Video: Remembering Gwin's Unprecedented Domination of World Cup Downhill in 'Timeless' Episode 2

Oct 28, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Episode 2 of Clay Porters' Timeless series takes us back to Gwin's unstoppable form in the 2011 and 2012 World Cup downhill seasons.


133 Comments

  • 49 6
 I wish he could get back to this form. He’s still very very fast but the field has stepped up their game or veins slowed down.
  • 61 3
 Judging by his last performance he's still on that form.
  • 6 1
 @chriskneeland: They say hope springs eternal.
  • 46 1
 @Adamrideshisbike: He doesn't use any Hope components though....
  • 5 0
 He was looking like himself the second half of the last one in Maribor I thought. Its looking closer than it has in a while that's for sure.
  • 9 2
 But he used to be the “oh shit here’s the winner” when dropping and now it’s oh he might be able to get a top 3. @chriskneeland:
  • 24 1
 Could the bike be to blame, somewhat at least? Seems like Jack Moir is getting along better with the Canyon than the Intense.
  • 16 1
 @Jacquers: Jack helped develop the 29er- he did great on it with Sram components. Hes said he didn't get along with Fox's performance.

Of course the competition in the Mens is hotter than ever, but he (Gwin) was injured most of 2018, and the one uninjured race he had he won. Last year he was injured most of the year. The one healthy race he had in Maribor he placed 6th I think. . I guess you can't have a bad day (6th place is a "bad day" haha)
  • 10 25
flag SmashySmashy (Oct 28, 2020 at 8:18) (Below Threshold)
 @chriskneeland: It's only a theory, but maybe (just maybe)... chasing paychecks instead of results will lead to a decrease in both. I've always said this about Gwin- he's a consumate 'Pro'.
  • 12 1
 @Jacquers: The competition has gotten faster. Gwin hasn't. He's been injured as well.
  • 21 2
 @SmashySmashy: Being 1.5sec off the pace on a prototype bike, against guys who've been racing, while he hasn't, is a good way to chase a paycheck.
  • 14 1
 This was 8-10 years ago. How many people can stay at a world champion level for that long other than Minnaar? Injured for the last two seasons, young guys are super fast, and he is just getting older. I wonder how much track conditions affect him if they differ from his Californian home dusty track style?
  • 17 10
 @chriskneeland: No doubt. But my point remains. For better or worse Gwin has brought a level of professionalism to the sport that few others could manage. And he did it not to win races, but to pad his own bank account. It's smart, but it's also too sterile and business-like for me to ever say I'd root for him as a racer. Although as a person and a businessman, he has to be admired.
  • 34 0
 @SmashySmashy: Hes raised the salaries of all top world cup racers.
  • 12 0
 Elite athletes don't stay elite forever. That's just life.
  • 37 0
 Gwin always struck me as one of the guys who would try a few different sports, excell at one of them, rise to the top, dominate for a long time, but in a decade, be kinda "meh" about it. Gwin "is in it to win it" he's a racer, not a bike lover. He rides moto for fun. Bikes are his job. Reminds me of some famous race car drivers who owned pedestrian vehicles themselves. For them, the passion wasn't cars, it was racing. For Gwin, I'm not sure the passion is bicycles, so much as it is racing. As the consummate businessman however, I think he aims to provide significant value to his sponsors.

I think of Tomac, who was so dominant for so long, and even came out of retirement to win his favorite race (Kamikaze Downhill) but has other "passions" these days outside of bikes. Tomac even admitted that he didn't really like training, so he raced events he knew he was "naturally" good at.

I could totally see Gwin having some babies, raising them in motorcross, and living vicariously through them. Will we see little Gwins racing downhill MTB? Only time can tell.

