2011 CrankWorx - a look from the other side of the banners
Zink flipwhipping, no Photoshopping involved, just a camera getting fried by the sun.
Before 2011, I'd never been to CrankWorx. Sure, I've watched vids of winning runs over the past few years, and talked casually with riding buddies about 'getting to that someday'. But this year I found myself on the mainland with some time off and wanted to check out what it was all about. Thing is, I didn't want to show up as a spectator or another journo reporting on the hype - I wanted to experience it from within the organization that make the event possible. What better way to see how it all happens than to volunteer? I had no idea what to expect and no idea what I was doing, but I figured it would all work out.
The light blue shirts were your visual cue that vollys and staffers were on the job, making sure everything went smoothly.
Staffers and vollys discussing the finer points of crowd control and garbage collection.
I have to say that the Whistler staff who were in charge of events and volly-wrangling were professional, friendly, well organized and did their jobs so well that everything went off without a hiccup. They made sure the volunteers knew how important they were to the festival, but we didn't get enough of a chance to tell them that we, the vollys, wouldn't have had a clue without their guidance. So a huge shout-out to the staffers, you guys did an amazing job and I am left with nothing but awe for your abilities to do what you do. Thanks for making my first CrankWorx experience such an enjoyable one!
If I had to pick one thing I could have done without, it was having to listen to Mason and Brad's endless drivel when I was working the Boneyard. I'm definitely not the first one to say that Brad should go back to strip-club announcing and Mason should just crawl back under a rock and smoke some more weed. But instead of just criticizing without providing a viable alternative, I'd like to nominate the people's choice for next year's CrankWorx announcers: Brett Tippie and Rob Warner, of course.
One of the most surprising things I found about CrankWorx was that it was way more laid back than I was expecting for 'the authoritative free ride festival'. From all the magazine, website and video coverage over the years, I had expected it to be madness and mayhem of Dionysian proportions. What struck me instead was how relaxed the whole event was. Obviously the Joyride finals attracted a huge number of spectators, but the rest of the festival was pretty mellow. This probably had a lot to do with the complete lack of summer we've been experiencing, but it was great to see that even with one of the biggest mountain bike events in the world, the relaxed, open attitude of our sport still prevails.
Fun and games on the slalom course.
Regardless of who the organizers hire to emcee, or what the weather does, or whether vollys were blocking shots of advertising banners, it's great to have been part of an event like this and get to see a little bit of what goes into making it happen. And here's a few random photos of CrankWorx, as seen through the eyes of a noob volunteer...
Women's slalom. Jill Kintner was in it to win it...
...And Rachel Atherton didn't show for her final run. It's important for the WC racers to stay injury-free, and Rachel didn't look too comfortable on this course.
Tomas Slavik on his way to winning the pro men's slalom.
Gee was seconds up on the Canadian Open DH course, until he bailed in the corner after Heckler's Rock.
I happened to be stationed at one of the most boring sections of the Garbo DH course, but here a rider shows a bit of roost while entering Monkey Hands.
Yannick and Sam talking line choices.
Lacondeguy eating his own lips after too many Red Bulls.
Messere's front flip off the first drop had everyone's jaw gaping. And behind him on the platform, a staffer keeps the whole event running seamlessly.
Smooth and relaxed, Semenuk rode the slopestyle course like he knew he couldn't lose.
We felt for Sam Pilgrim, who flatted twice off the first drop in finals. Here's to better luck next year! And not using Bontrager tubes again...
...here's what some of his run might have looked like. Congrats on 3rd in Colarado!
Montgomery got razzed for his moto gear...
...but not for his diving abilities.
Messere might have been unknown to the announcers, but apparently he showed up with his own cheerleaders.
McGarry put in some solid practice sessions but crashed hard on the final. Maybe Samantha distracted him.
Zink doing concerned beaver impression.
Greg "Barspin" Watts.
Barrecloth, just taking it easy.
Another fried camera shot, this time of Cam McCaul flipping off into space.