Video: EWS With Cannonball – Whistler to Finale

Did you miss any of Cannonball’s journey so far?

Read our interview with The Ball and watch Matt Staggs Visuals raw edit of him shredding his home trails here.

Then hang out on a chairlift ride to Whistler’s ‘Top Of The World’ as Matt Staggs once again captures his speed and mindset leading into race day, here.

So, how did Whistler play out, and will we see Cannonball in the series finale in Finale? Find out below.

Flow: Whistler was your second-best result of the series so far, just a few places behind your 32nd in Derby. Did you approach Whistler any differently to previous rounds?

James: Having a few more rounds with several more crashes under my belt, my mental game was to keep my cool and ride a little more consistently. Smoother, slower into corners and faster out. Knowing how rough the terrain in Whistler can be from having lived there 9 years earlier, I got the awesome guys and good friends at Dunbar Cycles Vancouver to bump up my fork to 160mm and give my fork and shock a pre-race service. What may have helped me most was my tyre choice for this round and how that boosted my confidence. Up until this round I had been playing off my strength in technical terrain by sacrificing a little less tyre width for a faster rolling tyre to help in the longer pedally sections. With a Maxxis 29er DHR2 2.3 3C up front and an Aggressor 2.3 3C rear this was ideal for me on the trails in Derby where the stages were short and rocky with a few pedally sections. Since Derby I noticed a few times when I lost confidence, and perhaps wider front tyre would have helped. In Madiera I recall sections where I rode stiff and scared on stages 1 and 3. For Ireland, in hindsight, packing a set of full mud tyres instead of just one Maxxis Shorty would have made a huge difference, but that’s part of building upon racing experience. Coming back to Whistler I was practicing on 2.3” tyres but I felt that I wanted more grip and after getting some time on the tracks and terrain it became apparent there wasn’t much pedalling in this round. So, I scrounged up what must have been the last Maxxis 29er DHF 2.5 3C in town from the helpful guys at Bike Co. Running this up front and moving the DHR2 to the rear made an immediate difference. I felt so much better in all the blown out corners and felt like I was spending more time in an aggressive flow state rather than holding back.

Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Flow: Privateering the EWS is hard work. You told us previously about how your mates helped you get to the European rounds, but it seemed like Whistler would be the last race of your 2017 series. Tell us how racing Finale became a reality?

James: Again, huge thanks to all those mates that chipped in, I wouldn’t be where I am right now without them. Finale came about from light-heartedly joking, with some hope, with Trent from M2Oindustries/JetBlack. I had worked for Trent and JetBlack for 5 years and still do contract product development work for him, so I have a pretty good relationship there already. Trent had also seen the coverage of my season so far on Flow and social media, particularly the video edits and imagery from Matt Staggs Visuals. I guess these things made it a worthy and reasonable risk for him to invest a little more into the final EWS round. So, without hesitation, Trent responded to my joke with “how much do you need?” I couldn’t believe it, the next thing I knew I was booking fights…

Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state.

Flow: Since confirming your entry for Finale, what’s your standard week involved? How many hours are you ‘training’?

James: I’ve been focusing on getting more time on trail. I’ve been getting out on the bike at least every second day and often riding three days in a row with every third or fourth day being a high intensity day depending on how my body is feeling. Averaging four to five days on the bike a week, anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours and a weekly average at only about 8 hours on the bike. Priority for me has been better focus on resting appropriately between high intensity days and getting on rough technical terrain. There are often sections in an enduro stage that are small pinches or traverses over technical terrain. I’ve been adding priority to my hill climbing on tech trails locally. We have a few technical climbing trails that are around 11~13 minutes in length here on Sydney’s northern beaches, which is about the length of some of the longer stages at a round. Typically, I will go flat out the whole way up and usually without much rest, drop straight into a descent so that I can condition myself and get more used to riding technical trail at a maxed and fatigued state. My times have been improving since before Derby so I’m feeling pretty good.

Flow: We checked out your Pivot Switchblade in Whistler and it was looking well ridden! What changes have you made to it before Finale?

