Crankworx 2011 Preview
Meet Kurt Sorge
By Ron Johnson
If you're a mountain biker, especially those sitting decidedly on the freeriding side of the fat tire fence, Crankworx is the Super Bowl. No event draws larger crowds, more industry reps (With suitcases full of sponsorship dollars perhaps?) and more prize money. British Columbia native Kurt Sorge will be there. And he's coming to win.
"Crankworx is pretty much the biggest contest, one of the best courses, everyone from around the world comes," says Sorge, 22, on the phone from his home in Nelson, B.C. "You're not just competing, you're putting on a show for everyone."
The event runs over 10 days in Whistler, B.C, starting July 15 (followed by Crankworx Colorado July 28 to 31) and features a mind-boggling array of competitions including the slalom and downhill races as well as the Red Bull Joyride finals and something called the Canadian Cheese Rolling Championships.
Sorge first competed at the event five years ago, and made it to the "big show" finals, placing 12th overall. This year, he is one of the favourites to win Best Trick, and, as has been his habit, he spent some time this winter in California practising tricks.
"It is mainly just practising tricks. Back home, we ride bigger bikes and it is more big mountain riding, so I usually have to travel to other places to get in practising for slopestyle," says Sorge, who has been working on back-flip variations, front flips, and, apparently, "anything involving spinning, tail whipping and flipping."
A win for Sorge, or for any of the athletes in the event, translates to increased exposure and that's money in the bank for athletes that rely heavily on sponsorship from companies such as Teva, who sponsor Sorge and just came out with a new mountain bike-specific shoe (You're welcome!).
Though Sorge is entered in the Slopestyle and Best Trick contests, and he is going to make every effort to win them both, his strength and focus is on big mountain riding for video and photo shoots. His job is to keep the mountain in mountain biking.
"That pretty much means keeping mountain biking in the mountains," says Sorge. "It seems like it is getting pushed to BMX side of things with hardball bikes, riding dirt jumps. But, it really started in mountains riding knurly terrain, hitting big jumps, not perfectly groomed skate park stuff."
Growing up in Nelson, Sorge had some of the finest mountain biking trails in the world as his playground, and it wasn't long before you had the desire to make mountain biking his life. At around Grade 10, he was already dedicated to becoming a professional.
He made a name for himself in 2008 when he finished second at the illustrious Red Bull Rampage by throwing a jaw-dropping tail-whip over a 60-ft. gap. He hasn't slowed down since.
"It is just really fun, and I get to do it with my friends," Sorge explains. "And riding as a pro you get to travel to so many different places, and meet different people. It is just amazing, and it keeps the passion alive."
Currently Sorge is working on an epic adventure travel movie entitled Where The Trail Ends in which he travels to exotic locales to ride including China and Argentina. It is scheduled for release in the fall, 2012.
For those looking to learn the fine art of hucking Sorge suggests the tail whip.
"My favourite is just going big, big moto-style whips," he says, before suggesting a long A-line practice run at a place like Whistler where a trail would have a variety of jumps all the way down. "Just figure out how to move the bike around on the way down, get a feel for it," he suggests. ''That's probably the funnest trick; everyone is really stoked on it."
But don't forget about crashing, an equally important, if less noble art. Watch Sorge on video and you'll see almost as many crashes as you do jumps. But he always seems to have an exit strategy, and he's escaped serious injury to this point.
"Injuries are part of the game, but the worst part is sitting on the couch doing recovery, " says Sorge. "Crashing is a good skill to know for sure. You always kind of have to have an escape plan in the back of your head."
For more information on Crankworx go to www.crankworx.com. The competition will be broadcast live online at freecaster.tv.
Canadian sailor, Derek Hatfield, pushes off from Cape Town for second leg of Velux 5 Oceans race around the world
by Ron Johnson
Canadian sailor Derek Hatfield has just pushed off from the coast of Cape Town, the start of the second leg of the Velux 5 Oceans race around the world. Sitting in third place in the field, Hatfield and the Canada House team have some catching up to do in this, one of the most prestigious not to mention exhausting solo endurance races on the planet.
