At this moment, it could easily be argued that Darren Berrecloth is the busiest man in the bike industry. On top of maintaining his position in the upper ranks of freeride mountain biking, touring the hectic freeride circuit, and finding the leftover time to nurse the previous weeks war wounds from riding, Berrecloth added one more behemoth-sized item to the list. The Bearclaw Invitational.As this goes to press, Claw is slapping the last shovel full of dirt on the hair-rising final dirt jump of his Slopestyle Course at Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island. Over 20 of the world's best freeride mountain bikers will compete this Saturday, August 4th at the second annual Bearclaw Invitational.
"This is the sickest course I've seen to date," Bearclaw states as he glances up the hill at his masterpiece. Of course he should be biased, especially considering the fact that he's the chief course designer, but then all in attendance nod their heads in agreement.
"The course we built is super-technical," adds Jimmy Deas of JDP Developments, course builder and the industry's best dirt mover. "Riders better have their a-game to the fullest for this course."
Looking at the course, the story is very straightforward. The line is straight up and down, following the fall line of Mount Washington's Green Face. A series of drops, berms, wall rides, and a monster platform step-up in the top third of the course are relentless and impressive. Off the platform, two massive bonar logs followed by big, burly dirt jumps greet riders. A massive wall ride with an optional transfer to dirt seals the deal at the end of the course. The rider busting the biggest lines of the day will rake in their fair share of the 16K prize purse.
"There's no need for a Jumbotron," states Mount Washington's PR man Brent Curtain. "You can see the whole course from every angle. Even the beer garden at the bottom by the wall ride has stellar views. There's not a bad seat in the house."
In its first year, the Bearclaw Invitational welcomed over 3500 spectators who sweltered in 30C weather and welcomed the frosty Kokanee and Lucky's available at the beer garden. The weather is looking good for the coming weekend and locals predict even larger crowd swell this year.
If you're looking to attend the biggest doggone riding spectacle on Vancouver Island this summer, here is the shakedown for the event:Thursday and Friday
: practice days for all riders Saturday
10am to 1:30pm practice sessions
2 to 4pm slopestyle comp
4 to 5pm high-air comp
5 to 7pm awards and band jams for the beer garden crowd
9pm private party in Fat Teddy's
The industry trailers have already arrived, riders are filing in from around the globe, and the world's finest photographers and cinematographers are setting up for the perfect shot. The mountain is being transformed overnight into a worldwide freeriding spectacle. See you there.
The Bearclaw Invitational Slopestyle is sponsored by: Bike Mag, Rip.tv, Adidas Eyewear, Specialized Bikes, Fox Racing Shox, Dakine, Race Face, Hayes Disc Brakes, Kokanee, the Head First Army, and Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort is one of the top mountain bike and summer alpine destinations in Canada. Scenic chairlift rides and lift-accessed mountain biking run daily until September 23rd. The Resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air and Pacific Coastal Airlines service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). For accommodation and package information, call Mount Washington Alpine Resort at 1-888-231-1499 toll free or locally at 338-1386. Surf to www.mountwashington.ca
for additional information including the live mountain cam.