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Nimby Fifty; Steve Smith tribute trail; e-bike policy developed.
Finding the epic in Whistler's longest singletrack.
A candid Q & A with outgoing bike park manager Brian Finestone.
Tuning in with the people who keep the wheels turning.
Local riders share their favourite spots to shred. What’s yours?
How the craft beer industry is making its mark on biking. FREE ER’S INE WHISTL MAGAZ BIKE
MOUNTAIN BIKING IS A FAMILY AFFAIR SEA TO SKY IN BIKING AIN MOUNT AFFAIR IS A FAMILY TO SKY IN SEA
Media Group Sarah Strother Alison Taylor
PRODUCTION MANAGER CREATIVE DIRECTOR SALES MANAGER SALES
Join the club. Hats off to 30 years at WORCA.
HELI-BIKING IS SET TO TAKEOFF ON MOUNT BARBOUR
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Find out where all the twowheeled action is in Sea to Sky this summer.
A division of Glacier
Whistlerites find flow at sea level.
Crank'd took home gold at the 2019 Ma Murray Awards from the BC and Yukon Community NewsMedia Association. Crank'd took top spot in the Special Publication under 25,000 category.
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019 PRODUCED BY
WHISTLER’S BIKE MAGAZINE
RINTUREG SOA TO ADVEN SOARING ERA OFTO ADVENTURE
IN SEA TO SKY
WHISTLER’S BIKE MAGAZINE
IS SET KING HELI-BI F ON UR TO TAKEOF BARBO IS SET MOUNTHELI-BIKING ON TO TAKEOFF RUNS BARBOUR WHEN PASSIONMOUNT DEEP, INNOVATION FLOURISHES
N RUNS RUNS WHEN PASSION PASSIO TION WHEN INNOVA DEEP, INNOVATION MOUNTAIN DEEP,BIKING SHES FLOURISHES AFFAIR IS A FAMILYFLOURI
WORCA hits a three decade milestone.
ES T DISPUT DISPUTES ’S BIGGES OF MOUNTAIN BIKING’S BIGGEST AIN BIKING AT SOME MOUNT AN INSIDE LOOK AN INSIDE LOOK AT SOME OF MOUNTAIN BIKING’S BIGGEST DISPUTES SOME OF LOOK AT
OF OF ERAERA WHEELING TION WHEELING EVOLUTION THROUGH THE AGES INGTHE AGES THROUGHEVOLU WHEEL GH THE AGES
Karl Partington Claire Ryan Susan Hutchinson
Tessa Sweeney, Amy Allen, Anthony Joyce
Contributors WRITERS & PHOTOGRAPHERS
Brandon Barrett Abby Cooper Braden Dupuis Dan Falloon Vince Shuley Alison Taylor Mathew Turner
PHOTOGRAPHERS David Buzzard Abby Cooper Hailey Elise Justa Jeskova Ollie Jones David Steers Clint Trahan
ON THE COVER
Chasing Deep Summer with Brendan Howey (and crew!) on Sproatt Mountain, August 2018. Photo by Clint Trahan CLINTTRAHAN.COM
WHISTLER PUBLISHING Limited Partnership
2 Crank’d Bike Magazine
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Printed in Canada ©2019, Glacier Media Group. All rights reserved. All photos are copyright of the credited photographer. No reproduction in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher.
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
END OF AN ERA FOR NIMBY FIFTY
he Nimby Fifty, the race that put Pemberton’s singletrack on the map, is calling it a day after 10 years.
“It’s bittersweet,” admits Dean Linnell, one of the Nimby Fifty co-founders who created the race alongside Russ Wood and Terry Evans. While disappointed that 2019 is the Nimby’s swansong, Linnell says the race did exactly what it was intended to do. “(Ten years ago) there wasn’t much for mountain bike racing in Pemberton,” he recalls. “We really wanted to showcase the trails that are there and especially how unique it is with the scenery.” 4 Crank’d Bike Magazine
Not to mention the fact that this was a technical marathon beast of a cross-country race—101 switchbacks of singletrack climbing spanning almost 40 kilometres (it feels more like 50 km). National mountain bike champion Neal Kindree said this after taking the top spot in the Nimby 50 in 2011: “The most savage race course I’ve ever ridden.” It says something that Nimby Fifty endured for a decade in a place where races have been an integral part of the summer season, from the Crankworx race events to the weekly Toonie Races. There were times over the last 10 years when rider numbers were low—competition, says Linnell, from the rise of enduro-style events. But the pendulum may be shifting in the race world. This year is the highest turnout yet; 650 racers are expected to cross the start line, many coming to race the final Nimby. He muses: “I feel like this style of racing—long hard marathon races—may be having another moment.”
Riders ready themselves for the gruelling race ahead at the Nimby Fifty start/finish line. PHOTO BY DAVID STEERS FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/DBSTEERS VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
STEVE SMITH TRIBUTE — 1199
PHOTO BY CLINT TRAHAN CLINTTRAHAN.COM
teve Smith’s tribute trail could have been called any number of names: ‘Chainsaw’ in a nod to his nickname or the more mundane ‘The Steve Smith Legacy Trail.’ Instead, it will simply be known as 1199, a pro line technical trail in the Creekside Zone of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, designed to honour Canadian downhill legend Steve Smith and provide a training ground for World Cup athletes in the future. "It's a passion project," says Marc Riddell, director of cummincations at WB. The trail will not be finished this year as substantial work needs to be done to make it a reality. But it is part of the park's three year plan. The name, 1199, is a nod to Smith’s total points in 2013, the year he won the World Cup overall title after back to back wins at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Hafjell and Leogang. “It’s subtle,” says longstanding bike park manager Brian Finestone of the trail he wishes he could complete before his tenure at the park is over (see related story on page 12). “It keeps his story alive and it encourages people to ask questions and want to know more and I like that about it.” Smith died in May 2016 after suffering a massive brain injury during an enduro motorcycling accident in his hometown of Nanaimo. He was 26 years old.
ONE FACILITY. FOUR WAYS TO PLAY. @RMWhistler | @rmwhistler | @rmowhistler
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
Located just 5 km north of Whistler Village, Meadow Park Sports Centre is Whistler’s best place to swim, skate, sweat or play squash.
