Just recently, having reaped the rewards of a stellar year for Descent-World, I was sat by my stone hearth, fire roaring with a marsh mellow gently toasting on the end of a golden fork (inscribed “ditari aut mori tryin”) and I thought to myself – I’m so glad I came into mountain biking for the money.
It’s not like I enjoy riding a bike. I mean ,sure, it’s ok for a nice little jolly down the city route, taking in the sites of Richmond and nipping into Fortnum and Mason for a taste of some Baerii Caviar. Naturally, the porter graciously holds my bike while I sample such delights. I tend not to leave a tip.
In between gently rocking back and forth in my cow hide recliner, while watching how my investments are panning out, I’ll sometimes chat to the major “industry players”. It’s really awesome how they invest in producing so much content, then send it to us to post online. I mean we get loads of traffic and free content to post – how great!
Generally, it’s an easy gig. As the focus of my life is just numbers and stats, I don’t really need to move at all. Sometimes I can steal someone else’s content and post that. We could produce our own content, but in reality, no one cares about that – it’s so 2008! We often chuckle that idiots who are “passionate” try to produce editorial content with quality – “Editorial” – Did that not get annexed from the dictionary around the same time as Crimea got re positioned and 26″ wheels became an Etsy commodity?
For a while, we thought it was pretty off form to steal stuff. It’s not very British. More American Banker – they’re very aggressive types over there with their passion for growth and rapid expansion. But then I saw the light. Hard yards? Investing your own time, money and love to create something that people visit? Stoooopid! Dab!
Now, we’ve copied the bigger websites, we get stuck in and hit the Defcon 4 button, what’s online is ours! It’s fair game! See those fisherman on the river banks still casting lines? Well I just bought a speed boat with nets. Sometimes we pick up a fish that was nearly landed, but really it’s the stupid buggers still casting those lines who are the fools. I’m not going to be sorry for their neolithic techniques and our ingenuity!
On a Sunday, I’ll sometimes stroll down to the post office, grab a copy of the Times, chat to Roxy – She’s a real Fox who divorced her husband Charlie when he backed a kick starter scheme – and her husband Nicholas, who left his wife when her Instagram follower count dropped below 10k – lovely couple and very switched on. Beautiful Jag too, though a bit noisy for my liking.
I’ll then watch the Formula One. Now isn’t that a great sport! So much money, glamour and what a show. I understand the racing is a bit bland with only 3 different winners and lots of millionaires paying for drives but sport has to progress, right? Otherwise how would I fund my gold rimmed stetson collection? Yes, you guessed it, I have shares in a private team.
When I was younger, my child hood friend Billy wanted to be a Formula one driver. He really did have quite an amazing talent and penchant for speed. His hero was Jim Clark, who granted was not badly off, but managed to make it to the top on his sublime skill. Jim was a local hero and a bloody decent chap.
Like many currently in mtb, Jim combined passion for sport and earning a living through skill and determination. Stock Image.
But Billy was a bit delusional. He didn’t understand times have changed. We grew apart when he didn’t accept that his Steps to the Top were blocked by a ceiling he couldn’t see. He was British GP3 Champion, Scottish Champion, hell of a talented but he didn’t have the money to get there. I did tell him he should give up on education, get a loan and chase the races he needed to. That would have gave him the chance to land a drive on a team where he might have paid only another 100k for the privilege. Or maybe, he would have got expenses and could have serviced his debt (accumulated chasing his impossible dream) at some other time. Ahh, Billy, the naive fool. If only he’d seen his path was blocked by his lack of ready’s his dream might not have been shattered – as it would have never existed.
He needed to listen to guys like Kiwi Mitch Evans, a GP3 champion “I’ve had offers from a number of top teams, including Red Bull and Ferrari, to go on their junior schemes, but I still had to provide some money,” says Evans. “Every driver, whether it’s Carlos, whether it’s Daniel, it doesn’t matter who it is, they still have to bring some money and it is probably more than meets the eye. And those are guys who come from wealthy families so it’s not an issue but I don’t have that option.”
Now Billy rides bikes. He’s moved on and he’s up with times. He makes his own videos and sends them to us. He understands that he has sponsors who want his exposure value, and as we’re a digital outlet with zero costs (Yes you fools, running a website costs nothing!) we gladly post it for him! The sponsors are happy – they send us product to review as thanks – and everyone can smile all the way to the bank! (Though I haven’t walked to the bank in years, Tristain at Coutts handles everything for me)
I’m a bit worried Billy might think he has a chance of getting to the top again though. He told me he can get points to go to these races he’s seen on TV. I think we cover these races on our website, there’s a few riders who are very bloody good and quite exciting to watch. Though it seems it’s always the same top 20 riders on screen, though some finish 40th. Bit strange. I’m too busy watching analytics to be interested, as that’s all that matters to me.
I told Billy that he should have a go but by 2018 he better be in the top 20 in the world, otherwise he’ll be shut out again. In fact by then, to get on the live feed he might need to be a yearly protected top ten rider. He said if that happened he could be British Champion, but by 2020 that won’t mean jot. It’ll be little league, maybe covered by some media who naively do editorial.
Oh Billy, he needs to understand that his type don’t have a place anymore. They belong in a lower league, with the clubmen. Us lot at the top, the top 1%, we don’t want types like Billy competing either, unless they’re with us.
I had lunch with an old chum, a very savvy chap, and it’s like he said to me “We don’t want privateers fucking up the live feed and getting results – it really affects our ability to earn money from our riders if they aren’t on the TV! They need to be featured year round no matter where they come – we dictate the story!”
Billy, we aren’t friends any more because you were silly enough to have aspiration of your own and you couldn’t just fall in line. The big brands rule! You fool.
Meanwhile, you could have been like me, the guy who takes what he wants, brands it as my own and sits on a under floor heated carpet of gold.
Formula One, here we come.