WHISTLER, BC August 9, 2013 – Crankworx Whistler kicked off today with a high-energy start with a display of fitness, bike handling skills and strategy in the Fat Tire Crit. Excited fans gathered in full force to cheer at the opening event of Crankwork Whistler’s 10th Anniversary, which had riders circling an 800 metre loop around Whistler Olympic Plaza and pedaling flat out for the majority of their near 20 minute race.
Riders raced elbow to elbow in a pack as they lapped Whistler Olympic Plaza and made tactical moves throughout the race not to be caught by the motorbike pulling up the end of the pack and subsequently removing riders from the race. In the women’s race, second place finisher Leah Guloien appeared to have a confident lead on Jean Ann Berkenpas until Berkenpas out-sprinted her in the last 10 meters of the race. “I tried to get away early on, but there were enough strong girls to chase me,” recounts Berkenpas. “When Leah made a breakaway I worked to stay with her and managed to sprint away from her at the very end.”
A criterium, or crit, is traditionally a road bike race held on a short course on blocked-off city streets. Crankworx Whistler has put its own spin on the event by requiring all participants to race on mountain bikes with 26, 27.5 or 29 inch wheels. The 800 metre closed course around Whistler Olympic Plaza was primarily paved with a short crushed gravel section and each lap took riders an average of 40-45 seconds to complete.
In his second consecutive year of winning the Fat Tire Crit, Bend, Oregon native, and Giant Bicycles rider, Carl Decker called the course “scary in places,” and admitted his win wasn’t easy. “It was so tight between riders,” says Decker. “It was about maintaining focus and not making errors. Letting your tires drift on pavement is pretty scary.”
1. Carl Decker
2. Spencer Paxson
3. Greg Day