Video: Pinkbike Academy Season 3 Ep 9: The Final Race

Dec 13, 2022 at 8:40
by Pinkbike Originals  


10 Riders. 1 Pro Contract.

Episode 9: The Final Race

After 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.

The rest of the season will drop weekly on Tuesdays at 10am PST.

Pinkbike Academy Season 3 is available for FREE on Outside Watch or the Pinkbike YouTube channel.

Huge thanks to the brands who made this show possible!
Orbea, Shimano, Fox Racing, Maxxis, Outside, Garmin, Big White, Stans, Insta360, MRP, Funn, Ride Concepts, SDG, North Shore Racks, ODI, Rimpact, and Squirt.


  • 77 4
 I find it strange, they havent really once said what they are actually looking for? Do you want to find the fastest racer to compete in EWS or a social media warrior? Now we are racing for the final episode, but does speed really matter? If so, why did we keep all the slow people who did well in a sill photo challenge and not keep the fastest racers?

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...
  • 73 2
 I think these complaints and others people have raised speak to fundamental issues with the execution of this series and the concept itself.

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.
  • 32 2
 It really does seem like they are making it up as they are going, and are trying too hard to create drama where there is none.
  • 1 0
 @emarquar: Yah just tweaking it so more episodes focused on the contestants getting faster/ good coaching, maybe from that big Ben dude would be transformative

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.
  • 7 0
 @emarquar: This got me thinking. What if you took some of the PB contributors (3 or 4) and had them take on a small team (3?) of riders to begin working with them over a three month period to see which coach/rider combo can come up with a winner. Each "coach" would have to unearth the best riders they could to stock their teams. Then document their progress along the way. After 2-3 months of training put all the riders together to see who can win PBA. That would likely make it more competitive and the interest would likely be higher as we would want to see how they would stack up against each other.
  • 10 0
 @stuie321: Exactly. It is like watching a job interview where the employer does not have a defined job description, required qualifications, or interview questions.
  • 1 0
 @emarquar: you definitely have a point there. If you start with "How do we find and develop talents" the limiting factor will be budget. If you have ten people that need coaches, gear, testing and need to be followed by a camera it gets ridiculously expensive. I'd doubt that any brand would put in this amount of money without exactly knowing what they will get and having a say in who they choose etc. Just looking and Specialized who suddenly terminates on going contracts with riders who aren't racing. I guess in a situation like this, you will not get any sponsors for such a big project.
  • 1 1
 literally the remaining competitors aren't slow
  • 2 0
 @Daweiknowdaway: look at the stage times, Tarmo is so far ahead of the other two blokes it's not really a competition. Max is like 30s back per stage!
  • 6 0
 They're looking for the FULL PACKAGE bro. Smh.
  • 67 3
 This year on stinkbike academy, we are looking a whole package
  • 4 2
 whole package, package full of bull...
  • 2 27
flag oscartheballer (Dec 14, 2022 at 5:24) (Below Threshold)
 A "race" episode where they barely show any conditions that were not safe. Even Christine said she was happy to not be racing. And no one can complain or refuse to ride because that would be a mark against their "character."
  • 26 0
 @oscartheballer: trails were wet doesn’t make them not safe???
  • 4 0
 @oscartheballer: real ballers aren't afraid of riding primo trails in the rain.
  • 61 6
 I see a bunch of people who like to have fun and are passionate about biking, and one professional who takes his trade seriously and has been the best pretty much across the board. You can tell who is trying to compensate with their personality, and which ones don't need to. That speaks volumes to me. Finnish Strong
  • 52 11
 Mountain biking is not about fun it’s about professionalism you’re so right
  • 18 1
 @ericolsen: Sorry Eric, reading this back now I sound like a D*ck. I guess I got caught up in the fun of taking sides and having opinions on the internet. Sometimes easy to forget there's real people behind the screen. Aaanyways... excited to see how the season plays out. You've got a cool future in the industry regardless of how PBA plays out.
  • 4 13
flag Edendino (Dec 14, 2022 at 14:05) (Below Threshold)
 @ericolsen: surely if the rider that misteraustin inticated at was you then you wouldn't comment here. But sorry Eric, it's not you, it's Tarmo.
  • 37 3
 I really enjoyed the first 2 seasons, but this thing I feel has ran its course.

