To most people, mountain biking is dirt, rocks, sweat, blood, action and adrenaline. But to those with a creative eye, mountain biking is art. It might not be the most romantic sport, but the artistic side of mountain biking was not neglected at the 10th anniversary of Crankworx, the world-famous mountain biking festival in Whistler, British Columbia. Races and expos were aplenty, but events celebrating film, photography, music and visual arts played an equally important role on the festival schedule. Here’s a look at some of those events.
This action sports photography competition pits six photographers and their crews against one another in a quest to create the most compelling photo slide show dedicated to all things mountain biking. To add a twist, these photographers and their crews have a mere 72 hours to shoot and edit their shows, which are screened to an audience of several thousand, including a panel of selective judges.
This year’s playing field was highly competitive, and each of the six shows brought out the beauty of the sport, whether it be in the breathtaking natural landscapes, the details of the mechanics of the bikes, or the emotions on the athletes’ faces. Sunshine Coast-based Nicholas Teichrob took the win in Deep Summer 2013 and claimed the $5,000 grand prize.
Photographers weren’t the only artists able to showcase their skills; filmmakers also had a chance to show their work at Crankworx through the Dirt Diaries event. Six filmmakers partnered up with six of the sport’s finest athletes. Over seven weeks, teams created short films showcasing their passion for mountain biking.
Once again, the crowds came out in masses, and even those who had never taken a seat on a mountain bike were inspired by the films. Films showcased the technical and emotional sides of the sport, with two films touching on sharing the passion for the sport between generations. Leo Zuckerman of Vancouver claimed first place with his lead athlete, Richie Schley and went home $5,000 richer.
Not all the artistic events at Crankworx were competition-based. The Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) hosted a fundraiser, featuring mountain bike themed artwork by local artists. The pieces were sold and auctioned off to raise funds for the association. One popular part of the event was “Pimp my Beater”, where attendees were invited to bring in their bikes and helmets to be made over by local artists. Cycling enthusiasts left with one-of-a-kind pieces and perhaps the most original Cranworx souvenirs.
Tunes, Tunes and More Tunes
Okay, no one was strumming a guitar while cruising down A-Line, but music was a fixture throughout the festival. The event kicked off with some free concerts, including Daniel Weasley, Matt Mays, Mother Mother and Nightbox. Live shows took place just about every night in the clubs around town, ranging from reggae bands to hip hop artists. Between the riding and the dancing, sleep was really not an option.
“Arrival”, the Movie Premiere
Mountain biking films play on a loop at most bars in pubs in Whistler from May to September, so the stoke was high for the world premiere of SecondBase’s latest film, Arrival. The world of action sports film has evolved considerably, even within the last few years. The films now offer more than action shot after action shot—they tell stories of athletes, of history, of travel an, above all, of passion.
Fans who braved the rainy weather were rewarded with bragging rights that they were among the first in the world to experience the latest and greatest in the mountain biking film industry. Celebrating the artistic side of mountain biking is an effective way to increase interest in the sport. Most of these events were free to the public, inviting people who previously didn’t have much involvement into the sport to share in the awesomeness of it all. Art like this is accessible and inspirational, and at the very least helps promote an appreciation for all things mountain biking!