10 Riders. 1 Pro Contract.
Episode 9: The Final RaceAfter the Pinkbike Academy team have thrown every challenge possible at the athletes, they have been whittled down to just five remaining contestants. These athletes will compete in the final race for the grand prize: $30,000 and a pro mountain biking contract. Today is race day.
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Having a race as the final competition makes it seem you are looking for someone fast, but the reality is, you cant actually say what you are looking for.
I get the feeling they were not super happy with FLO as a winner even though she showed she rightfully deserved the win and can compete with some of the best athletes...
We should all be able to agree that a sponsored racer has two main jobs: racing and content creation / social media / brand ambassador. Obviously the more race success and the better the content and personality, the more valuable they are to a brand. A valuable athlete should be good at both things, but at the end of the day, an athlete that wins races and is awful at instagram is much more important than the best content creator who can't qualify.
A series based around racing simply cannot function when the contestants aren't competitive against each other. If we had one series with men who were all within a second of each other on a lap, and the same for women, you would have an engaging competition where all the other challenges would speak to the other value they each bring to the table. However, when you have a race in the first episode and one racer is so obviously in another league, everything else is completely pointless. If they can't stock the show with actually pro level racers, the whole thing just doesn't work and becomes frustratingly arbitrary and contrived.
At the same time, the show has resulted in some actually fast people getting sponsored and performing at EWS events. Of course, we knew who these people were going to be after the first episode, because there's no training or development so no one is really getting better, so the first set of stages is like 99% of the information we need. If PB wants a series about discovering hidden talents and getting them opportunities, surely taking a bunch of competitive teenagers and getting them coaching and infrastructure and some race funding like they do with Cathro's series does so much more good for the sport and produces better content.
The issue seems to me that they started with the idea of a "biking reality show" and worked from there to create a series where people could compete for a pro sponsor deal. Had they started with, "how can we find hidden talent and get them a pro deal" and worked from there, we wouldn't have ended up with a reality TV show. At the end of the day, that's why this series just doesn't work - the format not the output was the guiding vision. If you want a reality show then, yeah, this format sort of makes sense (albeit without enough actually competitive people), but if you want to actually discover and support aspiring racers, the format just doesn't make sense.
So every participant can sincerely say "Just the experience has been blah blah and I go back to my home events a better racer" ...they get faster, our peanut gallery gets rewarded with progression.
If continued, as someone above suggested, grab a handful of current EWS Privateers, coach them, watch them all develop with no eliminations, then out of that group chose 'the overall package'.
If you are 30% slower than your gender group, you are already realistically disqualified. I mean there is a place for those riders in media, they are called U-tube influencers. But they aren't Pro EWS racers.
The entire thing would prove its irrelevancy if Tarvo doesn't win.
- be kind
- be funny and entertaining
- be self deprecating (especially if there is Internet exposure)
-...something about love and understanding...
oh, and being a good/fast rider is also preferable.
Personally I think the format misses Jason as host, the new presenters mean well but Cam blends into the background and Katie isn't as funny as she thinks she is (putting it politely).
If Jason's not available, get Christina to present and a more accomplished female pro alongside Gully as judge.
*Goes to rage comment about autoplay on latest episode* autoplay starts again
f*ck you guys
But at that level, it seems pretty common for lifts/uplifts/gondolas/something to be used on at least one of the stages, with some of them using it more than once.
Thats not to say that there isn't also often tons of pedaling involved. But, taking the lift up sometimes doesn't mean its not Enduro riding (even if local enduros likely won't look anything like that).
Climbing is restricted to usage of your bike only. No lifts, towing, shuttling whatsoever. These are often extremely long bits of pedaling because you end up at the other side of a mountain and have to make your way back to the trailhead. Anyway just out of curiousity.
If next season is more of the same I am not sure I will watch.
First, there are “competition” shows that are personality contests, but that doesn’t mean it translates well to mtb culture. Mtb “personalities” emerge much more organically. Yoann Borelli didn’t win a popularity contest, for example. He’s just a really unique and dynamic personality, who is also an incredible rider who carved out his own niche. That’s how “personalities” arise in MTB culture.
Beyond that, while all of the contestants strike me as a very nice people, they are quiet obviously endeavoring to be athletes first and foremost. It’s therefore misleading to pick a bunch of athletes for a personality contest.
Fundamentally, it creates a situation where the mtb racing/contests are just a sideshow and someone’s subjective opinion picks based on undefined metrics. How is that interesting?