James: With big thanks to Shimano Australia, I’ve replaced my drivetrain with new XTR rear mech and XTR crankset. Along with this, they have also upsized my rotors from the not so suitable 160/180mm combo to some new Ice-Tech rotors at a much more respectable 180/203mm. JetBlack have helped with new RIP grips and freshly laced set of new NoTubes Arch hoops that will be wrapped with new tread from Maxxis/BikeCorp on race day. Finally a custom fork and shock tune from Simon & Lachlan at MTB-suspension-centre.

Flow: Sounds like you and your bike are prepped better than ever for Finale. We’ll be cheering on from behind our computers as we see your stage results roll in. One final question, do you prefer sunset walks on the beach or sunset shreds at the trails?

James: (laughs) I can offer dreamy and intimate romantic sunset walks on the beach Monday to Saturday, but sorry ladies, Sundays are reserved for sunset dirt jump sessions with the lads (dirt jumping ladies welcome too, of course).

Be sure to check out Flow’s Instagram Stories during Finale’s EWS for Cannonball’s behind-the-scenes coverage – #EWSwithCannonball / @flow_mtb.

Cannonball’s kitted in DHaRCO Men’s SS Jersey and Men’s Gravity Shorts.

All photos and video produced by Matt Staggs Visuals.

Thank Flow It’s Friday: Crankworx Whistler Aussie Wrap

Enduro World Series #7 – Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized

Perth’s Sam Hill kicked off Whistler’s EWS with a stage one victory over local Jesse Melamed, finishing the round in 2nd and further extending his overall lead in the series with just one round to go.

Josh Carlson crashed in practice so wasn’t 100% for race day. He still managed a 25th place finish.

James ‘Cannonball’ Hall has been privateering the 2017 EWS and getting some impressive results along the way. Matt Staggs Visuals filmed a pre-Whistler race edit and interview with The Ball.

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The full interview is here. Cannonball also did an Instagram Stories takeover for @flow_mtb with live behind the scenes coverage, #EWSwithCannonball, and he’ll be doing it again during #EWSfinale!

1-minute race highlights

Want more EWS? Our Aussie results coverage is here and the full highlights video, here.

Plus, we have 20 bike checks from Aussies racing EWS Whistler, here!


Garbanzo DH

You can find the full highlights video and our wrap up of the Aussies’ results here. Tracey Hannah took the win and Jack Moir placed 3rd in this downhill epic. Garbo is brutal.

Here’s a more leisurely jump run down Whistler; Moir’s US teammate, Nik Nestoroff, follows him on a whip fest down Dirt Merchant and other Whistler trails.

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Speaking of whips…


Official Whip-Off World Championships presented by SPANK

Aussie junior downhiller Nik Barber qualified for the Whip-Off finals.

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Nik also raced the Canadian Open DH. Here’s an edit of his whole Whistler trip.

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Graeme Mudd warming up for Whip-Offs on Crabapple Hits with his team mates from Trek Factory DH. Mudd’s the 3rd rider.

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While not specifically from the Whip-Off Worlds, Pat Butler gets sideways a lot in this little Matt Staggs Visuals edit

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Our feature photo star, Jackson Davis, got wild in Whip-Offs, but we can’t share his edit here (NSFW). Perhaps these race day backies will convince you to follow him and find his other edits.

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Whip-Offs Highlights

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Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox

Caroline Buchanan came to Whistler after an incredible performance at the BMX World Championships. Add some bigger wheels and suspension to the mix and she was a force to be reckoned with!

Caroline was leading the Pump Track World Series but needed to beat Jill Kintner in Whistler to secure the title.

SRAM’s Steps to the Top reveals Caroline’s lead up to Whistler.

You can watch the full Steps to the Top video here.

The final:

Women’s Pump Track highlights:

Caroline was kind enough to invite her BMX teammate and fellow Aussie along to his first Crankworx, in fact, his first mountain bike race ever. Queensland’s Bodi Turner proceeded to win all four of his heats before facing Mitch Ropelato in the final:

Did that get you pumped for more? The full Pump Track highlights video is here.


