Aug 8th
Crankworx Whistler, Day 2, The Canadian Open.

Day two of Crankworx started in very much the same way as it did on day one with us setting up the T2R-Distributors booth at the top of the village to display the Commencal, IXS and Spank Industries components.

Having had the experience from the first day the set up was quick and easy. Being a Sunday, and Crankworx the village was pretty busy and we had a constant stream of people at the stand all day.

Kris and Nick ready for the Canadian Open DH

The main event of the day was the Canadian Open. An open downhill event that starts from the mid point of the mountain, starting with Joyride, exiting to the left and proceeding towards the lift tower over ‘hecklers rock, then onto the Fitzsimmons Chair lift line, across Old Olly Road remaining on the Fitz Chair lift line before reconnecting with Joyride. Then onto the rock face, across the Mountain Road below 1.0 mileage marker over the road gap feature, across the flats to a redesigned lower Canadian Open route ending with a jump finish into skiers plaza and the finish line.

For the Ticket2Ride crew, this is one of the key events of Crankworx and one that our team have traditionally done well in, and as such there was a lot of focus to the day.

From the T2R team, we had two riders taking part, Kris Atkinson and Nick Scott. Kris now 30, was racing in the Masters division with Nick competing in senior men. Also racing in the event were T2R guests; Jason and Manon Carpenter. Jason racing in Senior men against Kris amongst others and Manon racing in Pro Women's. The other interest for us was Gee and Rachel Atherton, each of who were racing in the event in the pro division on their Commencal Supreme DH v3’s, the same bikes as Kris and Nick were racing on.

Whilst the practice sessions took place, Dan and I manned the T2R-Distributors stand. The weather wasn’t great, being overcast with quite a cool temperature in the air, but we didn't notice that too much as we were kept pretty busy.

As the start times for our crew came close I took the short walk from our stand up to the finish line of the Canadian Open track, to watch the guys come down.

The first division that I watched finish the race was Master Men. Jason Carpenter came racing into view around the final corner before launching the final step down jump to come over the line in a respectable time of 3.46.01, however he didn’t unseat the guy sat in the hot seat.

Last to race in the Master Men’s category was Kris. He had a tough time to beat if he was to win the race, as Ryan Newton was sat comfortably in the hot seat with a time of 3.33.20 and certainly had the look on his face that he would be staying there and taking the gold. That was until Kris came in to view on the final section of the course and he was flying. I could see from the time on the timer’s board that he was on a fast run but there were still some features to clear before the finish line. My heart was in my mouth when he hit the first of these features as he nosed the bike over the jump in a manner that had ‘going over the bars’ written all over it, but Kris was fully focused on the win and continued putting in powerful pedal strokes down to the final step down jump.

Kris on the home straight of the Canadian Open

Kris on the final jump in the Canadian Open

He launched the final feature and powered on right to the finish line to secure the win by a massive 11.46 seconds with a time of 3.21.74.

Kris at the finish line on the Canadian Open DH

The crowd erupted in applause and celebration whilst Kris, in his familiar ‘race finished’ pose of being bent over his bike gasping for air, smiled with the satisfaction of having won one of Crankworx signature races.

Kris' winning time on the Canadian Open DH

It was a very pleasing and proud moment for me, having watched Kris racing in Crankworx for the past four seasons, and having seen him finish so very close to the podium each time, finally I was seeing Kris get the reward and recognition for his speed and skill on a bike. From a business point of view it was also very pleasing to see Kris winning on his Commencal Supreme DHv3, showing off it’s benefits as a pedigree DH race weapon.    

The next category to race was the senior men’s. This is always a competitive category, with a large number of racers and often a few bandits in the mix. This season was no exception to this, but as always a great contest to watch. Nick who has been on the podium in previous seasons in this race had just returned from a trip to Hawaii, and to be fair had not been in the bike park as much as in previous seasons. That being said, he came in the home straight looking very strong and pulled a massive tail whip off the final jump putting in a solid time of 3.29.66 on his Supreme DH v3, but was pushed off the podium, ending up in 8th place.

Nick Scott on the final jump in the Canadian Open DH

No sooner had the Senior Men’s category finished then the Pro Women’s got going. In this division I was looking out for a couple of key racers, Ticket2RideBC guest, Manon Carpenter, and Commencal Super Team rider Rachel Atherton.

As with all racing, especially downhill mountain biking, anything can happen, and technical issues with the bike can change the expected result, and this is exactly what happened with Manon. For the pro divisions, the course was televised on the big screens in the village as well as on, however the coverage only showed the lower sections of the course. No sooner has Manon appeared on the screen then it was clear she had a problem with her bike, the back tire was flat. Sadly this was exactly what happened to her in pretty much the same place in the same race back in 2009.

Manon rolling in with a flat

As Manon rolled down the rest of the course the coverage picked up on Rachel Atherton who was flying on her Commencal Supreme DHv3. She launched the final step down jump to the finish line like the pro racer she is taking the gold in a time of 3.34.45.

Rachel Atherton in the Canadian Open DH

Lastly it was the turn of the Pro Men to race, and for this I was interested to see how Gee Atherton was going to do. Gee was the hot favourite to win, having taken the gold in 2010, but 2011 was not going to be his year. Having put in a super quick time for the majority of the track he was again dogged by a rear wheel problem in the last section of the track which slowed him right down and his ended up rolling down in the village and was clearly not impressed whatever had failed in the rear wheel on his bike, however it still managed to style up the final jump to please the crowd.

Gee on the final jump in the Canadian Open DH

After the excitement of the racing I then returned to the T2R-Distributors stand to continue with the promotional work of Commencal bikes, IXS rider protection and Spank components until it was time to attend the medal ceremony, where Kris was issues with not only a gold medal but also a set of forks and some other swag. Not bad for a day on the hill doing what you love.     

Kris with his Canadian Open DH Gold Medal


lookin far too smug stig!
"lookin far too smug stig! congrats though!"