2017 Pinkbike Awards: Highlight of the Year Nominees

Nov 28, 2017 at 19:26
by Pinkbike Staff  
PB Awards


Highlight of the Year Nominees



Miranda Miller's Winning Run at World Champs

The course for this year's DH World Championships wasn't the steepest or roughest of the season, not by a long shot, but the twisty, dusty track still proved to be a formidable challenge even for the world's fastest riders. The smallest mistake could have massive reprecussions, and abolute precision was the name of the game.

Miranda Miller took the hot seat with six riders left to go, and with the likes of Tahnee Seagrave, Myriam Nicole, and local favorite Tracey Hannah still in the queue, victory was still far from certain. But one by one, rider after rider crossed the line and saw their times highlighted in red, not the green they were hoping for. Miranda Miller ended up taking the win by less than 1/10 of a second, earning Canada its first title in 27 years, a dramatic conclusion to her first season as a fully supported pro.





Aaron Gwin's Rainy Day Victory at Mont-Sainte-Anne

Aaron Gwin's finals run at Mont-Sainte-Anne had fans across the world on the edge of their seats, wondering if the American could hold it together on the rain-soaked course. He did just that, knocking Dean Lucas out of the hot seat to take the win by just over a second. Perhaps the most impressive part of Gwin's run was the fact that he rode the track as if it was bone dry, taking inside lines that would have been tricky to pull off on a sunny day, let alone in the middle of a downpour.

The 2017 World Cup DH season delivered plenty of memorable highlights, but Gwin's performance was especially impressive, further cementing his reputation as one of the best downhill racers of all time.



Cam Zink's Mega Flips at Red Bull Rampage

Red Bull Rampage is mountain biking's version of a big wave surf competition, where the sport's heavy hitters assemble to leave their mark amidst the red sandstone cliffs. Conditions couldn't have been better for this year's event, allowing the riders to hit their lines without fear of being blown off course by an errant gust of wind.

There was one line in particular that stood out, the vertigo-inducing creation ridden by Cam Zink, Kyle Strait, and Pierre-Edouard Ferry. It started with a near-vertical straightline, worked its way along the side of a sandy ridge, and then headed into a series of massive stepdowns.

Cam Zink has never been one to shy away from a massive backflip, and this year was no exception – his run included two huge flips off of flat takeoffs. Even more impressive is the fact that he went back up for another try, hell-bent on snagging that top spot. He came close, too, stomping the entire run clean except for a small bobble on the final jump, where he went for a front flip. The scoreboard put Zink in second place at the end of the day, but it's his run that's nominated for highlight of the year, an astounding demonstration of what's possible on a mountain bike.









163 Comments

  • + 300
 Gwins rain run was awesome!!!
  • + 36
 Gwin or Zink..... flip a coin I guess
  • + 100
 Gwin's run took me back to 2008 Sam Hill days. Last time a run was that amazing was when some guy won a race with no chain.
  • - 32
flag jclnv (Dec 8, 2017 at 8:21) (Below Threshold)
 Sponsored by YT.
  • + 67
 Cairns was boring as fuck.
  • + 6
 Having seen his nose case entering the last woods section in person I thought he had succumb but to the rain like the rest. But after seeing the replay his run was amazing other than the nose case I saw in person.
  • + 31
 Gwins run plus Rob and Claudio on the mic. F T W
  • + 2
 Nationals at Snowshoe was good prep for it
  • + 31
 @vtracer: Wait, did you see his nose case in person?
  • + 5
 Also, consider what we all missed of his run, too, with so few on-course cameras, we only got a glimpse.
  • + 0
 @jclnv .....and their hopelessly outdated geo, right? :^)
  • + 5
 Yep, it's gotta be Guinn! Anyone else having trouble with autocorrect trying to write Guinness? lol
  • + 6
 Still spelt it wrong, stupid phone!
  • - 13
flag MJ4LIFERIDER (Dec 8, 2017 at 9:17) (Below Threshold)
 Gwin is the best rider ! Fastest rider in the world! DH ICON! therefore we should all wait patiently for what the great Gwizzard has in store for us N 2018 I guarantee nothing but flat out pedal to the medal!