Crank’d Bike Magazine 5
I don’t know that it’s taken off as big here as it has in Europe. There’s tons of curiosity and everybody asks about them, but they’re pretty expensive. I wouldn’t say that it’s exploded yet, but the curiosity is there. JAMES ROBERTSON, WHISTLER VILLAGE SPORTS
WHISTLER READIES FOR E-BIKES AS NEW POLICY UNFOLDS By DAN FALLOON
ith uncertainty surrounding e-bikes—in some places, which types would be allowed on which trails has yet to be determined—local bike shops are taking a slow-and-steady approach. Whistler Village Sports (WVS) assistant manager James Robertson explains since many riders are playing a wait-and-see style, so too are the shops. “I don’t know that it’s taken off as big here as it has in Europe. There’s tons of curiosity and everybody asks about them, but they’re pretty expensive. I wouldn’t say that it’s exploded yet, but the curiosity is there. It wouldn’t take much for the whole market to explode here,” he says, noting WVS will have four e-bikes for rent at its Mountain Riders location. Confusion about the laws is a factor in market hesitance. The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is planning to implement an e-bike policy for local trails in advance of the coming summer. The policy, yet to be finalized as of press time, is looking to allow Class 1 e-bikes (which include a pedal-assist motor that cuts out once the bike reaches 32 kilometres per hour) on the Valley Trail and on all off-road areas where mountain bikes are allowed except in alpine areas above the Flank Trail and in the Emerald Forest Conservation Area. Class 2 (where a motor can be used to power the bicycle without pedalling up to 32 km/h) and Class 3 e-bikes (which have pedal assist up to 45 km/h) would be banned on the Valley Trail but permitted on roads, forest service roads and off-road trails “with a specific motorized designation,” though no such trails exist in Whistler. 6 Crank’d Bike Magazine
The District of Squamish has no formal policy regarding e-bikes for its paved or off-road trails, according to a spokesperson. Recreation Sites and Trails BC, which manages several trails in the Sea to Sky corridor, revealed its e-bike policy in late April. It is fairly similar to the proposed RMOW policy, with Class 1 e-bikes and motor assisted cycles (which are similar to Class 1 e-bikes though they do not require the rider to always be pedalling) allowed on non-motorized established recreation trails. The full policy, which has trails such as the Lord of the Squirrels, Lower Sproatt, Comfortably Numb and the Green Lake Loop in its jurisdiction, is available at tiny.cc/hbd15y. Evolution Whistler owner Jenine Schramm says e-bikes have not made much impact in her shop. She purchased two full-suspension 29er trail e-bikes for rent last year, but estimates they were used so little—about one-tenth of what a regular mountain bike would see— that she almost didn’t bring them back for this summer. However, she says she was heartened by those who rented them and changed her mind. “The people that did go out, almost always, were a bit older and had such a good time,” she says. “One guy from Vancouver brought his wife twice and he came back absolutely thrilled because he could go riding with his wife, which he hadn’t been able to do for years. He loved mountain biking. His wife’s not a very strong athlete. They did the Valley Trail, Lost Lake, and would come back just over the moon.” On a personal level, Schramm sees the value in e-bikes after enjoying a challenging ascent on one. “I was blown away by the traction that they have. At no point did I ever skid out climbing a super steep, loose trail. I would have been skidding a lot on a conventional bike,” she says. “It’s not as much fun to descend on them as (on) a conventional bike, in my experience, and so personally, I still want to ride my conventional bike.”
TOONIES NOW A FIVER
ome people still call them Loonies. That’s because WORCA’s weekly rides/races followed by après use to cost $1. The price doubled and the races became Toonies. This year the Toonie Rides will be $5 for drop-in, $2 for youth. However, if you buy a Toonie Season Pass for $36, the cost per ride comes in at a Toonie. Even more motivation to make all 18 rides! You need to be a WORCA member to participate in the weekly rides.
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
PHOTO BY JUSTA JESKOVA JUSTAJESKOVA.COM
8 Crankâ€™d Bike Magazine
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
By MATT TURNER
he popularity of Whistler trails waxes and wanes every season. New trails take top spot for a while, eclipsing old die-hard favourites. For the last few years, ever since it opened, Lord of the Squirrels has been the go-to, mustdo ride; the subversive Dark Crystal has also been a quiet contender for local favourite of late; and it wasn’t that long ago that Business Time was the flavour of the day. Through it all, however, Comfortably Numb has stood the test of time, a stalwart heavyweight in a town with hundreds of kilometres of trail. Local rider Matt Turner takes us on a journey along the longest singletrack in Whistler.
t r a i l sh o w c a s e :
find ing the
EPIC Comfortably NUMB
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
The rock roll quickly comes into view on the trail ahead. Your mind calculates the next move in a split second—left or right, left or right? Going left is the more challenging line. The wheel shifts in that direction, tire pointed at the steep, rolling chute. And then … halfway through your front tire pinballs off a pyramid-shaped rock, bucking and sending you and your bike hurtling off the side of the trail. As the moss, mud and trees rise up to meet you all you can think about is how you got into this predicament riding one of Whistler’s most iconic singletracks— Comfortably Numb. At 25 km, this bike trail is the longest and one of the most physically challenging singletrack trails in Whistler, a must-do ride for technically advanced cyclists. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not just the technical riding that can give even the pros a run for their money; it’s the sheer length. Expect to be on the trail for hours, depending on fitness and all those other factors that come into play on day-long rides. Packing snacks and enough water to keep you going is essential. The day begins at the north end of the trail, about 15 minutes past the quiet neighbourhood of Emerald, north of Whistler on Highway 99. You cross the railway tracks turning right into a parking lot at Wedgemount Park. All that stands between you and the trailhead now is a 15-metre bridge and 250 m of logging road. Finally, at the trailhead, you see the Comfortably Numb sign. Clipped in and ready to shred, the adventure begins. Pace yourself. It starts off with some dreary forest switchbacks but the trail soon leads you into classic Whistler slab, riding under power lines. As you drop into a curving rock face, you remember how good it feels to ride steep lines. That’s when the rock roll comes into view and with that split second decision to go left, the thrilling turns into the chilling. With an automatic quick squeeze of the rear brake, the foot goes down and with a moto turn just in time to dodge the tree, the crisis is averted. Heart racing, adrenaline pumping, the beads of sweat begin trickling down your dirtcovered face. There’s still a lot of trail to ride. Steep climbs, intimidating rock Crank’d Bike Magazine 9
Clipped in & ready to shred, the adventure begins. Pace yourself.
