Do you love printed mountain bike magazines, World Cup downhill and beautiful photos?
Yep, so do we! That’s why we’re over to moon to see the Hurly Burly on sale now.
Hurly Burly is “A hit-by-hit account of the 2016 World Cup series and World Championships” that has been created by some of the world’s best mountain bike photographers, and edited by James McKnight. Photo talent comes from Sven Martin, Sebastian Schieck and Duncan Philpott and a few others.
Here’s a few words with James McKnight, the books editor:
James what’s this all about? I thought print was dead?
It is! Or at least it was, but there are loads of great print products surfacing at the moment.
So what got you inspired to make this project happen?
I just wanted to see a permanent record of the season’s World Cup racing. The live coverage is great now, as are the many online features from each race, but I’d like a point of reference to go back to in the future and remember the season’s happenings.
What made you decide to create a book, rather than write a story for a website or shoot a video? Why paper?
Because I believe it is the most future-proof medium.
Was it an easy pitch to get all of the contributors involved?
The photographers, Sven (Martin), Sebastian (Schieck) and Duncan (Philpott), were in it from the start. In terms of written contributions mostly everyone I contacted was more than keen to contribute and I am very grateful to them for their efforts.
Is it an easy feat putting together a book like this? Having put together a magazine I know that it’s tough … did this go easy throughout?
Ha! No not at all easy. I have lost a lot of sleep and been highly antisocial for the last few months while going through the many and various processes involved with bringing this together. But it’s all been good fun and I’d do it again at the drop of a hat.
So – the book is obviously about 2016 World Cup downhill and World Champs. What would you say were your highlights of the year?
Whoa, highlights of the year so I’ll just pick one: That would have to be Laurie Greenland’s unbelievable transition to the Elite ranks. It gives me great satisfaction to know that the next generation of downhillers isn’t full of robot athletes and still has class acts like Laurie who will inspire others and continue to evolve the sport while retaining its free spirit.
You’ve spent the year looking at DH close enough to create a book about it. Would you say that the sport is in a good place at the moment?
I think it is in a great place and it gets superb coverage and probably has as big following as ever. However, I guess those of us who grew up knowing downhill as the wild child rebel sibling of rigidly-organised ‘proper’ sporty cycling disciplines might worry that 2016 was the end of that era. Peaty retired, Sam Hill changed direction to race enduro, Bryceland seemed to lose interest… But that’s just the sort of unnecessary worry that comes with change and you only have to look at the Greenlands, Atwills and Vergiers of the World Cup scene to know its outlandish flame will be carried well into the future.
There have been a lot of changes for 2017. Do you see the sport moving in the right way and getting stronger? Is DH as good as it’s ever been?
I think that some sort of change could be good, but I’m not too sure they are going about it in the right way. Simply upping the number of points to get in doesn’t ensure a higher level of competition at all – it just means that talented upcoming riders from nations with a lot of strong riders will have to search even farther and wider to scrape enough points to race World Cups.
Percentage-wise it will probably reduce the talent spread. Also reducing the number of female qualifiers (from 20 up to 2016 to only 15 for 2017) will in no way help to develop women’s racing and I can’t imagine the logic there.
I also think it’s a bit of a shame to return to the same tracks for 2017, but have high hopes for the future if some new venue rumours come true.
Is the sport getting stronger? I think the level of riding and racing is at a ridiculous level; downhill is as spectacular as ever.