Looming trees, lazy shadows, the smell of fresh pine in the air. As we look around and take in the surroundings of Big Bear, CA it’s easy to get lost in the silent beauty around us.
That is until Unwritten Law begins their soundcheck, and the announcer calls out the next Back Flip that’s about to be thrown down in the Slope Style Jam Session.
Welcome to Crafts and Cranks!
One of our favorite movements in cycling has been the multi-day, multi-discipline, multi-adult-beverage-drinking weekend festival. Crafts & Cranks is one of SoCal’s best, where riders of varying disciplines have a perfect venue to bring their families out for a packed weekend of fun.
The weekend started off with the Enduro race, and Smanie was proudly there, cheering on some of our sponsored athletes as they checked each of the 5 technical stages off their lists. The courses were fast, some were gruelingly pedally, and most riders finished their runs out of breath, smiling from ear to ear.
The heart of Snow Summit’s Village was the perfect setting for the outdoor expo, delicious food, and of course the “Crafts” portion of Crafts & Cranks. The Beer Garden had varying beverages for all to sample, and drink purchases included an event pint glass. For families, the Event Pass option was a hit, where you could not only get into the Beer Garden, but you could enjoy the lifts, zip line, and carnival where kids could spend all day playing in bounce houses, bumper cars, and the ferris wheel with mountaintop views.
Saturday got our adrenaline going, with the Big Air Slope Style Jam Session, the Pump Track competition, and the Big Air competition. We had front row seats as these athletes launched themselves off of 20 foot high jumps, landing Front Flips, 720s, and Superman No-Handers. The Redbull DJ was bumping tunes, the crowd was going wild, and just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, the weekend’s headlining bands began their sets.
Sunday kicked off early with the XC Marathon race, where athletes redlined their heartrates at altitude for 50 miles to get a cut of the prize purse. Racers got to race against the likes of legends such as Tinker Juarez on a demanding, technical course, and finish just in time to catch the opening of the Beer Garden. The XC Race was fast, grueling, and challenging. Smanie-sponsored Pro, Alfred Pacheco took home the win in the men’s field, with sponsored Big Bear local Pro Christine Ringo taking 2nd in the Women’s Pro field.
Sunday afternoon kicked off the Downhill Race, where we got to watch as these athletes sped down Snow Summit’s Miracle Mile, an ominous trail with jumps, berms, pavers, and plenty of steep rock gardens to keep you honest. The lifts were open to spectators and riders alike, so the course was lined with cheering crowds from top to bottom.
The Awards Ceremonies found the heart of Snow Summit packed, with standing room only, as each discipline’s winners took home huge checks and free swag. And better than just the winners getting their payouts, the closing environment as a whole was intoxicating, where the bonding passion for all things two wheels was on full display. Families and teams alike were all sharing their wrap-up for the entire season of travel, races, riding, and fun, and the buzz in the air was electrifying. These are the moments in cycling we truly treasure. The shared passion and the comradery this all-encompassing sport brings about.
To say we enjoyed every minute of this year’s Crafts and Cranks would be an understatement. We love the multi-day, multi-race festivals that are cropping up more and more in this wonderful sport. It was an epic event for all outdoor enthusiasts and their families. We’re already counting down the weeks until next year’s, and look forward to seeing you all out there!