TOP: Comfortably Numb bridge upgrade in 2018 (near Jeff’s). PHOTO BY DAN RAYMOND
BELOW: Rider Vince Perrine takes on one of the rock rolls in the Foreplay descent. PHOTO BY DAN RAYMOND
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rolls, and creative skinnys, along with spectacular gorges are all part of the journey for 2,200m to Young Lust, a quick black descent back to the Wedgemount parking lot, and the first cut off on Comfortably Numb. Tempting. But that would be cheating. After Young Lust, the climb turns to some technical switchbacks through jaw-dropping old-growth forest of primeval Coastal Western Hemlock ecosystems. The trail itself is rough and rooty with riders working for every metre of elevation gain. Another optional “out” comes into view—Jeff’s. With the fatigue starting to set in, it’s easy to see why
these optional outs are in place. An energy bar and a quick break gets things back on track, but not before pausing to consider the massive effort involved in creating, and maintaining, this behemoth. Whistler trail-building legend Chris Markle is the person behind this masterpiece, which first opened in 2003. It would not have been possible without the thousands of volunteer hours put in by Whistler’s biking community through the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA). It is only in the last few years that the economic importance of trails like Comfortably Numb, designated
by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) as an “epic trail,” has become apparent. A 2016 study found that crosscountry cyclists spent more than $20 million in the resort. The Resort Municipality of Whistler, in recognition of this, boosted financial support of WORCA for trail building upkeep from $50,000 a year to $120,000 this year. This support helped make it possible for WORCA to refurbish the Al Grey memorial bridge on Comfortably Numb as well as carry out some armouring and smoothing in sections that had become extra rowdy. The continued work on the trail makes all the difference. Back on your bike you pass another trail—Golden Door, a shortcut that lets you bypass the 4,500m section blocking your descent. Your legs and lungs beg you to take it and yet you continue on. You’re enjoying riding even more knowing you took the long way round, but the sharp and slabby riding is keeping you on your toes. After what feels like forever you finally get to the descent, Foreplay. Ripping down, you can’t help but crack an ear-splitting smile, and whoops escape into the dense green forest as rocks and dirt fly from your back tire. Multiple rock faces and optional steep chutes test your ability to stay on your bike. After riding in trees with brief open areas, the trail bursts into the same powerline clearcut from earlier in the singletrack, only much further along. This fun, loose, dusty section makes you feel out of control, but the “good” out of control that reminds you of why mountain biking is addictive. Heading back into the forest, you ride a short section that’s fun and flowy, until you come to an intersection with Central Scrutinizer, one of the Zappa trails at Lost Lake. You stop to take a breath, feeling satisfied as hell, and stoked that you just completed one of Whistler’s most famous trails. Matt Turner was riding a bike as soon as he could stand. An avid cross-country and downhill biker he reminds riders not to tackle Comfortably Numb alone, to take plenty of water, food and a repair kit and remember there is no cell service for most of the ride. Follow Matt on Instagram at @matt.turner18. VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
Last Laps Longstanding Whistler Mountain Bike Park Manager Brian Finestone hangs up his downhill bike and looks to the future with a nod to the past By ALISON TAYLOR
t was the year 2000 when Brian Finestone started in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park (WMBP) as the safety guy. The park was just two years old, a revolutionary mountain playground for a niche group of hard-core riders, on the cutting edge of something extraordinary. Hard to predict back then what it would become in the next two decades.
And yet, the riders kept coming, growing year over year; there was a willingness at Whistler Blackcomb to keep investing in the new summer downhill experience; and, there were guys like Finestone, who was bike park manager from 2006-2018, steering the ship. This past year has seen some big changes to the longstanding park leadership crew and now, after 18 years, Finestone too is moving on to other adventures. Specifically, he’s working as the mountain bike coordinator for Eco Challenge: The Expedition Race, hosted by Bear Grylls, picked up by the Amazon Prime Network and filmed on location in Fiji. Upon his return to Whistler from his first on-location scouting mission, Finestone sat down with Crank’d to talk about the last 18 years in the park and what it all means to be riding his last laps as manager as the bike park readies for another season.
CRANK’D: HOW WAS YOUR FIRST FORAY IN FIJI? BF: My initial reaction is that there’s no flat ground in Fiji.
Essentially, anything that’s flat is either crops or a rugby pitch. It’s volcanic and it’s very, very hilly. So there’s really no opportunity to coast or cruise. You’re either climbing or descending the entire time with some fairly massive elevation gains. This Expedition Race is really about providing the teams with a bike experience that’s not about thrills; it’s about power and energy and being able to make it to the end.
CRANK’D: WITH THAT IN MIND, CAN YOU PICTURE HOW THE RACE IS GOING TO UNFOLD? BF: I can. Over the course of the time
that I’ve been with the Whistler Bike Park, we’ve had everything from the 24 Hours of Adrenalin races, the Cheakamus Challenge race, the Crankworx races. I’ve just seen so many iterations of mountain bike racing in the years that I’ve been here that all of those layers to the onion of the experience were the pieces that allowed me to see it.
CRANK’D: HOW DID IT FEEL WHEN YOU MADE THE DECISION THIS SPRING TO LEAVE AFTER 18 YEARS? BF: It was bittersweet. I’ve been with
the bike park for a dozen years as the manager and prior to that I was the safety guy for the bike park. This is my home. It’s almost like a child. I’ve raised this thing. I’ve been a part of its evolution for quite some time and there are some projects that are unfinished, that I’m sad not to complete and have as my legacy. But at the same time, there’s never a really good time to leave. So it was with some sadness that I said goodbye, but with the excitement of something new and being at the bottom of a learning curve, it’s pretty exciting.
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CRANK’D: YOU MENTION LEGACY. WHAT ARE YOU MOST STOKED ABOUT WHEN YOU THINK BACK ON THE LAST 12 YEARS AS MANAGER? BF: It would be arrogant of me to make any sort of claim to
ownership of anything. I had a really big and really capable team of trail builders and patrollers. I can’t take credit for anything except leading the band. That’s really what it is. What I’m probably the proudest of is that when I started, the bike park was really core and it was really male and it was a very specific demographic and the legacy that I feel I left behind is that there are a lot more women riding, and there are a lot more kids riding.