Hatfield worked for the RCMP beginning in 1971, and was first introduced to sailing by his neighbour. Apparently, it stuck. Hatfield is now considered the finest solo sailor in the country, if not the world. In 2002 he won the Velux 5 Oceans in class three. One of the biggest wins of his impressive career. He was named Rolex Sailor of the Year in 2003 following his win. In the Vendee Globe 2008 race, Hatfield was forced to retire after 50 days at sea when a large breaking wave broke two of his mast spreaders. But he's back at it, looking for a victory in the race that starts and finishes in La Rochelle, France.
Get Out There caught up with Hatfield while in port between legs.
(To keep up with the latest race news go to www.velux5oceans.com)
Q: What is the most difficult aspect lifestyle wise -- food, hygiene, or just sheer boredom? And how do you cope?
A: boredom, sometimes when the boat is moving along really well it is like ground hog day. I cope by pushing to move the boat faster constantly.
Q: And take me back to the beginning -- how did u go from the RCMP to racing sailboats?
A: while in the RCMP a neighbour took me sailing / racing on his boat and that got me hooked.
Q: And why do you keep doing it, what do you enjoy about it?
A: the accomplishment is addictive so you want to endeavour to improve with each race.
Q: Tell me what it was like the first time you actually raced around the world.
A: The first time I raced around the world the accomplishment at the end was indescribable, the whole ordeal at Cape Horn and how all of the sailors from Canada pulled together with support to make the rest of the race happen as well as help from Decoma (a Magna company) and Pindar (UK). It was a massive endeavour that saw over 35000 hits a day on our website, that’s the kind of support we had and the finish in Newport was a real highlight for Canadian offshore racing for sure a real achievement by us all.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career thus far and why?
A: Each race is the new highlight so it would have to be the start of the VELUX 5 Oceans 2010 with the best sponsor in the world to be on board in ACTIVE HOUSE.
Q: And just for background, you live in Aurora, ON? Do you sail there, and what club?
A: I did live in Aurora for a couple of months after the 2002 race, but now I live in Mahone Bay, N.S. I have sold all other recreational boats so I just race the open 60 in around the world races or help others to train on it to work towards their own goals.
Q: What does your family think of your love of sailing, do they share it?
A: My family has always been involved with my sailing endeavours and involved in one way or another. In the 2002 race my father and the community in N.B. built the hull and then I finished it with the help of volunteers and my wife. So yes they share my love of sailing just that they may not do as much of it but they are 100 per cent behind me.
A new Warren Miller flick marks the unofficial start of the ski season
by Ron Johnson
For many skiers throughout North America, though local hills might jump the gun and put slats to now a littler earlier from year to year depending on the mood of the Gods, the season doesn't officially start until beers are cracked, popcorn tubs filled and lights dimmer for another Warren Miller ski flick.
Since 1949, Warren Miller has made a habit of producing one feature-length fill each and every year through the company he founded, Warren Miller Entertainment. Though Miller is retired and busy yachting in the Pacific Northwest near his home in the San Juan Islands, the company has continued the tradition, making the films more familiar by continuing to use Miller's voice for narration.
This year, Warren Miller's Wintervention is making the rounds, and stars Canuck Hugo Harrison along with the always-gnarly Johny Moseley, Lindsey Vonn, Chris Davenport, JJ Thomas as well as Andy Mahre (Note the surname, yes that Mahre family.), Josse Wells and Zach Black shredding slopes from Gudari, Georgia along the border of Russia to our own backyard in the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia.
“Our addictions to snow-covered hills and the experiences we have there are actually good for us—in moderation,” explains Max Bervy, director and executive producer. “In a world where the chaotic pace seems to increase daily, it's the skiers and the snowboarders who actually have it right, guaranteeing they're never far from clean mountain air, deep powder and the good life lived in the mountains.”
I tracked down a couple of the film's stars: Hugo Harrison, of course, and Andy Mahre for a quick chat about life, love and the pursuit of pow:
Tell me about your recent segment in the new film. I got to spend a week Heli skiing with Jonny Moseley at CMH Gothics Lodge. It was an awesome experience for me, and I think it would be safe to say the same for everyone else involved. The skiing was amazing, and the staff and living environment were outstanding. It was a great week to spend in the mountains with old and new friends.