GIANT Dual Slalom presented by 100%

The Dual Slalom women’s final was a repeat of the pump track, seeing USA’s Jill Kintner up against Caroline Buchanan.


Canadian Open DH presented by iXS

Did you see our RAW Canadian Open DH practice video?

The Canadian Open DH saw another year of Australian domination with Tracey Hannah and Troy Brosnan successfully defending their titles.

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Josh Button finished 14th

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G imagery captured Canberra’s Tim Eaton lead NSW Central Coast’s Jake Newell on a run down the loose and rooty Canadian Open DH race track.

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Watch the full video here.

Not Canadian Open DH, but here’s a video of Timmy Eaton following Gerard Lagana down the revamped D1 trail.

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Red Bull Joyride

There weren’t any Aussies in this year’s Joyride, but kudos to Brandon Semenuk for winning his fifth Joyride Slopestyle crown, an all-time record. His Trek C3 teammate, 18 year old Emil Johansson, took 2nd place. Holy stunts, Batman.

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Semenuk’s full run

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That’s it for this week. Remember to follow @flow_mtb and check out our Stories for behind the scenes action. Enjoy the weekend! TFIF!

Crankworx Highlights: Garbo DH – Tracey Hannah Wins

Queensland’s Tracey Hannah is having an all-time World Cup season as well as winning several Crankworx downhill events, but Garbo had been on her list for some time, “It’s kind of a goal of mine, and for the last two years, I’ve been getting closer and closer to the Canadian girls. So to finally take the win is exciting.”

Another win for Tracey Hannah

Colombian downhill racer Marcelo Guitierrez Villegas won the men’s race for the fifth time in a row. “I think it’s just Sam, Jack and me just keep trying the hardest,” he said. “People just kind of give up, but me I’m just loving it. Sometimes people ask me what’s my favourite track in the world and I answer Garbo. I am just loving it all.”

Marcello Guttierrez on his way to the win.
Credit: Fraser Britton

Jack Moir from Morriset, NSW is also having a great UCI World Cup season, currently 5th in the overall standings. He’s also known for his endurance, having claimed top 10 finishes at the first two Enduro World Series rounds in Rotorua and Derby. He finished 16 seconds behind Marcelo which was good enough for 3rd, behind New Zealand’s Sam Blenkinsop.

Jack Moir rides the In Deep chute on his Intense 29er DH bike
Sam Blenkinsop takes the high line on his enduro bike.

Aussie downhiller, now Whistler local, Chris Kovarik finished 5th and Canberra’s Timmy Eaton finished inside the top 20. Fellow Canberian, 16 year old Kye A’Hern finished 2nd in U17 men behind Pemberton local Lucas Cruz, with a time that would’ve seen him scrape in just behind Eaton into 20th in Elite.

Youth 15-16 men, 2nd: Kye A’Hern

Pro Men:

1. Marcelo Guitierrez Villegas (COL) 12:21.19
2. Sam Blenkinsop (NZL) 12:27.36
3. Jack Moir (AUS) 12:37.13
4. Eddie Masters (NZL) 12:39.04
5. Chris Kovarik (AUS) 12:40.62

19. Tim Eaton (AUS)
27. Ben Dengate (AUS)
28. Matthew McCorkell (AUS)
41. Dave Habicht (AUS)

Pro Women:

1. Tracey Hannah (AUS) 14:04.96
2. Claire Buchar (CAN) 14:17.94
3. Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI) 14:22.29
4. Miranda Miller (CAN) 14:32.87
5. Georgia Astler (CAN) 15:19.64

Elite Men/Women Podium

Full results can be found here.

Crankworx Highlights: Aussies Dominate Canadian Open DH

Did you see our RAW video from practice? Check it out here.