CRANK’D: HOW DID THAT VISION TO BRING MORE WOMEN AND KIDS MANIFEST ITSELF ON THE GROUND? BF: The way that I would try to move our trail building direction was like a dealer—a card for you, a card for you, a card for you. A card for the kids. A card for the begin-termediate, the person that’s making that transition from green to blue. And then something for the experts that want new jump trails or newer technical trails. So just making sure that all of the different user groups had something new to ride every year.
CRANK’D: TODAY’S DIVERSITY IN THE PARK IS EVIDENT. BUT IT COULD JUST HAVE EASILY REMAINED A HARD-CORE, PRO PARK IF NOT FOR THE VISION AT THE TOP. BF: That model worked at the beginning when that’s who
mountain biking was. It was core and it was early adopters and it was people who that was their lifestyle; it wasn’t a sport for them, it was a lifestyle choice. That’s a bit of a sabre tooth tiger, which could go extinct very easily if you don’t diversify that model. So, as a business, it needed to be diversified and it needed to be made more achievable VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
“It would be arrogant of me to make any sort of claim to ownership of anything. I had a really big and really capable team of trail builders and patrollers. I can’t take credit for anything except leading the band. “
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
Crank’d Bike Magazine 13
CRANK’D: DOWN TO ONE BIKE? BF: My bike quiver was huge and a little bit ridiculous— downhill, dirt jumper, BMX, BMX with a sidecar on it. I’ve now paired it down to just an enduro bike that I can hopefully do it all on. I may not be pounding laps on A-Line. But, you never know. I may miss it and go back.
CRANK’D: WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TRAIL? BF: It’s one of those things where your favourite trail
changes the same way your favourite food does. You may love sushi but every once in a while you have really good pizza. As I age, my riding changes—more technical and longer technical is my jam at the moment. So probably now it would be Top of the World to Mid-Guard to Delayed Fuse. Hmmmm, how would I like to finish that off? I would probably go to South Park.
CRANK’D: HAVE YOU GIVEN ANY ADVICE TO NEW BIKE PARK MANAGER BRAD WHITE? BF: I actually met with Brad a number of times and I’ve
definitely given him some information on things, pitfalls that rear their ugly heads every year, and things to look out for. It’s very easy to spread yourself thin in the job and I tried to explain to him which things you want to spend more time on and which things you should delegate out. It’s one of those things where everybody has to find their way. I told him: Even when I’m gone, I’m still in the valley and to reach out any time ... He’s got a strong team to work with so he’ll be great.
CRANK’D: WHAT ABOUT YOUR ‘UNFINISHED BUSINESS,’ PROJECTS THAT ARE IN THE PIPELINE LIKE 1199, THE TRIBUTE TRAIL TO STEVE ‘CHAINSAW’ SMITH? BF: It’s going to be the hardest trail here. It’s a pro line
technical trail and has a bunch of the hardest elements that you’ll see in World Cups. It’s unrelenting and it’s in the Creekside zone. The concept with it is it’s more than just a trail; it’s to make it a training centre. The vision that I had was a really technically difficult trail that’s not always open to the public every single day and not always the same. Its got three different lines and we can open left line, centre line or right line and you can move it year by year so that it’s always changing. We had input from a number of World Cup athletes. Some elements that we showed them they were like ‘Keep that and lose that.’ It was the first time that they’ve ever had input on a trail before it was built or on a racetrack so that was exciting for them. It lives up to the legacy of Stevie.
for more people. The way to do that was with a variety of trails and just giving people more information. A big part of my drive was, if you know what (the trail) is with the right information, you can make good choices which keeps you safe and gives you the experience that you’re after. TOP: Big climbs, big smiles. Nothing is flat in Fiji. BELOW: Tidal affected crossings change constantly. Oh and by the way, there are aggressive Bull Sharks in the murky water. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BRIAN FINESTONE PREVIOUS PAGE: PHOTOS BY DAVID BUZZARD MEDIA-CENTRE.CA
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CRANK’D: WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO RIDE THE PARK NOW WITHOUT AN EVERCRITICAL EYE? BF: You know, I think it’ll be nice. There were times where I would almost have to wear a disguise if I was riding on my own time. People would recognize me and want to talk about work or complain about something or whatever, and you have to be diplomatic. To just not have to worry about that, cause I’m not the guy to approach for those issues anymore, is going to be refreshing. I have to admit, I sold my downhill bike and I now have the one bike that can do it all, I hope. So I will ride but I probably won’t ride the same way that I rode before because I have different priorities.
CRANK'D: YOU’RE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A MEMOIR OF YOUR TIME AS BIKE PARK MANAGER, WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT? BF: I don’t think anybody would read it! But you’d have to call it Mud, Sweat and Tears.
