After playing in the mountains with Focus Bikes, Rob and Elliott packed the cameras, GoPros and vocabulary including ‘gnarly’ and ‘stoked’ and headed over to Crankworx on Saturday to catch up with the slopestyle and downhill events. Along with the main action, it gave them a chance to see just how much the rain had and was going to affect proceedings. Like we did up at Fort William (here) we wanted to give you a little behind the scenes gallery of what you can expect to see from this kind of event. I’ll stop waffling now and let’s see what went down, on Saturday at the infamous Crankworx World Tour – Les Gets.
With rain coming down for the majority of the week, we had the feeling Crankworx weekend may be rather damp, but with our northern heads held high, and our spirits refusing to be quite literally dampened, we headed over to Les Gets to see what was happening.
With the Slopestyle practise planned to begin at 11am, we were camped out in the VIP area (don’t you know), waiting for the athletes (lunatics) to drop into the (absurd) drops, jumps and wooden features. ‘My word, is that the sun coming out’ (or something along those lines) were muttered by fans and spectators around us – and you know what, they were right. For about 9 minutes, the sun shone across the hillside, that was beginning to fill up with muddy footed fans, all wrapped up, ready for the anticipated weather front to move in.
Over the PA system, 11:30am was the estimated start time due to the course being a pain and not reacting to the sand and other materials, being put down on the surface to try and absorb the water. At 11:37 the next call over the PA said 12:00 for the training to begin. We grabbed ourselves a cool beverage and sat back waiting, with a quick visit from none other than the legend that is Hans ‘no way’ Rey.
Unfortunately, when 12:04 came the announcement that no one wanted to hear, came out of the speakers. The slopestyle training had been called off, down to the track not being suitable for riding to take place. Instead, we would be treated to a Best Trick Contest, to keep the riders and fans happy. Here’s some of the ludicrous action that the lads threw down. Take it away you crazy bunch.
Balancing himself on top of the lander, Nicholi Rogatkin threw down a massive 1080 spin in the Best Trick Contest, but still, somehow failed to get himself on the podium. With a field full of quadruple barspin backflips, corkscrewed 720s and superman seatgrabs, it was hard to pick out a clear winner from where we were sat. It was all pretty bonkers, but wicked to see up close and personal.
After a wild, yet rather quick event, the standings went as below. If you have any idea exactly what these tricks are, we’d love to know. They looked pretty cool in person but it’s a ‘rather you than me’ kind of situation.
1. Nicholi Rogatkin (USA) – The Twister
2. Antoine Bizet (FRA)—Oppo-Cash Roll
3. Brett Rheeder (CAN)—Oppo Cork-720
Along with the sweet stunts these lot threw down, it was a good time to see some of the seasoned and most talked about athletes in this discipline, mooching around at the bottom of the course, giving each other words of encouragement and pushing each other further and harder.
With the rain making life difficult for the riders, the fans and spectators up on the hills continued to show their support, wielding a range of noise makers, as with most races and events in this sport. There was a noise that is always going to be more noticeable than others from now on, however. Any guesses?
From the slopestyle, we headed over to see some of the action on the DH course. Apart from being very wet, it was pretty moist and very damp. That being said, it doesn’t stop the also quite absurd riders from pinning it down the final stretch and into the finish area. Tomorrow we will be walking the full track as final practice takes place before the full race begins in the afternoon.
With that, we wrap up Saturday’s action at Crankworx Les Gets. If the rain continues to fall tonight, it’s going to look very unlikely that the Slopestyle event will go ahead. Fear not however, we’ll be back tomorrow with a load more muddy fun from the French Alps, with the DH taking centre stage. Never a bad thing aye? Crayons and Elliott, out!
Our coverage of Crankworx has been in association with More Mountain, providing luxury chalets and apartments in Morzine, France.