Troy beat 2nd place Sam Blenkinsop but over 4 seconds in a sub 3-minute track.
Tracey Hannah was over 10 seconds faster than 2nd place

Elite Men

1. Troy BROSNAN (AUS)
2. Samuel BLENKINSOP (NZL)
3. Bruce KLEIN (USA)
4. Jack MOIR (AUS)

14. Joshua BUTTON (AUS)
18. Jake NEWELL (AUS)
24. Jordan PROCHYRA (AUS)
34. Brent SMITH (AUS)
40. Benjamin DENGATE (AUS)
50. David HABICHT (AUS)

Elite Women

1. Tracey HANNAH (AUS)
2. Vaea VERBEECK (CAN)
3. Emilie SIEGENTHALER (SUI)
4. Danielle BEECROFT (AUS)
5. Tegan MOLLOY (AUS)

Crankworx Whistler Canadian Open DH Podium

Full results can be found here.

Crankworx Highlights: Aussie BMX Stars Win Ultimate Pump Track Challenge

“It’s the fastest pump track we’ve had all year, and I like going fast.” – Caroline Buchanan

Buchanan (left) edges ahead of Jill Kintner

“I’ve never experienced a mountain bike event, let alone Crankworx Whistler, so I thought, let’s just do it and get over here.” – Bodi Turner

Pro Men:

  1. Bodi Turner (AUS)
  2. Mitch Ropelato (USA)
  3. Michael Vias (NZL)

Pro Women:

  1. Caroline Buchanan (AUS)
  2. Jill Kintner (USA)
  3. Joey Gough (GBR)

EWS Whistler Results: Sam Hill Retains Overall Lead

Whistler EWS in one minute!

Sam Hill blasting through the woods.

Just like in Aspen, Perth’s Sam Hill started strongest and took the win in stage one which began from the ‘Top of the World’, arguably the toughest stage of the series so far. His 18 second lead over Whistler local Jesse Melamed was brought back to just 2 seconds after stage two where Melamed started his winning streak and Hill finished 8th, his worst stage result of the day. Stages three and four saw the tables turn as Melamed’s time gaps over Hill’s 2nd places increased. Their battle continued to the village where only 0.42 seconds separated their fifth and final stage results. After almost 3/4 of an hour of timed descending more than 4000 vertical metres, Melamed took the win over Hill by 15 seconds. Mark Scott’s race highlight was his 2nd place in stage two, and top 10 consistency saw him earn his first EWS podium.

Jesse Melamed finished what he started here previously in Whistler, finally winning a round of the EWS.
Sam Hill sending it on Ride Don’t Slide
Mark Scott raced hard and achieved his first ever podium with a 3rd place.

Wollongong’s Josh Carlson has a history of fast racing in Whistler, however, after a big crash during practice, 2017 wasn’t his year. His top stage result was 14th in the final stage, including another crash not far from the finish, seeing him finish the round in 25th. Sydney’s James ‘Cannonball’ Hall scored his second best finish of the season; consistent stage results placed him 36th overall. Right behind him in 37th was World Cup downhiller Josh Button. After a top 20 finish in Mont Sainte Anne the week prior, Button placed top 50 in all stages with a highlight of 31st in the final stage.

Josh Carlson couldn’t match his speed from last year which saw him place 3rd
James ‘Cannonball’ Hall confidently bombing a Whistler steep

Another Aussie podium contender, Queensland’s Jared Graves, had a stroke of bad luck in the first stage resulting in a DNF that will hurt his overall ranking. Mt Beauty’s Chris Panozzo suffered a similar fate, with a stage one mechanical ending his race too.

Jared Graves on Ride Don’t Slide in practice.

The women’s race saw Cecile Ravanel continue her winning streak, once more displaying total stage domination to take her sixth win of the season. Fellow Frenchwoman Isabeau Courdurier came second and the UK’s Katy Winton earned her second EWS podium of the year.

Cecile Ravanel dominated the field, winning every stage.

Whistler based Aussie Leonie Picton used her home trail knowledge to finish as the fastest Australian female in 16th, including a 13th place in stage five. Fellow BC based Aussie expat Megan Rose finished in 19th and Adelaide’s Shelly Flood rounded out the top 20.


