PHOTO OF THE YEAR
Even for writers, there are times when words fail to convey the complete scope of an experience. In these instances photography proves a powerful tool. Bike publishes many such images, but the Best Photo of 2009 captures the sense of visual nirvana photographer Sterling Lorence experienced while riding through the heart of Iceland with Matt Hunter, Joe Schwartz and Andrew Shandro.
TRIP OF THE YEAR
Iceland is a place shaped by raw, elemental power—where expanding undersea plates allow magma to sear into kilometer-thick glaciers. Icelandic people, too, have been defined by their homeland's rugged natural forces. And amid the remnants of disastrously ethereal investment policies, some locals are looking to the physical landscape for salvation. Therein lies the loophole that a marauding band of mountain bikers traveled through to discover this island of perfect, untouched dirt. Trails here are still sparse, but the potential of this Technicolor dreamscape is undeniable.
RIDER OF THE YEAR
He is one of the most recognized names in downhill racing. He has won the overall World Cup title three times, has more World Cup gold medals (17) and has been on the podium more times (50) than any other downhill racer. Being knighted by the Queen of England and winning the World Championships were about the only honorifics left for Steve Peat. But it doesn't matter if a sword never touches his shoulder, because Peaty's already got himself the crown.
Bike Test: Norco Shore One; Specialized SX Trail I; Trek Session 88 DH; Yeti 303 RDH
Blueprint: Troy Lee Designs’ all-new D3
Splatter: The good doctors of Missoula; ‘Cross Nats descends on Bend; Praise for frozen mud; IMBA’s million-dollar trails; Salty single-track in Santa Cruz; and exploring Austin’s city limits.
Grimy Handshake: Ferrentino’s psychic hard-boot
Kit: Hot New Gear For Damn Cold Rides