USA all the way!!!

Gwin wins my the largest margin possible!
Y’all forgetting my man beat the rest of the comp on 650’bs !!!
Wait till he gets the right setup he easily could have won world Champs this year!
  • + 2
 @scott-townes:
Yea right man

Gwin all day
  • + 7
 Man, watching it again for the 20th time, months later, and I still get an adrenaline hit!!!
  • + 6
 @MTBrent: I think he’s trying to say he was there, in person, but I wish he would have been more clear about it.
  • + 3
 Both Gwin and Zink ride YT, nice!
  • + 6
 I saw both Gwin's and Zink's runs in person, Zink take's it. Rampage is the most terrifying thing anyone can do on a Mountain Bike.
  • + 1
 @excavator666: Would have been so much better if it had pissed rain the day of the race.
  • + 5
 @MJ4LIFERIDER: 'MURICA f*ck Yeah.
  • + 3
 Gwin for the win!
  • + 6
 Gwin in the rain gave me goosebumps
  • + 6
 Sorry. Double post and no delete option. So while I'm able to edit, here's a link to a bacon-cheeseburger taco recipe to fill the void my carelessness has caused. www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/bacon-cheeseburger-tacos-94597
  • + 10
 Gwin's run is the one that will be remembered the most 10+ years from now. Zink's was amazing, but Gwin's was history-making. That's just my prediction anyway, and why I think the Gwin highlight deserves the win.
  • - 2
 @endlessblockades: Yep. 2014 geo still unchanged next year.

They're a marketing company. They sponsor Brett Tippie and Rob Warner LOL!
  • + 1
 @jclnv: LOL I appreciate you.
  • + 1
 @vtracer: How many times did you see it in person?
  • + 1
 Absolutely! MSA race of the year + highlight of the year...not even close in my mind
  • + 2
 @MJ4LIFERIDER: Maybe I'm just a bit impartial because watching Zink's run in person was so nerve racking and insane.
  • + 0
 There were a few guys just as quick as Gwinn at MSA. Great run for sure, be he has had greater runs then that...as far as total domination!
  • + 0
 @trickland: Have you been sniffing glue again trickland?
  • + 2
 @trickland: Well seeing as how Gwin won, there were no other riders as quick as him. I'd say beating a time in an absolute downpour set by one of the best riders in the world when it was drizzly by a second is considered as total domination. Stop sniffing that glue! Its not good for your brains!
  • + 0
 @scott-townes: gonna get you right worked up here...but Finn lIles won MSA!
Glue is what makes things stick!
  • + 1
 @trickland: lol forgot about that
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: i was kinda being a dick with my Iles reply; but truly I am a fan of Gwin's.
He is a humble person with mad skills and I wasnt trying to take anything away from him. The win was mighty impressive, it remind me of when Stevie won in MSA in similar circumstances...putting it all on the line!
Just when I think of Danny's worlds run, or Sam Hill in switzerland, on those occasions, not a single other rider on the mtn that day was on the same level.
That being said,Gwin's run without a chain...f*cked up really
  • + 2
 Humble Christian guy driving a McLaren LOL!
  • + 2
 @jclnv: When you're as good as Gwinn, yes, driving a McClaren is humble.
  • + 1
 @excavator666: Nah, your just a hypocrite.
  • + 1
 @trickland: You're right though, he was the fastest. I can't wait to see him racing with everyone else this coming season.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: "You're* just a hypocrite"

Can you elaborate on what statement I made that I am now contradicting or otherwise refuting by my example.
  • + 1
 @excavator666: Meaning that if you supposedly share Christian values yet drive around in supercars you're not humble, you're hypocritical.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: WTF does christian values have to do with the car you drive? Does the bible say mini vans only?
  • + 0
 @owlie: Gross displays of wealth are not Christian values.

"Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses."

— Proverbs 28:27
  • + 0
 @jclnv: So you've no problem with him flying around the world to go bicycle racing, on a bike that's worth more than some people make in a couple of years. But you arbitrate it as a problem when his CAR is worth more than you make in a couple of years?

Who's the hypocrite now?

I'm sure you'd like to be able to level the playing field by bringing people like Gwin down to your level, but the fact of the matter is that rather than trying to raise yourself up to equal or exceed his example, you'd rather invest your time into dragging him down in the comments section on Pinkbike.

You're nobody! Gwin is possibly the best mountain biker in the world ever, not to mention a pretty savvy business too. He's earned everything he owns, and who the hell knows how much of it he gives to "the poor".

Come back to me when you're up for Highlight of the Year Nominee, and then we'll talk. Prick.
  • + 0
 @excavator666: I'm not the one claiming to be a follower of Christianity.

Jesus was a hippie. Christian virtues are vehemently against displays of wealth. I suggest reading a bible to understand the contradiction.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: Losers drag people down, winners build themselves and others up.

I know which one Gwinn is anyway.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: Who says he doesnt give back? I thought it was the catholics that guilt tripped their parishioners . If I could afford a car like that, yea Id buy it.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: 190k isnt really all that far fetched. New Ford trucks this year are over 100k finally. Wouldnt think he's flaunting if picked up a super duty and a tesla would you?
  • + 0
 @owlie: To someone defend @jclnv , an F250 isn't perceived or meant to be a status symbol as much as a Ferrari or McClaren- at the end of the day a truck can do truck things.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: Still upwards of $100k. its not mayweather bad. Your good christians like Joel Olsteen and shit, theres your sinners lol.
  • + 1
 @owlie: Joel Olsteen can burn in hell
  • + 71
 No Lopes V's Kabush?

Far more entertaining.
  • + 8
 *Ozzy Man Reviews* ... "WELCOME TO FIGHT DAY!"
  • + 3
 We put man on the moon, we walked around on the cunt and now we're going to jump off a fucking mountain FFUUUUUCCKK YEEEAAHH!!!
  • + 3
 Nothing better than some high school drama during podium ceremony. The comment section was precious!
  • + 2
 @N-60: oh god I'd love to hear Ozzy Man commentate Rampage...
  • + 35
 Gwin for the win. Zink was incredible run. But watching Aaron going ball to the wall fast in that weather was amazing.
  • + 26
 Zink's Rampage run should have won it, so I wouldn't mind seeing that win... but Gwin's MSA rain run, unbelievable.
  • + 9
 If he hits that front on his second run it's hands down the best run of rampage history. But run one... I had it as the winning run. Watching that in person was freaking mind-blowing.
  • + 3
 @onemanarmy: Is it just me or does the clip from Zink's run miss the most critical drop in moment? It show's him creeping up to it from the back/side, then cuts to a view of him coming down the face, but if you pause and look at the clip where it picks him up on the face, it seems it missed the steepest section at the top...? It seems to me it picks up at where they did their practice run from the day before... Or is it just me?
  • - 1
 No way! Sorge did a backflip no hander before the massive step down backflip, then a suicide no hander, to corked backflip. Zink just did another backflip after his massive stepdown with no tricks but the chute before that.
  • + 23
 Not sure about you guys but I think my highlight of the year was seeing Martyn Ashton ride in the AirDH!
  • + 1
 yes!
  • + 22
 What works against Miranda's run is that there is a general perception that Tracey lost it instead of Miranda winning it, which is totally unfair, imho.
  • + 14
 Probably because this is what happened. No offense to Miller but it was a kind of Fayolle race.
  • + 7
 i think what goes most against it is that it wasn't a great run. It was just the best of a bad bunch of runs that day. Stoked she won and got that bit of luck that everyone needs every now and again but to watch, i personally wouldn't call it a highlight of the year.
  • + 4
 @fracasnoxteam: Wrong.

