For 10 days, from July 22 to 30, Crankworx will make Whistler the epicentre of mountain biking, with the best riders from across Canada and B.C. taking on the top international riders in every kind of event imaginable; cross country, downhill, marathon downhill, super-D, trials, slopestyle, dirt jumping and more. More than $30,000 in cash prizes will be awarded over the course of the week, as well as the national downhill mountain bike title.
As in past festivals, Whistler will be well represented in most of the events.
On the mens side, the local to catch is Tyler Morland, who is defending his national downhill title this Sunday. He recently set another new record at the Mt. 7 Psychosis, and is riding as well as ever.
Still, he knows it wont be easy.
"Theres always pressure, when everyone wants to see you win again at least I do," he joked. "But really, there are tons of up and comers these days that are super fast and skilled. Every year I want to get better, but so do they. Theyre learning and so am I.
"I feel pretty good. I know the trail pretty well, although theyve flagged a new top section which is pretty awesome, its really fast and open."
Morland also has the added "curse of wearing the ugliest jersey in the world when Im at Canada Cups," he said, referring to the leaders jersey given to the national champion.
Not that hes blaming the jersey, but Morland has noticed that national downhill champions rarely repeat, but hopes to be able to pull it off with the home-course advantage.
"It makes a bit of a difference to be able to sleep at home, and to know the trails so well," he said.
If he wins Morland will also be guaranteed a spot on the national team for the UCI World Championships in New Zealand this September, which he says has been a goal this season.
"Winning the nationals would definitely meet the criteria for making the worlds, and I would love to go this year. Well see what happens."
Morland is sponsored by Cove Bikes, Sram, and Rock Shox, and also plans to race in the Air Downhill and Garbanzo Enduro at Crankworx.
Another strong local is Claire Buchar, who has been competing on the World Cup downhill circuit this summer. Shes pretty much guaranteed a spot on the national team as a result of the points shes earned, but still wants to win the national title.
As well as making herself and her sponsors happy, Buchar wants a solid performance at home to get back into the groove she feels she lost after her first race at Vigo, Spain.