If rain is good luck on your wedding day, what does it mean for relentless storms to hammer a massive mountain bike festival over and over again? Well, arguably while the rain makes for great racing on a downhill bike unfortunately events like the Pump Track Challenge and Slopestyle just can’t go ahead once the rain drops drop.
High up in the French Alps, the iconic town of Les Gets is heaving with activity for the second stop of the Crankworx tour, following Rotorua and leading up to the big bang of Crankworx Whistler. Les Gets has played host to countless events and is steeped in racing history, namely the 2004 World Champs where Steve Peat binned it within sight of the finish line while two seconds up. It was French legend Fabien Barel who snagged that one, and he’s actually racing here on his new Canyon Sender and looking quite cool about the trying conditions.
Not-quite a Slopestyle
The Slopestyle event always hangs by a thread, the wooden features and enormous jumps just won’t work out if there’s an air of unpredictability with the weather. While practice went on under slightly sunny skies at times, there was simply not enough consistency in the speed in the surfaces and the riders couldn’t get comfortable with it. It’s been raining here non-stop for a month.
The best efforts by the event crew and construction team would also prove to be a blessing and a curse, with sections of the Slopestyle being repaired to retain good speed, it also wreaked havoc on the riders as the course was constantly changing. Brett Rheeder was a victim of a new section of timber board put down to cover a soft section of the dirt, overshooting the step up and bailing out, while his bike fell from 20ft up to destruction.
Votes went down, and the call was to cancel the Slopestyle competition entirely, big bad news indeed! The remedy was to run a best trick comp in a casual jam style over the final jump to keep the day alive. And while the Slopestyle cancellation was a heavy blow, it was quickly forgotten when riders started throwing down their best and the crowds went bonkers once again.
When it comes down to one jump, and your best trick the big guns come out. Nicholai Rogatkin is a spinning wildman, with two attempts of his signature twister trick taking the cake and walking away with the cash.
Brett Rheeder’s super steezy opposite corked 720 was certainly perfect and landed him a third place, a sign that he was ready for a tight slopestyle battle. And Antoine Bizet’s opposite cash roll was a sight to see and nailed him the second spot on the podium.