The second annual Crankworx freeride mountain bike festival is ready to roll from Aug. 3 to 7, with all of the popular events from last year and previous summer mountain bike festivals returning to Whistler.
The main event once again is the invitational Slopestyle, in which the biggest names in mountain biking battle it out in the Boneyard at the base of Whistler, hitting built up table jumps, gap jumps, and huge stunts like bridge drops, giant teeter totters and the quarterpipe. Whistler is the first mountain to hold this kind of event, which combines the best of mountain biking and BMX.
The Slopestyle will wrap up the festival on Saturday. Invitations will go out to the top freeriders in the sport, and a qualifying event will be held on a smaller course. Last years winner, sometimes BMX rider Paul Basagoitia, won the event with a run that included a backflip onto the scaffolding and a tailwhip off onto the transition.
Other events to watch for are the fifth annual Air Downhill, which will be a little longer this year. The route will follow Freight Train from the Garbanzo Zone, which will become A-Line at Olympic Station. The total vertical is over 3,400 feet, with 200 tables, drops, berms and other features on the way down to Whistler Village.
Another event back for a fifth year is the Nissan Biker Cross, featuring some of the top World Cup four-cross racers, a Jump Jam in the new Kona Jump Farm, the Enduro Downhill, which combines downhill and cross-country riding, a kids race in the village and a WORCA race.
Off the saddle, the events include a mountain bike industry expo, and an outdoor film screen showing the top mountain bike movies during the course of the festival. Other attractions will be announced as the event draws nearer.
"This years Crankworx will be bigger, better and more exciting than ever with the additions and improvements that have been made to the events and to the courses," said freeride pioneer and biker cross and slopestyle course builder Richie Schley. "Competitors will have their minds blown once again by Whistlers ability to continually push the limits of the sport and encourage progression every day."
Crankworx got off to a shaky start this year after organizers couldnt find an agent to produce the event because of sponsorship conflicts. The Whistler Events Bureau, which includes Whistler-Blackcomb, the municipality and Tourism Whistler, will organize this years event in-house.
Eric Fremont, who organizes on-mountain events for Whistler-Blackcomb, will head up the 2005 Organizing Committee for Crankworx, using resources from WEB members.
"Its an exciting opportunity to take on this leading role in Crankworx," said Fremont. "In its short history Crankworx has gained a loyal following in the mountain bike community and has set a high benchmark in the action sports industry. As well, the crowds in attendance last year show that the sport captures the kind of spectator interest necessary to secure long-term sponsorship to ultimately ensure the success of the event."
The website is at www.crankworx.com.