CRANKWORX: Day Nine...Slopestyle and Stuff.

By now the rain and mud and the hell that was the EWS round one is but a distant memory and another blue sky day awaits the good folk of Crankworx. sure there is still a massive puddle at 8 mile gate but the soil that makes up the trails is in hero conditions and Jeff and I decide to hit the trails once again.

You may think I'm being a little selfish and just doing exactly what I like and you'd be right. Last year I took my "job" way too seriously and exited CW with sore feet and strained jaw muscles but not the piano wire tight hamstrings, inflamed buttocks and palm callouses the size of marbles that I was hoping to have (sounds like Saturday night in Palmerston North). I just didn't get in enough riding last Crankworx, so this year  was gonna get flipped on its head. I must remind you that the other "real journos" do this shit for a living, which means they get paid and when you get paid (by the man) you must do as the man says...i.e do some bloody work! But as yours truly is a true independant and I have to pay good money to bring you the goss, I feel that I can indeed do what I bloody like and those salaried spouters of current biking happenings can supply you with the goods while I get busy enjoying the fruits of life and....shit, sorry, I'm on a roll...Look, I have four jobs, a wife, two kids and chores out the wazoo, so If I feel like hanging in the forest and riding my bike when I really should be reporting on the happenings of the biggest biking event to hit NZ since the Karapoti Classic then I'm just going to do that.

Cutting edge trend setting here with my ever adaptable Santa Cruz Hightower 79er.

Cutting edge trend setting here with my ever adaptable Santa Cruz Hightower 79er.

Where was I? Oh yeah... in the forest with my mates. Looking at my mighty Hightower here you must be reminding yourself that therodfather is once again at the forefront of the mountainbiking phenomena with a 29er front wheel and a 275 rear. In reality my 275 front hub bearings had developed an annoying vibration from what  appears to be a non-perfect length alloy crush tube so I throw on my 29er wheel and next minute Instagram is going crazy with this pic.

This is the real reason why I ride bikes..quality time in the forest with good mates. Jeff Carter , Aaron Baddiley and Mike Spanbroek. 

This is the real reason why I ride bikes..quality time in the forest with good mates. Jeff Carter , Aaron Baddiley and Mike Spanbroek. 

Jeff Carter fooling about on the DH track.

Jeff Carter fooling about on the DH track.

Me fooling about on Tumeke. photo: Jeff Carter

Me fooling about on Tumeke. photo: Jeff Carter

Have I mentioned there had been a bit of rain lately. I hear that 2 weeks later, Lake Mile Gate is still there.

Have I mentioned there had been a bit of rain lately. I hear that 2 weeks later, Lake Mile Gate is still there.

So anyway, me and the lads have a razzing good time in perfect conditions before journalistic guilt convinces me to park the bike and head back to the main event. Yes slopestyle has been brought forward a day as wet weather is looming and those athletes that can't jump rotate and flip all at once get relegated to the shit weather day that is forecast for tomorrow. 

On arrival at Skyline, Jeff heads into the crowd to get some snaps while I go looking for more free shit and get caught up in shiny new stuff.

It's not often we punters get to see a full product line in our local bike shop so it's always a bonus to see flash distributor displays like this one from KRD.

It's not often we punters get to see a full product line in our local bike shop so it's always a bonus to see flash distributor displays like this one from KRD.

The new Fox Proframe is taking the enduro world by storm. Very very light yet very very strong.

The new Fox Proframe is taking the enduro world by storm. Very very light yet very very strong.

The world needs more cool looking clip pedals like this SPD compatible Funn Mamba pedals. Gee, I'd love to review these.....

The world needs more cool looking clip pedals like this SPD compatible Funn Mamba pedals. Gee, I'd love to review these.....

Southstar Shuttles bus driver Sarah Fox coming down off the hill after winning her DH race. Pumped she was.

Southstar Shuttles bus driver Sarah Fox coming down off the hill after winning her DH race. Pumped she was.

HOLY CRAP! is that ET? I should never have looked up...Or eaten those mushrooms. Did anyone else see that dude riding his bike across the sky?

HOLY CRAP! is that ET? I should never have looked up...Or eaten those mushrooms. Did anyone else see that dude riding his bike across the sky?

