The Crankworx Freeride Mountain Bike Festival got a lot bigger this year, with more events and attractions planned.
For the first time in its three years the festival has also branched out to include a cross-country race. And not just any race, but the fourth installment of the nationally sanctioned Canada Cup series, drawing riders from across the country and the U.S. looking to earn UCI points to qualify for the UCI World Cup and World Championships.
The course was set by Grant Lamont, president of WORCA and chief organizer of the annual Cheakamus Challenge. According to Lamont the Canada Cup course will be fast, with the top racers making four laps of a 8.5 km route that features short climbs, technical singletrack, and a few high-speed descents.
"Racers are going to hit 60 km/h on this course," promised Lamont.
The entire route will be within Lost Lake Park, starting and finishing at Spruce Grove Park. The map is online at www.crankworx.com , but generally the course follows Centennial, runs north to south on White Gold Traverse, and crosses over to the new singletrack Fountain of Love, the descent alongside Pinocchios Furniture, Dwarf Nebula, Zoot Allures, Toads of the Short Forest before heading back up Hydro Cut. From there the course follows the Siwash Trail towards the Green Lake Lookout, before dropping down the Green Lake Loop. After that its another singletrack climb up Jellyroll Gumdrop to Old Mill Road, and back to Spruce Grove.
Registration is open to the public, with age categories ranging from Under 15 Men and Women to Master 50-Plus Men Sport. There are also elite and expert categories available.
You can register in advance at www.karelo.com , or at the Crankworx registration centre in the Whistler Conference Centre starting on Wednesday, July 19. The course is open for inspection and training on Friday, July 21 and the race is on Saturday.
Crankworx also features the Canadian National Downhill Championship, which follows the national cross country championship this weekend at Sun Peaks. Training days are on July 21-12, and the race takes place on Sunday.
Similar categories are available to the public as the cross-country race, with the exception of the Under 15 group.
The course was also confirmed this week, and part of it is still under construction.
According to Seb Fremont of Whistler-Blackcombs events department, who is helping to coordinate the on-mountain Crankworx events, the upper section of the course will go straight down the Fantastik ski run on a new trail that is being built specifically for the race.
"The biggest reason is the excitement factor, to have something new and something different," said Fremont, "but also to create a high speed section for the course, which is kind of a new standard that were seeing all over the place."
The rest of the course is Rock City, the last section of Joyride, Monkey Hands, and the GLC Drop to the finish line.
The course for the Super D competition has also been comfirmed.
This is only the second time the bike park has hosted a Super D event, although the format is getting more and more popular with contests in the North Shore and at NORBA events. Basically its a long downhill race with uphill sections that tests fitness as well as riding ability.
The Super D training is on Monday, July 24 and the competition on Tuesday afternoon after another morning of training.
The course, according to Fremont, has been tested by several riders and should take an average of 20 minutes for riders to complete.
The start line is at Olympic Station, and riders will make a short climb up through the area that hosted the Jump Farm last season before descending under Garbanzo Chair to Easy Does It. From there riders will head to Golden Triangle and World Cup Singletrack before climbing back up the road. After that riders will head down a section of the Whistler Downhill Course, through Bones, and then climb back up the mountain road to an entrance of B-Line. After that its Monkey Hands to the GLC Drop.
Other events open to the public include the Jim Beam Air Downhill on Wednesday, the Nissan Biker X on Friday, and the Garbanzo Enduro Downhill Competition on Sunday. The qualifier for the Kokanee Slopestyle competition is sold out.
For more information on the events visit www.crankworx.com. Registration for events is at www.karelo.com.