Crankworx is a departure from our usual tranquil and nature filled trail rides. It highlights the excess of our sport, like a spandex clad Axel Rose grinding up on Jack Johnson. The Whistler Village feels like a sardine can packed with shiny new bikes and flashy kits; there are people, tents, music, signs, flags, banners, free shit and tight shirts. It is hard not cringe as you watch groups of tourist hanging out at the bottom of the hill angling for selfies that catch the action as riders skid back into the lift line behind them. It is all fun and games until someone loses an iPad.
In mountain biking it is the closest we get to a live action spectator sport and gives us a chance to show the general public what it is we think we do on bikes. Because we all throw down on A-Line like the pros did at the Best Trick comp yesterday. This is the commercial, bright and plastic version of our sport; the illegitimate child of motocross.The crowd is one part riders and one part Tapout shirt clad spectators because it is extreme with a capital X. Or something like that.
Mountain biking, usually a sport full of personal bests and private celebrations, has a spotlight shone on it here at Crankworx. The world becomes the judge and just like every out-of-shape-bar-stool-occupying-hockey-fan the audience feels entitled to an opinion. For every wide eyed gasp of wonder that a trick induces there is someone that "could have totally done it better man."
This Superbowl of mountain biking has half time cover bands and attainable groupie fixations. Sponsors that are eager to brand every aspect of your experience from the parking lot, to the hill, to the guy passed out on the bench in the free t-shirt. Banners, bandanas and big screens make you feel like events like the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge are just the opening act while Jon Bon Jovi is busy teasing his hair back stage. And where are the pyrotechnics?
The whole production of this event is a web of logistics and functions nearly 24 hours a day between events and parties. This morning's breakfast meetings will verge on noon and require sunglasses and photo reminders of the last night’s escapades. Still drunk pirates, confused by their eye patches, will begin their strides of pride, leaving behind only their small plastic swords. Coffee, work and more indulgence will delay the inevitable hangover and today, we will do it all again. All the glitz and glam, all the whips for tits. This is Crankworx. That was Day 7.