There is now literally something for every type of mountain bike rider at this year's Crankworx freeride mountain bike festival, with the announcement in the past week of the Kokanee Crankworx and Monster Energy Ultimate Pump Track Challenge and Richie's Ride.
The schedule already includes several downhill races (Air Downhill and Canadian Open), an endurance downhill race (Garbanzo DH), an up-and-down enduro race (Canadian Open Enduro), a cross-country race (Ken Quon and B.C. Cup), slaloms (a dual slalom and giant slalom), a jump contest (VW Trick Showdown and CamelBak Karaoke Jump Jam) and a slopestyle competition (Monster Energy Slopestyle), but there was room for more.
Monster Energy Pump Track Challenge
Pump tracks are popping up everywhere these days. If you've never seen one, a pump track is a loop that is filled with bumps, dips and berms that you navigate without pedaling - instead, you pump your arms and legs to move your bike around the course.
It's a skill that takes a while to learn but that most pro cyclists swear by as a way to build strength, endurance and technique. Even a few minutes of pumping is usually enough to tire most people - and that's on a regular pump track and specially designed pump track bike with 20-inch wheels.
The Crankworx competition on Aug. 11-12 takes that concept to the next level at a special course being constructed on the flats at the top of the Boneyard.
"With a bell ring and knuckle-knock start, riders will drop and chase each other through a 20- to 25-second course chock full of berms, doubles and gaps," explained Jeremy Roche, general manager of Kokanee Crankworx. "This is going to be one intense show."
To make things a little more challenging the contest is only open to bikes with 26-inch wheels, which makes it a little more physically demanding.
There will be a pre-Crankworx competition this Sunday, July 25 for two wildcard spots, one male and one female. They will be added to the list of 60 men and 25 women who will face off in the time trial. The finals during Crankworx get underway with a time trial before moving into head-to-head racing, with 32 men and eight women moving into the brackets.
You can also register online to compete at www.crankworx.com.
Richie's Rally Vertical Challenge
The Canadian Open Enduro is a super D-style race that combines a few short and punchy climbs with downhill riding. Richie's Rally, hosted by mountain bike freeriding innovator Richie Schley, is the same general idea taken to a completely different level.
It's really three races in one - three tough climbs to three tough descents on Whistler's west side. The names of the trails will be kept secret before the race to prevent wear and tear, but riders can expect to see trails like Billy's Epic, Cheap Thrills, High Society, Industrial Disease, etc.
Riders will take on the climbs and descents one at a time, and will have a set amount of time to get from the finish of one descent to the start of the next climb. Only the climb and descents will be timed and times will be added up to determine the overall winners in each category.
The ride will be tough and the number of riders is being capped at 150. As well, profits from the event will go towards the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association to help fund their trail maintenance work.
The event is set for Saturday, Aug. 14, before the slopestyle event.
More information about registration and start times will be posted online this week. Visit www.richieschley.com.
Cheakamus Challenge race director Grant Lamont, who is helping to organize the event, is also posting information online at www.whistlerbikeguide.com.