Three DH races: Garbanzo is as long and difficult as the organisers can make it with a 12+ minute run time (well beyond the UCI limits for a DHI race); Air DH on A-line is not won by a DH bike, rather a good rider on a 160ish bike wins it because this trail is pretty buff; Canadian Open is the proper DH under the lift with some jumps, roots, steeps, drops – everything you expect in a real race. I saw some guy collapse his rear suspension on the step-down jump under the lift when he landed a bit short of the trannie – ooops.
Pump track challenge: last year we saw the track up on the hill, but no one walked up to see it so this year they built it in the Olympic Plaza and hundreds came to see it. Troy Brosnan was in fine form coming back after his big injury but last year’s champ won it again (American Ropelato). Fun stuff.
Fat tyre crit: Sid Taberlay looked solid until he went down near the end. The ramp/jump thing near the finish line made it interesting – the air time got less and less as the laps counted upwards. Pavement, cobbles, loose gravel and grass – it was an interesting lap but I believe a crit specialist still won it.
We stopped our riding for a while and visited the run Crabapple Hits to watch the jumping contest – The Whip-Off. I saw a few crashes (but didn’t see Kovarik bite it) that made me think protective gear is a good idea in a jump-off. Fairclough was amazing trying to dab the cameras with his rear tyre. I don’t even know who won – they were making up the rules as they went (with consultation of the riders) but I don’t think winning was as important as playing – it looked like big fun to be able to get so sideways in the air.
There were a few other bits, including the most famous part (the FMB tour part called the Joyride, held just above the village on some mahoosive jumps), but the other cool bits included a village full of industry people (tents and products on show) and wannabes (Jeep had an off-road test course built in the overflow parking lot nearest the village). I didn’t love the longer lift queues, but I did love seeing people from all over the planet.