FORMER Colac rider Ryan De La Rue is gearing up for his third Crankworx mountain bike festival in Canada.
De La Rue, 23, has spent the past 12 months living with friends on Whistler’s Alta Lake since competing in the world-renowned festival in 2010.
The avid downhill rider schedules his days around riding and snowboarding, with winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius.
He is working as a chef and living with a friend in a ‘70s-style A-frame lakehouse.
“I’m living in Whistler now, the last thing I said to my family and girlfriend before I boarded the plane last July was ‘I’ll see you in six weeks’ – that was nearly a year ago now,” De La Rue said.
“It was a hard decision to give up all the things I had going on back home but I’m glad I made the call to experience this place in the winter,” he said.
“The trails here in Canada are a lot different to trails back home, it’s a good place to come to get better as a rider because you can push yourself on the different types of trails.”
De La Rue will meet up with fellow Aussie riders when he contests the pro class in his third Crankworx, which starts on Friday.
He will race three downhill events – the Canadian Open, Garbanzo and the Air DH.
“Canadian Open is the first one this Sunday, I love riding that track but when it comes to racing it, it definitely scares me,” he said.
“It’s steep, fast and technical, the bottom section has some big jumps also, 30 to 50 feet, so my plan is to get down in one piece and I’ll be happy.”
De La Rue found recent form, edging out about 200 riders to win a race in Whistler’s Phat Wednesday series.
Coming up against strong competitors, he said he rarely took the races seriously and described them as “more of a beer league where you get bragging rights over your mates”.
“Winning a race here was a bit of a dream come true so it kind of feels like being here for so long has paid off.”
After Crankworx, De La Rue hopes to return to Australia and be back for summer.