Crankworx Unveils 2014 Enduro Course

Aug 6, 2014
by Official Crankworx  


Three days ahead of the start of Crankworx Whistler, one of the most closely guarded secrets of the mountain biking festival has been unveiled. Organizers have released the details for this year’s course for the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized, the sixth round of the Enduro World Series (EWS). The race will take place on Sunday, August 10, bringing together the best riders in the sport to battle it out for the highest prize purse in the Enduro world.

“This year’s course is a mix of the old and the new,” says Crankworx General Manager Darren Kinnaird, who worked with a team of consultants to scout and develop the course. “We’ve essentially brought some of Whistler’s forgotten trails brought back to life, while including one that is sure to become known as one of the best trails in Whistler.”

The five stages of the race will take place over the following route:

Stage 1: Micro Climate
Stage 2: Crazy Train
Stage 3: Upper Billy’s Epic – 27 Switchbacks – Binty’s
Stage 4: Lower Ride Don’t Slide – Boyd’s Trail
Stage 5: Top of the World - No Joke - Little Alder – Expressway - Too Tight - Upper Angry Pirate - Crabapple Turns - Del Boca Vista - EZ Does It - Monkey Hands

The 2014 course was chosen in order to retain the same challenging technical style that made last year’s an athletes’ favourite, while presenting competitors with a cross section of Whistler’s finest, requiring them to be versatile, all-round racers.

“Each stage will give riders a chance to show their strength in a different way,” says Kinnaird. “They’re going to have to draw from all of their different skill sets. The advantage is going to come from being able to ride fast, be adaptable and have incredible fitness and endurance.”

One of the major differences for 2014 is the amount of climbing in the transition stages. Last year competitors had to climb to two of the stages. This year that number increases to four.

350 riders will take to the course on Sunday - an increase from 2013’s 275. With a combined prize purse of $25,000 on the line, the stakes are high.

On the women’s side, it’s been a year of back and forth for the two top riders. Tracey Moseley (GBR) currently sits atop the women’s rankings, though it’s been a season of close battles through all previous rounds between Moseley and Anne Caroline Chausson (FRA).

“The battle between Tracey and me is intense this year,” says Chausson, who adds that not sitting in first at the moment has an advantage: “That takes off some of the mental pressure.”

Chausson was last year’s winner at Crankworx Whistler, and is currently coming off a win during the last round at Winter Park - with only 50 points separating the two, it’s anyone’s game.

“I feel good and I like riding at Whistler,” says Chausson. “But this is a new year, a new race. Everybody has the same chance to win.”


For the men, this year’s race seems anything but certain. Last year’s overall champ, Jerome Clementz (FRA), dislocated and ripped all the ligaments in his shoulder earlier this year while racing in the French Enduro Cup - the accident put an end to his quest for continued EWS dominance and left the door wide open. Jared Graves (AUS) won last year’s race in Whistler and currently leads the series in points, though each round has had a different men’s champ this year. Damien Oton (FRA) and Nico Lau (FRA) are both right behind Graves, while a recent surprise podium in Winter Park by former downhiller Richie Rude (USA) has certainly forced the Enduro world to take notice. There are also some local riders who are hoping to capitalize on the home-soil advantage.

“I’m familiar with this terrain and I am more comfortable being at home,” says Jesse Melamed (CAN), who’s finished in the top 15 in the last two EWS rounds. Melamed admits though that this advantage can only get his so far: “I have heard absolutely nothing of the course and there are just too many trails here to ride them all!"

Beyond the riders and the excitement of competition, the legacy of Sunday’s race is expected to be far-reaching. The trail improvements, a joint effort between Crankworx, SRAM, Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) and Whistler Blackcomb, will continue to benefit the mountain biking community long after the dust has settled.

Kinnaird describes Micro Climate, the trail that will be used for Stage One, as “the best new trail Whistler’s seen in a long time,” while the extensive work to re-route, upgrade and reactivate Crazy Train and Boyd’s Trail is sure to excite a lot of riders.

In addition, $5000 will be donated to WORCA in order to further develop and maintain the trails in the Whistler Trail Network.

“The work that WORCA does is such an important part of our riding community,” says Kinnaird. “Their efforts help all of us to be able to enjoy the sport we love, and make sure that it’s done in a sustainable manner so that future generations can be out there enjoying these trails too.”

