Monday, August 19th, 2019
Whistler has to be the Disneyworld of mountain biking with the most diverse riding with trails for absolutely anyone. For 2 weeks every year the village is taken over by thousands of like minded riders for the biggest mountain bike festival in the world: Crankworx.
With loads of events going on for all ages and abilities. From kids races through to events where you can rub compete against the fastest racers in the world. (plus, the bonus of access to hundreds of the normal bike park trails). just riding the trails you will be witness to trains some of the best World Cup downhill riders and freeriders in the world. It’s an event not to be missed for any mountain biker.
It’s also an opportunity for athletes to try a variety of events in the week away from their comfort zone.
Step up Mr Elliott Heap and his Mega 275c. As the reigning Junior Enduro World Champion, with a 3rd place World Downhill Series medal and the addition of a silver medal at the 2019 World 4x Championship, Elliott is a rider that just loves to play/ race and ride his bike no mater what the event. Cranworx is a perfect stage for him.
In 2018 Elliott unfortunately picked up an injury which ruled him out of his first visit to Whistler for Crankworx, but in 2019 he was determined to pack in as much riding as possible, entering into 4 of the Crankworx events; Enduro World Series, A-line downhill, Duel Slalom and Whip Off. He would be doing them all on one bike- his EWS spec Mega 275c.
Elliott’s main focus this year is the EWS, as a first year Elite he’s pushing hard to break into to top of the time sheets. Round 6 of this years series in Whistler was billed as “the most brutal EWS of the year”, with over 45 kilometres of riding some of the longest and gnarliest stages on the calendar, Elliott put in a strong result to get a 31st position.
Generally this is a rest day after beast’ing yourself for 2 days of Enduro racing. But your in Whistler bike park! The team headed up the hill to explore the park. Settling on their favourite trail “Dirt Merchant”. A combination of huge jumps, big drops that flow together so well. The double black trail allows you to push yourself, but have an awesome time doing it! Just check out Elliott’s Instagram for the videos and helmet camera runs
Elliott entered A-line for their first time and usually ride the trail a lot slower boosting the jumps to go sideways for fun, rather than scrubbing for speed! In a super stacked pro field, which featured EWS riders, World Cup Downhillers and A-line specialists it started raining just before the race runs making some of the big berms a little slick and with unknown grip.
Using his Mega 275c Elliott posted a great time of 4:14, just behind team mate Kelan Grant on a 4:11. A few 100 more laps and they will be on the pace of Whistler local and Downhill World Cup rider and 2018 winner Finn Isles who posted an incredible time of 3:57 pedalling, railing and rubbing his way down the familiar A-line track. Check out the race highlights here
With only one bike with him in Whistler, Elliott entered the Dual slalom on his Enduro spec Nukeproof Mega 275c race bike. The specialists at Duel using super light weight short travel set ups for maximum acceleration and speed in the tight corners and jumps, so an EWS spec Mega monster truck may have been a slight disadvantage on the smooth, tight race track.
With a mix Crankworx specialists, 4x world champions, BMX, World Cup DH and Enduro racers entering the duel slalom your up against some of the best riders in the world. and to qualify for the finals is tough. Elliott seems to excel at this style of event, racing against the competition and amazingly qualified 4th fastest in a super stacked field and winning through to the “live finals” in the round of 16.
Once you are in the round of 16 it gets pretty exciting, the head to head racing is super close and exciting to watch with each rider doing a run head to head on each lane and then the fastest combined time on each lane advances to the next round. Elliott won through to the round of 8 drawign to race Crankworx Innsbruck Duel Slalom winner Matt Sterling. Elliott narrowly lost out to Matt but was super close. It shows how good Elliott is and how capable the Nukeproof Mega is for an all around bike. Check out the full race here
Termed as a the official Whip Off World Championships. The crowd for this was absolutely huge with thousands of fans gathered around Crab Apple hits jump trail to watch the best World Cup downhill racers and free riders in the world go as big and sideways as possible over the massive jumps, It’s an event generally reserved for Downhill bikes.
Elliott decided to enter this again on his Nukeproof Mega Enduro bike.
He’s not shy of sending a big jump and going sideways, (in fact Nigel’s never seen the him jump straight). Droppign in behind Crankworx “veteran” and fellow Nukeproof rider Jackson Davies (check out Jackson’s latest video its awesome) he was sending it with the best of them.
Making it through to the Whip Off finals top 30 out of over 100 riders trying, he was the only rider on an trail/ Enduro bike, what an achievement. Stoked for you Elliott.
Friday was time for the team roll out and onto Northstar, California for the round 7 of the Enduro World Series. Congratulations to Elliott he’s an incredible talent and stoked to show the versatility of him and his Mega 275c on the biggest stage of all.
Get that flight booked and see you in Whistler next year!
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Photo: Kike Abelleria