Then you've got Tinker and Ned who are still 100% stoked on riding. Ned still puts more miles on the bike than most racers.
  • 6 15
flag jclnv (Oct 28, 2020 at 9:18) (Below Threshold)
 He was at his peak in a lean time. I think if Minnaar would have had a bike that fit him, Gwin might not have been so dominant. Or if there were 3 crazy fast Frenchies, or Bryceland kept racing etc.
  • 12 0
 I dont know of any other pro that has such high expectations. a top ten result is viewed as a failure when most just hope to be able to make the top 25
  • 19 0
 @PHeller: Gwin has said he loves mountain biking, but not in love with it. He manages how much he rides because hes really worried about burnout. Sam Hill burned out, until he switched to Enduro. Rat burned out. Minnaar has said he doesn't actually like mountain biking because its his job. So while you're kinda right, I think Gwin puts out that vibe to make sure biking stays fresh for him. Youre also probably right that his kids will most likely do motocross.

Thats the problem the USA has- most of the top athletes would choose moto over DH because theres more money in it. A few years ago the highest paid athlete for Specialized was actually a motocross racer who did fitness training on a Specialized Tarmac. Think of the huge talent pool we have here if we could generate salaries to tempt young moto racers to do DH instead.
  • 33 5
 @SmashySmashy: Haha, good trolling, I'll bite, but only because your arguments are so transparent. So you're saying the guy who has won overall titles on 3 different teams, has the 2nd most World Cup wins of all time, 2nd only to a guy who is 6 years older than him (facing a better field on better bikes across the board, week in, week out) isn't concerned about winning races? I'd say he's doing alright, especially considering he could maybe go 6-8 more years if he has the desire and stays healthy.

On the topic of staying healthy, why should he be parked at one brand for the prime of his career when he could show "it's not the bike", especially if the brand is lowballing compared to the competition on the market? He's an athlete in a sport where one bad crash or injury could severly limit his performance and earnings, and he's smart to "make hay while the sun is shining". The teams limiit contract terms to protect themselves in case of rider injury or performance drop, but that leaves the risk of a rider winning a bunch and increasing their market value, and then they have to bid on the open market with everyone else. That was their measured choice, to make as much money for the brand as possble, while protecting them from risk. So, why shouldn't the riders use the same mindset? They have a limited shelf life of peak performance and value. If they perform well they build name recognition and value. Brands compete to pay for that name recognition and value, and a rider needs to make the best of each negotiation because it 1) locks in their earning potential until they can negotiate again (maybe never if performance falls) 2) sets the market for their next contract 3) sets the market for the other riders. This is just good business sense, but smart motivated competitors on both sides, teams and riders. This is how markets work.

Steve Peat raced for 5 teams in his career, so did Greg Minaar, while some have raced for more. Intense is Gwin's 5th team, and one that he seems partnered with for a longer run the way Peat and Minaar were/are at SC. Meanwhile, Danny Hart is about to move on to his 4th team, and he's 4 years younger than Gwin, and has only served a single contract with his last 2 sponsors. So, by extension all these guys are "too pro" as well? Stop, it's just a silly argument, otherwise you're saying that all these guys money chasers. They're trying to make a living in a volatile untra competitive sport.

I'd say enjoy all of them, because we don't know how long any of them will last, or who might overtake in the mean time. Hopefully them professionalizing the sport and getting the salaries back up after thecrashed out for awhile in the 2000s will help lots of future riders and keep the sport appealing for lots more top athletes in the near and far future.
  • 1 0
 It's a tough season with a majority of races being cancelled. There are a lot of local and national races that are used to riders to check their form and get their head back into race mode. Without that you can see a lot struggling.

Some have advantages because they live in areas where there is mud and wet conditions so they know how to ride those conditions well. With the WC races being later in the season it has served up cold and extremely wet conditions (uh...doesn't rain in California). Not the standard summer racing that has always been done. I and glad to see racing again but giving a pass on expectations of all the riders. We can hope next year brings more of a standard race season and move forward from 2020.
  • 4 1
 @catfish9797: Very well stated and on point. This is valid for several other sports as well. Kudos.
  • 12 2
 @SmashySmashy: idk what point you're even making here... you can't "pad your own bank account" without putting up massive race results in the first place and being the top of the field. Sponsors don't just throw money at off-podium racers for the hell of it. And if you're at the top of the field and you're not getting paid what you're worth, that's not cool or romantic, it's just exploited sucker shit. Dude has spent the last couple seasons getting injured, partially healing, then putting his recovery in jeopardy because he wants to COMPETE. This is the guy who won Leogang without a chain, and you don't think he has the passion for winning?? What else do we need from him? We just want him to make less money? To NOT drive up salaries for all the other riders? lol

