Highs Points & Low Points: 2017 In Review
We worked with two key MFS correspondents to compile this year’s High Points and Low Points, then hired Thomas Slater to illustrate.
Manual for Speed is more or less a form of media, and it is media’s responsibility to report on the passing and subsequent ending of yet another year with a recap of that self-same year. The year in question at this moment, of course, is 2017.
As you may or may not know we feel the need to publish a project we call Road to Rad. What’s Road to Rad? It’s a movement, it’s a commision from on high, it’s saving the future of cycling, it’s a work a fiction, it’s a work of nonfiction, it’s a report, a finding, a manifesto. More importantly, whatever it is, it’s two years late. With that in mind, we decided to end this year with a firm commitment to next year in regards Road to Rad.
Here it goes: we promise, we’re doing it, we’re doing Road to Rad in 2018.
With that in mind, our end-of-the-year roundup and recap of relevant/exciting/interesting/pivotal/watershed-type moments is coming to you in two parts, and each part plays a part in Road to Rad.
- Moments: because the good ones inspire us and the bad ones guide us.
- Roads: because you’re either headed in the right direction or the wrong direction.
We worked with two key MFS correspondents to compile this year’s High Points and Low Points. We asked the Eagle to give us a rundown of this year’s Most Animal and Most Stinky Moments. And we asked Klaus to present evidence professional cycling is headed in the right direction (Road to Rad), as well as evidence that professional road cycling is headed in the wrong direction, (Road to Sad). Then we had Thomas Slater illustrate a few of the more crucial highlights for visual emphasis and to maintain our commitment to the idea that cycling and art belong together.
Yeah, dude, we totally get it, binary IS over. And it should be over. And we want to part of it’s over-ness because we love nuance and subtlety and modulation and gradation and unknown unknowns and all the rest. But bottomline, these lists are funnest when they’re basically a variation and/or loose iteration of Vice’s Do’s and Don’ts. Done and done.
2017's Most Animal Moments by The Eagle
#2 - Yves, Dropping the Field
“Yves Lampaert took an unlikely win on Stage 02 at the Vuelta: after Quick Step blew the race to shreds in the wind (one of my favorite things to watch), he rolled off the front of the reduced group and held a slim gap for the remaining one or two kilometers. I always love seeing powerful domestiques take stages from the sprinters.”
#4 - Rigoberto Goes Fixed
“Uran’s Tour stage win on a 2-speed after his rear derailleur broke has to be one of the best underdog stories of the year. Impressive for a climber—is he planning an attack on the Red Hook Criterium next year?”
2017's Most Stinky Moments by The Eagle
#1 - How Was the Race Won? No, But Seriously.
“The UCI lost TV coverage of the World Championship Road Race on a sunny day in downtown Bergen, Norway during the last four kms, which basically meant people watched a two-hundred-somethin-kms group ride, followed by fixed camera footage of the final corner and a head-on shot of the sprint after the race finally exploded and got interesting. The actual attacks and counters were missed until two days later when grainy heli footage emerged of what was a fascinating race.”
#3 - Why the Grinch Wears Green
“Froome lining his team up and sprinting for an intermediate checkpoint in order to take the points jersey off Matteo Trentin of QuickStep on the penultimate day of la Vuelta. Winning two GC jerseys on the summer wasn’t enough, he had to take the points jersey from Trentin too. What a fuckface. Trentin rightfully earned it by winning three stages of the race in all manner of fashion: a bunch kick, a small group breakaway on a hilly stage, and a pure HP-flat-out-drag race on the final day and that greedy fajjker Froome decided to line the Skyboiys up and have a go at an intermediate sprint point.”
2017's Roads to Rad by Klaus
#1 - Shorter Stages in Grand Tours
“The Vuelta is starting to experiment with this format. It makes for less predictable and more exciting races. These stages are sometimes harder for teams to control.”
#2 - Flat Stages with Uphill Finishes
“Again, the Vuelta is leading the way here. A short but difficult climb at the end of a stage can make an otherwise boring race interesting, and can cause even great GC climbers falter.”
#4 - The Tour de Suisse TV Broadcast
“Yes, they used pre-canned cut-away shots (with sound effects of hawks, trains and all). But the production values were interesting. And man, the long shots of riders in the tunnel were cool. Probably not worth what it cost to produce, but it’s great to see a race shot differently from what has become the cookie-cutter standard.”
2017's Roads to Sad by Klaus
#1 - Grand Tour, Decided by Time Trials
“Okay, sure, I guess that GC riders are supposed to be good time trialists these days. But who wants to watch a race come down to time losses/gains from a Time Trial? For that matter, who has ever said, “Did you watch that Time Trial yesterday?” No one. Because they’re stupid. And dumb. And antiquated. And vestigial. The helmets look cool though.”
#2 - Same Old Worlds Course
“Yes, World Championship courses are always pretty similar, and they favor one type of rider (or even one rider). And the fans are bored with the format.”
#4 - Tech Galleries
“They are predictable. No one uses custom bikes—you already know exactly what the bikes will look like. The extent of excitement is down to custom paint jobs and two saddles with Sharpie over a logo. Yay. Why not focus on the more unusual and lesser-known bikes ridden by smaller teams?”
#6 - RIP Tour de San Luis
“Sure, it wasn’t the best race or the biggest. But it gave us a chance to watch (kind of) actual racing with actual hills and mountains in an otherwise barren portion of the season.”
#7 - Tirreno–Adriatico & Paris–Nice
“Both races have their charm. Both races are well-liked by all. Could they perhaps not happen at the same time?”