CRANK’D: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR THE WMBP? BF: I think bike parks have proven their value as far as
products for ski areas with global climate changing. We’re starting to see areas in New Zealand, for example, where they’re building lift serviced bike parks in places that aren’t a ski hill. They don’t even have a ski product and lift-service biking is proving to be successful for them because they can ride year-round. Whistler is still bigger by a quantum margin. If you take the next ten bike parks, we’re still bigger than all of them combined. It’s a really big thing. And I think it will continue to be the No. 1 aspirational destination. So if you’re from anywhere else you ride your local park or you travel to regional parks and then at some point you aspire to come to Whistler to ride this fabled thing. And, hopefully we live up to your expectations. VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
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/SPLITZGRILLWHISTLER /SPLITZWHISTLER Crankâ€™d Bike Magazine 15
Shawn Cruickshanks works with a hand dyno testing rig, used to check the function of repaired shocks, in the Fluid Function Squamish workshop. PHOTO BY DAVID BUZZARD MEDIA-CENTRE.CA
By BRA DEN DU PUIS
e of the
Cruickshanks FLUID FUNCTION
o hear it from “The Wizard” of mountain bike mechanics himself, Shawn Cruickshanks, there’s no great story behind the moniker—just good, consistent service. About 10 years ago, he was doing a gear order for the Coastal Crew, a handful of exceptional mountain bikers based in the Sunshine Coast who use creative media to promote riding in the area. Along with the order, Cruickshanks did some unexpected and above-board bike servicing. “They were quite surprised. They go, ‘We get service too?’ And I said, ‘Well, of course you do. You’re on the roster,’” Cruickshanks recalls. “And they started calling me the Wizard, not because I had done anything specific—I think they were just being nice because I got them a bunch of product and I was able to service it for them. “So no great story there. They were just being good, appreciative kids.” Modest though he is, Cruickshanks has more than earned the name over the course
16 Crank’d Bike Magazine
of his 36 years working on bikes, including a decade working directly with one of the world’s best mountain bikers Brandon Semenuk. “I think a lot of mechanics, No. 1, they want to get their athlete the best bike they can, but also, in the back of your mind, too, you want to make sure that everything is snug, and you don’t hurt your athlete,” he says. “What they do is pretty dangerous, so you want to make sure that they’ve got the best equipment, and they’re safe—if you can. I mean, some of the stuff they do is reaching.” Semenuk will typically go through two-tothree slopestyle bikes, two-to-three downhill frames and one or two trail bikes each season, Cruickshank says, and will typically spend his springs fine-tuning his gear on the Sunshine Coast. “He’ll beat them up, and then he’ll come back and say, ‘I’d like to do something else,’ and we’ll go through a few iterations and then find his happy place,” Cruickshanks says. “And then we’ll build him two or three, because he travels so much still, so he’s got
ls t u r n
some spares if he’s on the road ... We like to make sure he’s prepared for any contingency when he goes away.” Cruickshanks says he never intended to open his own shop—it just kind of happened with Fluid Function in Squamish. “We’re still RockShox-focused—that’s our brand—and because of our affiliation with the race department, we are very knowledgeable about contemporary product, and we try to be early adopters,” he says. “So if anything new comes out, we make sure we have it, and being at it for so long, we’re good at taking care of the old stuff too.” As for that name—The Wizard—does Cruickshanks feel like he lives up to it? “Uh, no,” he says with a chuckle. “I mean, I’ve been at it awhile, and I think I do pretty good, but I don’t know if there’s anything wizardly about it. Repetition, you know? “Hopefully if you do something enough, you get good at it.” VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
You’re not just working on an expensive bike, you’re working on someone’s wellbeing and you’re working on someone’s safety, you know? Send it out the door with a loose headset and they’re breaking their neck, so yeah, it’s pretty important to know what you’re doing,
ccording to Joanna Harrington, coowner of Fineline Bike Shop in Function Junction, there’s a huge demand for good mountain bike mechanics right now. “Not just someone that tinkers on their own bike, but that actually takes it as a profession,” Harrington says, during a quick break from work at the shop. “I think also, shops are willing to pay what a mechanic is worth now—it’s not just a minimum wage job anymore— so as long as you can find a shop that appreciates someone who is willing to take it professionally and pays a good wage, then VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
I think it can actually sustain you.” That said, the industry is in a period of change. “It needs to be regulated more,” she adds. A lot of the bike companies offer their own courses, and there are some private training options available, Harrington says, “but I think there’s definitely a big gap there that needs to be filled for some better regulation of certification for (mechanics).” Most peoples’ bikes are worth more than their cars, Harrington says, but it’s not just a matter of finances. “You’re not just working on an expensive bike, you’re working on someone’s wellbeing and you’re working on someone’s safety, you know? Send it out the door with a loose headset and they’re breaking their neck, so yeah, it’s pretty important to know what you’re doing,” she says. “And we see a lot of bad stuff come in here. It’s kind of scary when people are riding
around with loose headsets. So we take it seriously, for sure.” Harrington has owned Fineline with business partner Mike Klaus for 14 years, first coming to Whistler two years before that. A former World Cup-level racer, Harrington has been working on bikes for more than a decade. “Probably changed a million flat tires in my life,” she says with a laugh. A few years back, she got a scholarship with Trek bikes to take the company’s highest-level mechanic course with seven other women throughout North America. “It was really amazing,” she says. “It was down at their headquarters, so we spent time with Bosch, Shimano, RockShox, FOX ... all the big guys came in to make sure we were certified in what we were doing.” One thing she learned while she was there was that 51 per cent of most bike shops’ clientele at the time was made up of women. “So if you’re not catering to them you’re missing out,” she says. “The majority of our clientele is women in here today.” Crank’d Bike Magazine 17
Pete Fowler makes a custom tool for dismantling fork tubes with a power lathe in his workshop. PHOTOS BY DAVID BUZZARD MEDIA-CENTRE.CA
FOWLER PINNER BIKE TOOLS
hen he’s not working his day job at Chromag in Function Junction, Pete Fowler is pouring every ounce of his time into Pinner Bike Tools. Pinner came about in 2017, when Fowler sought to come up with a new-and-improved method of removing and installing derailleur hangers. “The problem was that, to undo or tighten the 20-millimetre nut which holds these hangers in place, we needed to use a 20-mm socket wrench,” Fowler writes on his website, pinnerbiketools.com. “The socket we were using had been modified, by grinding the leading edge flat, to give the tool full purchase on the hanger nut. But the nuts were getting damaged—only scratched, but nevertheless this was a problem.” Back in his workshop, Fowler, (with some help from his visiting father), went to work machining a specialized socket that wouldn’t damage the bikes he was working on—and Pinner Bike Tools was born. Since then, he has made three different socket sizes specialized to three different bikes. “If you use a general-use socket set, it will do the job, but it will scratch the heck out of the finish on the bike,” he says. “Some people don’t care, you know? They’ll scratch their bike and just put up with it… but your average Joe Blow, he’ll be spending 18 Crank’d Bike Magazine
(thousands for) a bike. He’s probably going to be upset if he scratches it.” The product has gone over well to this point, turning a profit for Fowler, which he has used to grow his passion project. “It’s helping me build my space, so any money that I make I put straight back into the business,” he says. He also sees a sustainability angle in his new project. “The thing that gets me with mountain biking is it’s kind of a throwaway society that we’re building ourselves ... (These tools) allow people to use their old stuff and make things last a bit longer,” he says. “Mountain biking used to be about those products that lasted a long time—that was a selling point—whereas now, it’s performance. So it’s good to balance that back out again.” Now that he’s established himself, Fowler has his eyes on expanding his product range—if he can ever find the time. For now, he’s just enjoying the challenge. “The main reason it all started off was because I wanted to find a new interest, because I’ve been fixing bikes for a long time. I could almost do it with my eyes closed,” he says. “So I think it’s good for the brain. The older you get, if you’re learning, that’s a good thing. “It’s a way of challenging myself, too.”
Top Tips: CONCENTRATE Distractions cause
mistakes, so pay close attention to the job at hand and you’ll go far!
BE TIDY An unorganized workspace can only lead to mistakes.
