The Crankworx BC Speed & Style event, which was supposed to take place on Sept. 27, at Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, B.C., was cancelled at the last minute due to rain. It was replaced by a Jump Jam event where athletes demonstrated their best tricks, giving Kyleigh Stewart, a Sun Peaks Resort bike and ski instructor, a chance to shine.
In-line with the laid-back style and rider comradery Crankworx is known for, it was decided fellow athletes would nominate a winner for the Jump Jam event, instead of judge’s determining the winner.
After an afternoon of sessioning the step-up style jump with all the competitors, Stewart was chosen by her counterparts to take first place for the women.
“We used the final jump on the course and everyone was having a good time,” she said. “It was basically do whatever you want and have fun, have a great day and showcase your style of riding.”
Stewart claimed while she doesn’t perform “the gnarliest tricks ever,” she was able to add her own flair to the competition.
“[I] threw down some style with my whips, and took different limbs off my bike and that,” Stewart explained.
The Jump Jam wasn’t the only time Stewart felt supported by her riding community during the Crankworx BC saga. Vaea Verbeek, who is currently sitting atop the Queen of Crankworx standings, thought Stewart was a good fit for the Crankworx BC event.
“I wasn’t originally supposed to be a part of [Crankworx BC] but they ended up having a lot of riders who were injured or unable to travel, but Vaea put my name in the hat and it ended up working out for me,” said Stewart.
While Stewart said the event wasn’t about winning for her, and was more about having fun and being excited to ride and try new events, she said she gained more out of it compared to her BC and Canada Cup racing history.
“There were a few good moments where I could push myself,” she said. “It was a lot more laid back than the DH racing I’ve done in the past. Everyone’s out there riding together and helping each other. The whole atmosphere was so much cooler. I think I gained a lot more than I expected.”
Although taking the win in the Jump Jam was special, Stewart said her favourite moments were racing on home soil.
“The Sun Peaks stop was definitely my favourite. Being at home and knowing some of the people volunteering or helping with course builds, I felt more support [in Sun Peaks] and of course those trails were obviously my favourite.”
Ultimately, the COVID-modified Crankworx series helped Stewart learn more about where she wants to take her own riding.
“[Crankworx BC] definitely put in perspective the different opportunities that are available. Crankworx is a different realm from other competitions in biking. Seeing what happens at these events and seeing what goes into it makes me keen for more of it in the future and motivates me a lot more.”
Next year, Stewart is hoping to take her experience into the flagship Crankworx Whistler event, and hopes to compete in the DH and the Speed & Style events.