Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Torch: passed

The new Sam Blenkinsop is officially: Phil Atwill.

Using way too much energy the whole way down the track to keep us entertained.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sponsorship season

All around the country, marketing managers' inboxes are being flooded by 15 year olds who want blue handlebars, by aging and increasingly irrelevant has-beens trying to squeeze a couple more years out of their past success, and by "team managers" for regional and junior development Cat 2 race teams.

Or as I like to call them, "buyers clubs."

The amount of self-aggrandizement, unwarranted stoke, and lack of self-awareness being unleashed right now makes American Idol tryouts look like AA's confession night. The misspellings alone make a fourth grade spelling bee look like a Harvard study group.

The only people who aren't sending in resumes are the real athletes. There's two reasons for this. First, real athletes are relevant and most people in the industry already know them, but second, a lot of real athletes are mouth-breathing neanderthals and don't know what a resume is. Of course correlation isn't causation, but for instance, there's a strong correlation between my ability to type coherent sentences and my apparent inability to qualify at a World Cup.

Ogre from "Revenge of the Nerds" or Sam Dale on a bad hair day? We report, you decide.

So if you find yourself short on race results this October but you still need to line up #freeshitbro for next year, there's a right way and a wrong way to do this dance. Given that we're in the 21st century, consider a demo roll or video resume. It's a nice change of pace for marketing managers who are used to reading page after page of race results and flipping through black and white photocopied images on cheap printer paper. With the power of music harnessed in your video, you have the ability to set the emotional tone for whoever is watching your resume. Video resumes show that you're fluent in new media, a necessary visual language for anyone in the marketing business.

Done correctly, a video resume can really set you apart from the competition:

Friday, October 2, 2015

What we're all thinking

With the notable exception of Lopes and Bingelli, this is what every single rider in the pro field wants to do in their Sea Otter race run:

Stand Up & Pedal - More Mountain Bike Videos

Fact: by the time he pulled over, he'd already hit 95% of the photographers and video guys.

If you're not on the first page of results at the Otter, trust me, no one is going to know whether you got 26th or 79th, whether you had a flat, whether you finished your run, or if you got abducted by aliens midway down the track. As far as established media is concerned, manual-no pedal guy from the video had a complete race run.

This is partly because the rest of the track looks like hell and the jumps and berms up top always look decent, but mostly because the pro photo guys are as burned out on Sea Otter as the racers.

Side note: look how small this XL frame from 2013 is. Circus bear on kid's bike.

When this photo landed on Pinkbike, you could tell it's a Margus Riga photo by how far down the track he walked to take it. None of the other photographers on retainer at Pinkbike would ever bother walking to the end of the first uphill for photos. This is clearly the work of a young up and comer, full of piss and vinegar, of dreams and hopes, trying to find a new angle and set himself apart artistically from the established guys. In other words, a try-hard.

The young guys don't realize it's a long season and there will be plenty of time to flex your artistic muscles on your own projects and with other clients. If you're even at Sea Otter, this is not an artistic exercise. This is purely commercial, and the only thing that matters is meeting the extremely low artistic expectations of your corporate overlords. Meeting those expectations can and should be done on the first jump straight at the top of the hill, easy walking distance from the road, and preferably seated, with a beer in hand, fully embracing the absurdity, hopelessness, and nihilism of your existence.

A philosophy of Sea Otter photography.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The question

Just saw this little tidbit on Vital today

"Mitch Ropelato announced the completion of his first and last Enduro season, so we’re hoping to see him aboard this beast along with his Slalom bike much more often, next season."

Capturing the zeitgeist of our generation, over the past five years Mitch has raced downhill domestically, he got a shot at the full World Cup two seasons ago, and he just finished racing a year of enduro only. Apparently that wasn't his cup of tea, either, so the question remains, what will Mitch be doing next year? Downhill presumably, but domestically or abroad? Will he quit racing and be video-only guy? Will he take over as full-time in house bike test guy for Specialized?

Mitch is facing these questions, yes, but the real overarching question facing Mitch is an existential one, the same question that Richie Rude, Martin Maes, or even lowly me each must answer, a question asked and answered in the 2001 classic "Zoolander:"

Saturday, September 26, 2015

UnReal: the lost segment

This Wil White video perfectly captures what UnReal and every other self-important MTB video looks like to me. Whoever shared the link in the comments section, thank you.

Indistinguishable. Like, this was made by TGR, right?


In the first draft of UnReal the script probably read "Brett Rheeder straps red smoke bomb to chainstay then rides in circles in Utah desert," but then they couldn't get the fire permits so they changed it to "Brett Rheeder rides next to a bunch of horses in the Utah desert" instead.

Horses or smoke bombs, TGR probably didn't care one way or the other. Their target demographic is 14 year-olds on Pinkbike, after all.

Friday, September 25, 2015


This is what every bro in Canada really, truly thinks their freeride flick looks like:

Thursday, September 24, 2015