Results:

Men
1. Jesse MELAMED Rocky Mountain Urge BP (CAN)
2. Sam HILL Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic (AUS)
3. Mark SCOTT Santa Cruz x SRAM (GBR)
4. Robin WALLNER Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team(SWE)
5. Remi GAUVIN Rocky Mountain Urge BP (CAN)

25. Josh CARLSON Giant Factory Off-Road Team (AUS)
36. James HALL (AUS)
37. Josh BUTTON (AUS)
50. Dylan WOLSKY (AUS)
52. Shane GAYTON (AUS)
56. Jeremy HAMILTON (AUS)
57. Jordan PROCHYRA (AUS)
68. Murray STEPHENS (AUS)
71. David MAUD (AUS)
80. Mark FRENDO (AUS)
95. Blake POLVERINO (AUS)
99. Jackson DAVIS (AUS)
110. Nate CORRIGAN (AUS)
120. Riley TAYLOR (AUS)
dnf. Chris PANOZZO (AUS)
dnf. Jared GRAVES Specialized Racing (AUS)

U21 Men
1. Max LEYEN (CAN)
2. Killian CALLAGHAN(IRL)
3. Rhys VERNER (CAN)
4. Pedro BURNS (CHI)
5. Kevin MADEREGGER (AUT)

22. Samuel RUBERY (AUS)
24. Blake PEARCE (AUS)

Women
1. Cecile RAVANEL Commençal Vallnord Enduro Team (FRA)
2. Isabeau COURDURIER SUNN (FRA)
3. Katy WINTON Trek Factory Racing (GBR)
4. Anita GEHRIG Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team (SUI)
5. Andréane LANTHIER NADEAU Rocky Mountain Urge BP (CAN)

16. Leonie PICTON (AUS)
19. Megan ROSE (AUS)
20. Shelly FLOOD (AUS)
dnf. Tegan MOLLOY (AUS)

U21 Women
1. Martha GILL (GBR)
2. Elena MELTON (GBR)
3. Abigale LAWTON (GBR)

Full results can be found here.

EWS Whistler: Final Stage Replay

Live race feed and stage results can be found here.

The Australian riders start list:

Women

419 Leonie PICTON
422 Tegan MOLLOY
423 Shelly FLOOD
424 Ronja HILL-WRIGHT
441 Megan ROSE
443 Jaclyn DELACROIX

Men
13 Sam HILL
22 Jared GRAVES
10 Josh CARLSON
48 Christopher PANOZZO
56 James HALL
71 Jeremy HAMILTON
75 Josh BUTTON
77 Shane GAYTON
82 Jordan PROCHYRA
92 Dylan WOLSKY
94 Mark FRENDO
96 David MAUD
102 Murray STEPHENS
122 Lucas PITT
137 Riley TAYLOR
307 Jackson DAVIS
317 Nate CORRIGAN

Men Under 21
614 Blake PEARCE
615 Samuel RUBERY

Amateur Men
807 Chayse PENGILLY
809 Liam WOOLTORTON
819 Shaun FRY
830 Blake POLVERINO
841 Bryan PINCHES
843 Josh LYONS

Brandon Semenuk Revels in the Glory of Third Consecutive Red Bull Joyride Win

Behind every cloud is a silver lining, and despite a one day rain delay which forced the postponement of the most highly anticipated event of the week-long Crankworx Whistler festival, Red Bull Joyride hit the mountain on August 16th showcasing slopestyle mountain biking under near perfect weather conditions. 

Watch the complete event replay here: REPLAY PLEASE!

Anthony Messere - Action

Nicholi Rogatkin, Brandon Semenuk, Thomas Genon - Winners
Nicholi Rogatkin, Brandon Semenuk, Thomas Genon – Winners.
Greg Watts performs a 360 X-Up during the finals of the Red Bull Joyride event in Whistler, Canada on August 16th, 2015.
Greg Watts performs a 360 X-Up during the finals of the Red Bull Joyride event in Whistler, Canada on August 16th, 2015.

The Red Bull Signature Series event featured 18 of the world’s top athletes in a season-defining showdown that marked the final stop of the Crankworx World Tour and the last required win for the Triple Crown of Slopestyle. 