Does it ever shock you that you're getting paid to do this? I am very fortunate to be in the position that I am. I've put in a lot of work and to have a dream become a reality is very shocking at times. The key is to not let that get to you and to keep having fun.
So tell me about your introduction to skiing — where and when? I haven't ever actually asked about my first day of skiing. From what I know, I was about two a half, and most likely at White Pass, WA. I would assume there would be more than just my immediate family around, and apparently I liked it.
And when did you realize this was what you wanted to dedicate so much of your life to? I was in middle school when I decided to put my focus on skiing. Between grades 8 and 9 I stopped playing school sports and spent as much time on snow as possible.
Skiing is obviously in your blood — did you ever rebel and threaten to give up skiing for accounting or something? There was never any pressure for me to be a skier. I was pushed and taught but only because it was what I wanted. My parents were always very supportive with whatever I was doing. My dad got me a snowboard when I was pretty young.
And were you pushed to pursue racing, and when did you switch to more freeskiing and shooting for movies? I raced because I wanted to. My friends and family raced, so it was a fun to ski and travel with them. I transitioned out of racing at about 13 years old. I had a really bad couple of races and wasn't having much fun, so I just stopped racing.
Who was your inspiration in this regard — moving away from racing into doing more free skiing? My cousin Tyler was a good skier and followed the freestyle side of things. He competed and was a really good skier. He more or less took me under his wing and showed me a side of skiing I didn't really know anything about. We fed off each other and a few good friends also.
What are your cross training sports during the off-season? I really enjoy riding motorcycles and mountain bikes. I spend a decent amount of time on my cousins lake wake surfing and boarding. I like to play indoor soccer also.
When are you most happy? I am happy when I help someone, when I reach a goal, when I'm with my family and friends, when someone helps me, or when I am selfishly enjoying powder turn after powder turn. I get joy from a lot of things, and happiness comes in many different forms.
What are some of your signature moves? I moved from my mom's house into my house. Ha ha! I don't have anything that I can consider my move.
What is the key to landing a sweet trick? I like to do spins and flips on natural terrain. Amplitude make a big difference in the ease of the trick. The bigger you go, the easier, to an extent, obviously. I can't really describe a how to, because it just takes a lot of practice and trial and error.
Favourite Canadian ski spot? Anywhere in B.C.
Tell me about your segment Hugo. My segment was in Austria, we spent ten days skiing some of the best conditions I’ve had all year. Once we arrived in Austria, the storm cleared up and we pretty much had good weather until the end.
And how did you hook up with the Warren Miller crew? I don’t know, I did not film for Warren Miller Entertainment for a few years, I was just stoked to be a part of it.
How does this professional skiing thing work? I started at the beginning by doing contests, from there I got sponsored and after a few years doing that, ski film companies started to approach me.
Is this what you thought you'd be doing when you were growing up? I grew up in Quebec so for me it was something that I never thought I would be doing.
When did you realize you wanted to do more, and make skiing a more important part of your life? I did ski racing until 17 years old so in 1997 I decided to move to B.C. and ski powder.
What is your signature style? I guess I am well known for going fast, I also like to hit jumps so that stuff is always entertaining Where was your home hill growing up? And where are you located these days? My home town ski resort is "Mont-castor," a nice little mountain close to Matane. I now live in Pemberton, B.C. and have skied Whistler for the past 15 years.
And during the off-season what is your cross training sport? I ride my bike a lot in the summer and I also play a lot of ice hockey in the fall.
Who inspired you to pursue this type of professional skiing? I feed a lot of energy for skiing from my friend and roommate we all like to ski a lot so we go ski together a lot.
When are you most happy? I just had a kid so lately being with my boy and wife make me very stoked.
