Aug 17th
Crankworx Whistler, Day 4. The Garbanzo DH.

Having had a pretty quiet Monday, Tuesday was back up to full speed. This was the last day we were going to be displaying at the top end of the Whistler village, as from Wednesday to the end of the event the pricing for displaying in zone 2 jumps up, so we had taken the decision to be further down the village stroll for the remainder of the event.

No sooner had we set up for the morning then Commencal Super Team rider Yannick Granieri stopped by the tent to say hi and have a catch up. We chatted about the Freeride World Cup that he is currently in second place for and a little bit about the new Redbull Joyride course here in Whistler. He then set off to get in some sighting lines on the course.

Yannick Granieri at the Commencal Stand

The main event for the Tuesday was possibly the signature event of Crankworx, the Garbanzo DH. This is the world’s longest DH race at 12KM’s long with 3,400 feet of vertical descending, not to mention two uphill sections within it. The course starts from the top of the Whistler Bike Park, near the top of the Garbanzo chair lift.

Entering the race from the Ticket2RideBC team was Kris Atkinson, Dan Thwaite and Nick Scott. Also entering were guests Jason and Manon Carpenter.

Having spent the morning stood at the stand talking bikes and components to all the interested parties, I made the short trip up to the bottom of the bike park and took up a location that gave me a decent view of the Garbanzo finish line and the final feature that racers had to negotiate, the GLC drop.

The first race of real interest to me was the Master Men’s category, as Kris, having achieved gold in the Canadian Open DH was charged up and ready to take the double.  Before Kris’ start time, Jason Carpenter did his run, and put in a respectable time of 16.25.99 that in the end gave him 10th place.

The last Men’s Master competitor to race was Kris. Kris knows the Garbanzo track well, but in previous Crankworx races, the trail had beaten him by breaking bits off his bike. So as the time I was expecting to see him approaching the GLC Drop arrived I crossed my fingers hoping that this time he was enjoying a clear run of the track.

Kris finishing the Garbanzo DH

As Kris arrived into view it was clear that he was in with a chance to take another Crankworx Gold, but it was going to be tight. Kris launched the GLC drop and powered over the line in a time of 15.21.28, taking the gold by just 1.61 seconds, an awesome achievement.

Once Kris has regained his composure and caught his breath he told me that he had actually come of his bike on a couple of occasions on the track which made me wonder just how good his time could have been if he had managed to stay on his Commencal for the whole race.

Anyway with two golds in the bag, it was now time to watch the Senior Men’s Division to see how Dan and Nick would do.

Dan, who has hardly ridden this season as we have been so busy working in the office for T2R-Distributors, really was no where near race fit, however he was keen to have a go to see how he would fair on his Commencal Supreme DH v3. As it turned out, he did an ok race run from top to bottom, but he wasn’t please with his time knowing that with some more regular riding he could have done so much better.

Dan finishing the Garbanzo DH

The next Ticket2RideBC rider to race was Nick Scott. In 2010 Nick took gold in this race, and so we were hoping that he would follow Kris and take the second gold of the day; however the Senior Men’s category is a big group with a real variety of racers entering, so you never know how it’s going to go.

Nick on the GLC Drop

As it happens Nick came in to view on a fast time, however as he powered past the finish line it was clear that he didn’t have the fastest time of the day, as Santiago De Santiago had put in a stellar time of 14.37.29 which would have seen him take 13th place in the Pro division.

Nick ended up taking Silver with a time of 15.03.28 which was better than the time he did last year to take Gold.

In the Pro Women’s race Manon had a great run and also took Silver earning her a cheque for $1000 which was a nice reward for a day in the Whistler bike park.

Manon on the GLC drop at the end of the Garbanzo DH

As soon as the awards ceremony was over it was time to make a mad dash down to the airport as Jason, Manon and Harry had a flight to catch as they needed to be back in to the UK in time for the weekend’s national races in the UK.

Kris taking gold for the Garbanzo DH Crankworx 2011

Manon taking silver in the Garbanzo DH

Kris and Nick with their medals from the Garbanzo DH

By the time I got back from the six hour round trip the day was complete.