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.
  • 15 5
 Who’s Tarvo?
  • 8 0
 The winner must satisfy the following criteria:

- 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.
  • 3 3
 @SunsPSD Where are you getting the info from that they're looking for an EWS racer and not, say, a youtube influencer? Point me to where anyone, preferably an Orbea marketing exec, said this? Why would Tarmo not winning make anything "irrelevant"? It would just mean Orbea's marketing dept. was looking for something else.
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen: the Tarvinator
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen: Tarvan of the apes.
  • 29 2
 yes they are looking for the whole package even though the first contestants didn't have the opportunity to compete on challenges like content creation for example... i find it unfair.
  • 20 0
  • 29 1
 Please for the love of god, enough with the auto play.
  • 6 0
 'Auto-comments' where we are directed straight to comments section would be more useful
  • 7 15
flag BeerGuzlinFool (Dec 14, 2022 at 5:56) (Below Threshold)
 For the love of God quit complaining about it.
  • 1 1
 for the love of god, just install the autoplay stopper, untill pinkbike reacts to it
  • 26 1
 Must say. The first 2 seasons were really nice to me, this new format sucks, way too short, way too much talking a little to none riding, it seems like an episode of the big brother rather than a MTB show
  • 10 0
 Something's not working so well.
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.
  • 31 8
 PB: sponsor a new series with yoann barelli. i don’t care what the concept is, but you guys are nuts for not giving him his own show. that dude is HIGHLY entertaining to watch, and an absolutely fantastic, hilarious personality.
  • 17 0
 You assume he'd be interested. He's got his own successful channel.
  • 24 0
 First challenge for PBA Series 4 should be changing the headset bearings on an internally-through-headset-cabled bike in less than 3 hours.
  • 12 0
 Maybe it's just me, but I'm a little surprised that MRP wasn't featured more heavily throughout the series. Seems like they would have wanted a 5-min segment showing suspensions set-up and feedback at the very least. (Disclaimer: I am not complaining about the lack of sponsor plugs).
  • 7 1
 Too busy talking about the drama
  • 10 2
 I think I know what the problem is. This is the 3rd season and it's the 3rd season on Enduro. if they have the energy for a season 4 PB needs to have DH as the discipline. Because trying to pedal a DH bike up a mountain or hill climb challenge will add to the humor. and being DHers, add in drinking challenges
  • 4 1
 I think showcasing a different discipline every year would be great. It's not like anyone is watching this for the four seconds of riding footage per episode, so what does it matter if it's enduro, DH, freeride etc. (I'd include XC too, but the idea of an XC racer making up for in Instagram "likes" what they lack in speed is even more ludicrous than it is for the other disciplines. Although, based on this season, maybe deemphasizing the social media component would not be a bad thing......)
  • 1 0
 Yesss do a DH season
  • 1 0
 @steezysam: a DH season, and then make sure an ex-BMX rider who doesn't know how to ride over a bump or rock makes it to the final Big Grin
  • 11 2
 *opens pinkbike* shitbike academy autoplay starts.
*Goes to rage comment about autoplay on latest episode* autoplay starts again
f*ck you guys
  • 2 1
 Word. Can't wait for it all to be over so I can view the home page in peace.
  • 9 2
 This season is so confusing. I guess they by them self dont know what they created. Watch all episodes from this season. No story, no real drama, no tests. Nothing. Im sad because I think Tarmo deserves better. I hope he can get on a sick team.
  • 10 2
 TY Pinkbike for spoiling the results of previous episodes by auto-playing the episodes and showing who's left in previous episodes.
  • 10 2
 Who is racing Enduro and taking the lift up? Kinda sets the tone for the whole thing.
  • 24 1
 That’s what I was saying. I would have happily pedaled all the stages. I also think this would have brought out some real personalities.
  • 1 10
flag V7V (Dec 13, 2022 at 15:05) (Below Threshold)
 @ericolsen: If that bit of vertical meters bring out a personality, they'd be better off in the gondola. Local amateur Enduro races start at these levels of climbing. They're handing out pro-tickets here..
  • 9 1
 @V7V: I’m saying we should have climbed more. Have you been to big white? 5 stages of climbing would be about right for a single day of enduro. Have you raced EWS? Almost every EWS last season had a gondola or lift involved. Tweed valley didn’t and also had very little climbing. What are you on about?
  • 2 0
 I've only casually followed EWS racing for the past 2 years.

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).
  • 6 3
 @ericolsen: EWS tweed valley had 1800m of climbing. Maybe I'm just fat, but that doesn't sound like very little climbing to me!
  • 1 4
 @ericolsen: I'm on about the level of climbing that is involved, I didn't mention any comparisons to EWS, and I haven't been to Big White. I'm just fairly surprised by usage of these let's say shortcuts, or little climbing involved as for local races there is a minimum of vertical (positive and negative) meters involved to give it a certain category.

