While we've both posting about a lot of events going down this weekend, the 10th annual Crankworx Whistler deserves its own guide. The 10-day event, with 16 contests, tons of free concerts, shows, bike demos, and special events is mountain bike's biggest annual gathering and takes place on the world's best lift-serviced mountain bike park. With an overwhelming schedule of happenings and events for every kind of mountain biker from cross country to dirt jumpers to downhillers, we bring you our guide to the must-see events of Crankworx 2013.
· The Garbanzo Downhill race on Tuesday the 13th will showcase what Crankworkx calls a "gruel-fest, a magnet for masochists, a 3400' top-to-bottom toll-taking test of mountain biking legitimacy." Those who bring their bikes and a lift ticket to get them up top so they can be course-side will watch the fastest and more fearless people on bikes take on 4.34 miles of the most technical terrain of any bike park in the world. Then you get to come back the next Sunday, the 18th, and watch the Canadian Open Downhill, a race down a different track that passes Heckler's Rock - the rowdiest spectator section in all of mountain biking.
· The Official Whip-Off World Champioships is like the home-run derby of downhill mountain biking. Taking place on Friday the 16th from 11:30-1:30 pm on the Crabapple Hits - Whistler's biggest jumps - the biggest pros will be inches away from both each other and the fans as they compete for the best style in mountain biking's most classic trick: the whip. You'll have to have your bike and a lift ticket to get to the venue, though.
· The invite-only Red Bull Joyride is Crankworx's signature event and takes place on the afternoon of Saturday the 17th in front of what will undoubtedly be a standing-room only crowd at the base of Whistler. Joyride is a slopestyle contest in which contestants will do flips, spins, and tailwhips off enormous jumps and finish the run in front of the crowd by tricking off a 30-foot drop off the roof of a house.
Beyond the classic favorites, however, there are still a few others less-subscribed events worth checking out:
· Liv & Giant Bicycles are hosting a non-competitive Women's A-Line Session on Sunday, August 11th, where ladies can get coaching and tips from pro rider Katie Holden and bike park coaches on Whistler's infamous A-Line trail.
· Also on Sunday the 11th, the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro will showcase the newest rage in bike racing, in which competitors race over a series of timed downhill stages and must complete connecting uphill in certain timeframes, on a beast of a course with five stages (most enduro races only have three). The course crosses all of Whistler valley and will go all day from 8 AM to 7 PM. Catching the last stage from somewhere on Whistler Mountain will be your best bet - you'll get to see the wheat separate from the chaff as the field drops 4,757 vertical feet in one final battle for the $25,000 purse after racing four other stages.
· The Deep Summer Photo Challenge is great for those who want a break from all the guttural cheering and high-speed action. The contest pits six professional photographers against each other with teams of bikers, with the goal being to produce the best slideshow from three days of riding up and down the Sea-To-Sky Corridor and the Whistler bike park. Tickets to the event, which goes down in Whistler Olympic Plaza at 8:30 pm on Wednesday the 14th, are $5.
· Likely the most bizarre of Crankworx's sideshows is the Canadian Cheese Rolling Championships, in which padded contestants do their best to sprint down a steep hill after rolls of cheese. Going down on Saturday the 17th, the event also includes more family-friendly activities along with cheese seminars.
For all this year's event information, check out the Crankworkx website.