Fayolle's win is a win regardless, but he likely won because forces outside of the top qualifiers' control (weather) caused slower final run times.

Miller won because forces completely within the other racers' control (speed, line choice, staying on the bike, etc.) caused slower final run times, Tracey Hannah included.
  • + 3
 @MTBrent: sure, but then again - what do people remember from when Gee won in Val di Sole - his win or Hill's epic run including his crash? I know i think of that race as the race Tracey gave away, not the one Miranda smashed out of the ball park.

I remember Miranda's run as being a bit anti climatic and one of those "waiting-for-the-big-guns-to-ride-kinda runs, where all the big guns then went on to choke, while the way that Miranda nailed it for me at least really was only apparent after the final rider had come down - and i went "what the... Did Miranda just win? Hell yeah!". That being said, i was super stoked that she won - but highlight of the year? Perhaps, but only on a Canadian site Wink Surprise of the year? Sure, i did not see Miranda winning on such a pedally track, but that just made it all the nicer when it happened Smile
  • + 1
 @klinkekule: I remember that race as making me aware that I cannot suffer an actual heart attach triggered by palpitations.

Literally the top 20 almost died that day in my mind. Every single rider...almost died.
  • + 21
 Gwin was literally on a rail for every turn.
  • + 17
 His grassy inside line at 1:58 was straight shenanigans.
  • + 5
 @MTBrent: Very bold move to do that on a wet course and for all the marbles, too.
  • + 3
 @MTBrent: WORD! I must have watched that section 30 times. How he stayed on two is beyond me.
  • + 2
 A very, very loose rail!
  • + 1
 Literally? "On a rail" is actually the opposite of literally, unless of course, he was on a rail. Oh never mind. It's hopeless.

Gwin's and Zink's runs were unbelievable. Glad Miller won, but she backed into it - not the result of a smashing run.
  • + 12
 Gwin. Other entries are amazing no doubt but c'mon. In the f*ckin rain? Every time the odds are stacked against him he pulls a rabbit out his ass!
  • + 5
 Not to mention he was riding blind for the first minute and a half because his tear offs weren't working. Insane skill.
  • + 13
 Gwin's Run!
  • + 7
 Absolutely Gwin for the win. Could barely walk down the spectator area of the track without busting my arse, let alone ride the track in the torrential downpour flat out like he did. Reminded me of Hart's Champery run. Absolute madness!
  • + 4
 I've rarely been a Gwin fan, but my family and I were at the finish line in the pouring rain at MSA, and the atmosphere was absolutely electric when he stomped across the finish line. It was pretty unreal to experience and I'd definitely hold that up as one of the best rides of the year. Just insane.
  • + 5
 Maybe it says something about the outcome and scores of Rampage when the 2nd place run is nominated for highlight of the year and the winning run wasn't....
  • + 8
 Gwin for the win
  • + 3
 Cams rampage runs were amazing, but his boo-boo lip and "poor me" attitude tarnish it. Not the first time we have seen this from him, 2016 same thing. Miranda's run was brilliant!
However the clear winner is the Gwinner, sorry haters.
  • + 3
 @Mtb4joe you had me at "boo-boo lip"

