Every August the who’s who of mountain biking descend upon Whistler Resort in BC Canada for Red Bull Joyride the ultimate festival of speed, style, endurance, and guts. Despite a haze of think smoke hovering over the resort (a vestige of recent forest fires in rural BC), the final stop of the 2018 Crankworx World Tour packed a ridiculous amount of activities and events into 10 short days.
I started my trip with a short drive up from Seattle to Whistler on day six to catch the “Whip-Off” competition on Crabapple hits (the biggest jump line in Whistler Bike Park). While Red Bull Joyride is the highlight of the week, Sven Martin’s Whip-Off contest has gained in popularity and has become one of the must-see events of the festival.
With a lucky break in the weather, riders and spectators were treated with blue skies setting the scene for a fun and picturesque event with Crankworx veterans Allan Cooke and Casey Brown taking the win.
Located at the base of Whistler bike park, Joyride’s slopestyle course affectionally (or accurately?) known as “The Bone Yard” welcomed 14 world-class riders to a familiar but new course, with a several notable changes from previous years. With less obstacles and a new format, more riders were able to navigate the entire course of nine judgeable features while providing better flow and trick progression.
Without last year’s winner and crowd favorite Brandon Semenuk competing (Semenuk announced he was stepping away from competition earlier this year), both Joyride veterans and newcomers took their runs and tricks to the next level. For a few riders, 2018 Joyride competition became a pivotal moment in their lives.
For Emil Johansson, it was an emotional return after taking 10 months off from competition to focus on recovery and rehabilitation after being diagnosed with a 6th congenital lumbar vertebrae anomaly.
For Ryan Nyquist, he announced this would likely be his last mountain bike event for the foreseeable future as he will be focusing on BMX training for the 2020 Olympics.
For Nicholi Rogatkin, it was an opportunity to win the first ever triple-crown of Slopestyle, having crashed the previous year at Whistler.
With crowd favorite Brett Rheeder crashing and Rogatkin turning in a highly technical run, all eyes were on Rheeder to bring something special on his second attempt and he didn’t disappoint. With a score of 94.50 Rheeder moved to first place early in round 2, but leave it Rogatkin to pull out all the stops with an impressive run and taking the win with a final score of 96.50
1. Nicholi Rogatkin (USA) – 96.50
2. Brett Rheeder (CAN) – 94.50
3. Erik Fedko (GER) – 88.25
4. Emil Johansson (SWE) – 86.75
5. Thomas Genon (BEL) – 81.50
6. Jakub Vencl (CZE) – 72.00
7. Torquato Testa (ITA) – 71.25
8. Matt Jones (GBR) – 68.50
9. Tomas Lemoine (FRA) – 65.50
10. Lukas Knopf (GER) – 62.25
11. Szymon Godziek (POL) – 61.00
12. Ryan Nyquist (USA) – 53.75
13. Diego Caverzasi (ITA) – 41.25
14. Anthony Messere (USA) – 32.75
Words and photos by John Whittington
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