The Crankworx Speed and Style. Because of the threat of thunder showers, they moved the start of the event up by four hours, causing a lot of the photographers to miss the event. I had to run from another event, and ended up shooting it without my camera pack and in a pair of Birkenstock sandals, which made it a little tough to climb up the jumps.
Every August, Whistler hosts the world’s largest mountain bike festival, Crankworx. In it’s tenth year, world class riders from all over the globe flock to compete. It’s the first time I’ve covered it for the Whistler Question newspaper, and I’ve just pulled a couple of my favourite shots from the festival.
The photo from the Dual Speed and Style event that ran on the cover of the Whistler Question, from the first week of the festival.
Mother Mother put on a kicking show that Saturday night.
Local Whistler rider Jesse Melamed puts in a blistering run for a sixth place finish in the Enduro.
Woman’s Dual Slalom Winner Jill Kintner
The last event at Crankworx is the Canadian Open Downhill, where the riders have to negotiate ‘Heckler’s Rock’, where everyone strips down and hurls abuse at the riders as they go by. The scene is complete mayhem, but a fun way to end off the festival. I think there’s probably still naked, drunken Australians trying to find their way down the mountain.
Australian rider Mitch Delfs stops in mid-race for a hit off a beer bong at Heckler’s Rock.
If you’re looking for photos from the marquis event, the Red Bull Joyride, you’ll have to look somewhere else. None of the local Whistler newspapers were given course access passes for the event, and there was no way I was going to cover it from the crowd, so I stayed home. After all the coverage and support that Crankworx has gotten from the local papers, to get cut out like that was pretty un-thrilling.
It’s not a hugely difficult event to cover, especially considering the calibre of the talent. It’s really easy to get great shots when you’re photographing the world’s best. You want to go out prepared for a good hike, boots, hat, lots of water for the first part of the festival when the temperatures where in the high 20’s, and good rain gear for the second part when the sky opened up. I also found a good pair of heavy hiking boots made climbing over all those dirt berms a lot easier.
A quick tech tip. For most of the events, the riders are coming straight at you, so you don’t need a really high shutter speed to freeze the action. I always kept it about 1/500th of second, that way there was some movement in the tires, which gives it a better feeling of movement. Otherwise they look like they’re sitting there on a kick stand.
Cameras: Nikon D3 x 2
Lenses: Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8, Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8