Sam Blenkinsop and Claire Buchar have won the Garbanzo DH at Crankworx today with Marcelo Gutierrez in second and Jack Reading in third for the men, Manon Carpenter in second and Miranda Miller in third for the women.Men's Top 3
1. Sam Blenkinsop
2. Marcelo Gutierrez
3. Jack ReadingWomen's Top 3
1. Claire Buchar
2. Manon Carpenter
3. Miranda MillerFull Results at Bottom
Sam Blenkinsop en route to collecting a $2500 CDN check for his efforts on the day; I'm guessing team drinks were on Blenki afterwards.
Blenki, throwing it off the GLC Drop and into first place...
Marcel Gutierrez races for Cedric Gracia's team, the CG Racing Brigade. Now that Cedric is out for the rest of the season with an injury Marcel needs to hold down the fort for the team. Doing a good job of that with 2nd place here.
Jack Reading dropping the rock near the bottom of "In Deep"-directly into a bomb hole that formed after about the first five riders of the day--conditions were soft on the upper half of the mountain.
GLC from the back. Ryan De La Rue finishes 16th as the crowd on the patio watched.
Curtis Keene front flatted somewhere up the course but still rolled the whole track. GLC drop with the tire off...
Suspension engineer for Trek, Eli Krahenbuhl. I kind of doubt the guts of those forks are stock, and his frame is made of carbon
Sam Blenkinsop, Stoked about the win!
Garbanzo is a long race, Claire Buchar had the fastest time for the women with 16:06.68
Miranda Miller riding the classic "In Deep" line.
Whistler is full of random people. This girl just walked out of the forest and started walking down the finish stretch, on the track. Luckily for her there were a few mechanicals and she had time to get off the course before getting mowed down...
Tradition is important for an annual race. Certain structures, ingredients so to speak, need to be in place every year to make a race a classic event and the Garbanzo Endurance Downhill is definitely making a name for itself in this regard.
A long (the fastest racers are about 15 minutes), grueling, gut-busting course that winds it's way down many of the hardest trails from the top of the Garbo Chair to the finish-line at the base of the Whistler Bike Park. Competitors will be faced with rocks, roots, steeps, and flat-out pedal sections all while pounding their bikes and bodies through the equivalent of three World Cup courses back to back to back. Since the early days of the race there has been one factor that has weighted in more heavily than others and that is the mud. Almost without fail one of the toughest downhill races held is almost always made much more difficult with the moisture content that saturates the trails. Mud, thick, greasy, dirty mud has regularly been the most intimidating factor and the feature of the course that has separated the winners from the losers. In the whole history of the race there have only been but a couple of years when the course was dry. Most years the Garbanzo DH has more in common with a redneck truck rally than it does a mountain bike track.
This year is no exception, with the tops of the surrounding mountains bathed in the white remnants of a winter that just won't quit. The Whistler Trail Crew, armed with shovels, had to attack the trails on the upper mountain to clear the snow that was hanging on like a needy child to a parent's leg. A spring and early summer that has seen more cold and wet days than sunshine has helped hold up the tradition of making a gnarly course even tougher. Tire choice, judicious braking and sheer balls (maybe a little luck) are all key to a racer having a good lap. Fast and loose is the only way to quickly negotiate the mud, a scary proposition when you consider the large, exposed roots and deep holes (they resemble ponds) through sections like In Deep. For a mere mortal these conditions would be cause for trepidation, fear and a slippery walk around with the bike (if they were even foolish enough to attempt riding these trails) while those who signed their name on the dotted line and zap strapped number plates to their rigs will be salivating at the chance to pin it down.
Kokanee Crankworx has always been an egalitarian affair. The festival is based on a premise of providing a total mountain biking celebration in which one and all can participate. World Cup pro or hack beginner all the events with the exception of the slopestyle are open for all to enter. There is no babying either, when a course is set it is what it is and it is for all to race (or crash) on. There are no "pro" only lines, get in the start gate and you are faced with the same challenges that the World Cup racers have. Freecaster announcer Rob Warner has referred to the Mont Sainte Anne and Fort William downhill courses as "a mans track", well the Kokanee Crankworx Garbanzo Endurance Downhill definitely fits into that category as well but unlike the World Cup it is there for all to abuse themselves on.
In the 2010 edition of the race it was non-other than Chris Kovarik who smashed the course record with a time of 13:22.99. An absolutely incredible time on a course that would seem to be a perfect fit for the burly Aussie (remember he set the course record at the Psychosis in 2008 another long and crazy track). With his Canadian wife he could easily be an honorary lumberjack with his size and strength. Possibly the best way to describe Chris on a downhill bike is that it is like seeing a football player ride. Using muscle and his oversized paws he seems to be able to force a downhill bike through everything, bending it to his will.
The women were the first pros to take to the track and with a very small field and it was Claire Buchar (married to Kovarik and winner of the Psychosis in Golden as well) who kept it together and squished through the mud covered roots, rocks and waterholes to take the win while Manon Carpenter had to settle for second and Squamish local Miranda Miller came through in third.
After the women had came through it was down to the pro men. Again it was a slightly smaller field than usual and a lot of the big name World Cup boys for one reason or another decided to skip out on the race. Previous winners like Sam Hill (out with a shoulder injury) and Gee Atherton were conspicuously absent. This left a field of hungry young guns who were chomping at the bit to take a win and bask in the limelight of a podium at one of the largest events in mountain biking.
On a course of this length and difficulty many things can go wrong, be it a crash or a mechanical. Sik Mick Hannah was the unfortunate recipient of the later when about half way through his race run the chain and derailleur were ripped off of his factory GT ride. Other guys went down or had mistimed dabs that cost them the precious seconds that mean the difference from a podium finish and sitting back in the pack.
Just before it was announced that Mick was over the 15 minute mark in his run CG Racing Brigade rider Marcelo Gutierrez came through with a smoking time of 13:57.23 moving Jack Reading off of the hot seat. Many may not recognize the name but Marcelo has been a regular competitor at Crankworx including wins in the junior Air DH and a podium finish in the junior Garbanzo category to his credit. He has also been tearing up the World Cup circuit this year. With bated breath the crowd waited for Chris Kovarik, one of the last riders on course. Expectations were high for the Australian and he came charging hard into the finish, sailing off the GLC Drop to a very flat landing he held it together but when he crossed the finish-line his time was not quite up to the standards set by the young Marcelo.
In the end it all came down to the final rider on course. Not satisfied with his third place finish in last year's race the fast Kiwi, Sam Blenkinsop was on fire. His tires skipped over the mud, the bike stayed upright and with a massive scrub off of the GLC Drop he came flying through the finish with a time of 13:44.52 that was good enough to knock Marcelo into second place and claim his first Pro podium at Kokanee Crankworx.2011 Garbanzo Results