It was Squamish local Brandon Semenuk who took fist place, making this his third consecutive Red Bull Joyride victory.  Flawless back to back runs that featured his signature technicality quickly put him in the lead in what was by far the most confident performance of his season, delivering big tricks including two cork 720’s, an opposite truckdriver and backflip tailwhip to one foot can.  “The earlier part of the year was tough for me, and to finally get a good run down the hill felt so good after two events where I wasn’t riding my best.  But I so badly wanted to put this one together and it kept unfolding the way I was hoping for”, said Semenuk. 

Thomas Genon - Action
Thomas Genon.

For Brett Rheeder, it was an opportunity to potentially make history as the first ever athlete to win all three stops of the Triple Crown series after a stellar season that saw him take the podium wins in both Crankworx Rotorua and Les 2 Alpes.  Despite being the odds-on favourite to win the third stop in Whistler, falls on both his first and second runs unfortunately put him out of reach of the podium. 

Brandon Semenuk - Lifestyle
Brandon Semenuk .

Following hot on Semenuk’s heels was Nicholi Rogatkin of the US with a second place that saw him take the podium at Red Bull Joyride for the first time in his career.  With two strong runs, he was within site of gold with a score of 93.80, only 3.04 points behind Brandon Semenuk.  Third place went to Thomas Genon of Germany.  A full summary of results can be found here

Nicholi Rogatkin - Action
Nicholi Rogatkin.

Saturday’s rain was a blessing in disguise, arriving at a time when Whistler has seen some of the driest conditions so far this season.  Although the wet conditions were deemed unsafe at the time of competition, the water helped to dampen the dusty course making the dirt much takier by Sunday, giving riders the extra traction they hope for. “The course was about the same speed as yesterday, but the wind really mellowed out today making it pretty much perfect.  It was a little exhausting coming at this on a second day after getting so ready yesterday (Saturday), but it’s turned out really well” said Semenuk.

Much of the crowd returned to the Whistler Plaza on Sunday with over 25,000 hardcore mountain bike fans cheering from the sidelines of the Whistler Bike Bike.


The State of Slopestyle with Brandon Semenuk & Brett Rheeder

Red Bull Joyride 2015 Course Preview

The Return of Red Bull Joyride

The Story of Red Bull Joyride 2014

Adrien Loron Pushes Hard to Win The Ultimate Pump Track Challenge Presented By RockShox

The Crankworx Whistler Pump Track saw a serious battle Thursday evening with Adrien LORON (FRA) coming in, game face on, to carve out a name for himself as the first Pump Track Series winner.


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Loron and Joost WICHMAN (NED), the Pump Track Champion from Crankworx Rotorua, went head to head in the quarter finals, eliminating Wichman, one of the top three Pump Track competitors in the world, by mere millimetres well before the end of the night, and leaving Loron to face a Crankworx legend.

Paul BASAGOITIA (USA) is credited with launching such a slick line of tricks off the Slopestyle course in 2005—wearing only a half lid helmet and jeans—that he literally put the sport, and the event, on the map. Returning to the pump track podium, he was ecstatic with the results of the night.

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“It feels amazing,” said Basagoitia. “I’m pretty excited to be back on the podium. Different discipline, so it’s good to know that I could maybe have another ten years in something else.”

By winning the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge, Loron also became the Pump Track Challenge Series winner.  “This is so awesome for me,” said Loron. “Basagoitia was the only guy who has never lost to me, and he is such an awesome rider.”

The women’s final saw Beerten and Kintner in a battle of wills. Working with two sets of stitches from the Official World Whip-Off Championships earlier in the day, Beerten fought hard to take silver, which placed her in the first spot as the Pump Track Challenge Series winner.

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“Right now everything is numb, but I think tonight and tomorrow I’ll be pretty sore,” she said, lifting a corner of her shirt to show the wide swath of bandages concealing her wounds.

Beerten will be back to race the Dual Slalom Friday as she makes her way toward Queen of the Crankworx World Tour.

The Six Finalist Videos From Crankworx 2015 Deep Summer

As spectators from afar and lovers of mountain bike photography, our favourite event of Crankworx Whistler is the Deep Summer Photo Challenge.