Big Grin
  • + 6
 How about Rachel Atherton holding it together in Monte Saint-Anne? www.youtube.com/watch?v=TExWw4d4Ne8
  • + 0
 Yes! First thing that came to my mind when I saw this article!
  • + 1
 That WAS a good one!
  • + 5
 Has to be Gwins run. Even as a Canadian and behind M.M., AG's run was significantly more impressive.
  • + 2
 Where is Tracey Hannah's run from Worlds? She crashed, laid on he ground in emotional agony and charged her way to 3rd place only moments behind... Miranda's run was incredible, but damn, how do you ignore the pure speed Hannah was carrying to still end up on the podium?
  • + 1
 more than that...big doubt in timing ......
  • + 3
 emotional agony? She got knocked out, or that is at least what she said after the race. I know i also wondered why she took so long to get up, but then she went on to explain it Smile
  • + 1
 @klinkekule: Agreed. Unconscious is different from emotional agony. Though, as I was watching, it looked like she was laying there cursing her slip-up. But, yeah, later she did explain that she was just out of it.
  • + 7
 Gwinner!!
  • + 1
 I think it's rad that you picked the second place run.... I had it the first place run. But I gotta give this one to Gwin. That battle with Greg was the best we've had in DH for quite a while. Great season capped off with a great performance for the win. Worlds were a joke. I haven't been more bored watching dh.... probably ever. That event sucked.
  • + 4
 It's gotta be Gwin. I like Zink n all, but there were other people robbed at Rampage this year as well.
  • + 3
 Gwin's run hands down! Epic! Should have nominated Peat and Rob's course preview as well for the most entertaining! That was comedy gold!
  • + 4
 Huge Zink fan here, but it has to be Gwin. That run in the rain was incredible.
  • + 5
 Antoine Bizet's backflips... Oh. Nevermind.
  • + 6
 Gwin for sure
  • + 5
 Gwin should take the win!
  • + 5
 I will take Bizet's 12th place run for $200 please.
  • + 2
 Jack Moir's run at MSA woke everyone up. Gwin's should win this, but would love to see Shark Attack get some recognition as his run was incredible and much needed.
  • + 1
 It was the proverbial spark the boys up top needed. Proof of concept, if you will.
  • + 3
 What Gwin did that day was almost super-natural!? It would be shameful if he doesn't take the trophy!?
  • + 2
 How can a second place run be in the highlights of the year nominations if the first place run is not?
  • + 16
 He deserved to win it?
  • + 1
 @maxlombardy: Those doing the judging have far better credentials than me to make that decision!
  • - 4
flag mtbyoda (Dec 8, 2017 at 14:07) (Below Threshold)
 @maxlombardy: your kinda jenk bro. He "deserves" nothing, and his sense of entitlement is as offensive as yours ????
  • + 2
 @maxlombardy: I agree. Watching his run in person... it was INSANE.

I had him winning.
  • + 1
 @Mtb4joe: You missed the apostrophe and the comma. You're kinda jenk, bro.
I also think you kinda missed the point.

P.S. I have no idea what jenk means
  • + 2
 @kjjohnson: I will help you out a little. Correcting grammar on PB comments is jenk bro. Help? Did I spell that right?
  • + 1
 @Mtb4joe: wuh? WTF are you talking about?

Deserves nothing? Entitlement? WTF? I think it's o.k. to be pissed off. He's not the only rider that was tweaked about their final score and there are plenty of fans that agree.

Trust me, he was plenty happy for Sorge. All of those guys out there support each other. You can be happy for someone and still be irked about your own results. Nothing entitled about that.
  • + 1
 @onemanarmy: He was the only guy with a stinky puss on his face that competed. I believe in being honorable in defeat, even if you disagree with the judges. There is a time and place to bust out that infamous Zink boo-boo lip.

Entitlement: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privliges or special treatment.

That's my opinion. You and all your other fans are welcome to be pissed. I will continue to be amazed at all the amazing riders I saw laying it all on line at rampage.
  • + 2
 @Mtb4joe: only one? Lol.
  • + 2
 @Mtb4joe: Your contextual clues left me a little confused still, but I do appreciate the effort. I did consult urban dictionary for some clarification, though, and apparently jenk has two meanings. 1: the area between your balls and your bum 2: a mixture of urine and feces that is fermented, of which the vapors are inhaled to produce a mind-bending high. Neat! Thanks for that, I learned an important lesson today,
  • + 1
 @kjjohnson: Lol! Huffing fermented urine and feces! I too learned an important lesson.
  • + 1
 I remember watching Worlds and seeing Miranda sprint to the line. From that point on I had that I just watched the winning run feeling.
  • + 2
 Gwinning from ear to ear here after watching that run yet again. Pure heart pounding fun.
  • + 2
 1st - Seeing Sam win the EWS overall 2nd - Jesse winning EWS Whistler 3rd - Gwin's run at MSA
  • + 2
 No Sam Hill at the World Champs on an enduro bike? I’m definitely a Gwin fanboy, but Hills run was unbelievable.
  • + 3
 Am i the only one that thought zinks run was overrated?
  • - 1
 You‘re not.
  • + 1
 Yes you are.
  • + 1
 Over rated? That drop in was GNARLY. That step down backflip was huge. Another big backflip. Flat 3.

