I just spent a few days in Whistler for Crankworx and had a great time. I haven’t mingled with the mountain bikers in Whistler for a while so it was great to be there and see a ton of amazing humans. And I slapped a few thousand high 5’s.
On saturday morning I was sipping my coffee and reading the local paper when I came across an article called The Culture of Crankworks. It made me sick to my stomach because it’s a huge claim that’s false. Basiclly it credits one man for creating the bike park phenomenon and the sole brains behind this massive festival called Crankworx. F-that, you guys at the Pique News Magazine should be ashamed. If they did any research they would find the facts on Whistler’s very own website. In fact there’s easily a dozen people who had equal or more influence on the whole program that is the culture of crankworx.
Here’s the copy-pasted story originally posted on Whistler Bike Park’s blog. Shout out to Shawn, thanks man, means a lot! PK
BACK IN THE DAY
posted by: SHAWN | category: KOKANEE CRANKWORX
27th July 2010
With Crankworx Colorado coming up this weekend, and Crankworx Whistler just around the corner, this is a good time to have a nostalgic look back at where this whole circus came from. For anyone who has experienced the full blown three ring circus that is Crankworx, it?s hard to imagine the humble beginnings of everyone?s favorite summer party. My memory of the summers between 1999 and about 2005 are pretty blurry (I blame Charlie Buchanan) so there are probably some errors in my chronology. But at any rate, this is how I remember it?
Let?s take a little trip down memory lane. Lets go back to 2001. Lifehouse was toping the charts with Hanging By A Moment, Russel Crowe was killing everything in sight in Gladiator, George W was at the start of his first term, and a little trail called A-Line was starting to get some hype. Also, 2001 was the year that Dave Kelly convinced mountain management to let us build a bike trail down the beautiful grassy field that existed where the Boneyard and Double Vision are now. For some crazy reason, the folks in charge thought that allowing us to build there would be the end of that lovely grassy slope. We assured them that the grass would grow back. They relented. In retrospect I guess they were right on that one, but that?s neither here nor there.
What is important, is that the original Biker X course was built that summer. In July of 2001, Whistler?s first Biker X race was held as part of a festival called Joyride, organized by Paddy Kaye and Chris Winter. I think its safe to say that this was the start of the race and party that eventually turned into Crankworx. If you ever see either of these guys, buy them a bunch of beer, because they really were the heart and soul of the party for the first couple of years. Thanks again boys.
In the fall of that year another event, called the Harvest Huckfest was held. One of the Huckfest events was a jump demo that is the true beginnings of Whistler?s slopestyle course. The ?course? consisted of two jumps built in the run out of the small GLC Drop (it was just called the GLC drop at the time, because the big one didn?t exist yet). All the invited riders threw down on the slopestyle course (it was just called dirt jumping back then) The party that followed was epic. Now the ball was rolling.
Lets move on to 2002. The big bike news that summer was the World Cup DH on Grouse Mountain. Unfortunately the bigger news was that the race was cancelled. So, with a bunch of World Cup aces in the area, a last minute DH race was added to the roster of the second edition of Joyride. But instead of racing down a traditional downhill track, the race was held on A-Line. Cedric Gracia won for the guys, and Anne-Caroline Chausson won for the ladies. Everyone loved it, and the Air DH legend was born. The Biker X was a huge hit again, with Brian Lopes winning, and the the jump demo was turned into a jump contest. Timo Pritzel won by back flipping both jumps. The crowd was stunned. The party that followed was all time. Game on.
Fast forward now to 2010. Since those humble beginnings, Crankworx has just continued to get bigger and crazier every year. More races, more bands, more parties. Some of the previous years highlights are now part of mountain biking lore: Timo Pritzel clearing the entire scaffold jump in 2004 (one of the biggest and gnarliest bails I have ever witnessed), Paul Basagoitia becoming an instant superstar with his suprise win that same year, Andreu Lacondeguy?s double back flip in 2008, and Sam Hill?s domination of the Canadian Open DH in 2009.
Somewhere along the way Crankworx became the biggest show in mountain biking. If you?ve never been to Whistler for Crankworx, make this the year that you do. Watch some amazing racing. Enter a race yourself and compare your time to World Cup super heros. Bring your XC bike and check out some of Whistler?s legendary singletrack. Ride all day and party all night. I guarantee you won?t regret it.