Watch the replay of the live announcement with Tristan Merrick, Darrnen Kinnaird and Seb Kemp:


Full details and schedule information for all the events can be found at www.crankworx.com



Trailforks.com


44 Comments

  • 6 0
 This is a serious course. But I can't help but to think back about Matt Wraggs piece a few months back on North American Enduro. I'm really curious what his assessment of this course will be after a preride. An eye opener I think:-) There are some really highly committing moves on the Blackomb stages. We may see some surprises on the leaderboard this year!
  • 5 0
 I have never doubted how rad the Whistler enduro is, I think you'd have to be utterly ignorant of the region to assume a race here would be anything else. You need to remember that I curated the enduro race of the year award last year and this was without a doubt one of the most popular races among the riders who raced the season, it tied in the popular vote for best race of the year. Also, Richie Schley was instrumental is setting up this race and he's been coming to Europe to experience the sport for years, he gets it and Seb Kemp has had a huge part in choosing the course, and he too gets it. I rode Pura Vida last week, which was stage 3 in last years race, and that is such a cool trail and it looks like they have carried on in a similar vein this year. I pre-ride the course tomorrow, and would be utterly shocked if it's anything less than brilliant. I have to say though, having seen how the climbing is round here, I think 1,600m vertical metres of that kind of ascent is going to break many of the amateurs come race day.
  • 1 0
 try 2300m of ascent, Matt....sick stages, classic Whistler style stiff ups and tech downs!
  • 3 0
 Whistler locals refer to them as "punchy" climbs, Matt. ha! I have to say that I agree this is gonna be very hard for many of the amateurs. Sure, this ain't no samurai of singletrack day, but the first 4 stages are gonna be a f'ing ass kicker and then they'll have to do TOW.....what?!?
  • 1 0
 Need an e-bike just to survive practice! puts on flame proof suit> Wink
  • 1 0
 I thought one of the main points of enduro was that no one knew the course beforehand so there could be no local advantage. What the heck EWS?
  • 2 0
 whoop, nevermind....i seem to have lost track of the dates
  • 1 4
 So they only climb 2.3km?
The community Enduro I did had 21km of climbing, (The quad that the race officials took up had to be unloaded and pushed up parts of the climb), this was a one day event.
Is this unusual for an Enduro Race?
  • 1 0
 I hear you Matt, good points. My comments were perhaps boardering a bit on cheeky. That being said, after tasting a few events south of the boarder, your article was pretty bang on, especially in regards to the cheezy trend setting:-)
  • 5 0
 GNARman (how can that name possibly be not tongue in cheek). They're climbing 2300m VERTICAL. I know everyone from AB has biggest dickus but explain to me how your local enduro race course climbed 21 km vertical. Multiple Assiniboine summit poaches
  • 1 0
 Sorry didn't realize it was vertical measurement, that's why I was surprised and asked the question in the firstplace. don't know how much vertical we did, but defiantly not 2300m. (And I didn't pick the name my friend made the account to ask some question in the buy sell for me).
  • 4 0
 The CLIMBING! All the CLIMBING! That's what worries me the most, to be honest... YIKES! Gonna be a big day. Not sure I'm ready for this... at all. HA! Challenge accepted!!
  • 1 0
 How many meters will it be total ?
  • 2 0
 2300 some-odd.
  • 5 0
 My goal is simply to finish. The biggest days i've had on the bike to date are about half this distance/elevation gain...and i've been completely shattered afterwards. This is the ironman of enduros.
  • 2 0
 HA! I like that comparison - Ironman of enduro races... nailed it. 'up arrowed' that one! See you there, Rainbow Dash!
  • 1 0
 Yeah that's gnarly for sure, its like part marathon part enduro
  • 2 0
 Race day brings the best out of you...well except the first stage cause you so nervous..but when it's time for second stage you realized you'll end so far down the result list no one will notice - there for you are relaxed, to relaxed..when you get to the reminding stages you'll be so tired that your hanging on to your bike for your dear life. After you passed the finish line you'll still smile, being amazed how fun you had, swapping number with that slightly suspect guy you been riding with the whole day and pass out of tiredness for a couple of hours before heading out for drinks. Best of luck!
  • 2 0
 Yeah - 8,000 feet (2400 meters) climbing over 23 miles in the transitions alone. Tack on 13 miles (23 km) and 10,000+ feet (3,000 meters) of descending. There are going to be many DNF's I think.
  • 3 0
 Re read my comment - by suspect guy, I mean this 47 year old hippy with dreads, beer belly, one eye, both legs in cast and still clearing the climbing with ease. Which ofc makes you wonder how he does it. Answer is he lives for this mtb shit. While you were waiting for the ice melt from your trails he was out hauling ass..this happened during my last enduro..true story.
  • 4 0
 RIP microclimate. It was good to ride you before you will be a 1 foot deep rut by next week.
  • 2 0
 Significant resources have gone into, and will further be going into, the Blackcomb trails after the event...and it needed work anyway since MC got hit so hard by so many people this summer.
  • 1 0
 Yeah you are right, I really like the idea of stages on 'revived' trails, overall great coursr/event. Curious how the whole legality of the WB property/non WBP trails being used is working, with those new signs all over the trails and access road that went up the other day
  • 1 0
 There is a lot of behind the scenes stuff happening with trails on WB CRA lands right now, the upgrades are a part of that and are ensuring that the public will continue to have access to these, and other, unauthorized until now, trails within their operating area.
  • 1 0
 Good to hear, was worried the signs could be the the beginning of the end.
  • 1 0
 As long as people adhere to the no Sliding Centre and no Mountain Road rules, then everything will be just fine and the trails will remain. There is a new climbing access trail above Golden Boner to keep people off the road and everybody must use it.

