With a week to go before the CrankWorx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival, registration is strong for the four open events the Air Downhill down A-Line, the Garbanzo Downhill from the top of the Garbanzo zone to the village, the Nissan Boneyard Biker X, and the B.C. Downhill Championships.
"We expect to get most of our registrations in a day or an hour before the events, but we were surprised to see how many we did get in advance this year, probably because it was cheaper to register," said Karen Hoover, the event administrator for IMG Action Sports. "Right now were looking at close to a hundred riders in each event, so were off to a good start."
The only invitational event in the CrankWorx Festival, which runs from July 22 to 25, is the Siemens Mobile Slopestyle Expression Session, which will take place at the base of Whistler Mountain on a wide range of jumps and stunts including what could only be described as the worlds largest teeter-totter.
Construction on the jumps and stunts for the slopestyle is already underway, and work began this week on the biker cross course to add new sections.
"We like to think that were on schedule, which is good," said Rob McSkimming, the managing director of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
"Were pretty focused on getting all of the various courses ready because we know were working on a very tight schedule to pull off five events in four days. We have to get courses marked, cleared, set up timing, put up barriers, there are a lot of logistics."
Trail crews are also building a new section of trail for the downhill course that will be used in the B.C. Championships "to help it flow better," said McSkimming.
The bikercross and slopestyle courses are also getting some input from pro riders with World 4X Champion Brian Lopes of the U.S. helping set up the bikercross and freeriders Richie Schley and Wade Simmons advising on the design and construction of stunts for the slopestyle.
"Some of the best guys in the world are working to get this ready," McSkimming said.
Twenty-one riders pre-qualified for the main event on Saturday night, and at least five more riders will be added to that list from the qualifier on Friday.
Riders in Qualifier
Some of the athletes that competed last year, including past champion Darren Berrecloth of Vancouver, cant compete this year due to injuries.
Hoover says strong fields are registering for the other events in CrankWorx. Cedric Gracia, the winner of last years bikercross events, will be here to defend his title.
For schedules, registration and more details, visit the Web site at www.crankworx.com.