BRIAN LOPES WINS INAUGURAL KOKANEE CRANKWORX FAT TIRE CRITERIUM
Katherine Short of Halfmoon Bay, BC Sprints Away With First In Womenâ€™s Field
WHISTLER, BC July 15, 2011 â€“ Kokanee Crankworx opened the action for their eighth annual freeride mountain bike festival with the comeback of the Fat Tire Crit in Whistler Village. Last held in 2003 during the Whistler Summer Gravity Festival, this inaugural event for Kokanee Crankworx looped around the new Whistler Olympic Plaza and drew an enthusiastic crowd despite cool, cloudy weather.
Brian Lopes of Laguna Beach, CA, who is the â€œwinningestâ€ athlete in the history of Kokanee Crankworx, sustained his legacy with another first place finish. Kevin Calhoun of North Vancouver, BC came in second, with local Whistlerite Matt Ryan coming in third.
On the ladies side it was all about the British Columbians with Katherine Short of Halfmoon Bay coming in first, Ann Yew of North Vancouver, BC in second and Megan Rose of Squamish, BC finishing third.
â€œSeeing Whistler Olympic Plaza come alive with crowds of people cheering on the Fat Tire Crit athletes, the bustling Kokanee Zone and this new green space for concerts is awesome,â€ says Darren Kinnaird General Manager of Kokanee Crankworx.
While Criteriums are generally raced on road bikes and held on closed-off city centre streets, Kokanee Crankworxâ€™s event featured mountain bikes only. The 800m loop around Whistler Olympic Plaza had multiple corners, a chicane and a straightaway for sprinting on each lap and the action got really intense when the prime laps where called.
When the Crit ended, the party rolled on with the Kokanee Crankworx Kick Off Concerts presented in partnership with the Resort Municipality of Whistler Festivals, Events & Animation Program. Whistlerâ€™s own Kostaman opened for reggae, funk, pop, soul and hip-hop musician/emcee Kâ€™NAAN.
Tomorrow Kokanee Crankworx will roll on with the exciting head to head racing action of the Dual Slalom. Amateur Finals go on at 3:30-5pm; then from 6-7:45pm the Pros will take to the course. Both Amateurs and Pros will be live webcast at www.crankworx.com via Freecaster.tv. The Kokanee Zone will open in Whistler Olympic Plaza at 2pm where people can also take in the Dual Slalom simulcast on the big screens. Then day two of the Kick Off Concerts hits the stage with surf rockers Current Swell on at 8pm to open for indie stars Hot Hot Heat at 9pm.
Stay tuned to www.crankworx.com for upcoming news and connect with Crankworx through Facebook.com/crankworx or Twitter.com/crankworx.
The eighth annual Kokanee Crankworx is presented by Whistler Blackcomb and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Kokanee Crankworx is the biggest annual event held in Whistler and is also the largest freeride mountain bike festival in the world. Each year the best amateur and professional freeride, downhill and slopestyle mountain bike athletes gather for a nine-day, non-stop barrage of competition and celebration. Whistler has the worldâ€™s most diverse offering of mountain biking terrain, including 150 miles of single-track trails, 5,000 vertical feet of lift-accessed downhill runs in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, jump parks and 20+ miles of paved Valley Trail.
Â Michael Overbeck Photo