From the opening Phat Tire Crit to the closing Canadian Open DH, Crankworx Whistler is simply the biggest mountain bike festival in the world with the prize purse — $175,000 this year — to prove it.
As always, there are a few new things this year as well as some familiar events that have become fixtures since the first four-day Crankworx freeride festival in 2004.
Phat Tire Crit — aug 10
This is technically the second year for this spectator-friendly race, although it's really a throwback to years ago when the Village Stroll was taken over for a fat tire race over the cobblestones. The new venue at Whistler Olympic Plaza makes for an incredible spectator experience as riders hammer out laps of a short 800-metre course that includes a mix of cobblestone, asphalt and gravel. There are a few tight corners and a chicane, as well as a raised start/finish platform that makes things interesting.
The event is open to everyone, with both Pro and Open categories and a cap of 80 riders per category. Riders will start together in a group and officials will pull off slow riders over the course of the race until just five riders remain for the last three-to-five laps. The men will race for 20 minutes plus five laps, the women for 15 minutes plus three laps.
The top male and female will each earn $1,000, with $600 for second, $400 for third, $300 for fourth and $200 for fifth. As well, there are five Prime Cash Grabs available for the top riders on select laps that will be announced by the ringing of a bell. Entry is $30 and everyone can take part.
The warm-up is at 5:30 p.m. and the racing gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Live music will take to the plaza stage at 7:45 p.m. with the Young Empires, followed by the Arkells at 8:45 p.m.
Last year the wins went to U.S. rider Brian Lopes and Katherine Short from the Sunshine Coast.
Canadian Open Enduro — Aug. 11
The Canadian Open Enduro has been redesigned this year as one of the official stops on the North American Enduro Tour. The competition includes four timed downhill sections, which the competitors reach by biking uphill to the start. The climbs are not timed, but racers do have to reach the timing stations within a set period of time.
The first course is Crank It Up (upper and lower sections) in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The second course is in Lost Lake Trail, starting just after the first bridge on Central Scrutinizer. It also features Treacherous Cretins, Toads of the Short Forest, Gee I Like Your Pants, Son of Mr. Green Genes, and Jelly Roll Gum Drop. Course three has riders climbing up Blackcomb and includes Golden Boner, Roam in the Loam, and the Magic Trails back to the base of Blackcomb. Stage four includes a gondola ride to the Roundhouse and another lift ride to the peak of Whistler Mountain. It features the new Top of the World trail to Highway 86 and the descent down No Joke, a climb up to Little Alder, descents on Expressway, Too Tight, Angry Pirate and Samurai Pizza Cat, a climb back up B Line to Colbeck's Rock, and the descent down Lower Whistler Downhill, Lower Hornet and the GLC Drops.