Although not as originally envisioned, the inaugural Klondike Krankfest hosted by the Contagious Mountain Bike Club (CMBC) was a success in its own right.
The annual 24 Hours of Light bike race was put on hiatus this year and a proposed weekend-long festival with downhill racing, camping and whole nine yards was proposed for Mount Sima in its place.
After some volunteers were forced to withdraw, the festival was scaled back and the location was changed.
Sammy Salter, one of the organizers and the CMBC board representative for the event, explained the decision was made to hold a smaller event rather than give up on holding something entirely.
“We had some volunteers step up and say rather than outright cancelling the whole thing, we would really like to run an eight-hour lap-style race,” said Salter. “Then we kind of still have a little bit of momentum and fun for the weekend. It was really more of a decision to still try and bring a small-scale event without outright cancelling everything. … It was basically we got handed some lemons, so we made some lemonade.”
The event was held at Mount McIntyre, with an eight-hour race on July 13 and an adult skills clinic with Dylan Sherrard and Massey Baker instructing. The City of Whitehorse also got involved, holding a bike decorating and run-bike loop on the 13th as well.
“It actually ended up being really fun,” said Salter, adding there were a dozen same-day registrations to bring the total to approximately 40. “It was really positive. It was almost like a return to our roots — much more grassroots, low-key.”
With the Atlin music festival and Dustball happening the same weekend, Salter said the decision to go ahead was a success.
“It really was a little bit of a gamble,” said Salter. “We’re not really selling some big, exciting, flashing thing, so it was a bit of a gamble to be like we’re going to go back to our roots and just do this and see what happens. I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout and just how much fun people were having.”
Since the club is entirely volunteer-run, Salter said a one-day eight-hour race is a lot easier for volunteers to manage than the weekend-long 24 Hours of Light format.
In the future, Salter said really anything could happen as far as a return of the 24 Hours of Light or another crack at the weekend-long Krankfest originally proposed.
“I’ve heard from a few people that they would definitely still like to see something in that direction in what the original intention was for Krankfest, so I won’t say it’s off the table by any means,” said Salter. “We’re certainly still looking at how can we still deliver on some of those aspects.”
What it might take however, is one person to really lead the charge.
“It really depends on is there going to be a champion to step up and make it happen,” said Salter. “I guess it will depend on a leader coming forward and saying, ‘Yes, I’m going to coordinate this and make it happen.’”
Either way, it’s clear the Whitehorse mountain biking community is growing.
“I think the cool thing about the mountain bike community in Whitehorse is there is so much diversity and it’s growing so quickly. There are still lots of people who want a lap-style family-friendly event,” said Salter. “We have lots of people out there who want to see more downhill-oriented events and maybe enduro-oriented events, but at the end of the day we’re entirely volunteer run, so everything is really driven by the volunteers who can champion those events.”
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