If this was a major stick-and-ball type sport with salaries in the multiple millions I'd be singing a different tune, but this is a fringe sport where plenty of pros are barely scraping by. Pro athletes can only compete at an elite level for a limited time, and you never know when your time as a contender will end. He's already toward the older end of high level pros. Gotta get it while you can.
  • 9 0
 Also gotta think of those riders who haven't won races in ages but still maintain sponsorship. Even if Gwin never podiums again in his career, but stays in the Top 10, he could pull a decent salary until he decides to do something different. With Gwin's exceptional ability at getting sponsors, he'd probably make a great team owner in MTB or Moto.

If I was naturally great at something fun with lots of flexibility that allowed me to stay happy and healthy, I'd totally take an above average wage to merely "show up" and place better than 99% of mere mortals.

He's living the dream, winning or not.
  • 1 0
 @catfish9797: well said.
  • 4 0
 @monsieurgage: if you do then look at his win in MSA on a wet track
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: he’s already a team owner...
  • 2 0
 @tempest3070: he was already the fastest, competition has just caught up
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: so you say the fastest racer wouldn't have been so dominant had it been someone as fast as him at the time?
interesting theory, I don't understand the downvotes
  • 1 1
 @iiman: Quite a lot of racers are objectively faster at this point, even. Progression is real.
  • 4 0
 @tempest3070: that's true until you factor that is younger guys peaking at the same time Gwin got injured. And this season can't be used as a measure of much, really. I just can't wait to see what battles next season brings
  • 6 0
 Yeahhh he's still really fast. I can't wait for him to snag another win, its only a matter of time.
  • 5 2
 @SmashySmashy: what you've just typed is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it.
  • 1 0
 @iiman: It makes little sense but it’s what I believe, like Jesus.
  • 2 11
flag SmashySmashy (Oct 28, 2020 at 11:52) (Below Threshold)
 @catfish9797: They can't have been that transparent since you didn't get even close comprehending my arguments. I didn't say he wasn't focused on winning, but my point has already more eloquently been made by @hamncheez and @PHeller: @bkm303: Gwin always struck me as a guy who rides bikes for the paycheck first-and-foremost. I never got that sense from Minaar or Peaty, even in person. Winning for Gwin appears to be primarily a function of his priorities, not the excitement of the achievement. And that's why I think riders that are less concerned with money, and just want to win have an advantage over guys like him. I can't fault him for his approach, but I don't support it and it's not something I will ever relate to.
  • 4 13
flag tommynator (Oct 28, 2020 at 12:04) (Below Threshold)
 @hamncheez: true! Americans only seem to care for money.
  • 1 2
 @Ferds: I wouldn't go that far. But you're not wrong when you say it's not based in rational thought. It's one person's opinion about someone they've never met. What is truly remarkable is how many people actually give a shit, and are actively trying to denouce it as though it as though it were heresy.
  • 4 1
 @tommynator:
We don't just care about money...we care about the things money can buy. LOL JK

I think it is a risk versus reward calculation in relation to hamncheez's statement. Think about all of the riders that have crashed and injured themselves. They are a lot of the time left out on their own to pay their bills with no money coming in. Mtb as a professional sport is a low reward versus risk. Motocross is primarily in the US so less travel, taxes, and insurance issues to deal with. As well, the risk versus reward is a lot more balanced. In the US there is a lot more money in motor sports so their are better salaries. Just the way it works on this side of the pond.
  • 1 0
 @Jacquers: He's obviously not comfortable in his intense. It show's after his change from YT they completely rebump the m29 for just riding it for one season. Even in the past it clearly showed when he's not in tune with his bike from Trek to Spez.
  • 5 1
 @SmashySmashy: If he cared about the "paycheck first and foremost" he wouldn't be racing mtb in the first place lmao.

He just likes competing and WINNING. You can tell by how he can win the world cup overall and still look pissed about not taking the race win. The only difference between him and a Minaar or Peaty is that he doesn't party and doesn't care about being best bros with everyone in the pits. They've made just as many team changes and renegotiations as Gwin, they just seem like super chill bros so nobody assumes they care about money.

