The epic downhill course, in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, boasts 3,366 feet of vertical drop, or three times the 1,177 feet of descent of the other two downhill races for the 10-day, multi-disciplinary gravity fest—the Air DH and Canadian Open DH.
With 130,000 people expected to come through Whistler for Crankworx, the atmosphere is likely to get headier moving toward the weekend, but Guitiérrez’s blistering-fast win on this monster of a course certainly had the crowd roaring.
“It’s big proof you should not give up,” Guitiérrez said, noting he lost his chain roughly three quarters of the way down. “I was like, 'Oh man, why this has to happen to me? Why this race when I was feeling good for it? When I was trying hard for it. 'So I just kept cruising. I was like, 'Marcello, just don’t give up.'”
Left to coast after each of the final drops, the Columbian downhill star bested his next competitor by an eight-second lead, bringing it home in 12:19.28 to New Zealand’s Sam Blenkinsop’s 12:27.18, and Australian Jack Moir’s 12:29.88. The rest of the pack trailed two and three seconds behind in succession.
Miranda Miller racers toward her first Garbonzo DH victory in seven years of trying. | Photo: Crankworx
After six days of hot, dry weather in Whistler the trails are running rough and drier than usual, but it didn’t stop Squamish local Miranda Miller from finally taking her first win on the infamous track, after dancing around the honour for seven years.
Miller is showing some of the best results of her career on the World Cup circuit. Pulling into the finish line with a 14:14.32 over top Australian rider Tracey Hannah, 14:16.61, and Whistler rider Claire Buchar’s 14:18.84, her lead was nevertheless not as strong as that of the men’s field.
“The race was good. It was maybe the hardest I remember. Every year it feels hard, but it was especially hard this year,” she said. “I felt, towards the bottom, I kind of was making some mistakes and stuff. So anytime I hit a mistake, I just told myself I should pedal harder to make it up.”
Miller acknowledged she and Buchar have a certain home turf advantage on the long complex track but, in truth, she has not been home to ride in Whistler for some time. Breaking the top ten in every race she’s entered this season, she’s currently got two World Cup third place finishes and a National Champion status to her name
2016 Garbanzo DH Results:
1. Marcelo GUITIERREZ (COL) 12:19.28
2. Sam BLENKINSOP (NZL) 12:27.18
3. Jack MOIR (NZL) 12:29.88
1. Miranda MILLER 14:14.32
2. Tracey HANNAH 14:16.61
3. Claire Buchar 14:18.84