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2011 Crankworx and Bearclaw Invitational revisited

I can still hear the crowds. I can still feel the pulse of excitement surging down the sidelines with each trick thrown in dizzying spectacle. I can still feel the sun on my face, and the immensity of mountains soaring up on either side. I can still feel every inch of the runs from the top of the mountain to the bottom.

Crankworx was a month ago now, but it hasn’t faded.

Whistler, that scene, those parties, those trails—it all smolders the mind. And to think it’s all because two wheels and plush suspension feel oh so good hauling ass down mountainsides, eating up the natural terrain, finding force deep in the berms, ignoring gravity until it yanks you back to an earth that’s already whizzing by in a blur of tree trunks and gray rock gardens.

Those feelings are still surging.

I love the world that has been created around and for them. The people make this sport what it is: more than just mechanical parts making revolutions. There’s a culture bred into it, with contenders, spectators, participants and supporters. At Crankworx, we saw gladiators perform in an exhibition of freeriding’s great progress.

Two weeks later, at the Bearclaw Invitational out on Vancouver Island, we saw artists, riders, turn a strip of tree grove containing a slopestyle course into a canvas for technical elegance and mastery on two wheels—on pure mountain soil and huge wooden features. With it, the return of Darren Berrecloth’s namesake event at Mount Washington became more than a footnote in mtb history; like him, it became a permanent fixture. I can still feel the cool alpine air and the chill vibe wafting with the BBQ smoke.

I’ve been busy writing a story about the Bearclaw for a mag in the evenings after work; I’ve relived it over and over to capture the golden details, the finer points and the bigger picture. And I’ve loved every thought that’s trickled in. There was so much more to each of these trips than just the events.

And those memories are what linger most.

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