By Seb Kemp.
As the Japanese whaling fleet set sail on its annual whaling mission hoping to bring back 1,000 blubbery carcasses, Hollywood just got back from its father-son hunting mission with the last remaining rainbow unicorn tied to its gun rack.
Yep, that's right, Captain A-list has harpooned the Moby Dickhead of bicycles: the fixie.
Danny MacAskill was a stunt double in Premium Rush, Hollywoods attempt to appropriate "cool," "hip" and "edgy". In this sure fire straight to i-Tunes movie, the awkward kid from Third Rock From The Sun has grown up to become the world's most conceited bicycle courier and gets into some far fetched excuse for a 90-minute chase scene which sees him pitched against some vanilla-flavored bad guys and the Feds. All the fixie hero (contradiction in terms perhaps) has to protect him is a satchel and an old track frame with no gears. Obviously the satchel makes him bulletproof or something and the movie was set somewhere without hills, otherwise it would end pretty quick.
Once Hollywood gets its paws on something that is considered cool then you know that it is a kiss of death. Fixies have been crucial for getting more people on bikes and making riding cool to a wider number of people, but I can't wait for people to start enjoying freewheeling again. Thank you fixies, sleep well.
Talking of Danny Mac he must be well connected or the whole MTB media world dropped a bollock because he chirped that the Summer X-Games is coming to Europe in 2013 and may include slope style.
Back in May this year, ESPN, the media company that created the X-Games, announced that the X-Games calendar will be expanded from three to six events worldwide, making it the largest action sport competition in the world. Two events will happen in the US whilst the other four will take place elsewhere. However, nothing more has been said about locations or if slope style will be included. What this does signify is that even when 'the economy' is forcing events and companies to downscale, action sports is booming. Something we should remember when we consider the other big event news this week.
The cheeky chaps at This Is Sheffield were the first to chirp the news (gleaned from French website, velovert.com – "The Site Number 1 Bike") that Red Bull Media House will be taking over the live streaming of events for UCI and that Freecaster would probably back down from the proposed DH1 series, effectively collapsing it before it started.
This info was taken from a garbled interview (thanks to Google Translate) with Freecaster's Ray Dulieu which was filled with mysterious references to making shopping better. Just in time for Christmas. Thank you Freecaster.
VitalMTB squeezed some sense out of Ray Dulieu and he did indeed confirm that if Red Bull were to take over then Freecaster would have no choice to pull out of rival series DH1 because they could not possibly compete with the resources that the sugary mafia have at their disposal.
Ray went on to say, "…Redbull was our biggest threat and mountain biking’s greatest opportunity. They are providing what the sport needs. The creation of the DH1 Series pushed the UCI and Red Bull to improve their game."
However, the Damned Opinionated Users, Commentators and Howlers of the Empty-headed Society went into overdrive proclaiming this to be bad for the sport. No rational explanation has been given by the D.O.U.C.H.E.S. at this point as to why this could possibly be bad for the sport. Perhaps they are worried about diabetes, liver disease and dental hygiene becoming a problem in mountain biking.
Actually, it seems a lot of the fans fears centre around whether or not Rob Warner will be commentating on World Cup downhill races. Rob warner, who once appeared on BBC2's The Weakest Link is the strongest link for racing in the fans eyes. Racing is racing and it will looks the same whether Gwin is being streamed by Red Bull, Freecaster or BBC2, but what matters is what racing sounds like. The beeps are important to the racers but Rob Warner is what the fans want to hear.
In other UCI related news, this week it released the new logo for the World Cup series. It seemed to really get up the noses of the aesthetic sensibilities of many people. The simple design was not well received by many, but perhaps this stems from the peculiar mistrust of the UCI and Rocky Roads deal.
Perhaps they should have contracted MTBR readers for its redesign. This week a college student asked the hairy handed forum dwellers to help him design a bike shop for his final assessment. This is what he got.
In the same press release, I was most interested in the line about how the introduction of three rounds of XCE (Cross Country Eliminator) "which aims to keep the mountain bike discipline abreast of current trends." (UCI press release on the 2012 calendar. 30/09/11)
For those mountain bikers who are out of touch with the current trends Eliminator is where four competitors race around a 1km–often urban–loop. This must have spread from the proliferation of class 6 racing is where hipster commuters and office workers with a member deficiency race the streets to and from their place of work. It is like stoplight drag racing but with suits and Chrome bags.
Apparently XCE tests a racers (predominately cross-country racers) strength, fitness and skill. Skill? Do they have to escape from Hollywood baddies who want to shoot them dead whilst armed with only a bulletproof satchel? That could be entertaining. Probably more entertaining than Premium Rush.
Talking of oddball races, the news sleuths at VitalMTB were first to announce the new 4X Pro Tour series. Not much to say about that really. It's impressive that the Riders Alliance have managed to pull off organizing and funding an international race series. However, even though I'd much rather race 4X than XCE neither of them has much influence on the act of actual mountain biking that 99% of us experience.
Staying on the theme of the UCI World Cup, their press-relations department made a boo-boo this week when they announced the names of the teams that have 'Elite' designation. Many of these teams have yet to make official announcements about their 2012 sponsor affiliations so it probably really burst a few bubbles.
Accidentally announced this week was that Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz becomes just Monster Energy/Specialized Factory Racing. Ever since seeing videos of Rennie, Hill and Aitkinson blitzing Norba downhills I've always wondered what Mad Catz was exactly so I asked Jeeves and it turns out Mad Catz is a "leading global provider of innovative products for the interactive entertainment industry.” If I hadn't read any further then I would have assumed that this meant they are a really big company that makes prophylactics dispensers for brothels. However, from reading a little bit more of their website–which looks like it was made on an Atari and is one rung lower on the design table than the Rocky Roads Network website and the UCI logo–it turns out they make nerd toys. Thank you Mad Catz for your contribution to our own nerdy world.
In other downhill team news MS Evil becomes MS Mondraker, making people wonder what is happening with the Evil Undead, the replacement for the much loved and flawed Revolt downhill bike.
But the biggest blooper came with the accidental announcement of the Atherton's getting their wings with GT. The Atherton's management have always been very good at communicating their team's every movement and I'm sure they were gearing up for a huge press announcement regarding their big move to GT bicycles. Rumor has it that the three siblings were going to wing suit into Wembley stadium for the official launch. It didn't come as a surprise to most people, especially after numerous leaks before hand, most notably when Brian Lopes blew the lid off the the story way back on the 22nd September. Oh well, Twitter is the best source of news and information anyway….
Till next week, keep Twittering because you are the news.