I think the elephant in the room is that the show isn’t sex segregated. Sex segregated sports exist for a reason. A lot of people don’t understand the history of sex segregated sports. It was feminists who fought for it for this reason: sex integregated sports competitions mean women lose. So by keeping men and women in the same “competition”, you necessarily have to downplay the significance of the underlying athletic competition. If PB would just have a male and female winner, it would make so much more sense. The athletic competition could feature much more prominently and they wouldn’t have to rely on subjective judgments that are divisive. But, I guess in this culture, this is bizarrely considered taboo. Oh well.
For one, mtb fans are going to be, on avg., much more picky about authenticity. And, indeed, when you look at popular mtb "personalities" online, they aren't picked from a talent show or contest. It's organic, and usually features a mixture of just great riding with a very naturally dynamic/interesting personality. So like say Yoann Barelli's youtube channel comes to mind. That combination of rider ability and personality isn't manufactured or picked. It just is and is typically very rare and random.
Beyond that, while I certainly think that all of the riders on the show came off as very nice, decent people, it's pretty clear that PB selected people who were, primarily, interested in being professional athletes, not being social media "personalities" or "influencers". That's likely because its very difficult to select for "personality" while it's much easier to select for athletic success. But, at the end of the day, it's incoherent to hold a personality contest among people seeking professional athletic contracts.
Finally, the elephant in the room here is that a likely contributing factor is PB's insistence on having men and women compete against each other. People today notoriously misunderstand the history of sex segregated sports. Sex segregated sports were pushed for and created by feminists. They worked hard at it and women's sports has made great strides because of it. It was feminists who pushed for it because when there was no sex segregated sports, as a group, women simply could not compete with men. The result was that sports was popularly seen as something for the boys, and women were disenfranchised from sports generally. Enter women's sports, and suddenly women were afforded an incredible opportunity to play competitive sports. And they thrived.
So, by integrating a sports competition, you have two options: 1.) Women will never win; or 2.) you water down the sports competition piece of it, inviting the very criticisms we see in the comment section. Neither option is good, but PB has obviously gone with 2. So, now we have these amorphous, undefined, and subjective criteria by which judges simply pick winners and losers. It basically then just becomes a show about the subjective opinions of Jason Lucas
Christina Chappetta, and Kyra Wilson. And then, doesn't that just make the show about them? Don't get me wrong. All cool people, but how is that interesting? I'd love to see a show like this and tried to give it a fair shake, but, I don't know what incentive I have to watch it again.
The solution seems painfully obvious. Have a male and female winner.
2. It is a “dumb” reality show and they really play that up and even poke fun of themselves sometimes for being a reality show (The complete package). With that said, they should eliminate the overdramatic “rose ceremony” at the end. It’s just silly.
3. Like others have said, it should be divided into sexes. I saw in another post on a previous episode that someone suggested they do an all mens season or an all womens season. That totally makes sense.
4. For being a competition, there are no rules or guidelines for what the scoring is. That’s weird. People have got sent home for performing well without good reason.
For the riders:
5. I like Mia’s personality. If it was personality based, she should win. She’s got that “YouTuber” feel to her, and someone like her would get my kids interested in watching the show (as opposed to just people who want to watch a show about bikes.)
6. Tarmo is awesome. If it is half personality based, he shouldn’t win. Even if he doesn’t win, he should still end up with a pro contract from somewhere. Yes, English is not his first language, but it doesn’t have to be for me to like him. Remy Metailler is my favorite “YouTuber/biker dude” and English is not his first language, but he is great on camera. Tarmo is a badass, just has not my #1.
7. Eric to me is the winner. He’s pretty darn fast and has given Tarmo a run in a few downhill challenges. His personality has not been as quirky or fun as Mia, but he hits the sweet spot right in the middle of fast, personable, and stylish. Max is the style king, and if it was a contest to find the next YouTuber, he would be my choice, heck, he’s still a close #2 to Eric, just not my #1.
8. I really enjoy the show. Take it for face value, it can totally use some improvements (Show more riding, less talking, I do not need to see where they are living, aaaaand just show more riding), but it’s a solid show. I’ve watched every episode of every season, and admittedly this season does some a little “dry.” With that said, I will still totally watch the next season!
Can you share us your thoughts on the whole season?
This is really a contest between Mia and Max.
If you're talking about the faces during deliberation, I think everyone seems serious.
I personally think that many (in general, not specific on the series) act really outgoing to hide uncertainties.
Like really ? Mia?
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