Danielle Beecroft's decision to ride a downhill bike in the 100% Dual Slalom on Aug. 17 caught more than a few people off-guard.
But when she ended Jill Kintner's five-year run of dominance in the event using a heavier steed as opposed to a lighter trail bike, she surprised herself to an extent as well.
"I just thought, 'I'm going to come out here, have fun and see what happens,'" she said. "I took my downhill bike to see how it goes, and it paid off."
On a day where conditions on-course were changing regularly, riding the downhill bike gave Beecroft a sense of consistency as she topped Clare Hamilton and Kialani Hines before facing Kintner and taking the win by 0.54 seconds.
"It ripped up so well. I had no troubles anywhere. I felt comfortable, so downhill bike all the way," she said.
The British rider knew she was up against a formidable opponent in Kintner, but acknowledged she wasn't aware how steady Kintner had been in the dual slalom.
"I didn't even know that it was five in a row, so I feel bad now," Beecroft said with a chuckle. "I think it was the downhill bike (that made the difference). I honestly do."
Beecroft said she enjoyed the course, but reported, like many other riders, that one lane ran roughly 1.5 seconds slower than the other.
"One was 10 times faster," she said, adding that being in the slower lane made her instinctively push harder.
Kintner, meanwhile, was less disappointed in the dual slalom loss than in the pump-track defeat the night prior, though she clinched the Queen of Crankworx title with the 100 points she earned there.
"I had a pretty good run (in the final). I just pushed my front end into the corner and she had extra motivation on a downhill bike," Kintner said. "I'm not going to pout about it, to be honest. It was kind of hard mentally to be here today. After you win the overall, you just want to sleep in."
Kintner agreed with Beecroft that her downhill ride choice was a major factor.
"You never felt quite comfortable on the corner (on a trail bike). That's the tires. You don't need a lot of acceleration, you just need good momentum on your side," she said.
In the small final, Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands knocked off Hines.
In the men's race, 2009 dual slalom winner Kyle Strait took his first Crankworx gold medal in four years.
"Winnin' is bitchin'," said Strait, who knocked off Mitch Chubey, Iago Garay, Luca Cometti and defending champion Tomas Slavik en route the final. "It was a hard one. The course kept changing throughout the entire day. It was super rocky and dry and then it got tacky, then it was slippery and wet. This afternoon, it was getting really rough up there, so you would ride as fast as you could but tone it down in certain sections."
Strait's SoCal neighbour, Austin "Bubba" Warren, took second in the slalom after falling on his first run of the championship.
"We both know what we can do, so it's stressful," Warren said of Strait. "I came in and just gave it a little too much sauce in the corner. I can't really learn from the mistakes. I was just giving too much."
Even though he qualified in first, he took nothing for granted early on against the defending King of Crankworx.
"The round of 16 was a little bit stressful because I was up against Adrien Loron. Last night, we had a really close one in pump track (won by Loron) so coming in and being confident with my speed (was important)," he said. "I did that and got through the round of 16."
Slavik topped Bas Van Steenbergen in the small final.