Crankworx Whistler was warming up and we were slated to compete in the Canadian Open Enduro on Saturday. This left Thursday and Friday to try and learn four different race courses (I thought Enduro was supposed to be raced blind?) and get our brains to work at the level necessary to blaze through the infamous Whistler Bike Park and down some lesser-known gems.
In retrospect, folks also needed to learn the routes to Transit between the four stages, as time was of the essence.
A misunderstanding with the eleventh-hour communication of start times for each stage set off a chain reaction resulting in a whole lot of folks missing their start times. Which, at most of our North American Enduros, doesn’t really matter, they just assign you a new one. Not here in Whistler, the clock starts on your minute, regardless of your presence.
The transits between stage 1-2 and 2-3 were tight on time, but completely doable if you had a plan. There was a whole lot of moaning about this, so I took a poll of my peers.
The question- “Do you have a watch?”
The answer for 2/3 of the sample pool- “No, why do I need a watch?”
Because you’re at a goddamn timed competitive event where it might be helpful to know what time it is, since you have a start time to adhere to… How many times do you have to say “time” before lazy-assed mountain bikers think having a watch might be clever?
I’m just bitter because the rally car racing community LOVES their watches and will smote down upon you with limitless vengeance if you’re late. Or early for that matter. Them’s the rules, you’d better learn.
Anyway, most of the contenders in the men’s race were on time to stages 2 and 3, so it didn’t really change our results. Jerome Clementz won with an impressive run in stage four, which was an all-downhill test from the tippy-top of Whistler Peak.
A genuinely challenging stage with amazing variety of trail, from alpine singletrack to bike park chunder. Our frothing youngster Josh Carlson won what I’d consider the most diverse stage, which also has the best name — Blackcomb Mountain’s Golden Boner. I was third in this, just a couple seconds off the pace.
But I was WAY off the pace in the final stage, compounded by a small crash that resulted in a wardrobe malfunction. Namely, my pants fell off. Oops… I still managed 6th overall, so, solid, but not quite the mixing it with the fast guys I’d hoped for. Need to work on that ability to ride at DH bike pace on a trail bike…
The women’s race was a bit more of a mash-up with the times. A couple locals were on time and the rest was a bit grim. Rabobank/Giant teammate Rosara Joseph put in another impressive ride, winning the Golden Boner stage by 40 seconds but losing 3:30 on the first transit to finish second overall. What could’ve been… To her credit, she did have a watch.
Overall, the Crankworx Enduro is the most diverse, interesting, challenging event of this discipline I’ve had the pleasure of contesting. Here’s to riding more downhill and moto, picking up that last little bit of pace to be in the mix when it gets hairy…
Next up — the middle of nowhere.