Anything the 2015 edition of the Red Bull Joyride threw at Brandon Semenuk, he threw right back.
That included a rider on a mission in fellow Canadian Brett Rheeder, who had a shot at the Triple Crown of Slopestyle and the $25,000 prize that went with it.
It also meant psyching himself up for a second day in a row at the Crankworx marquee event. The Joyride was originally slated for Saturday, but after a day of training, only two riders went down the start gate before the heavens opened and soaked the course.
And, of course, Semenuk had a target on his back as a three-time winner of the event, including the past two. He hadn't pulled down a gold in 2015, though, which was something he was keen to rectify.
Still, Semenuk came out like he had nary a care in the world on Sunday, leaving the crowd cheering and the judges impressed enough to give him a 93.80 that put the pressure on the rest of the field.
"To finally get this, to feel like I could put a good run down the hill, feels so good," he said. "It was so stressful. There were two events where I felt good in practice but I wasn't feeling like I was riding my best on the day of the event.
"(Today), I went into my run, and the start of my run was going good and it kept unfolding. It was pretty much what I was looking for - put the pressure on everybody and make everyone step outside of their comfort zone."
Winning at home never gets old, Semenuk said.
"It's the biggest for me. Everyone of those wins (at Crankworx) is the biggest one I've had," he said.
Nicholi Rogatkin shook off a flat tire in his first run to come back with a 90.40 while 2012 champion Thomas Genon also put up a strong second run to finish third with an 88.00.
Rheeder, meanwhile, went down on both his runs to see his Triple Crown dreams dashed. Still, with two wins in the bag, Rheeder did claim $25,000 as the world tour champion.
Rheeder said after the race he was dealing with an illness in the days leading up to the competition and was trying to turn in a strong performance without much in the tank. Still, with as much on the line as there was, Rheeder felt he had enough inside of him to win.
"I had a run that I believed could have been the first-place run," he said. "My strategy was just to try to block everything out and make it to the bottom."
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