But I'm sure Peaty launched his pointless lube/sealant/soap company because he's passionate about tubeless setups and clean bikes, and not as a last-ditch attempt to cash in on his brand before he fades from collective mtb memory. And that's not a knock on Peaty - he put his body on the line in a low-paying sport for a long time. Gotta get paid while you can.
  • 1 3
 @bkm303: I'd say he'd find it a lot harder than you think to achieve anything like what he has in DH in another pro sport, or in general, considering his attitude, background and education. He himself has said he didn't have what it takes to make it in pro MX, or even BMX. DH was just low-hanging fruit. I also think the perception of Gwin the 'Racer' has been cultivated in much the same vein as all his BS talk about his faith and love of God a few years back. And look at how quickly that was dropped when the politics of it changed. Regardless of whether it was true or not, it suited him to put it out there because it meant he didn't have to do a lot of the work so many others do. It was a 'quick win' to convince morons to identify with him so they would buy whatever he was peddling (and pedaling). On that note, you might want to pause here to reconsider your own position when you talk about exploited sucker shit...
I tried being polite about it, but I honestly can't wait for Gwin inc. to face facts and retire. He may have won the World Cup overall, but he was never a 'Champion' and I think the sport will be immeasurably better off without him. Long after AG has left the sport people will still be talking about Minaar and Peaty with the sort of fondness and reverence that Gwin can only dream of. And I don't think anyone here could really put forward a solid case to the contrary. I know his results, I'm aware of his talent on 2 wheels but he's very 1-dimensional and I (personally) don't think he'll become a legend among fans the way they have. He's too selfish. He's essentially leeched off the sport to build his wealth and he hasn't given back in any meaningful way that I'm aware of. But Peaty and Minaar helped build the sport and they traveled the world promoting it; They inspire people and make them stoked to ride. And they still found time to win. They deserve the spoils far more than him.
  • 3 0
 @SmashySmashy: So you are saying Gwin is all BS? His stats speak volumes, even if he doesn't win another race. Apologies if he doesn't meet your high bar for 'bro ness' or his beliefs (which he pushes on no one) or his personality /professionalism somehow offend you. I don't agree with most religions, but to talk sh*t they way you are about it , even though Gwin doesn't down talk others who don't follow his particular faith, is a coward move. He may not 'inspire you to ride' but he does for many and 'gives' back locally in many ways. Greg Minaar and Peaty are legends in their own right and each carries their own particular style and approach. If you don't think either has not 'built wealth' in this sport, your laughably naïve. You must be fun at parties...
  • 1 5
flag SmashySmashy (Oct 29, 2020 at 11:55) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: And you must have got a lot of F's in school. I hear that's what it means too be fun at parties. A lot of Fs from the bros and a g-string full of dollar bills. I'm sure the boys just loved you. Given the choice between all that, and comprehending an argument I know what I'd prefer...
  • 3 1
 @SmashySmashy: Honors and with an honors university degree afterwards, but my scholastic capcity isn't in quesiton here even if I did get straight F's. What is at question is your shallow and thinly veiled attempt at making yourself look less of a pretentious jerk and by shaming our 'comprehension' is the point. Don't like Gwin? Fine, you are free not to and nothing wrong with it. However, to expect sympathy form the Pinkbike forum for what amounts to dismissing and downright talking sh*t about a different perspective/religious view on life OR a different method of riding & racing bikes is a fools errand.
  • 1 3
 @bman33: How about you direct your misplaced grievance elsewhere and read what I wrote again.
I wasn't expecting sympathy.
I wouldn't dismiss or talk shit about anyone's honestly held perspective/ view, not before attempting a proper discussion on the topic at least. However, I do think Gwin exploited his religious beliefs (and those of others) by making them very public, in a calculated and callous manipulation to win favor with some consumers- without any real effort on his part. Morons was a reference to those that might fall for it, not people who are religious specifically.
His beliefs are entirely his business, but I'm of the opinion that his actions were hardly those of a principled christian.
  • 4 1
