While Joyride 2002 suffered a blow recently when the organizers of the Grouse Mountain World Cup cancelled both the downhill and four-cross events thereby limiting the amount of World Cup talent in the Whistler area on July 3 organizers recently learned that some of the top downhillers in the world still intend to be here.
In the mens race, Cedric Gracia of France who currently sits in second in the World Cup downhill rankings will give Whistler locals a run for their money.
The same goes for Australias Mick Hannah, a 19-year-old prospect who currently sits in 15 th .
From the emerging U.K. team, Will Longden, 27 th , and Scott Beaumont, 65 th , will be in Whistler.
Kirt Vories, 18 th , will be representing the U.S.
In the womens race, Anne-Caroline Chausson of France a three-time World Cup downhill champion and one of the most dominant riders in the world with 18 gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze since the beginning of the 2001 season has committed to Joyride.
"A lot of them bought their plane tickets at the start of the season and theyre coming out west anyway," said Paddy Kaye of Joyride Productions. "Theyre going to spend a week training, riding the park, and they plan on competing in Joyride, which is just a huge plus for us."
Other top riders are on the fence, and Kaye and his partner Chris Winter hope to announce several new names before the July 3 competition.
"With the Grouse event cancelled, that makes us one of the biggest events on the West Coast this year," said Kaye.
While the Canadian riders will have their hands full with the international competition, look for Dave Watson, Richie Schley, and the hard core riders from Vancouver and Whistler to have an impact.
The course is getting great reviews from riders with more passing opportunities and off-camber airs.
"Well do a few modifications to the track to add more elements for the racers and eye candy for the spectators," said Kaye.
In addition to the mens and womens pro categories, there are amateur and junior categories at Joyride.
Registration is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on race day, although there are a limited number of spaces and competitors are urged to sign up in advance through the Web site, www.worldfreeride.com. The course will be open for practice runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the qualifiers will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. there will be a bike stunt show over a gap jump. With 2,000 spectators at last years event, you might want to get there early to get a good spot with a view of the stunt jumping and the bikercross.
There is a competitors meeting from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the competition will run from 6 to 9 p.m. The after party at Garibaldi Lift Company starts at 10 p.m.