Countdown to Crankworx 

Bike festival returns with Fat Tire Crit

For 10 days (July 15 to July 24), Whistler become the epicenter of the mountain bike world, with all the best downhill and freeride athletes from around the globe as well as recreational athletes from all over.

This year Crankworx is launching with a throwback, the return of the once annual Fat Tire Crit on Friday, July 15. It's been eight years since the last time mountain bike racers did laps of the village stroll, but Crankworx manager Darren Kinnaird thought it was time to bring it back.

"It was a great, fun community event in the past and we're always looking for new ways to combine sport and entertainment and tie it into the village together... so it seemed like a really great fit for the (Olympic Plaza) area with all the music and entertainment that weekend," he said.

The original fat tire criteriums were held along the Village Stroll. However, closing the busy stroll for a race proved to be too challenging and the event went by the wayside.

The new location at Whistler Olympic Plaza won't have those issues or hamper people getting to stores and restaurants.

The event is open to mountain bikes only, with an 800 metre lap that includes several corners, a chicane to slow riders up and a straightaway section for sprinting and passing.

The rules are the same as other criteriums. The Fat Tire Crit will get underway with a mass start and will be decided by time rather than distance. If riders are lapped they're eliminated and judges will also pare down the field as the laps count down and there are just eight riders left. A bell will ring to let riders know if the next lap is a prime lap (for extra cash) and when it's the last lap of the race. All categories will race for roughly half an hour, with the women riding at 6 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.

There's some good prize money up for grabs - $1,300 for the top male, $600 for second, $400 for third, $300 for fourth and $200 for fifth and $1,000, $500, $250, $200 and $100 respectively for the women. As well an additional $500 is available for both men and women on prime laps.

That night there will be live entertainment at Whistler Olympic Plaza with Kostaman and K'Naan on the stage.

To take part, registration is available online at www.crankworx.com until July 14 for $50, and you can register at the start line for an extra $10 surcharge.

Crankworx is also going to end with a new event on July 24. Although this isn't the first year for the Canadian Open Enduro, this year the event is being combined with the Richie's Rally race from last year to create a real European-style Enduro race where riders are timed on the downhill sections only, and can socialize while they climb to the next start line.

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