Nell had a weeker drop in. Same flat 3 at the bottom. Mini flip im the middle. Nice paddy line. Another flat 3. But still damn near beat zink.


All the riders killed it. I personally thi k tmac got hosed the hardest. Again.
  • + 1
 @onemanarmy: Maybe overrated is not the right term. His run was insane but in my opinion the long chute cost too much vertical. For me it was a sick one but not a winning run.
  • + 1
 @Gamsjaga: The judges agree with you. LOL! But the risk factor was HUGE. You should get rewarded for that. It definitely deserves a second but I personally had it first. If you could see that drop in in person you'd understand why. It's freakin insane.

Judging this year was harder than any other year. Every rider got at least one full pull and so many of them were so sick. And the smallest little things were really counted off and would drop a guy from podium to 10th.

Good example... that cave man drop in... that run was freakin bonkers. He doesn't put his foot down and you can argue that he lands in 3rd. But foot down... finished in 10th.

Not sure what they found in t-mac's run to keep him at 9 except using some of the same line as last year. Bizet's run got slammed because the top wasn't very difficult. etc.

Gnarly event. Everyone can have there own opinions but all in all... was a crazy crazy year. So stoked to have been able to watch it.
  • + 3
 Zink
  • + 1
 Martyn Ashton rides Whistler for me, but I'm a spine surgeon so, biased. Should have been on there.
  • + 2
 Sam Hills run down stage 1 or 3 of the Whistler EWS. Another league...
  • + 2
 and his other line choices seen in France and Italy. Insane riding!
  • + 2
 Highlight- when some teams realised 29er wasn’t all that for dh
  • + 1
 All deserving. Do you have a "Youth" category (Finn Iles) and an "Young rider" category?
  • + 1
 Cam, because he continually goes the biggest at rampage and yet rarely wins it. (god I love the Gwin run though)
  • + 1
 How can Rogatkin vs. Rheeder at Crankworx Innsbruck not be on this list? Probably the most competitive contest in history.
  • + 1
 Good pull. That was best kind of one-upsmanship I've seen, maybe ever. I remember getting goosebumps on two occasions watching that contest.
  • + 2
 How is Sorge's run and the three peat not on here?
  • + 1
 This is a close one no doubt...
  • + 2
 Gwin
  • + 1
 Pretty sure Sorge won Rampage for the 3rd time !!! Highlight of the year !
  • + 0
 The only problem with Miranda? We still can't be sure the UCI got it right.
  • + 1
 I thought Miranda miller for sure before I even clicked
  • + 2
 Zink for President
  • + 1
 So, uh, I know this is totally original, but... Gwin.
  • + 2
 Miranda.
  • + 1
 Miller. First year as a full time pro and you win it? Highlight defined.
  • + 2
 Definitely the Giwn win.
  • + 1
 Miller. It's about who's at the top of the podium when it all ends.
  • + 1
 Cairns? Seriously?
  • + 0
 Give it to the Canadian these yanks win too much as it is!!
  • + 1
 #wherewereyouaugust62017
  • + 1
 Ohh Miranda or cam....
  • + 1
 50:01's latest flick
  • + 1
 Cam Gwin!
  • + 1
 Got to be gwin
  • + 1
 Gwin!
  • + 0
 GWIN FABULOUST
  • - 2
 Sorge!
  • - 1
 Tracey>Miller
  • - 1
 Gwin Wynns
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