Crankworx 2009 got off to a flying start at the third annual Dual Slalom on Saturday night. The course was the best ever, according to racers, with tight corners, a variety of jump sequences, rhythm sections and more.
The format was the same as past years, with riders going head to head in two heats, one in each lane. The rider with the lowest combined time would advance to the next round.
The pro men's category ended with a showdown between Kyle Strait and Brian Lopes, with Strait sneaking a few pedals into his run and generating a little more speed than Lopes in some of the corners.
"I just rode as fast and as smooth as I could," said Strait. "You can't think too much about the race, you need to just ride. It's awesome to get a good result like this."
Strait is one of the top all around riders in biking, equally comfortable in a downhill as he is in a freeride slopestyle contest.
Johannes Fischbach edged out Neko Mulally in the small final to take third.
Jill Kinter won the women's dual over Fionn Griffiths, while Melissa Buhl edged out B.C.'s Micayla Gatto in the battle for third place.
In the junior men's race Luciano Worl topped Bernard Karr for the top spot, with Troy Brosnan besting Austin Aldrich for third place. Whistler's Ian Morrison took a run at the title but was edged out by Worl in the quarter finals. Nick Geddes also qualified, but was eliminated in the round of 16.
The boy's (under 16) category went to Noah Brousseau, followed by Alexander Geddes of Whistler. Brennan Walstrom was third, edging out Andrew Doraty.
Ryan Howard won the senior men's (age 19 to 29) race followed by Dylan Dunkerton, Peter Matthews and Bob Jones.
Carter Holland won Master Men (age 30-plus), followed by Jason Halverson, Andew Gunn and Jason Carpenter.
Just two senior women raced, with Jessica Vogt outpacing Anita Naidu in two races.
The Monster Energy Garbanzo Downhill is one of the longest downhill races in the world and arguably one of the toughest. Top to bottom the course is over 1,000 metres, with everything from high-speed machine-built trails to fall-line singletrack, wooden ramps sections to rock faces and drops.
This year the course included the top of Original Sin (including the short climb), Blue Velvet, In Deep, Container, No Joke/Duffman, World Cup Singletrack, Ho Chi Min, Longhorn and Monkey Hands.
World Cup leader and past Garbanzo champion Sam Hill of Australia was the favourite, but ended his day in third place. Justin Leov of New Zealand took the title in 13 minutes, 44.55 seconds, followed by Australian Chris Kovarik in 13:46.61.
The top Canadian was North Shore rider Steve Smitch in seventh place, over 32 seconds back of Leov.
Squamish's own Miranda Miller placed first in the women's race in 16:32.32, almost four seconds ahead of French rider Emmeline Ragot. Kathy Pruitt was third in 16:52.64, over 20 seconds off the pace.
From Whistler, Katrina Strand was seventh, Kari Mancer eighth and Beth Parsons 12 th .
The Junior Men's category came down to a gap of just 0.16 seconds, with Whistler's Tyler Allison finishing behind Luke Stevens. Their times were 14:47.58 and 14:47.74 respectively, with Cameron Woods placing third in 15:04.29. Nick Geddes of Whistler was seventh.
In the boys' category, Anthony Marino of the U.S. placed first in 16:24.21, followed by Brennan Walstrom in 16:33.26 and Kip Shortreed in 16:35.93.
In senior men, Gerard Wolfe of Ireland placed first in 14:19.90, almost 16 seconds ahead of Jared Wilson of Australia. Daniel Wolfe, also of Ireland, was third in 14:43.02.
Steve Murphy of New Zealand topped the Master Men's race in 14:54.79, followed by Joel Robinson of Australia in 15:09 and the U.K.'s Danny Milner in 15:26.31.
Whistler's Todd Hellinga cracked the top 10 in eighth place, finishing in 15:39.76.
The senior women's race went to Celina Moore in 16:57.03, over a minute ahead of Carolyn Kavanagh. Jamie Hill was third.