Brian Lopes completed his tear through the Crankworx race circuits with a convincing win in the Canadian Open Enduro, a first-time Kokanee Crankworx event. The event was billed as the ultimate all-mountain challenge. The mass-start race dropped 4,000 feet of elevation to end in Whistler Village, and included enough spikey climbs to favor the XC crowd, and enough Whistler-style downhills to simultaneously scare the crap out of said XC crowd.
Jason Moeschler was one of the racers who had input designing the course, and he was right behind Lopes with some climbing left to go—where Moeschler expected to gain ground on Lopes—but the WTB-sponsored racer suffered a catastrophic rear derailleur failure that all but knocked him out of the race. Lopes and Moeschler, along with Mark Weir, recently earned a collective second-place as Team USA in the Trophy of Nations Enduro DH race in France.
Second and third place in the pro men's category went to Matt Ryan and Chris Johnston, respectively, both local Whistler rippers. Lopes finished in 19 minutes, 45 seconds, about 50 seconds ahead of second place.
On the pro women's side, Fionn Griffiths took the top prize with a winning time of 24:23, beating out Melissa Buhl by just 10 seconds.
"I haven't done a race like this and it required a lot of endurance," says Griffiths. "It was not fun while I was doing it, I was yelling at myself all the way down like a crazy person. There was one bit when we came around a tight corner and there was a huge hill I wasn't expecting. My legs just died, I had to get off and walk for 45 seconds. Three people passed me but I was able to pick them off on the downhill sections and get to the bottom first."
Emmeline Ragot took third in the event, which proved to be a particularly nasty course, and will likely be repeated next year.