WHISTLER DIARIES – THE BACKGROUND FILES

Much overdue, here’s another installment of WHISTLER DIARIES – THE BACKGROUND FILES. This time the column in question is about the Crankworx ’08 slopestyle finals where we get a little transcendental.

So like I talked about in a previous WD-TBF I had to cut my Whistler ’08 season short because at the time I had a fiancee that I loved very much, so much so that I would leave the beauty and fun of Whistler in summer to return to a cold, damp house in Queenstown mid winter. It must of been love, but it wasn’t to be, but that’s a whole different story. Maybe another time…

Anyway, I returned to that cold doomed relationship and those dark gloomy days the day after Crankworx Slopestyle finals. Which meant celebrations and condolences were in order. Times for farewells and bon voyage. Carlos the Mexican (he’s not actually Mexican) was back in town and so between Carlos, El Presidenté Hellinga, and myself we decided to really have some fun.

We met up at Moguls and the fun began…

Hang on, I can’t actually write about the day anymore than I already wrote. It could get people in trouble. So have a gander of the days happenings yourself, read the article below because it’s all there in black and white. Then go out and have your own fun. 

Actually there is something I can say about the article. Jon Gregory is the genius behind the illustrations for the column every month. They are 99% of the time absolutely perfect visual representations to the intentions of the words. People often ask me if I do the illustrations too. Im usually one fifth flattered and four fifths gutted when people say that, because every month it says plain as day “illustrations: Jon Gregory”. I’m gutted that people don’t take the time to see who drew the illustrations and give that person the credit. 

I really like that each month the column is supported by illustrations and not pictures. It’s the only page in the whole magazine that contains zero pictures and therefore zero advertisements. It just keeps the column about the meaning and not distracted by egos, legoheads, and logos. Of course there two recent columns that was accompanied by photos. The first was for the photo issue where I basically verbally wanked off to a ten year old picture of Steve Geall boosting the flattest flattie. The second was when the boys at Dirt put the TLD body paint skinsuit photos with the column.  When I saw that issue of the magazine I was a little let down. I really didn’t want those photos on that page. Its not that I minded people seeing my shrunken package, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m usually more than happy to de-robe. What irked me was that after two and half years of writing the column that there was a photo of me accompanying it. I kinda like the annoymity of the column. Oh well. Thanks to Jon Gregory for making the column look rad every month.

A necessary altered state of consciousness

Next year I shall bring a stronger edible companion to stave off the hunger for the real that I sensed at this years Crankworx Slopestyle. Getting into the right state of mind to truly enjoy Crankworx requires mental focus, body preparation and of course the right cocktail of barbiturates.

 

My day of Slopestyle started just after breakfast with a decent trail ride away from town into the mountains and forests which held mountain bikings original interest before it became a spectator spectacle with jumbo-trons, light shows, and bikini girls handing out trash that no one needs. It also helped me to sweat off the alcohol from the night before. Boozing and Crankworx go together like Simon and Garfunkel. That was mind and body sorted, now to the…errr, fun.

 

Kokanee Crashworx

Those brightly coloured Power Rangers of racing may good humouredly call the competitors of the slopestyle “huckers” but fortunately there’s little real hucking going on. Instead we the crowd get treated to a live showing of one of those low budget TV shows that play clips of sporting disasters to a heavy metal soundtrack. You know the kind of show, usually they are called something like ‘Crash, Bang, Whallop, What a Crash!!’

Some people say that Formula One has lost its televisual appeal to the masses that once gobbled it up with a spoon in the eighties and nineties because there’s not enough decent crashes theses days. Other people say that every spectator loves watching action sports just for the maiming crashes, the blood curdling smashes, and the limb mashing falls. I’m not bloodthirsty like that and so the early stages of Crashworx really started to put a downer on my zoomer because of the large number of riders putting themselves into the dirt.

A commentary on commentary

Even if the riding wasn’t entertaining enough then there was the inane commentary by Brad Ewan and Kyle Ebbet to tune into. It might of being light on riding relevance to the event and was probably one of the most ghastly over the top garish uncouth classless shameless examples of top heavy sponsor name dropping ever, but it was entertaining.

Its obvious that Brad Ewan drinks too much of the sponsors product because he was really starting to lose the plot this year. Highlights were when he begun using sounds instead of words to describe the action, and when he became so wrapped up in his own theatrics that he tried to coach Andreu Lacondguay on the finer points of landing a double backflip. Yeah cheers Brad, as if there was a single person present that even believed that you could struggle to even get yourself airborne in the first place let alone do a double loop-de-loop.