Favourite trick? I have never done a trick of my life, I focus on going down the mountain that's it
The Canadian tour calendar for Warren Miller's Wintervention is as follows:
Oct. 22, Calgary, Jack Singer Concert Hall
Oct. 30, Toronto, Sony Centre for the Arts
Oct. 30, Ottawa, National Arts Centre
Nov. 4, Winnipeg, Burton Cummings Theatre
Nov. 7, Montreal, The Theatre Maisonneuve
Nov. 11 and 12 (because Vancouver is that radical), Vancouver, Vancouver Centre for Performing Arts
Nov. 19, Edmonton, Jubilee Auditorium
June 10, 2010
An Interview with David Patchell-Evans and Silken Laumann
By Ron Johnson
Few people in Canada have been in the fitness game longer than David Patchell-Evans (davidpatchellevans.com), founder of GoodLife Fitness (goodlifefitness.com). With more than 275 locations in Canada, an astounding one in 45 Canadians is a member. What you might not know is that his fiancée is none other than Olympic medalist and all-around awesome athlete Silken Laumann. On the occasion of a new GoodLife club opening in Victoria, B.C., on Tyee Road next to Dockside Green, we caught up with the healthy-living twosome for a quick chat. Here are the highlights:
Patch—275 clubs, one in 45 Canadians are members—how do you do it? GoodLife is a highly entrepreneurial company and change is in our DNA! I made a decision early on that to reach our goal of giving all Canadians the opportunity to live a fit life—to help Canadians ‘live young’—we would need to make it as easy as possible to exercise. One of the means for achieving that goal is to make clubs convenient for people: close to their homes and work places.
The new Victoria West club looks to be pretty well decked out, but what is pushing the envelope?Western Canada will be our biggest growth area—we are the largest fitness company there already, but we are now playing catch up with the rest of Canada. I also have a greater reason to travel there since my fiancée, Silken Laumann, calls Victoria home.
Silken, tell me about your involvement with GoodLifeI have several roles with Goodlife nationally. I am a spokesperson for the Goodlife Kids Foundation which focues on inspiring children and youth to be active. We suport many great organizations in the communities we live and work in, orgizations that of effectively getting kids healthy and moving.
You are a major proponent of active kids— what inspired the interest in this area? Having my own kids made me very aware that we are facing a crisis of inactivity and poor health in this generation of kids. I also felt strongly that our kids were missing out on physical play, the kind of silliness and fun that happens when a bunch of kids find an open space of a ball. I have been able to encourage active play in my family and in my neighbourhood. My kids now organize their own "Play in the Park" nights by calling neighbours and meeting for several hours in our neighbourhood park. My son William, who is now 12, comes to the club with me and is just learning about physical training and using the excerise equipment, sometimes we use the group excercise room when nobody else is there and pull out balls, and skipping ropes, turn on the music and run an obstacle course.
That's amazing, but why is it so important? I believe that we can't separate physical, mental and spirtual health, they are all connected to one another. We need to teach our kids that when they feel blah, they can go outside and play a game of badminton and their mood changes, they need to know that crappy food affects their ability to concentrate and how they feel in their own body. I want to help kids develop this intelligence so that they will look after their body for their whole life, so that physical movement will be as important to them as eating and sleeping. Movement whether it is yoga, or walking, or playing badminton with my kids, or riding my bicylce, it brings me joy, it allows me to be playful and I think it keeps me young and healthy. I want all kids to have this sense of fun and feeling of joy through being active.
Patch, Silken handles the kids, and your emphasis is on staying fit longer in life, tell us about your new book. My new book, The Real Sexy, Smart and Strong, is about living a life of wholeness, vitality, energy, and strength. I have always believed that fitness is about the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. I wanted the information in the book to be as accessible to readers as possible, and so each of the chapters is short and entertaining while giving readers lots of insight and practical tips. This book will help you take your fitness and energy to new levels of vitality and happiness. It’s also about not having to be perfect, but instead being comfortable with who you are as a person and loving the body you have.
Who inspires you as a person and why?My personal hero is my autistic daughter Kilee. I tell everyone that everything I have learned about having a good life was taught to me by Kilee. Being the parent of an autistic child can be stressful, but every day I feel such deep gratitude for having Kilee in my life and for all the wisdom she has brought to me. She has taught me the importance of living fully in the moment and of cherishing each small step of progress. She has taught me never to be a quitter and never to lose hope. She has also taught me about unconditional love—being loved for exactly who she is. Loving Kilee unconditionally has helped me to help herbecome the best she can be. That’s also the philosophy of my clubs—my clubs are about helping people right now in the present to become the best they can be in everything they do.