Oh..there's some kind of jumpimg competition going on...my bad!

Oh..there's some kind of jumpimg competition going on...my bad!

"You guys don't have to ride the course until that puddle in between jump four and five is removed" Even slopestyle riders have union meetings. 

"You guys don't have to ride the course until that puddle in between jump four and five is removed" Even slopestyle riders have union meetings. 

Brandon Semenuk gets an SMS via bluetooth mid run to learn that I've been sitting in his seat and he flips out..... photo: Jeff Carter

Brandon Semenuk gets an SMS via bluetooth mid run to learn that I've been sitting in his seat and he flips out..... photo: Jeff Carter

He looks seriously pissed...I'd better make myself scarce.

He looks seriously pissed...I'd better make myself scarce.

Not a bad place to hide..In full view of everyone..Brandon will never think to look here. Wow...a giant Tom Hey, slopestyle course designer and good buddy of Kelly McGarry who was honoured here today. That's really what the union meeting was about so it turns out.

Not a bad place to hide..In full view of everyone..Brandon will never think to look here. Wow...a giant Tom Hey, slopestyle course designer and good buddy of Kelly McGarry who was honoured here today. That's really what the union meeting was about so it turns out.

But it's no fun talking to yourself so I head back in to the A-listers tent. Rob Eva from Sram and his number one athlete Jerome Clementz. Far right behind Jerome you can see Anka Martin...exhausted from riding around the world every day, racing any event she can find and running around after hubby Sven Martin, she has mastered the art of sleeping whenever and wherever she can, even standing up mid party in a VIP tent...respect!

But it's no fun talking to yourself so I head back in to the A-listers tent. Rob Eva from Sram and his number one athlete Jerome Clementz. Far right behind Jerome you can see Anka Martin...exhausted from riding around the world every day, racing any event she can find and running around after hubby Sven Martin, she has mastered the art of sleeping whenever and wherever she can, even standing up mid party in a VIP tent...respect!

"Have you guys seen my free Sram socks?"  Duncan Philpott captures this amazing moment on film.

"Have you guys seen my free Sram socks?"  Duncan Philpott captures this amazing moment on film.

Jeff interviews ex NORBA and NZ downhill legend John Kirkaldie. John will still rip your fricken legs off in any riding discipline.

Jeff interviews ex NORBA and NZ downhill legend John Kirkaldie. John will still rip your fricken legs off in any riding discipline.

Big assed jumps requiring big assed tricks. photo: Jeff Carter

Big assed jumps requiring big assed tricks. photo: Jeff Carter

The slopestyle is going off, the tricks this year are out of this world. Having to master multiple moves jump after jump after jump and keep it near perfect is mindblowing and I find a new found respect for these master athletes. INSANE! It's no wonder thses guys are treated like Gods and this event holds the highest honours. Even though Brandon wants to kill me, I'm disappointed I never got to touch him, but very pleased I sat in his seat. I'm keen to hang around and join in with the frivolities, but I have an important job to do...babysit Jeffs' kids while he goes to the ball. I stop of at Kevins' house to fortify myself to find his mates hard at it like a bunch of teenagers pre-loading on homebrew and a dodgy bottle of vodka with a dead scorpion in it?

I pop in to my mate Kevs' place to sample a couple of homebrews while they pre-load for the Mountainbikers Ball

I pop in to my mate Kevs' place to sample a couple of homebrews while they pre-load for the Mountainbikers Ball

Either I got my wires crossed (most likely) or Jeff neglected to tell me (most definitely) but not only am I looking after the kids but Ruby has recently turned 16 and is having a party...Oh crap...this is not looking good. I arrive home to about 20 kids dressed like a Rocky Horror theatre production but thankfully no alcohol in sight. I lock myself in my room and wait for the screaming and vomiting, but Jeff and his wife Sarah have obviously done a stellar job of raising their offspring and they are better behaved than my kids are just at the dinner table, so I get a peaceful evening and time to catch up on my Crankworx feed.

Happy birthday Ruby...thanks for not burning down the house etc.

Happy birthday Ruby...thanks for not burning down the house etc.

TOMORROW: it's the final day but first I have to go build a trail in the forest.