An Open Letter (of complaint) to Crankworx

If fat biking can't be taken seriously, then it marks the beginning of the end

From: Seb Kemp/Bike Magazine

To: Crankworx Events Inc.

Date: August 10, 2013

Subject: Rule Breaking in the Crankworx “Fat Tire” Crit

This letter is being sent to you in regards to your event that was advertised in print, web, on radio, TV and across the giant banners that were hung across Whistler's Olympic Plaza on Friday, August 9th, 2013. The event was billed as the “Fat Tire Crit”; there was, however, a distinct lack of fat tires in attendance.

I believe that under Canadian law this falls under deceptive advertising and the result of this false advertising was that I came nearly dead last (one of the guys I beat spontaneously combusted and the other missed the course). I was blown off the back of the pack by the skinny tire-shod riders and was forced to retire after just four miserable laps.

It was quite embarrassing and I shall be filing for damages related to the mental harm, emotional trauma and loss of earnings that came about because you couldn't take the rules seriously enough.

I attempted to make a formal complaint to the race official in charge (Seb Fremont) but he laughed at me in a very cruel way. The kind of way that made me feel stupid and abused (I am considering filing for damages for emotional distress that this laugh alone caused). I pointed out that I was the only entrant who used a proper fat-tire bicycle, so I was clearly the only racer who didn't cheat and therefore all other racers should be immediately disqualified, I should be crowned the winner of the race and given the prize money and the giant novelty check that that Giant professional Carl Decker pedaled off with (really fast….thanks, no doubt, to his skinny tires).

Clearly, my competitors missed the key words in the title of this event ("Fat Tire"), opting instead to give themselves an unfair advantage by running skinny tires mounted to bikes that are clearly not Fat Bikes. A formal investigation, I'm sure, is pending. Photo by Blake Jorgensen

Clearly, my competitors missed the key words in the title of this event (“Fat Tire”), opting instead to give themselves an unfair advantage by running skinny tires mounted to bikes that are clearly not Fat Bikes. A formal investigation, I’m sure, is pending. Photo by Blake Jorgenson

Every participant was allowed to cheat by running skinny tires. The organizers and race officials turned a bling eye to weeny little sub 2-inch tires that the racers lined up on the start line with. It quite clearly said on the giant screen above the race course that this was the Fat Tire Crit, not the Skinny Tire Crit.

Another official (whose name I didn't get his name because I could barely hear him pronounce it over the sound of my frantic indignation) told me that I should have read beyond the title of the race and delved into the fine print which, apparently, clearly states that any wheel and tire size is acceptable for the Fat Tire Crit. I don't know if that is true or not, I never read the fine print (who does?) and I'm not going to now (why should I?).

I've always had fun at Crankworx in the past, but maybe you have become too big for your boots, unwilling to take racing seriously, and forgetting about the little guys with big tires that made you such a global hit.

While I've not been in attendance at each Crankworx in your ten-year incumbency as the world's number one mountain bike event, I've always enjoyed myself thoroughly. I have felt like I've been pressed firmly into the bosom of your event, squeezed tightly beside thousands of other bike crazed nuts. I feel like this was the home that mountain biking always needed and could always return to, like open doors-slash-outstretched arms.

I've felt a great warmth for the Canadian Open Downhill race (and not just because of the beer-fueled mayhem of Heckler's Rock). The Giant Slalom was always a favorite of mine because it serves up twice the action and half the price. I've been infatuated with the jump and squash powers of the racers during the A-Line Air DH race. I've always looked forward to the Deep Summer Photo Challenge because those magicians almost always manage to take my dreams and make them awesomely real on the big screen. I was excited when you introduced the Dual Speed and Style event into the schedule a few years back and now I eagerly wait for that event each summer. I used to spend my entire winter daydreaming about the Garbanzo race and I would often go snowshoeing on the trails, that come summer, the race would be held on. I was madly enthusiastic for the [unOfficial Whip-Off World Championship and I don't mind that I've had two Go-Pros destroyed while viewing the action up close. I thought the Canadian Open Enduro/Enduro World Series was the best thing since sliced bread. The Ultimate Pump Track Challenge stole my heart with its loopy wildness. I've loved the freebies that the lovely ladies hand out in town. I've had a deep affection for the parties that go on each night (and boy, do they go on and on). I adore the fact that all my friends come here to visit my hometown at least once a year and each year I make new friends. But most of all, I worshipped the big dog event: the Joyride Slopestyle because it is just so weird that each year Brad Ewan asks the crowd to shut his front door before the shitake mushrooms get out but no one responds. There must be fungus all over his front yard by now.

The victorious air punch that never was. Photo: Joe Parkin

The victorious air punch that never was. Photo: Joe Parkin

However, my love for Crankworx evaporated the moment that you guys didn't take the rules of fat-bike racing seriously and you let a horde of fit, healthy, mentally-well calibrated men and women run amok with the sanctity of the Fat Tire Crit. I hereby formally extract myself from the Crankworx proceedings.

You will be hearing from my lawyers.