We just spent a good block of time at Crankworx, and we all know Crankworx is the hub for finding almost anything we want: new bikes, old friends, trails that once were manicured and now feel much less manicured, industry chats, film releases... basically a microcosm of whatever's happening in the bike world. Still, although a bike-centric world can be pretty fun sometimes, I'm also partial to the bike-adjacent world of the dogs people bring to events like Crankworx, so here's a collection of photos from some of my many laps through the village.
Last year, my pal Mike Levy wrote a Dogworx
article and I tagged along with him, my main job being to make friends with lots of dogs and help them pose for photos. This time around, I apparently have inherited Dogworx, Crankwoof, whatever you want to call it. I've started looking back on last year's Whistler village laps as a solid apprenticeship period, good preparation to find maximum dog friendship this year.
I arrived in Whistler not exactly sure what to expect throughout Crankworx. It's my fifth Crankworx - I'm a Crankworx baby compared to most of my coworkers, but I still think I've had my fair share - but it's the first year that I am not riding and racing my bike. I came to my first three Crankworx events for the Whistler EWS, then, I took a break because of the pandemic. My next and most recent Crankworx was my first with Pinkbike, so I mostly did work things but also raced the EWS 100. I associate Whistler with enduro racing, pushing myself to my limit during the race stages, making myself put on my suit of armor and put myself in the vulnerable position over and over of talking with potential sponsors, meeting people who I'd get to know better through racing than I'd gotten to know anyone thus far, all of that. Some of that is still kind of possible, but none is the same without the central piece that is riding bikes.
I know you all have probably clicked into this article for a nice, lighthearted look at our many canine tagalongs, complete with commentary about how friendly and soft the world is, how well-adjusted all of us Pinkbike editors are, able to hone in on that and nothing else. Sorrynotsorry to disappoint! This article is a prime example of the fact that I've realized I can get away with writing things that have nothing to do with the experience of riding bikes, the realization that a bike-adjacent setting is enough and I can spring off into existential-identity-everything crisis mode from there. Thank you for your patience, and for being interested in all the dogs I've met along the way.
This wiggly pup was all over the place and didn't want to pose, but managed to look adorable nonetheless.
I used to plan each Whistler day around the riding, socialize through leading and being led by my friends and riding the lifts together, running into each other everywhere and being psyched on each other's and our own riding. I'm in a different role now, still being psyched on what my friends are doing but being pretty solidly knocked off the high horse of being a rider
- EWS, random bike tester, excited hobbyist, whatever, at least it gave me an idea of where I fit.
Still, I'm going to be hopeful about it - which I think I do regularly nowadays out of necessity because otherwise things would just feel bad. Losing the main thing central to my understanding of who I am has forced me to reassess kind of everything, especially the questions that usually get answered by accident through time, topics like how I spend my time and why I do what I do. Now after a phase of not spending my time doing much more than laying in a hospital bed, it feels like I'm starting from scratch deciding the answers to those questions, with a blank slate than I haven't had since I was an infant. Being in a position to make so many of the defining decisions of my life again is kind of cool, kind of a chance to check in with myself and make sure I'm living in a way that works well for me. Reinventing out of necessity from not-so-great life events isn't my ideal life situation, but that doesn't make the opportunity for intentional growth any less real.
Those kind eyes.
Being this stately and composed is a nice aspiration for most of us.
The amount of hype around something like a ladies' jump jam turns up to 11, and when that makes your little non-biking heart feel something for those making it happen right in front of you, it's pretty sweet. There's also a kind of extra joy when you realize your excitement is entirely for people other than you, how historically maybe you'd have hoped to be one of the sendy ladies but now, you ride chill trails and then feel over the moon when sendy friends do their sendy thing.
Having that type of intensity with a totally neutral expression seems like a real gift.
If we were having a 'most photogenic' contest, we'd have a real podium contender right here.
Anyway, if you've made it this far, I'm a little impressed and kind of honored that you've waded through my ramblings. Though, to be fair, all the dogs above are pretty great and absolutely worth seeing on your screen. Now, though, it's time for me to stop showing them to you.
I do have to admit that there were probably at least twice this many around in the days after I stopped taking dog photos, so I apologize for now getting out there at peak dog photo time. Still, I met lots of great dogs and continued meeting great dogs long after I set the camera down. My slowing down on the photos, I can only blame on my own dislike of crowds.
Regardless, these dogs are one part of what made the week worthwhile, another reminder that there's some good alongside and separate from all the admittedly very cool bikes we all spend Crankworx learning about. And these dogs can't even ride bikes! Though they can sprint through the woods and sometimes even hit jumps with the best of them, these puppies don't get to roll down trails on two wheels, so we'll have to remember to help them get that vicarious joy. And, we know they're all such loving creatures that vicarious joy is plenty common. And we get to hang out with them. Lucky us.