Rain Check: Crankworx Joyride Practice

Here's the practice that makes it perfect

Photos by Anthony Smith and Bruno Long
Words by Brice Minnigh

With thousands of frothing fans lining the lower hill of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the Crankworx Joyride practice on Saturday afternoon, Mother Nature rained on their parade. Literally.

But even though the main event was postponed until 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 16, the fans who showed up early to watch the world’s best slopestyle riders practice their runs were treated to quite a spectacle.

Here are some of the afternoon’s most brilliant moments:

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The fans were gassed up and ready to shred, but a combination of ill-timed rain and the inability of the organizers to lay down tarps on the course before the sun returned caused them to settle for a rain check. Photo by Bruno Long.

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Just as the gathering of fans had reached critical mass, Mother Nature sent them packing like a flock of sheep running from a hungry pack of wolves. Photo by Bruno Long.

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Perhaps the only person in Whistler who was happy that Joyride was postponed was Brett Rheeder, who has been battling with an untimely stomach illness that rendered him bed-ridden for the 24 hours leading up to the event. This, the third Crankworx slopestyle contest of the series, would earn him the Triple Crown of Slopestyle and a $75,000 check if he were to win. Photo by Anthony Smith.

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Italian Testa Torquato was the only rider to drop into the slopestyle course for an official run on Saturday. Here’s a view from the ground up. Photo by Bruno Long.

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Paul Genovese was looking forward to throwing down for his home crowd, but it looks like he’ll have to wait until Sunday to pull out all the stops. Photo by Anthony Smith.

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With the Crankworx Whistler Joyride competition delayed due to rain, the riders had little to do but think about their lines. And for the always-focused Brandon Semenuk, this is an integral part of his pre-run ritual. Photo by Anthony Smith.

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And Semenuk was able to show the fans the result of his focus and mental foreshadowing. Photo by Anthony Smith.

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Reflections of what might have been if the Red Bull organizers had the foresight to lay tarps on the course at the first sight of rain. Photo by Bruno Long.

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Frenchman Louis Reboul was looking comfortable during his Joyride practice runs. Photo by Anthony Smith.

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Sacre Bleu! This is what it looks like when two Frenchmen and a Belgian realize that the spoils of the day belong to Mother Nature. Thomas Genon, Gani Mehdi and Louis Reboul share a quintessentially French existential moment. Photo by Anthony Smith.

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This is what the Bike staff considers a ‘puddle jumper’. Photo by Bruno Long.

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The clock struck for the opening of the Crankworx Whistler Joyride, but after the first run the hourglass had to be tilted again. Photo by Bruno Long.

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Try to flip-whip through this. Or not. Photo by Bruno Long.

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The excited fans waited for as long as they could bear, but, like the Wicked Witch of the West, the rains eventually melted the crowd away. Photo by Bruno Long.