Crankworx is mountain biking’s biggest festival, and brings thousands of riders and spectators from around the world to Whistler, BC. Micro Climate, a trail built by NSMB team rider Paul Stevens, was chosen as a stage in the Enduro 2014 World Series – we caught up with him to find out more about the trail and the event.
Enduro is a relatively new event to Crankworx. What’s it all about?
Basically, enduro racing is the closest race format to what most of us do on a regular ride: ride to the top at your own pace, and race your friends back down again. Only the downhill portions are timed, and like any good ride, the race will last most of the day. The result of combining the multiple timed descents gives you an overall standing.
Micro Climate has an awesome reputation. How do you think it stacks up?
I’m excited to hear feedback from everyone, but in my opinion Micro Climate epitomizes the riding in the Whistler area. It’s fast and technical, and winds its way deep through the forest on Blackcomb. I’ve received a ton of great feedback from some of the best racers in the world.
What inspired you to build it?
Micro Climate has been a project over the last few years, and was built primarily with a good friend of mine, Dave Anderson. The inspiration to put the line in came from the beautiful forest it runs through, but our personal goal was to build a trail on Blackcomb that follows a more graded approach, with less fall line descending than the other trails in the area. We’re always looking to create a longer descent.
Are you worried about the trail’s condition after the race?
I definitely have my worries. However, looking at it rationally, the trail has already seen a lot of traffic this summer, and has held up pretty well. Whistler’s riding scene is so active that when new trails are built, they are ridden in fast… really fast. We’re also happy to announce that Crankworx has set aside a trail budget to help us repair the trail after the event.
What’s it like to be involved from the trail building side?
I’ve raced nearly event at Crankworx, so building a trail is very different, but I’m excited to be a part of Whistler’s riding culture from all angles. I’m really proud to have this trail as part of the Enduro World Series (EWS), especially as most of the Crankworx races are on machine-built or bike park style trails.
How do you think you’ll do on Micro Climate?
We’ll have to wait and see the results sheet. I would love to do well, but I don’t know whether knowing each corner inside out will help me or make me overthink it! Racing is a mental game, and when it comes to the best in the world, they’re as fit mentally as they are physically.
What bike are you racing, and how is it set up?
I’m on the Ghost Cagua 6550 with a Raceface Narrow-Wide single ring drivetrain, Rockshox Reverb seatpost, Rockshox Pike 160mm fork, and high volume tires for hitting trails as hard and fast as possible.
What’s the most exciting part of Crankworx for you?
This year, the EWS Canadian Open Enduro is most exciting for me because I have a behind-the-scenes trail building part, and I’m racing. As a spectator, the Red Bull Joyride Slopestyle always has the wildest atmosphere, and is by far the best mountain biking event to watch in the world. Whistler comes alive at Crankworx, and it’s been a ride in itself seeing the events grow.