Sunday, February 16, 2014

A return to blogging

I have been thinking about making a return to this for a while. More so to keep track of my Canadian adventure so in years to come I can read back and say, wow- that really did happen! I am six months behind though so will have to play catch up! There have been a number of highlights and very few low lights since I moved to Whistler.

I arrived on August 7th, picked up my two year visa, new Devinci Dixon carbon bike and headed straight to Whistler. I probably didn't give myself enough time to prepare for Crankwrox 2013. I had a couple of practice runs and quickly realised I was out of my debt and resorted to "I just wanna finish this thing, I've come so far".

I wrote this little write up of Crankworx at the time so best stick with the first hand account! Sometimes I look at my times and think, what if I had been able to practice the stages? What if I had been fitter ? What if I was a baller, a little bit taller? We'll see next year :-D

Well I missed the MAD enduro wrecking crew but made the best of it :-) Congrats to all the deadly results in the GE, I hear Lavelle won a one way flight to Canada for his efforts?! Savage results by Scott, MarkG and Martin also. Deadly to see the MAD lads knocking on the door of the podium in a predominantly DH sport. Sure we're only a little XC club ;-) 

Crankworx Enduro was made up of 5 stages- 1 and 2 on the bike park side of the mountain but not in the bike park and 3 and 4 on another mountain with a biatch of a climb up to each of them. 5 was the 'top of the world' trail seen below ALLLLL the way to the bottom taking a load of the bike park trails. 1500m descent on stage 5 alone.... that one was gonna hurt!!! As you probably saw from the Barel fiasco, the organisers were taking things VERY serious. Organisation was brilliant thought with free Clif shots/bars/gels at the end of every stage.

I practiced on the Friday and did a couple of hours on Saturday before the hands start blistering so just rested up the rest of Sat. All in all, it went really well for me. It was setup the same as Sauze with start times for each stage printed on your top tube. I dropped in the SRAM start ramp with a dude from Isle of Man at 9am. This was the first obstacle, there wasn't anything too difficult about the start ramp but it was pretty steep and 4 people (while I waited) SNOTTED themselves off the bottom of it. I got my little interview in with Brett Tippie and was luckily off without a crash. (Tippie is mental, don't take drugs kids)

Compared to Sauze? I don't think there was as much climbing overall but the climbs in the middle of the stages were painfully tough. Only 45seconds in length but almost vertically up and then you were assured some mad rock roller on the other side. The descents were definitely more technical than Sauze but the time allowances were much more generous with 30min waits at the top of each stage to get your shit together. I rode everything without any crashes and pretty smooth- just trying to get through it to be honest. Stage 5 killed my arms altogether and I just had to hold on for dear life for the second 2/3s down. The climb up to stage 4 took about 1.5 hours so I decided not to practice it (READ:Scriv was hungover from Friday night....) I asked people what it was like on race day and the consensus was that it was the most technical and to just hold on. 

I audibly screamed OHHH SHITTTT as I rolled over this yoke which just gave the hecklers ammunition as they went insane. About 5 seconds later I hit the berm at the bottom and somehow made it down. Think of the suicide line on Romper except 5 times longer, steeper and with rooty steps the whole way down. No chance I would have ridden it had I known. I heard later that there was a chicken line to the right.... Some buzz!!

Stage 5 done and dusted, I was fairly shtoked. I'd had a clean day, maybe not the quickest but the arm/hand power just isn't there yet. I finished up 24 out of 45 starters with the vast majority of them being local bike bums. The 3 guys behind me worked as bike guides for the mountain actually so I was never going to compete with any of them. If I'm around next year, I'd love to give it another shot and be able to ride it as opposed to just getting through. The Devinci is some beast... saved me on so many occasions when I was ploughing through the most stupid rocky line I could find. No bother to it at all and pedals great. Not too different to my old Evo to be honest. 

This guy was looking for MAD membership last night but I told him Davey has closed membership, maybe IMBRC would take him? Really good to have my Crankworx finished with so I can get on with enjoying the rest of the events. Slope and Style on Saturday was out of this world- front flips, back flips... mind blowing. DH on tomorrow (tues) so lookout for me on hecklers rock!

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