Each year, six photographers are selected to undertake the challenge. In 72 hours with a team of riders they must come up with a slideshow of photographs, here are all the six entries for 2015.

20538894221_13f7fb7ad0_k Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 9.16.00 am


2015 Deep Summer Winner – Sam Needham ‘Life is a Journey’

 


Gary Perkin ‘The Ways Of Man’.


Grant Robinson ‘Ride For Your Life’


Ryan Worcester – The Illusion vs. The Experience


Laurence Crossman-Emms


Tim Koerber


 

Highlights from the night at Crankworx.

Stevie Smith Takes Back His Race, The Fox Air DH

Three times appeared to be the charm for triple Fox Air DH winner Stevie Smith, though the trio of ankle injuries which brought him to Wednesday evening’s win left him more rattled than he could have imagined.

Over the course of the last year, the man who stood on the sidelines in 2014 and watched Mick HANNAH (AUS) crush the event he previously owned has been through more ups and downs than he experienced shuttling logging roads in Lady Smith, B.C. He and his mom have famously tackled the rugged terrain daily for years to bring him to the pinnacle of the downhill mountain biking scene, but 2015 put serious strain on the dream.

Steve Smith1

“I’ve gone through three injuries on one ankle, so each one of those I was trying to get back to where I needed to be—and then another setback, and then another setback. It’s been hard on the brain,” said Smith as he gave his interviews in the finish corral after besting Sam Blenkinsop for the win.

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Smith spent the year cultivating that vision of being on top, but quickly discovered the comeback climb would not mean jumping back in for first place finishes in the World Cup circuit. Finally rounding the curve on normal, he glowed under the blistering afternoon sun as he took in the victory.

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“I’m 25 years old, and really healthy, and I even got shingles last year due to stress. So it proves how hard (injury) is on the brain. A broken ankle is no big deal. You can deal with that, but one after another after another. To be out here racing and just riding my bike is a dream come true,” he said.

Known as the heart of Crankworx Whistler, the Fox Air DH rolls down the Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s most iconic trails. Every turn is a berm. Every jump is a tabletop and every moment is a battle of mind over matter.

Some 375 racers dropped the 1200 vertical feet of non-stop bank and boost Wednesday before a live webcast and hundreds of mountain biking fans. With more than one racer in little more than their pads and shoes, it also kicked of the raucous revelry so iconic to the Whistler leg of the Crankworx World Tour.

Winning it for the women, American racer Jill KINTNER said it is this course, and knowing every bump and turn, that really launches her week.

Jill Kintner

“I was just kind of in a happy place and I had a good run,” said the Seattle resident. “I know this course really well, every little cranny—what to jump, what not to jump. It helps being fairly local.”

Riding dry trails in the heat, Kintner said she tried one practice run on a light ride and quickly bailed out.

20506209946_35835539e0_z“I did one run on my trail bike and felt sketchy as hell, so I was like I’m not riding this thing. Had I put time into changing my tires and getting the right disc-rotors on there, it could have been good, but it’s kind of a fine line between how far you want to push it versus rolling speed. So I went with my downhill bike,” said Kintner.

With the Fox Air DH done, there is just one race left in the Crankworx DH Championships—the Canadian Open DH. It will be the final event of Crankworx Whistler, scheduled for the day after Red Bull Joyride.

FOX Air DH

Women’s Results:

1. Jill Kintner (USA)

2.  Anneke Beerten (NED)

3. Casey Brown (CAN)

Men’s Results:

1. Stevie Smith (CAN)

2. Sam Blenkinsop (GBR)

3. Harry Heath (GBR)


Tomorrow.. We have a day packed with Crankworx favorites as we take to Crabapple Hits for The Official Whip-Off World Championships along with the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox in Whistler Olympic Plaza. Check out the LIVE webcast for the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox Thursday, August 13  7 – 9 p.m. Canada, 4 – 6 a.m. Europe (August 14), 2 – 4 p.m. New Zealand (August 14).

