Martin Söderström took top spot in this year’s Dual Speed & Style event taking place Saturday (Aug. 10) in the Boneyard, beating out Cam Zink in the head-to-head final of the mash-up between slopestyle and slalom racing.
Brendan Fairclough won one for the racers in 2012, but slopestyle specialists stole the show this year, as Kyle Strait placed third to make it a sweep of the podium for freestylers.
Competitors raced two rounds, taking turns on adjacent tracks, with two booters to complete tricks off for each round. Judges awarded a 0.68-second time bonus to the more impressive trick on each jump.
Söderström was beat by Zink to the finish line during Round 1 of the final, but managed to take a 1.05-second lead on time bonus, thanks in part to a cork 440 off the first jump. Zink went bigger on tricks on the second run and took the bonus on both, including a front flip off the Red Bull cabin jump, but Söderström was able to pedal away to the victory.
Söderström, who knocked off Strait, Yannick Granieri and Mikey Haderer in the earlier rounds, said riders had to come up with their strategy on the fly.
“The game plan was always changing; you needed to see who you are going against,” said the Swede. “If it was a slope rider I knew it would require bigger tricks, and if it was a racer I knew it would require a smaller trick and more speed.”
Strait defeated Tom van Steenbergen in the small final to grab the last podium spot.
Decker, Berkenpas win Fat Tire Crit
Crankworx Whistler once again kicked off with a sprint, or rather sprints, during the Fat Tire Crit held at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Friday (Aug. 9).
With the criterium format normally reserved for road bikes put back into the heart of the Village, several riders from the Sea to Sky and beyond completed loops of an 800-metre course made up of paved and gravel sections on mountain bikes, hoping to avoid being pulled off the back of the pack to be eliminated.
A big crowd lining the course witnessed Carl Decker and Jean Ann Berkenpas take home the men’s and women’s titles.
“It was so tight between riders,” said Decker, who won the event for the second year in a row, in a release. “It was about maintaining focus and not making errors. Letting your tires drift on pavement is pretty scary.”
The Oregon native held off Washington’s Spencer Paxson to take the men’s title, while Squamish’s Greg Day hit the podium in third place.
Two-time RBC GranFondo Whistler women’s winner Leah Guloien looked poised to win the women’s race, but was out-sprinted to the finish on Friday by national cross-country eliminator champ Jean Ann Berkenpas.
“I tried to get away early on, but there were enough strong girls to chase me,” said Berkenpas. “When Leah made a breakaway I worked to stay with her and managed to sprint away from her at the very end.”
Former Team Whistler rider and Squamish resident Brandi Heisterman took third place.
Still lots of Crankworx left
Wednesday’s (Aug. 14) Fox Air DH and Canadian Open XC both wrapped up after press time, but there is still a jam-packed schedule to finish off Crankworx Whistler.
Spectators can check out the Teva Best Trick Showdown from Skiers Plaza on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 15), followed by the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge in Olympic Plaza in the evening. The Official Whip-Off World Championships return Friday (Aug. 16) on Crabapple Hits, while the Boneyard welcomes the Giant Dual Slalom later in the day.
It all wraps up on the weekend with two Crankworx staples, as Red Bull Joyride goes off Saturday night (Aug. 17) at the base of Whistler. Twenty of the world’s top slopestyle riders will be vying for $50,000 in prize money in this FMB World Tour diamond-level event, with Belgium’s Tomas Genon looking to defend his title from 2012. As always, Whistler’s own Brandon Semenuk will be among the favourites, looking to build off his victory at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes and a silver-medal finish at X Games Munich.
Finally, the Canadian Open DH puts a cap on the festival on Sunday (Aug. 18). This year’s race is also a Canada Cup event, with a $30,000 prize purse up for grabs.