A Bonanza of 'Must Watch' Worthy Flicks
What have athletes and videographers been doing in this lockdown year? It turns out they've been making binge-worthy, stoke-inducing content to get us through the darkest months of the year. The snowy season brought with it an avalanche of 'Must Watch' edits, an honour we only hand out to the video nuggets that compel us to mash the play button once again as soon as the ender has been landed.
This month we have been handing out Must Watches like presents from under the tree but not because we're feeling especially generous but because each video has deserved it. In the past four weeks, eight videos have matched our high standards and they include everything from revisiting Dave Watson's classic Tour de France road gap
to using a trials bike to survive on a desert island
to a custom, death-defying Ridgeline jump line in Wales
. Let's just say, our upcoming Video of the Year category for the upcoming Pinkbike Awards has had a bit of a tweak based on the past few weeks. Watch all the Must Watch videos from the past year, here
Mountain Biking's Rain Man Wins Two New Bikes
The bar for the Fantasy League got raised this year as PB user @Dolores has brought a whole new level of analysis and came away with two fresh rides from Trek with SRAM components and RockShox suspension. Dolores excelled at both our Trivia rounds and at guessing race winners in both XC and DH. If you want to know how he did it, there's an interview here
where he discusses some methods even we weren't familiar with but his five Golden Rules are below.
1. Play smart. Do not force your way to the top at first, being on top can be stressful; sometimes it's easier to come from behind.
2. Good is better than perfect. Choose a well-balanced team; remember that the athlete and the venue aren't always a match.
3. Do not overlook timed training. Compare the section times between the athletes; they may be hiding their true pace for the finals.
4. Work hard... in silence. If you're playing for the League, you may want to keep your findings for yourself.
5. Trust the process. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Follow those rules and you could find yourself with some fresh gear this time next year.
The Season Finishes in Style and Rumor Season Kicks into Gear
Racing in November, who would have thought it? The COVID affected season ran on later than ever in 2020 as Lousa wrapped up the season with its second round on the first of the month. Two new World Cup Champions were crowned and we had the chance to speculate on Loic Bruni's mid-run fork fiddling
The fun didn't stop there though as a late-season end meant there was no respite before we were thrust straight into team rumor season. For some race fans, the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing is more enthralling than the action itself and we look set for plenty more of that this year. For some early rumors on Danny Hart, Loris Vergier, Emily Batty, and more click here
A First Recall for the Californian Brand
Santa Cruz had to announce its first recall in 26 years of existing as a brand as certain aluminum frames were potentially weakened by a non-standard paint stripping operation and may bend or buckle, which could pose a fall hazard. Satna Cruz said, "The frames in question were sent to a paint vendor for repaint and they apparently used heat to help strip the frames and some were exposed to a temperature in excess of what is required to keep the frames correctly heat treated. This will leave those specific frame components weakened and unsafe to ride.
Unfortunately, we need to test ALL the frames from that Aluminum production batch to find these specific frame components, so everyone with one of the frames listed will need to take their bike to their dealer (Or contact us directly, but the dealer will be way quicker) and sent in for a non-destructive test. More than 90% of those frames are expected to pass testing and be returned ready to ride."
The full list of frames to be recalled can be found, here
The Greek Prime Minister
A Lockdown Ride Lands the Greek Leader in Hot Water
The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has faced backlash after a photo emerged of him on a mountain bike ride while the country is in strict lockdown.
Greece currently has imposed measures including a night-time curfew and a ban on traveling outside home prefectures. A picture and video footage emerged showing Mitsotakis and his wife in the company of motocross riders on Mount Parnitha, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Athens. He also posed with five men who weren't wearing masks.ABC News
reports that "Government officials insisted Mitsotakis had not broken the rules, but Syriza, the left-wing main opposition party, urged him to publicly apologize for displaying “arrogance and a lack of empathy” for his fellow Greeks."
So, while the Greek leader followed the letter of the law, it's believed his ride was not in the best interests of the country in a difficult time. He said in an interview with Alpha TV, “This gave me the opportunity to reflect on how important the personal example that politicians set is. I follow the rules religiously and it bothers me that a small moment of relaxation or carelessness was blown up out of proportion.”
Fastest Known Time Holders
Records Get Smashed on Both Sides of the Pond
While the start of lockdown seemed to be all about setting Everesting records, the second half of this year has seen a smattering of FKT attempts on long-distance mtb trails. Earlier in the month, we watched two records tumble on Utah's 100-mile White Rim trail
. Amity Rockwell set the new women's record with a time of 7:44.59 and Peter Stetina set a new men's record of 5:28.23.
On the other side of the pond is the marginally shorter but certainly more technical West Highland Way in Scotland
. Stretching from just outside the hustle of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, to the iconic highland town of Fort William, the 95 miles (153km) West Highland Way is a world-famous, multi-day traverse loved by walkers from around the world. Despite a puncture and a headwind, Ben Cathro's coach, Rab Wardell, completed his year-long goal of claiming the FKT as he put in a 9:14.32 run.