Crankworx LIVE webcast schedule:

Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox Thursday, August 13  7 – 9 p.m. Canada, 4 – 6 a.m. Europe (August 14), 2 – 4 p.m. New Zealand (August 14)

 

Giant Dual Slalom Friday, August 14  5-7 p.m. Canada, 2 – 4 a.m. Europe (August 15), noon – 2 p.m. New Zealand (August 15)

 

Red Bull Joyride Saturday, August 15  4:30 – 8 p.m. Canada, 1:30 a.m. – 5 a.m. Europe (August 16), 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. New Zealand (August 16)

 

Canadian Open DH presented by iXS  Sunday, August 16 3 – 5 p.m. Canada, midnight – 2 a.m. Europe (August 17), 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. New Zealand (August 17)

‘The Sickest Edit Ever’ Lives up to its Name at Dirt Diaries, Crankworx

Filmmaker Matt Dennison has done it again, winning the Crankworx Dirt Diaries mountain bike film competition for the second year in a row. Dennison’s film, ‘The Sickest Edit Ever,’ starring pro mountain biker Kyle Norbraten, was the last film of the night to screen, and had the massive audience in Whistler Olympic Plaza laughing and cheering throughout.

“I’m really proud of my film,” said Dennison, who won last year for the film ‘What I Do In Whistler.’ “I think it’s my best work yet.”

In the film, Norbraten plays a mountain biking vigilante, tasked with taking back the Whistler Mountain Bike Park from invading roller-bladers.

“I knew even with a weird concept and a funny idea, if there’s anyone that can execute it, it’s Matt,” said Norbraten. “He did an insanely good job.”

The winner was determined by a panel of judges, who said that while the competition was stiff, the winner was clear.

“It had the perfect combination of production value, cinematography and story,” said judge Darcy Wittenburg, “And most of all it was really really funny.”

In total, six five-minute films were screened. These included offerings from Joann Barelli and Mike Gamble, who took second prize, and $3000, for their mad-scientist film “Ze Lab,” Jesse Melamed and Max Berkowitz, who came in third, winning $2000, for the western parody “Gun Spoke,” as well as Charlie Sponsel with “Selling Out,” Remy Metailler and Vince Emond with “Cycle of Addiction,” and Sarah Leishman and Jasper Wesselman with “Full Circle.”

Event Organizer Seb Kemp says adding a bit of culture into the mix is something that truly sets Crankworx apart.

“It’s so fantastic that Crankworx recognizes the power, the impact, and the influence of these films, and the love mountain bikers have for filmmaking and, as we’ll see tomorrow night, for photography.”

He says unlike many other sports, movies seem to resonate with mountain bikers, and play a key role in the community.

“The filming is just as creative as a rider that comes up with a new line or crafts a trail. It’s just another extension of this sport being a very creative outlet.”

“Every year there’s a new generation of filmmakers that are influenced by what they’re seeing here today,” added Wittenburg. “If you go back 5, 10, 15 years, the level of progression that happens is huge.”

The creativity continues tomorrow night, as the Deep Summer Photo Challenge lights up the stage once again in Whistler Olympic Plaza. Six photographers will be showcasing a slideshow they put together over three set days shooting in the Sea to Sky corridor. $3500 in prize money is on the line, plus the chance to be named the King of Deep Summer. The show goes lives at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12.


Crankworx LIVE webcast schedule:

Fox Air DH TODAY! Wednesday, August 12  3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Canada, 12:30 a.m. – 2:30 a.m. Europe (August 13), 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. New Zealand (August 13)

Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox Thursday, August 13  7 – 9 p.m. Canada, 4 – 6 a.m. Europe (August 14), 2 – 4 p.m. New Zealand (August 14)

 

Giant Dual Slalom Friday, August 14  5-7 p.m. Canada, 2 – 4 a.m. Europe (August 15), noon – 2 p.m. New Zealand (August 15)

 

Red Bull Joyride Saturday, August 15  4:30 – 8 p.m. Canada, 1:30 a.m. – 5 a.m. Europe (August 16), 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. New Zealand (August 16)

 

Canadian Open DH presented by iXS  Sunday, August 16 3 – 5 p.m. Canada, midnight – 2 a.m. Europe (August 17), 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. New Zealand (August 17)