Two local mountain bikers shared the top of the podium on the second day of racing at SilverStar’s three-week CLIF Crankworx Summer series.
Coldstream couple Vaea Verbeeck and Bas van Steenbergen called Thursday a “dramatic, eventful day” as they earned the top spot in the dual slalom event against.
It was Verbeeck’s third career Crankworx dual slalom victory and her second podium finish in as many days, having placed second in the enduro competition behind Casey Brown on Wednesday, July 29.
“Casey got the first round and I knew that I had to make up some time,” said Verbeeck, who was just 0.03 behind after their first finals matchup. “Near the bottom I was feeling like I had a little bit of a lead but not much. So we both didn’t know who had won it.”
When the final times came in, Verbeeck was ahead by a tight 0.37 seconds overall.
“That’s the way it should be,” she said. “We’re both stoked for each other. Fun, positive note to end the day on for sure.”
Verbeeck called the course “a bit of a monster,” and for good reason.
“Shortly after the beginning I thought I was out for the next two months,” she said after taking a spill in practice that left her thinking she’d broken her arm.
“It was manicured and built up but definitely not forgiving at all. You had to be very precise. So if you took a chance and tried to double through the rhythm you had to be super precise or bite the dust.
“Definitely a tough one, but overall still very exciting to have that sort of built track rather than keeping it too simple. It was exciting to watch and that’s how it should be.”
Like Verbeeck, van Steenbergen lined up at the start gate next to the winner of the enduro event for the Elite Men’s final. In his case, that was World Cup downhiller Finn Iles, who crossed the line fastest in their first finals matchup. But van Steenbergen didn’t let that deter him this time around.
“I feel like the last while I’ve thrown it away by overriding it,” said van Steenbergen, who’s missed the top step in Crankworx Dual Slalom racing twice in the past two years. “I knew that I had the speed to win and I rode safe and smooth and didn’t override it, which I’m pretty stoked on.”
Van Steenbergen managed to edge Iles by just under half a second after two—a tight margin but enough for the victory.
His slalom racing mindset is all about timing when to hit the brakes, and when to let it fly.
“I just kind of visualize the track before dropping in and try to tell myself where to come in easy and where to come in fast and just try to cool myself down,” he said. “I feel like a lot of times you’re either trying too hard or not hard enough in Dual Slalom.”
Young downhiller Lucas Cruz took third place in the men’s event, beating out enduro all-star Remi Gauvin.