Preparing for The Crankworx Enduro World Series
The Key to Competing at Crankworx
Whistler, British Columbia is considered the mountain bike capital of the world. Each year, Whistler hosts the world's largest mountain biking festival called Crankworx, which brings mountain bikers from all over the world to participate in a multitude of races and events on some of the best terrain there is for mountain bike athletes.
During the Crankworx festival, there are events in all disciplines for cyclists. From big air to long descents, this festival has something for any mountain bike athlete out there. This year was Airhouse Coach and Enduro athlete Andy Hamilon’s third year competing in the Enduro World Series race at Crankworx, he talks us through Enduro and how YOU can prepare!
What is Enduro?
Enduro is a relatively new discipline in cycling that has become very popular over the last few years. It involves multiple timed stages; however, riders are self sufficient and often riding upwards of 6 hours to complete the race. Riders clock in and out at the beginning and end of each stage, and their result is calculated by their accumulated race time.
The Crankworx enduro race is considered one of the most technical and prestigious races on the world series, and is often given the nick name “Crankzilla.” This year the race took place over two days, covering over 40 kilometres of riding and more than 2000 meters of vertical descending.
After competing in this event numerous times, Andy has learnt a lot about the preparation required for optimal performance.
How you can prepare yourself for competing at Crankworx:
Ensure your bike is in good condition: With lift access to some of the most technical terrain you can find on a mountain bike, your bike is guaranteed to be put through its paces. Prior to heading to Whistler, you will want to make sure that you have good tread on your tires, life in your brake pads, as well as your suspension tuned for aggressive riding. Whistler has an abundance of bike shops; however, due to the high demand, the prices for components are drastically more expensive than at a local bike shop in your hometown.
Prepare your body: The Crankworx Enduro is known for having the longest and most physical descents for their racers. This year the first stage was over 10 kilometres in length, starting at the Whistler peak and descending all the way to the Whistler village. It is important to prepare for these rides by trying some sustained descents on your local trails. When doing these rides you should try to pace yourself, it is very difficult to ride at 100% on a 20 minute descent, so try to find a speed where you feel in control and minimize fatigue on your grip/forearms.
Bring lots of fuel: Since Enduro races involve being self sufficient, as well as climbing to the top of the stages, you want to make sure you are capable of carrying enough food and water for the entire day. Riders will often carry a backpack, or bib shorts to keep all their food, as well as spare parts/tools such as tubes, derailleur hangers, and quick links for your chain.
Do your research: The course for these events is released a week prior to the race. The course release will often feature video previews of the trails you are riding. Since you are only given one practice run per stage it is important to review these videos so you are aware of any technical features you may come across.
Relax and have fun! If you follow all of these steps, come race day there will be nothing else for you to do but ride your bike and have fun. Although it is a competitive event, taking it too seriously will only take the fun out of it. I like to have the mindset on race day that I am just out riding my bike with my friends as usual, just a little bit faster!
Celebrate your success: completing an event at Crankworx is a huge achievement for any level of athlete. One of the most fulfilling parts of finishing a race at Crankworx is seeing how you finish compared to the hundreds of international riders around the world. Make note of your stage times, there is a good chance you will have the opportunity to beat your personal records the next year!