TIGHTEN IT UP THE FIRST TIME Rather than partly installing components and then bolt checking later, install a component from start to finish. LISTEN If you can’t hear the brakes
rubbing, the gears ticking, or the wheel you’re building touching the wheel jig, how are you able to tune it up? Play tunes, just not so loud that you can’t hear yourself think.
READ INSTRUCTIONS If you’re unsure
of how something goes together, or how tight to tighten a bolt, find out first. No mechanic knows everything, even if they think they do!
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
Youn Deniaud - @CameronBaird
THE INSIDERS’ GUIDE TO WHISTLER
Fit it in your pocket. Take it everywhere. Free. SUMMER edition out now VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
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CRAFT BEER MAKES ITS MARK ON BIKE CULTURE By ABBY COOPER
oam quite literally filled my mud-coated nostrils, the scent overpowering yet familiar. Collecting at the loosely defined finish line with hoots and hollers, I graciously slid into the crowd of my fellow dirt-covered bikers and snot-rocketed the earth right out of my nose. Ah, relief. A quick pedal towards the designated end-of-evening celebration and the scent of freshly cracked beer replaced the lingering earthy smell of mud. Happiness. The ride was over and a well-earned après was in order after completing my first Toonie Ride, a decades-long Thursday evening ritual in Whistler. There is perhaps no better way to explain this ongoing love affair, this melding of biking and beer, than Whistler’s legendary Toonie Rides. 22 Crank’d Bike Magazine
“The beer factor, it’s a big factor,” says WORCA president Dale Mikkelson. WORCA— the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association— hosts the weekly Toonie Rides, enticing riders to the different courses every week with the promise of a great ride followed by an après. The drop-in price is going up to $5/ride this summer ($2 if you buy the new season’s pass) but that gets you a race/ride in a social environment, the chance to discover new trails, meet new bike buds and partake in a well-earned après session. “In a town where a pint ranges from $5 to $9, paying $2-$5 for a community ride with like-minded people, VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
and then finishing at a party in a great spot with food and beer is incomparable value and community culture. Every year the beer sponsors step up huge for WORCA and our (other) sponsors—from Coast Mountain Brewing to Whistler Brewing to Backcountry Brewing, the beer flows for our members.” PHOTOS: TOP: Post ride is all about the stories, the laughs, and the company. BOTTOM LEFT: Persephone Brewing couldn't be more strategically based in Gibbsons BC. Riders on Sprockids Trail network can literally smell the hops on their final descent. BOTTOM RIGHT: Inspecting your whips newly acquired lovebites with a beer in hand just seems to go smoother than without. PHOTOS BY ABBY COOPER @ABBYDELLS VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
As so it follows: Where there are good bike trails, there is increasingly good beer, in particular good, locally brewed craft beer. It’s apparent from one end of the Sea to Sky corridor to the other, and beyond, as the craft beer industry continues to make its mark with mountain bikers. Riders of the Valleycliffe trails in Squamish welcome the detour to the not-so-far-away Backcountry Brewing and A-Frame Brewing Co. The newly birthed Beer Farmers and Pemberton Brewing Co. are capturing those preferring the techy trails of Pemberton. Likewise, on the Sunshine Coast, bikers are rewarded with
beer at Persephone’s, Tapworks and The 101 Brewhouse and Distillery. In Whistler, this symbiotic relationship between biking and beer is growing stronger every year. Last year, for example, Whistler Brewing and PinkBike created the Hazy Trail Pale Ale. Under the Brewers Notes, this pale ale, with hints of mango and passionfruit, is billed as: “Perfect for celebrating a day on the trails and slaying the mountain.” Perhaps making it taste even better for bikers, $1 of every 4-pack is donated to local trail associations through the Trailforks.com app “Trail Karma.” Further noth, Pemberton Crank’d Bike Magazine 23
Bewing Co. has its Cream Puff Pale Ale, named after the bike trail that ends behind the brewery. This concept of earning your après isn’t new, but its practice, arguably, has escalated with the rising trend of enduro biking— longer rides, uphill climbs, fast downhills. Trails like the newly polished Lord of the Squirrels or the well-known Cheakamus trails frequently deliver bikers to the breweries of Function Junction where riders can indulge in a craft brew from Whistler Brewing or Coast Mountain Brewing. And the brewers are taking note. PHOTOS: TOP: Beer tastes even better after a long day in the saddle. PHOTO BY CLINT TRAHAN CLINTTRAHAN.COM
BOTTOM LEFT: Steve Storey enjoys a pint at Whistler Brewing Co. in Function Junction. BOTTOM RIGHT: There's a brew for every taste. PHOTOS BY JUSTA JESKOVA JUSTAJESKOVA.COM
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Like giving your significant other a drawer in your dresser, breweries are making room for their committed partners in the form of bike racks, set strategically outside the patio but within eyesight. Most brewers, like Kevin Winter from Coast Mountain Brewing, are bikers too and understand that your pedal pony is quite possibly the most valuable thing you own so keeping eyes on your prized possession is a must. Winter’s bike parking is growing yearly as the trails develop around this bikers slice of paradise in Function Junction. “We love this end of town,” says Winter, with a nod to how Function is changing. “It’s really becoming a community outside of the Village that is demanding its own culture down here.” There’s more to the après-ride ritual however than quenching your thirst and filling the body with tasty carbs. Sitting down with friends, beer in hand, to relish over your day’s
endeavours is the best closing ceremony for a ride, whether it’s on a fancy Village bar stool or a tailgate on some far-flung Forest Service Road. Before you drop into the last lap, the anticipation builds, senses trained, knowing that the pedal ends with a savory sipable treat—thank you Pavlov, your experiments hold true to biking too. And, while the riding high undoubtedly comes from the exercise and adrenaline-induced endorphins, it’s the love of the debrief, reliving the finest and funniest moments at the end of the ride, that keep us addicted to the sport. Beer solidifies ride plans, confirms epic days and builds your ever growing bike posse. PS: We know that you know but ... enjoy responsibly, when the biking and driving are done for the day; this ensures the ability to do it over and over again. With files from Alison Taylor VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
LIVE MUSIC sal eg
Growlers + Reﬁlls, Seasonal Beers, Good Food, & Brewery Tours
EVERY FRIDAY 6-9 pm
glutenfreeoptions:GfBeers,rotatingcidertaps & non-alcoholicoptionsincludingKombucha 1045 Millar Creek Rd – 10 mins. from Whistler Village Located in Function Junction
sonal Bee y Tours HAD A GREAT RIDE? Say “Thanks!” with a Trail Pass
We’re proud to share our trails and we hope you love them as much as we do. But maintaining this massive network takes a lot of time, sweat, and (you guessed it) money. So, if you enjoyed your ride and can spare a few bucks, we’d appreciate it if you went to worca.com/trail-supporter and picked up a $15 Trail Pass.