Low points were the broken record of “WELCOME TO THE WHISTLER THE HOME OF THE GLACIER FRESH KOKANEE CRANKWORX MEGA MONSTER ENERGY DRINK SLOPESTYLE COMPETITION…sorry did I say Kokanee or Monster energy drink? I did? Well what the heck, Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Kokanee Monster Monster Monster Monster Monster Monster Monster Monster Monster GO BUY IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He was utterly bereft of any sort of self-censorship. I can just imagine him at home, “Wow honey, I just did the biggest smelliest turbo mega turd in the toilet. Have we got any of that lavender scented Glade air freshener left? If we don’t hide the smell then you are going to be witnessing a super stinking new chapter in nasal destruction soon enough. Ahhhh that’s right sweet cheeks I always choose to refragrance the toilet with a glacier fresh can of monster odor battling lavender scented Glade. It’s the choice of all my favourite athletes and it should be yours too.”

The other low point was Brad Ewans inability to come up with a new superlative. Every year he comes back with the same old tired two phrases “We are witnessing a new chapter in mountain biking” or “We are witnessing a new dawn in mountain biking”. If you counted the amount of times he has said these phrases then I’m sure the history books of mountain biking would contain more chapters than the bible and had more sunrises than has occurred since the birth of Christ.

Fight for first place

The tension of palpable and my stomach was turning to pulp. The last two riders who could change the overall result were stood at the top of their runs waiting for the TV person to tell them they could drop in. Brandon Semenhuck had just put down a carbon copy of his first run, which says as much for his stylish consistency as it does for his imagination. Third place was his if Lance McDermott and Andreu Lacondguy stood up to their potential but if both those riders stumbled then maybe it could be the local boys turn. Andreu Lacondguy dropped in and at the same moment I noticed several blue movements of people in the crowd and on the course itself. Suddenly the focus was on what the disturbance was and not on the crescendo of the Spanish Terrors big moment. It was the Police and Whistler security personnel moving in on several sections of the crowd. Their crime? I believe it was for fighting but at the time I froze with white fungus fear that the police state of Crankworx and Whistler had picked up on the jovial subversive comments that were issuing from our little camp of the Boneyard. We would be dealt with swiftly and harshly for our insubordination towards the events title sponsors and for making purgatory comments about Crankworx and its affiliates. I feared that we would be battered with little remorse and placed inside a concrete box for many years whilst we were reeducated to think less and consume more. Fortunately this was a just an electric blast of paranoia that shot up and down my spin and I’m still here to say what I please about Wankworx.

MuthaF**kin Double Somersaults

Little Spanish Flea Andreu Lancondguy took the victory at last. His bookmark for this new chapter in mountain bikings product catalogue was the double flip at the top of his run, but the real stunt was when handed the microphone at the bottom of his run he blurted out a word that was a little too blue for the family crowd. I don’t know why he tried to compare doing the double flip to enjoying sexual relations with his mother but nonetheless this showstopper almost did stop the show.

A judgment on judging

Yeah yeah yeah we have all heard it before, the same old adage that judging must be harder than it looks. Well I’m sorry but I was looking and I would of given Lance McDermott the win, narrowly. That’s just my opinion. The double flip was gnarly and Lacondguy is crazier than a syphilitic suicide bomber with mad cow disease but I think McDermotts run had a little more variety and panache to it. Flip in frontie out on the last stunt? A winner in my book…of chapters and dawns.

Was it really that rubbish?

 It is a massive product toss off. But the saddest sight is the moment directly following the last hurrah of the spectacle and that’s when the free trash that got handed out became exactly that, trash. As soon as the last trick was thrown the thousands of blood thirsty spectators threw down the rubbish they had been given. Cans of Monster energy drink, cans of Kokanee, Sram noise makers, you name it. If it was being handed out all week then it was thrown down on the ground right then. We were in the mountains surrounded by beauty but that stopped no one respecting where we were and treating the beautiful British Columbian mountains like a dirty piss stenched back alley in downtown. Shame found a new face in mountain biking that day.

The irony is that in the early life of Whistler the site where the Boneyard is now was the site of the first rubbish dump in town. The Boneyard becomes the Binyard once again.

Making the statement that Crankworx is a giant 9day porno for marketers with bicycling as its side attraction is as much of an understatement as saying Hitler was a painter who dabbled in politics.

Yes, sometimes it’s easier to be pessimistic and critical about things than it is to be positive and supportive but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea of Crankworx. Yes it’s quite the spectacle but don’t ever change your plans to be in town when it’s on. It’s simply too weird and nothing good can come of it. To really enjoy it you need to be a seasoned warrior of the weird to be able to come out of it without becoming a casualty.

So I guess I will be seeing all you trippers there next year!!!

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