August 08, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

The Virgin Suicides 

If you think Crankworx is intimidating as hell, don't despair — there's still a place for you at the high table of bike-love...

click to enlarge Not Me Getting big air on big bikes is fine for some people, but the majority of us will never attempt this. Bike manufacturers - and bike parks - want the majority as a customer. Photo by Justa Jeskova, coastphoto.com
  • Not Me Getting big air on big bikes is fine for some people, but the majority of us will never attempt this. Bike manufacturers - and bike parks - want the majority as a customer. Photo by Justa Jeskova, coastphoto.com

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He gives me a blow by blow account of the trails to follow back down to mid-station, as if he were giving a house-guest directions to the washroom. Pro’s a man as at ease in the bike park as he is in his own skin.

I tell him how much I liked Crank It Up — a flowy, fun blue trail recently built on the lower mountain with an endless series of rollers and friendly features that was designed to replicate the experience of A Line, the most popular trail on the mountain, but without the jumps.

Later, I’ll go back and ride it over and over, until I’m not braking almost to a stop before the rollers, until my body starts to coordinate a little better with the bike and the terrain, until I start to feel that coveted sense of flow.

A good mountain bike park, Pro believes, is a place that allows people to develop their skills. That approach, of safe progression, has long been Pro’s style, and is part of the key to Gravity Logic’s success. Part of their consulting often involves talking down a bunch of guys who want to build a bike park of huge gnarly jumps that are going to damage people.

Pro shrugs, “You can’t do that. You’ve got to develop trails that will develop the riders.” And with that, he waves me down.

Says Roche, “We’ve been wanting to reach out to the intermediate riders, the all-mountain bikers, for a number of years, but we didn’t want to oversell the experience if we only had two or three green or blue trails.”

Now that the park has a critical mass of blue trails, they have something to offer a whole new crowd. A place to develop skills. A place to make the transition from intermediate to advanced. A place not just for experts and the delusional. And the invitations have gone out – and are being picked up particularly by the all-mountain bike riders, youth, and women.

Andrea Kraft, a former national team downhiller, works in marketing for Sombrio and Sombrio Girl. The B.C.-based brand has had a dedicated women’s line of mountain bike clothing and accessories from its beginning a decade ago, and now their Girl Collection is the company’s fastest growing category.

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