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.
  • 6 0
 I think for this show to grow…. We need to drop this what orbea wants in a pro. To sound like todays utes It gives me the ick to their brand…..
  • 8 3
 * sorry should have read "Haven't watched most of it" as dam auto-play means I couldn't have even avoided watching some of it.
  • 6 0
 I sense that they are looking for the whole screw BMX background, water bottle mounts and what not Smile
  • 8 1
 Guest appearance by Mr. Bean!
  • 2 3
 Dude is picking up sound from Mars.
  • 6 0
 Parker DeGray is a boss. No, seriously, he used to be a manager at Go-Ride...
  • 9 7
 Wow reading through the comments here is brutal. It's really important to realize that this is a TV show. It's not really a competition it's just made for TV. That's generally what TV shows are meant to do is appeal to lame people that actually watch TV, not to us obviously.
  • 2 0
 What TV channel are watching it at?
  • 2 0
 I think this season has lost its way somehow. The "total package" is such nebulous concept. Get back to racing and finding the rider who can fit into an EWS team as that at least was measurable and made sense to the viewer. The more of the reality tv trapping you shed, the better the show will be though. Eliminations and wild challenges are cliché. I'd rather see the riders progress through the series and receive coaching before each race to see who can learn and improve the most.

If next season is more of the same I am not sure I will watch.
  • 5 0
 I honestly think the producers has to try and change the direction after 1 or 2 episodes when they realised they only had 1 actual competitive rider in the group, and if they made it about racing they may as well have just given Tarmo the prize after episode 1.
  • 4 1
 Haven't watched it but guessing this at least a spread over 2 week thing again The rest of the season will drop weekly on Tuesdays at 10am PST.
  • 7 3
 This season suuuuuucks.........enter through the garage and pack your bags.......
  • 5 0
 The guy everyone thinks should win get eliminated yet?
  • 1 0
 Maybe it is the case that being a social media personality is a now a part of mtb popular culture, but turning that into a “competition” seems misguided here.

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.
  • 1 0
 It may be the case that the role of a sponsored rider has changed to include, not just riding ability, but also social media personality. But that doesn't necessarily translate into something interesting to watch as a "competition" - at least as most mtb fans would interpret it. True, there are "competition" shows where "popularity" or "personality" are a major factor (like say a show to pick a new TV personality), but I don't think it works for mtb.

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.
  • 4 1
 This high level production value isn't really "MTB".... It works for F1, not so much for dirt bicyclists.
  • 3 0
 That orbea's marketing guy is only following Eric from the contestants, coincidence?
  • 1 0
 Ok, he is not following Christina either. So maybe it is just a coincidence o_o
  • 3 3
 1. The production values of the show are awesome. Really well done, very polished, and very professional.
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!
  • 3 3
 Love coming here to read the negative comments, Stink...I mean Pink Bike should really re-evaluate this whole badly thought out show and fix it, PB are you reading the comments or are you just that clueless???
  • 7 1
 If you listen to the podcast and read the articles, along with this autoplay garbage, you can really tell what the pinkbike staff think of the userbase.
  • 2 1
 @theconorcons: care to elaborate? I have no interest in the podcast
  • 20 20
 Did anyone else feel like the bit with the pride flag was out of place? and with Mia talking about inclusivity? none of that really pertains to the challenge, the show, or anything else I've seen anywhere else throughout.
  • 20 8
 Not out of place. Inclusivity is important. Considering the “bro” culture there is in MTB…
  • 8 8
 @HeyBaumeister: I see what you mean, I'm all for inclusivity, I just feel like it was sort of forced into a show that has nothing to do with discrimination.
  • 3 1
 @charlesnunez: if it was about inclusively they won't continuously criticise Ares and Tarmo for their media presence (cause English isn't there first language)
  • 1 2
 What ever happened to the Girl who won the last Season? Wasn't she gonna be a pro EWS rider? Don't remember seeing here at all... Maybe it is just not clear, what Oreba is looking for.. that might explain the chaos of this show...
  • 10 0
 Flo did fairly well in the EWS and EWS-E for Orbea this year.
  • 2 0
 @lewiscraik: I think she actually won a round of the e-EWS
  • 3 2
 @AnttiS: hope she gets the chance to do some proper racing next year, she seemed to have so much potential and to be a super-worthy winner of the show
  • 6 7
 Watching any interview with a marketing guy makes me want to vomit. Sorry marketing people. I come for the entertainment, and I am disturbed to see something slither out of the pit of snakes that is hidden behind the curtain and speak to me. I guess it's educational to be reminded that there is always some pasty neck-beard who wants to extract maximum corporate profit from these people's passion - even if it ruins the spectacle. Makes me want to hug my children close to me and keep them safe from that ugly world.
  • 2 0

Can you share us your thoughts on the whole season?
  • 26 4
 Maybe after the last episode I’ll make a little article or video or something. If you want the real unfiltered opinions you have to come to my watch party’s in Bellingham haha.
  • 9 3
 @ericolsen: I like this Eric guy alright. Seems like a real biker. Hopefully we see more from him.
  • 1 0
 Last years was so much better. The short format sucks. There’s no time for the actual riding, it’s all media, no mtb.
  • 3 1
 If you wanna win, take the Finn. Wink
  • 1 0
 Tarmo absolutely smoked everyone - hope he gets a pro contract. Too bad for him this contest was all about social media.
  • 3 1
 Why are they racing?
  • 1 0
 Heh, did you really got rid of the 10 sec forward button?
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