Weather affects Crankworx timing, conditions |

Weather affects Crankworx timing, conditions

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

WINTER PARK RESORT – Excitement filled the mountain air and nerves were on edge as the fourth annual Crankworx Colorado began on Thursday, July 29, with dual slalom. Conditions began wet and muddy, though by the time finals came the dirt was perfectly tacky, making for a series of thrilling head-to-head races. After consistently checking the forecast, the call was made to push dual slalom finals up in the day and postpone slopestyle qualifications; which turned into a wise decision by officials. After podium pictures and prize money was distributed, the heavy rain came. Each bracket held battle to the end finishes, heartache for some and triumph for others during the 2010 dual slalom races at Crankworx Colorado.

In the pro men’s category, Peter Hanak (2009 Dual Slalom Crankworx Colorado Winner) had an unfortunate turn of events when his chain broke in the semi-finals. All eyes were on him with what seemed to be devastating circumstances as he coasted to the finish. Hanak fought back to stand on the 3rd place podium. With held breath, pro men finals between Brian Buell and Jason Memmelaar, were determined by only 0.042 of a second.

Jill Kintner swept the pro women’s division at 2010 Crankworx Colorado. This year seems to be a memorable one for Kintner as she arrived at Crankworx just off a 2010 US National Downhill Championship win July 18 at SolVista. In Amateur Women’s division, Soraya Khalje Hanak dominated.

Dillon Lemarr proved to be tough competition in the Amateur Men’s division; he will be one to watch in future races. Junior Men’s finals proved to be one of the tightest races of the day between Austin Chipman and Austin Hackett Klaube. Chipman took top podium by only 0.068 of a second.

Matthew Branney overtook Maz Kaupas in the finals by only 0.637 of a second, making boys 13-15 a true battle to the end. In the Masters 30-plus division, James Gillespie proved unbeatable at every level and finished solidly at 1st place.

The Dual Slalom race consists of two riders racing side-by-side down two almost identical tracks designated by gates or flagged poles. The courses were filled with tabletop jumps, doubles and bermed turns. While each rider is racing one another, they are also racing the clock. After the first race is completed, both riders’ times are taken and they switch tracks for another round.

Sunshine and sunscreen were prevalent on the second day of Crankworx, Friday, July 30, for the Super Downhill. A race of athlete vs. athlete, start to finish, with one shot to prove their leg strength for the climbs and drive on the downhill. Conditions were ideal with tacky conditions, no dust and a well balanced course.

The Pro Men’s division was tight from the start, with problems at the first turn. Riders went down and Chad Kittles’ wheel went rolling. Even with the prospect to place gone, Kittles was determined to finish. Though his time is more than 13 minutes behind the winner, he posted a time.

Mike West withstood the first turn obstacle and fought to win the Pro Men’s division. He remained ahead the entire time, though his comments at the end gave insight that he was losing leg strength and had to sprint as hard as he could.

Jennifer Gersbach won the Pro Women’s division with a margin of 1.5 seconds. Jackie Harmony blew one of the last corners and Jennifer was able to pass to take the win. “It was super tacky and a perfect Super Downhill course, not too cross country and not too much downhill. Just enough pedaling,” stated Gersbach.

Heather McCue, a local Winter Park rider and employee in the legal department of Winter Park Resort, took the Amateur Women’s division with Maria Liliana Perez placing second.

Jack Vanderbeek held a strong lead in the Boys 13-15 division, winning by more than 13 seconds. The tightest race of the day was Amateur Men’s division between Alexander Bamberger and Jared Emmons. Bamberger won by only 0.9 of a second. Quade Jander won the Junior Men’s 16-18 division with a large margin. Adrian Person won the Masters Men 30+ division by more than a minute.

Super Downhill is a mass start format that has all of the racers beginning at the same time. The course is a fast, flowing course with short sections of climbing. Passing opportunities were at a premium. Fastest time won.

Cross Country started the third day, testing the strength and endurance of men and women mountain bikers. By noon, spectators began pouring in around the slopestyle course, designed for optimal visual impact, as the best freeride athletes took their turn on a linear and technical course providing a jaw-dropping show for all.

Though the sun provided blue skies, the wind played a factor during big air tricks catching spinning wheels and adding another obstacle for riders. Finally, the day wrapped with guests and athletes surrounding the Village Pond for the inaugural Intergalactic Pond Crossing Championships.

“I’ve been at Crankworx Colorado for three years, this year was a more technical course in terms of speed and transition,” said Brandon Semenuk, slopestyle and best trick champion. “This was my first time doing the front flip in competition and the wind was tough. I was on edge when I caught a couple of funnels. It was nice to make it to the bottom. I’m excited.”

Youth and size proved successful for the champions of the first ever Intergalactic Pond Crossing Championships. Many swam and only a few made it successfully across the Village Pond. Tim Allen won $500 for his quick speed and balance.

The fourth annual Crankworx Colorado came to an end with the UCI PRO/GRT Downhill race on Sunday, August 01. It was the largest Crankworx Colorado to date, bringing Trestle Bike Park record breaking attendance on Saturday, July 31.

“Athletes brought the highest level of competition this year to Crankworx Colorado, they worked for every part of the nearly $38,000 in prize money,” said Bob Holme, Crankworx Colorado and Trestle Bike Park manager. “We’re excited about the record attendance in Trestle Bike Park and the magnitude of the 2010 event, and are already planning for 2011 Crankworx Colorado.”

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