Silken, are you still rowing?No. Rowing takes too many hours to do, so I look for more efficient ways to get my excercise. Power walking, yoga, spin class, bike rides, pilates, all of these are part of my weekly routine.
Do you have any tips for those looking to enter the sport? Row or do any sport because you love it, because at some level, it brings you joy. When you lose that joy, no matter what level you are participating, you stop reachign your potential. There are lots of parents who feel they need to push their kids into a sport, be careful, perhaps push them to try something, to stick with it for awhile, but if they really aren't enjoying it, let them stop. Everybody can find something that they like doing, sometimes it is just a matter of trying alot of sport and activities.
Patch, how has fitness changed since 1979 when you bought that first club? And what would possess you to buy a fitness club while you were still going to university?I purchased my first club while attending the University of Western Ontario in London, with money made from operating my snow ploughing business. Yes, I was doing that too while working on my university degree (which earned me some stern looks from my professors when I occasionally fell asleep in class!) I had joined the club because I was in training for the National Rowing Team and also because I had become fascinated with exercise and rehabilitation after I had a serious motorcycle accident when I was 19. That accident inspired me to earn a degree in Physical Education and fuelled my passion to help people achieve a level of fitness important to their overall well-being.
And what do you see in the future, more of a whole life balancing?
Yes, I find that today’s fitness consumer wants access to programs that address the whole person. One of GoodLife’s most popular programs is BodyFlow which includes elements drawn from the more meditative practices such as Tai Chi and Yoga, while giving the person a great workout as well. There is also an increasing trend toward individualized programs customized to the person’s body type, their specific exercise goals, and any health issue they may be dealing with—because of this, more people are choosing to work with personal trainers. People are also getting more focused on nutrition and exploring the link between good nutrition and physical activity.
April 27, 2010
MEC bikes ready to roll
by Ron Johnson
This spring, MEC is launching its own line of bicycles with more than one aimed squarely at urbanistas looking for a sweet commuter ride that can double as a bit of everything else. And, so far so good, says I from my seat atop one of their 1971 models during a recent test drive.
It is chunkier than a traditional road bike, but capable of quick acceleration and nimble handling. Maybe a bit dandier than a pure cyclocross bike, but for those entering the sport, or looking for just a bit of fun on the side, it will do nicely. And for commuting, in a city such as Toronto or Vancouver, when you might be skirting down the Don Valley, or encountering, say, rain (Yes, you Vancouver!), it is a might fine option, to say the least.
Two weeks in, and the 1971 is holding up nicely to the rigors of a long Toronto commute -- through busy city streets braking and accelerating are a-okay, crossing rail bridges, skirting through the Don Valley to save some time, the cyclocross end of things enabled an easy transition from asphalt to trail. The aluminum frame won't make the Cervelo-set jealous, but it is light enough and strong enough to get the job done.
The frame geometry is comfortable, comes with a comfy Selle Royal Yak saddle with gel padding (crucial!), and the braking and gear systems offer much in performance, as well as value for money (priced at just $990!).The are shift levers beside the cantilever brakes, and also the brakes themselves act as shifters. I wonder about this feature, interconnecting the braking and gear systems -- especially given the propensity of commuters in Toronto and Montreal to ride through any and all weather conditions. But, time will tell. I'll give their engineers the benefit of the doubt for now.
For those who need one bike, but want a few, the 1971 is the ticket: good for some touring, cyclocross and commuting. But, the MEC line does not begin and end with this option. The Hold Steady model is the premier model in the MEC line with hydraulic brakes, a carbon fiber fork and rear internal eight-speed hub priced at $1250. The COL model is the priciest option i the bunch at a still modest $1,400, positioning somewhere in the road/tri category, offering Shimano 105 components, Mavic Aksium wheels and hubs, Gossamer sidepull caliper brakes and more. Other bikes include the Shadowlands ($990), and Skyway ($750).
For more information go to MEC.ca.
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