 @SmashySmashy: he lives a much better/cleaner life than almost any Christian out there, to the point that the other racers find him boring and unwilling to hang out/party whatever. Not sure which straws you’re grasping at, but they seem awful slippery.
  • 1 5
flag SmashySmashy (Oct 29, 2020 at 15:02) (Below Threshold)
 @DHhack: Put the phone down, there's a good boy. The adults are talking.
  • 2 5
 @DHhack: Or maybe your contribution was just so asinine it didn't warrant a considered response. But here it is nonetheless. Your point is all but irrelevant. Gwin could be the most wholesome, clean-living guy on the face of the Earth in private. But it counts for almost nothing if he doesn't treat other people well. There is plenty of evidence to support the idea he lives a good life personally, but there is little to no evidence of him treating others as though they matter, and plenty to the contrary (publicizing his beliefs only to later quickly go silent on the matter, throwing JH under the bus over broken parts that led to injury, his sulky attitude to his losses and his general attitude towards his peers). The guy rarely, if ever shows respect towards his fans or competition, and I would say he does a lot that would indicate the opposite.
  • 5 0
 @SmashySmashy: you talking about the guy congratulating and then talking with his old teammate, Angel, from two years ago after his race run today? Or maybe the guy that was congratulating everyone after their race run?
  • 1 4
 @DHhack: It's been a while since he was top dog, maybe he's learned a thing or two in that time. Or maybe not. It's hard to know if it's genuine. We'll probably never know.
  • 5 0
 @SmashySmashy: Judging someone's personality and internal thoughts that you never met.... accurate reporting there.
  • 1 3
 @scott-townes: Welcome to the internet.
I don't think my opinion of Gwin's personality is remarkably different to anyone else here, or even the image he's tried to promote of himself. I was actually judging him by his actions (mostly off-track), and inferring motivations from those- given what we know about him. Which is generally accepted as a good way of going about these things in most civilised societies. Maybe you're right though. Perhaps someone who knows and has worked with AG (through a turbulent period of his career no less) would be a more informed judge of Gwin's character. Martin Whiteley is probably a far better person to ask...
m.pinkbike.com/news/Did-Gwin-Breach-His-Contract-With-Trek-World-Racing.html
  • 3 0
 @SmashySmashy: I don't care, bud. Nice waste of time on that post I didn't read! LOL
  • 1 3
 @scott-townes: It never ceases to amaze me how the ignorant invariably want to stay that way. Still, it must be nice knowing you don't need a helmet when you go for a ride.
  • 5 1
 Dude you’ve been blowing up my notifications for days now. Just shut up already @SmashySmashy:
  • 25 3
 Best Gwin video ever. I think I'm starting to like him. I do blame him for making DH boring for those seasons when he cleaned up. He's definitely doing more for the sport now from an entertainment point of view. We all know he's the fastest ever. Will he get back to that, won't he? Much more exciting than the "turn up and win" that we had before. Talk about monotonous.
  • 22 0
 that 2 mins of raw dh footage was a thing of beauty
  • 6 11
flag Ricolaburle (Oct 28, 2020 at 11:00) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah. But the last 3 min were soooooo cheesy...
  • 2 0
 Classic Clay Porter for sure! Guy knows how to tell a story but also when to just shut up and show the footage.
  • 17 0
 Clay Porter bringing the heat! Storytelling weaved into ripping DH runs - classic bike video vibe. Sam and Gee plotting and scheming was great to see.
  • 12 0
 I'm the one and only Dominantior
  • 2 0
 Yay they fixed it
  • 9 0
 Wow, genuinely brilliant
  • 5 1
 How can you spell domination wrong in the title of an article? Do you not do any proof reading at all before you publish these things?
  • 6 0
 Clay Porter Gold. Hats off to you sir, some great filming.
  • 5 0
 Clay is an amazing part of American (and all) downhill racing.
  • 2 0
 Unprecedented? I know this was a long time ago and both athletes and the sport has progressed, but Nicolas Vouilloz is a 5 time World Cup Series Champion, 7 time World Champion and 3 time Junior World Champion. Anne-Coroline Chausson is 9 time World Champion, 5 time World Cup Series Champion, 3 time Junior World Champion. I'd say their dominance was pretty precedent setting.
  • 4 0
 C'mon Gwin!! What have you done for me lately! I want to see some fire and destruction this weekend!
  • 3 0
 would help to start training further away from home if he wants to win again...just my opinion.
  • 2 0
 Legendary winning runs; I'll just put this here.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcS1bNSSmTU