Think of it as buying beer for friends you haven’t met yet.
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PHOTO BY HAILEY ELISE @HAILEYELISEE
26 Crankâ€™d Bike Magazine
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“I told him, ‘Mountain biking is going to be bigger than skiing in 30 years to this town,’” GRANT LAMONT
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PHOTOS: LEFT: Grant Lamont with his son Mahon at the Cheakamus Challenge in 1998. PHOTO COURTESY OF GRANT LAMONT MIDDLE: The infamous Yamato Domashi headband ceremony. Riders receive the colour that corresponds with the number of Samurai they have completed culminating in the seven year black one. PHOTO
“It was the age of the real mutant rider that was looking to really push the limit,” TONY HORN
COURTESY OF TONY HORN
RIGHT: Tony Horn presenting Sylvie Allen with the top female award at the 2003 Samurai. PHOTO COURTESY OF TONY HORN VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
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"we’re about maintenance, we’re about programming for the community and we’re about skill development.” DALE MIKKELSON (RIGHT)
Trail builder Dan Raymond and president Dale Mikkelson look forward to the next era of WORCA. PHOTO BY DAVID BUZZARD MEDIA-CENTRE.CA
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PLAY WITH GRAVITY, PROTECT WITH SCIENCE.
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locally owned and operated since 1987 MCCOOSWHISTLER.CA
“What is that tipping point where it becomes either too much for the ecosystem, too much for the organization, or just too much for a small mountain community?” DALE MIKKELSON
Upturned bikes at a Toonie après illustrate the amazing community turnout at each ride. PHOTO BY KARL PARTINGTON
32 Crank’d Bike Magazine
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
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PHOTO BY HAILEY ELISE @HAILEYELISEE
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VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
Five years on, Coast Gravity Park continues to deliver world-class trails on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast By VINCE SHULEY
t’s a spring-time rite of passage in Whistler, the pilgrimage to the dirt while the ski season is still in full swing.
For mountain bikers, that journey takes them on a ferry ride across Howe Sound to the Sunshine Coast, where the hallowed trails of Coast Gravity Park (CGP) beckon. After reopening in the third week of March this year, the snow having finally melted from the tops of its trails outside Sechelt, Whistler riders wasted no time in getting their fix. “It felt good after a long winter,” says 16-year-old Nelson Fish who rode the park with friends the week after opening day. “It’s nice to get back on the bike. “There was no biking around here (in Whistler) and that’s the closest place where you can get big jumps and a park-kind of feeling.” Like many of the world’s best mountain bike trails, CGP spawned from the passion and industry of dedicated mountain bikers. Curtis Robinson, Dylan Dunkerton and Kyle Norbraten were the founding members of the Coastal Crew, a group of trail-building, film-making riders based out of Sechelt (Norbraten has since moved on to other endeavours, but Robinson and Dunkerton continue to fly the Coastal Crew flag high). After years of clandestine trail construction across B.C. for professional riders and high-end film projects—some that they would themselves star in— this core group of riders began to attract attention from mountain bikers all over the world. While unable—or perhaps unwilling—to reveal the locations of these coveted strips of dirt, the crew realized there was an opportunity to bring their creations to the masses. “(Before CGP) we had built a lot of trails that had become world renowned and everyone wanted to ride them,” says Robinson. “So we built our Coastal Crew trails here at a resort where every skill level is catered to. Every corner, every feature has our stamp on it, from the highest level jumps right down to the beginner level trails.” The word got out in early 2014 after the the Coastal Crew launched a global crowdfunding campaign, pre-selling day passes to CGP. The initiative brought in just short of $100,000, which not only allowed more investment into more trails, but also worked as a marketing tool for the yet-to-be finished bike park. “When we heard that it was the Coastal Crew building it, my friends and I knew it was going to be amazing,” recalls Hailey Elise, a Whistler photographer and mountain biker. “We pre-bought tickets and we were all there for opening day. Back then it was such an adventure to go biking on the Sunshine Coast, especially to ride a new bike park.” The thing that sets CGP apart, compared to other
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PHOTOS BY ABBY COOPER @ABBYDELLS LEFT PHOTO BY ABBY COOPER @ABBYDELLS RIGHT PHOTO BY HAILEY ELISE @HAILEYELISEE
bike parks in B.C., is its location at sea level. While nearly all other bike parks in B.C. rely on ski lift infrastructure during the summer, CGP is able to operate year-round, albeit with a reduced schedule and some closures over the winter months, depending on the weather. “There are times we’ll ride Coast Gravity every weekend of the winter, it’s a little dependent on the snow quality we have here in Whistler,” says Elise. “We head over there with the anticipation that we’ll also ride a few days in Roberts Creek, West Sechelt or Gibsons. In the summer we’ll often ride double days by packing in a couple of extra pedal laps or shuttles afterwards. The park shuts at 4 p.m., so it gives us a few more hours of daylight to keep riding.” The Coastal Crew trails which have become legendary at CGP are a direct derivative of the trails they built for film projects in the past; fast, flowy and plenty of opportunities to boost into the air. These characteristics are best demonstrated on the trails Coastal Cruise and Flight Deck, which are designated 36 Crank’d Bike Magazine
as “Pro Line” difficulty (mandatory features such as large gap jumps, step downs and drops with no ride-a-rounds). While professional athletes and elite level riders bask in this sort of high-speed, high-risk trail, the majority of riders that travel to CGP are looking for something a bit more accessible. Advanced riders love the blend of technical, hand-built singletrack of Dynamite Panther and Devil’s Elbow as well as the high speed machine flow and optional double jumps on Doggers, Red-Dragon and brand new this summer, Auto Pilot. But there are plenty of options for intermediates too with trails that are toned-down in amplitude but still fun for the full spectrum of abilities. Those are found on Hot Lap, Zig Zag and Dirt Wave. “There’s a lot of creativity put into each trail; they’re crafted so anyone can ride them but you can progress up to higher level speeds, corners and jumps,” says CGP operations manager Kendra Zegers. “For example, on our new jump trail Auto Pilot you can roll through it and work up to gapping quite far. It keeps
riders coming back for more and more. We also put a lot of our operations budget into trail maintenance so the riders experience our trails the way they were designed.” Uplift at CGP is handled by a fleet of vehicles and trailers running shuttle loops up to the staging area. While this is considerably slower than a dedicated chair lift, the experience is more akin to group shuttle rides with up to 20 people sharing bench space and mingling on the back of pickup trucks. The base area is alive with a dedicated BBQ chef, a rest area to take breaks between laps and large feature jumps for riders to session or spectate. The entire operation is off the grid and incredibly grassroots, just like the Coastal Crew. There are plans this summer to expand the park’s footprint lower on the mountain (to increase length and vertical drop) and a handful of new trails on the horizon. Offering a place to play, work and encourage tourism to the region, this small block of trailed forest on the Sunshine Coast continues to deliver a world-class experience. VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
EAT WELL, EAT VERY WELL
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Crankâ€™d Bike Magazine 37
Weekly Rides Mondays
CRANKWORX WHISTLER AUGUST 9 – 18 Garbanzo DH Friday August 9 Bell Helmets EWS80 Saturday August 10
Race Events Nimby Fifty XC Mountain Bike Race – Pemberton May 25
Some events may be subject to change. Please visit the relevant website to confirm event details. (WMBP) whistlerbike.com worca.com (WCC) whistlercyclingclub.ca pinkbike.com
photo: Kitted out kids race on B-line for the Phat Wednesday Kidz series.
