Inaugural ‘Taurine-Free Classic’ Helps Shake Off Crankworx Jitters

Bike magazine and Anthill Films Kick Off Week With Squamish Shred Session

Words by Brice Minnigh
Photos by David Reddick and Anthony Smith

Crankworx is indeed an exhilarating festival. But it is also an exhausting one, especially for the haggard members of the Mountain Bike Press Corps. With so many contests and product launches to cover, we can scarcely find time to actually ride bikes.

Just imagine our frustration. The entire Bike staff has traveled all the way from Southern California, happily leaving behind our dry-and-dusty hometown trails, yet being unable to enjoy some of BC’s finest singletrack?

Enough was enough. We could no longer spend our days simply watching other people ride. It was time to rise up and revolt, to liberate ourselves from the fetters of global taurine domination. It was time to leave the Red Bollocks and the Big Green Monster behind. It was time to head to Squamish for a ride with some of our buddies.

After making a few key phone calls to Matt Hunter, Wade Simmons and our friends at Anthill Films, our plans quickly fell into place. Together, we would introduce our inaugural ‘Taurine-Free Classic’ (known colloquially as the ‘TFC’).

The rules for the TFC were simple. We would do things that we never do at Crankworx.

1. We would actually ride our own bikes on sweet singletrack.
2. We would drink water.
3. We would not drink taurine-infused beverages.
4. We would ride bikes with a maximum of six inches of travel.
5. We would climb as well as descend.
6. We would wear half helmets so that we could breathe.
7. We would not wait in lift lines.
8. We would use the words ‘bro,’ ‘brah’ and ‘broseph’ sparingly, if at all.
9. We would ridicule each other mercilessly, as all good friends should do.
10. We would end the ride with a generous selection of British Columbia’s finest beer.

The turnout for the first-ever TFC was phenomenal, with arguably too many people for a smooth ride, yet the day transpired without a single mechanical or crash of significance. The six members of our own staff were joined by Hunter, Simmons, photographer Dan Barham and three people from Anthill Films: Ian Dunn, filmer Darcy Wittenburg and their production assistant, Diana Brucculieri.

Some sacrifices were made to attend.

Simmons’ wife, Lisa, was due to have their second baby at any moment, yet granted the Godfather a multi-hour trail pass.

Meanwhile, Hunter had just finished a strenuous pre-dawn ride with the likes of Thomas Vanderham, Kenny Smith and Adam Billinghurst, yet somehow managed to stave off the need for sleep just long enough to finish the TFC.

Until next year, here are some highlights from our debut TFC:

Fresh from their recent Afghanistan expedition, Matt Hunter and Brice Minnigh reminisce about their shared love for yaks during the drive to Squamish. Photo: David Reddick

Fresh from their recent Afghanistan expedition, Matt Hunter and Brice Minnigh reminisce about their shared love for yaks during the drive to Squamish. Photo: David Reddick

Some of Squamish’s finest trails end in the back yard of Anthill Films’ own Darcy Wittenburg. #notbad Photo: David Reddick

Some of Squamish’s finest trails end in the back yard of Anthill Films’ own Darcy Wittenburg. #notbad Photo: David Reddick

After just a few days of Crankworx debauchery, even the shortest climbs in Squamish can feel like a death march. Photo: David Reddick

After just a few days of Crankworx debauchery, even the shortest climbs in Squamish can feel like a death march. Photo: David Reddick

Wade Simmons and Matt Hunter were obviously unhappy with the climbing pace set by Wittenburg. Photo: David Reddick

Wade Simmons and Matt Hunter were obviously unhappy with the climbing pace set by Wittenburg. Photo: David Reddick

Simmons’ own trail dog, Mango, clearly got his descending skills from the Godfather…. Photo: Anthony Smith

Simmons’ own trail dog, Mango, clearly got his descending skills from the Godfather…. Photo: Anthony Smith

Who needs taurine when you’ve got a 29er? Even though it was his second big ride of the day, Hunter still had plenty of taurine-free energy. Photo: David Reddick

Who needs taurine when you’ve got a 29er? Even though it was his second big ride of the day, Hunter still had plenty of taurine-free energy. Photo: David Reddick

But keeping on top of those wagon wheels can eventually wear down even the strongest of riders. Photo: Anthony Smith

But keeping on top of those wagon wheels can eventually wear down even the strongest of riders. Photo: Anthony Smith

Photographer Dan Barham enjoys the view from the other side of the lens. Photo: David Reddick

Photographer Dan Barham enjoys the view from the other side of the lens. Photo: David Reddick

Anthony Smith attempted to make Minnigh look Hunteresque over the roots, but in the end it was a lost cause. Photo: David Reddick

Anthony Smith attempted to make Minnigh look Hunteresque over the roots, but in the end it was a lost cause. Photo: David Reddick

Wittenburg’s older son, Max, shows off his comprehensive kid-bike quiver while we enjoyed a selection of BC’s best beers. Cheers, Darcy. Photo: Anthony Smith

Wittenburg’s older son, Max, shows off his comprehensive kid-bike quiver while we enjoyed a selection of BC’s best beers. Cheers, Darcy. Photo: Anthony Smith

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