Also, Rob Warner getting amped just makes it all the more better.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for making so many rad videos throughout the years Clay! Wish the parkinson bros would come back with those oldschool decline videos too Smile
  • 3 0
 what happened to the ktm? pulling a roczen huh
  • 7 0
 $$$$
  • 2 0
 So you have to look at Ryan Dungey who is a major investor in Intense, Aaron Gwin’s friend and also now works for Honda. My guess is that Dungey hooked him up with a couple Honda’s, gratis. Not a good look for Dungey to be a major investor in Intense and Honda rider but your DH pro is on your old brand (KTM).
  • 4 0
 BELLISSIMO!!
  • 3 0
 Hope to see this Gwin again
  • 3 0
 That heading! Actually thought he’d died.
  • 4 1
 Love watching Quinn on his home trails, so dialed
  • 5 4
 Gwin dominance is definitely a bit of a by-gone era. Far more folks in the mix of late, and he's just trying to crack the top 10.
  • 4 0
 The field has definitely stepped in part due to him. That said, barely a second over podium is pretty far from '..just trying to crack to top 10' especially off of several injuries
  • 5 0
 @bman33: I suppose we'll find out soon enough! Smile
  • 1 0
 @bman33: Is a second off the podium always top 10 in your example? He was 50% behind brosnan's gap at Maribor 2.
  • 2 0
 @tempest3070: In the specific case, yes, not 'always'. He was just under a second off of Finn in 4th and a hair over a second off of Troy in 5th. Overall, saying the guy is 'barely top 10' is laughable considering his injuries' last season and a half and the sh*t show that is this season. I am a fan of DH and currently is the best I have ever seen in in my 25 years or so of following it. Would I like to see Gwin back on a few wins? Of course. That said, I am not dismissing the current group of young riders going really fast if that is what you are insinuating
  • 1 0
 That was an exciting 2 years, still have to wonder what would have been had he not left Trek. Hope he can get up top again at least one more time.
  • 3 0
 Come on, Gwin! Get it done, lad!
  • 1 0
 Dislike the music in videos like this behind the talking and riding, but love the section with bike sound starting around 3:30.
  • 13 11
 I fear he will have to 'remember' for the rest of his career.
  • 2 0
 that raw footage was flat out
  • 2 0
 Gwin is the man! Hope to see him winning races soon again.
  • 7 6
 Gwin is the real life version of who pinkbike academy forced Ben Wallace to act like
  • 3 0
 Clay you fucking legend
  • 1 0
 That was an ace watch and watching Aaron on his home tracks is mind blowing.
  • 1 0
 Clay Porter is so damn good. 3 Minute Gaps is still one of my favorite movies ever.
  • 1 0
 Gosh that was good. Well done, Clay!
  • 1 1
 He is literally living the American dream. I am sure he will be dominant again, that is if he does not retire.
  • 1 0
 Warner " Can Gwynn win on that bike"
  • 1 0
 F**k, I love biking. And that slow-motion was pretty awesome, too.
  • 30 32
 ben shapiro is a moron
  • 12 28
flag likeittacky (Oct 28, 2020 at 7:04) (Below Threshold)
 A moron with an IQ that would make you as well as many look stupid in front of the world. LOL
  • 18 11
 @likeittacky: "Shapiro supports a ban on abortion, including in cases of rape and incest" boy, I bet enduro29erHack is feeling dumb now.
  • 22 2
 keep politics off pinkbike
  • 1 1
 @BenPea: Imagine Whirled Peas
  • 2 0
 @likeittacky: get off my lawn
  • 2 1
 @BenPea: Then cut it, Insinuating AG is some sort of monster because he had a program of Shapiro playing on tv in the background is bigotry and idiocy.
  • 1 2
 @likeittacky: Hope you're enjoying the conversation you think you're having. This is about BS. Oh...
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