PHOTO BY CLINT TRAHAN CLINTTRAHAN.COM
Sp’akw’us 50 Marathon XC – Squamish June 15-16 Canada Cup XCO – Whistler June 22 The Squamish Enduro presented by OneUp Components – Squamish June 22 BC Cup (DH) – Whistler June 23 BC Bike Race – Squamish July 12 Subaru Ironman Canada – Whistler July 29 Hot On Your Heels Women’s Enduro – Squamish August 10 RBC GranFondo – Whistler September 7
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EWS #6: CamelBak Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized EWS 100 LIV A-Line Women’s Only Session Kidsworx B-Line Race Sunday August 11 Fox Air DH Amatuer Monday August 12 Fox Air DH Pro Tuesday August 13 Kidsworx XC 100% Dual Slalom Whistler Wednesday August 14 Official Whip-Off World Championships presented by SPANK RockShox Ultimate Pumptrack Challenge Thursday August 15 Clif Speed & Style presented by Muc-Off Friday August 16 Red Bull Joyride Saturday August 17 Canadian Open DH presented by iXS Sunday August 18
WMBP GT Women’s Night (DH) May 21 – September 3 – 5:30 – 7:30pm
Tuesdays WMBP Men’s Night (DH) June 12 – August 28 – 5:30 – 7:30pm WCC Ride (Road) 5:30pm Whistler Village Sports PORCA Toonie Ride (XC) - BI-WEEKLY Pemberton April 17 – September 25 – 5:30pm Check porcabikes.com for details
Wednesdays WMBP / WORCA Phat Wednesday Race Series (DH) or Phat Kidz (DH) Check whistlerbike.com for details WCC Social Ride – Beginner to Intermediate (Road) 5:30pm Whistler Village Sports WMBP GT Women’s Night (DH) May 23 – August 29 – 5:30 – 7:30pm SORCA Cinco Ride (XC) - BI-WEEKLY – Squamish April – September – 5:30pm Check sorca.ca for details
Thursdays WORCA Toonie Ride (XC) May 3 – September 13 – 5:30pm Check worca.com for details
Sundays WCC Ride (Road) 9am Whistler, 10am Pemberton from May 13
VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
CLINT TRAHAN | MARCEL HUNT, DYLAN FORBES
FULL RANGE OF 2019 RENTAL BIKES AVAILABLE DOWNHI LL | ENDURO | CRO S S-CO U NT RY | ROAD | J U NIO R
4254 Village Stroll
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RIDE ON By ALISON TAYLOR
RIDER: HAILEY ELISE PHOTO: OLLIE JONES
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It’s so easy not to pay. No one is checking to see if you’re a card carrying member of the Whistler OffRoad Cycling Association (WORCA) at every trailhead; there’s no fine for not joining the local mountain biking group; there’s no public shaming. But here’s the thing: WORCA needs you to pay your dues so it can get down and dirty with the work that needs to be done at the heart of a multi-million-dollar tourism product. WORCA’s crucial importance in quietly shaping Whistler’s summers over the past three decades is something we’re coming to understand more and more. The grassroots club has laid the groundwork for hundreds of kilometres of trails, quite literally; it’s hosted weekly rides/races that have woven the cultural fabric of this town, knitting us into a mountain bike community; it has mobilized a volunteer force; it has advocated and been our collective voice for mountain biking. Passion, commitment, dedication, love of the game has been the ethos of the organization. In the last 30 years, WORCA has come of age and continues to rise to the challenge of being Whistler's pedal powerhouse. So, here we are 30 years later. Consider how many days you skied this winter. How many days will you be on your bike this summer? That’s something to think about as you grind your way through 5.5 km on Kill Me/ Thrill Me, navigating well-built bridges and flowing singletrack. Or think about it when you plan your next ride—will it be the west side trails above Alta Lake Road, or high in the forest on the south side of town, or taking on the epic 25 km of Comfortably Numb to the north? It’s a world of choice—155 trails and counting—all thanks to WORCA. Make no mistake, WORCA’s voice has growing political clout as the economic impact of mountain biking, and its importance to Whistler, becomes crystal clear. Simply put: You have to be a member to have your voice heard. There is strength in numbers and 1,700+ members in a town of 12,000 people can make themselves heard. At its heart, however, WORCA remains a club, a club of like-minded people with a shared passion. Click on worca.com. Press “Join.” Fill out all the info for your membership. Think about the man-hours involved in keeping the trails in shape, the people who go out and endure the rain, the bugs, the back-breaking labour. Consider the $25 Trail Support Donation. It comes with a cool T-shirt. In the time it took me to finish this editorial, I’ve become a WORCA member and paid my dues for 2019. It feels good. Sixty dollars for a summer of endless riding in the best place in the world to bike. Not a bad way to spend your hard-earned cash and be a part of the club. VOLUME 6 / ISSUE 1 / 2019
Whistler's mountain bike magazine