
A: I’m running the 20mm rise Turbine R bars, currently at 760mm. I ran 750 for years and this winter decided to try wider. I started at 775 and slowly bucked 'em down till I was happy again at 760.
Q: Crank length?
A: 175mm Turbine cranks. I need all the power I can get!
Q: Tire pressure? Are you running inserts?
A: It depends on conditions, temperature, etc, but a general tire pressure I start at is 28psi (R) and 23psi (F). I run an insert in the rear, but don’t love it in the front.
Q: Wheel choice - what do you have and what do you think?
A: I’ve been on the Turbine R all year and have been super happy with them! I’m a big fan of alloy wheels and they've held up great for me.
Q: Any other little notes that are specific to the way you set up your bike?
A: The only super notable thing about my setup is I’ve been running moto-style handguards lately. After smashing my knuckles a couple too many times I decided it was worth it, and don’t want to go back now.
Aside from protection clipping trees, I found they also protect the brake lever in a crash, keep your hands dry from wet branches, and (maybe) slightly warmer on cold, windy days.
Welcome to the RF family Evan and good luck in Europe! We’re rooting for you!