This is also why Crazy Train has been 'dumbed down', as some people will put it, as the attention that Micro Climate brought to that area meant that WB had to recognize a lot more people are riding up there and have to mitigate against liability as much as they can. WB can't have a trail that dangerous on their operating area, likewise Boyd's (BCs) trail with the sketchy off-camber corners over 100ft cliffs, as well as putting the signs around everywhere.
  • 1 0
 there are ride arounds on Crazy Train but the OG lines are still there.
  • 1 0
 What's the issue with riding up the sliding center road? Wasn't it paid for by us? the taxpayer?

As for RIP microclimate... that trail might as well be 3 years old with the traffic that's gone down it. I haven't seen that much wear in such a short time since Garbonzo opened.
  • 1 0
 It's a combination of the Sliding Centre Road and the Mountain (dirt) Road above it; more so the latter. It's a busy piece of road constantly used all day by trucks, ATVs, and heavy machinery. Before with only a handful of riders a day at most it wasn't too big a deal. Now that you've got groups of 10 at a time going up there, and 100 people a day (I was building up there Friday and Saturday and saw it first-hand) it's now too much of a risk and bikes need to be separated from traffic.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for the Info Hwulex Guess the area is now a victim of its own popularity. Hopefully the tougher climb will make it less popular!
  • 2 1
 It's amazing how the sport has evolved in just a year. All of the south American and winter time endures have totally changed the popularity of it. Last year, there was almost no coverage of the enduro, now it's the first thing on Pinkbike about Crankworx. What about Semenuk repeating his win in the legendary Red Bull Joyride, or the pumptrack contest?
  • 4 0
 That last stage is a killer
  • 1 0
 4 and 5 look like quite the burners
  • 1 0
 I would be pushing pretty hard to finish top of the world to the bottom without stopping to give my hands a break. I have no idea how people are going to bomb that whole thing at race pace after the other four sections and not eat dirt.
  • 2 0
 my hands would be completely dead by too tight.
  • 2 0
 Wow. It looks even more difficult than last year, which was insane. Not sure how excited I am to try racing Whistler double black trails on a trail bike. We shall see.
  • 1 0
 I think they meant to say "Crankworx Unveils 2014 [s]Enduro[s] mountain bike Course"
  • 2 0
 curse*
  • 1 1
 RIP MICRO CLIMATE, TAKE IT OFF!
  • 1 0
 Already been thoroughly Stravadouched. Thx to P and A for bringing it into the world and letting us ride it
  • 1 0
 You're right about that one Lee
  • 1 0
 You know the builders are involved in allowing the trail for this event, right, jackross? you also know that they're incredibly stoked to have it in the race, right, jackross?
  • 1 0
 Yes I do know they are involved. Its a great trail.
  • 1 3
 I'm keen on Keene.

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