The return of live mountain bike racing boasts deep roster of riders and action packed schedule culminating with a finale at Sun Peaks Resort
Twenty five of B.C.’s elite mountain bike athletes battled it out in four race categories across three stages of dirt spanning three weeks and 167km of world class single track totalling over 73 hours in the saddle. All of this to have the chance to claim the title of CLIF Crankworx Summer Series (CCSS) and a $10,000 prize with the final race held at Sun Peaks’ Bike Park on various trails including the classic advanced jump trail Steam Shovel.
The series ran from July 27 to Aug. 14 with Sun Peaks playing host to the final leg of the series after athletes visited SilverStar and Kicking Horse.
Reigning Canadian National Downhill champions Vaea Verbeeck and Finn Iles continued their dominance, with both athletes claiming CCSS overall titles.
The pair started strong with second and first place finishes in the CCSS opening Enduro race at SilverStar. Uncertainties for Iles came after a poor placement in the MAXXIS Kicking Horse Downhill race.
Meanwhile Verbeeck consistently stood atop the podium throughout the competition.
Heading into the final stage at Sun Peaks, Verbeeck was only 50 points up on competitor Casey Brown and just over 100 points ahead of third place athlete Andreane Lanthier Nadeau, meaning the mountain was sure to host a lot of drama and keep people’s attention on the women’s overall point standings.
After the Downhill (DH) stage in Sun Peaks, Verbeeck needed to keep her composure and ensure she would at least cross the finish line in the Dual Slalom.
In the final Air Downhill race Verbeeck had the ultimate victory lap, blazing down Steam Shovel in a mere 6:42.593 and clinching the overall women’s title.
“It’s really sweet,” said Verbeeck.
She walked away from the CCSS with seven first place finishes and finished the series standing atop the Sun Peaks Air Downhill podium with life partner, Bas van Steenbergen.
Iles kept his game face on heading into the DH portion of the Sun Peaks stage even though he had a healthy lead and a clear shot at clinching the title.
“I felt like I needed a bit of redemption after last week,” Iles said, citing his unusual 10th place finish in the Kicking Horse DH race.
Iles secured the overall title spot after getting second behind van Steenbergen at the Dual Slalom race in Sun Peaks. Over the two and a half weeks leading up to the final days of the series, Iles claimed four golds, four silvers, and one bronze which boosted him to the top spot.
“I felt confident I could compete for the overall,” said Iles. “I wasn’t sure I could win or what I could do, but I’m happy to have come out and have done what I’ve done to clinch the overall. Proud of myself”
For recaps, videos, and highlights from the past three weeks of intense competition, click the link or to check out the full results from each race, click here.