During slopestyle qualifiers at the third annual Crankworx international mountain-bike festival in Whistler, British Columbia, rider after rider slams their frame and face into the dirt, their botched back flips, tail whips and 720s replayed ad nauseam on a 30-foot big-screen posited under the takeoff of the course's final drop.
I'm chillaxin' with the three biggest names in fourcross (4X): American up-and-comer Eric Lindsley, and local champs Stacy Kohut and Johnny Therien, owners of R-One, a Whistler-based four-wheel downhill mountain-bike manufacturer. We talk shop and shoot the shit after racing in the Jim Beam Air Downhill event earlier that afternoon. We all come from bicycle motocross (BMX), downhill (DH), skateboard and racing backgrounds and all have snapped our spines, and we're doing something that's never been done: marketing an extreme sport for both able and disabled adrenaline fiends.
"Here's the thing," says Kohut, a former Canadian Paralympic sit-skier and 1994 Super G gold medalist at Lillehammer, "the roots of 4X are in the adaptive endeavors [like quad ruby or "murderball"] of the early '90s, but today this is not an adaptive sport. Nothing against those who did or do, but we don't fly the wheelchair flag." The only "adaptive" part of 4X today is that the bikes have four wheels instead of two, and while that allows people with limited use of their legs to ride, it also is developing into a different kind of extreme sport.
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