News of the Tweet: Crankworxed

Mayhem, organizational deftness and a strict shirts-off policy


By Seb Kemp

Today feels like the morning of Christmas day but also like Santa Claus and his sled drove over me. Full of happy memories but physically beaten down, coffee and quiet is the only thing that will bring me down from this high and raise up my body from the grave.

Why? Crankworx is why.

For the past ten days (and nights) Whistler, BC held its annual rave-cum-festival for 26” revelry (other wheel sizes don’t party, they just sit at the back on the couch nodding along to the tunes, sipping coolers, wishing they could have as much fun as everyone else). Crankworx is arguably the best event in mountain biking. And if you agree with this statement, you probably agree that it is better by a very long way.

It has everything: door shutting races, chapter opening freeride events, beer lairyness, summertime fairness, and plenty of girls come up from the Lower Mainland to present their top and bottom nakedness to anyone with a hint of an energy-drink deal. Many companies bring their wares to showcase to the public, there is a cheese-rolling contest, cooling lakes to wash the dust from pores, mega screens blazing the action from the mountain to the plaza at the bottom, and this year, even live webcasts of almost all the events.

Many mountain bike events look like village fetes in comparison to Crankworx. This is the real deal, 100-percent genuine pinnacle event for mountain biking. Sure, there might not be a week long randonneuring event or unicycle owners club swap-meet, or a cyclocross race for transvestites, but this event caters to a lot of peoples’ passion, and probably triggers a lifetime of passion for many more. You see, it is not just mountain bikers that travel Highway 99 to get free Clif bars and their forks serviced. An estimated 25,000 people turned up for the Red Bull Joyride Slopestyle event last Saturday alone and any look around the crowd would tell you that a lot of these people aren’t mountain bikers. Yet.

Anyway, with social media buzzing around the event I figure it would be good to have a brief look back at some of the stories behind the stories.

First up, Brian Lopes is the most winningest man at Crankworx. He has probably won every single event at some point or another, maybe even slopestyle back in the jurassic era when dog leggers could rack up points. This year he failed to win anything. However, take a moment to look at this POV training video of him ripping A-Line a new one. It looks sped up.

Each year Hecklers Rock is the funniest and most intimidating spot on the whole planet. After witnessing it again this year I would think that perhaps I’d feel more comfortable if I was cruising down Kandahar high street on a scooter wearing just stars and bars boxer shorts or diving amongst sharks with crabsticks in my underpants. Made up of 45 percent Australians, 45 percent Kiwis and 10 percent party drunks who stumbled across the madness while sniffing out someway of keeping Saturday night rolling on for a few more hours, Hecklers Rock is a scene. Half naked men and women drown themselves in beer while chanting, jeering and leering at the racers of the Canadian Open DH (largest prize purse in DH racing, FYI), goading the people on the chairlift to perform sexual acts on each other or just singling out anyone with ginger hair, or boobs, or rainbow stripes for group therapy.

The crowd is one. One voice and a single, continuous vuvuzela blast that shares a hive mind. There is only way to satisfy the angry, hungry crowd and that is to crash or to skull a beer. Duncan Riffle won the hearts of the crowd by stopping mid race run to down a beer on Hecklers Rock.

The only rule of Hecklers Rock is “SHIRTS OFF ON THE ROCK”. Classy presenter lady, Jordan Whitley, would not obey the crowd but somehow her pillowy lips and silky hair saved her from the crowd.

Yeah, right.

The second most infamous event at Crankworx is the Whip Off Worlds which this year went semi-official. Last year half-man, half-hurricane Sven Martin ‘organized’ a jam format contest on Crabapple Hits (biggest bike park jump line anywhere?) in which riders had to try and fold themselves inside out while going 60km/h over 40-foot jumps. This year the jumps were bigger and Sven Martin, while still in charge, found himself responsible for coordinating the airborne efforts as well as playing the role of Caesar’s thumb.

The event drew riders from all over and spectators swamped the meadow where Crabapple lies. It may not have had as many people present as the slopestyle, but the social media hits, Likes, impressions, as well as video, web and print magazine coverage the event generated will be far greater than almost any of the other events. For such a small event it packs quite the punch and I think the Crankworx organizers recognize this. Expect bigger things next year.

But, of course, the pinnacle event is the Red Bull Joyride slopestyle event. There was wind, mechanicals, surprise errors, and new tricks. The whole thing is a massive electrical storm of emotion, even for spectators. To relive, or partially experience it, check out this great highlight reel of the event.

The course designer, Paddy Kaye of Joyride Bike Parks, was awarded the Richard Juryn award for Crankworx spirit. What you might not know is that he was responsible for starting the whole Crankworx shenanigans. In 2002 he organized the Joyride Festival which was morphed into Crankworx in 2004. After sometime in the shadows it is good to see him back getting some props for his vision.

For even more social media catch up from the event check out Bikemag.com’s social media feed on the homepage. Lots of story behind the story.

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