Best Author | 2020 Singletrack Reader Awards

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Whose words switched something on inside your head that had you reaching for the kit drawer before heading out to get on your bike? Or was it a feature that made you think about some aspect of your riding in a different way? Whether it’s a single feature or a series, we want your votes for Best Author.

muc-off awards straw2020

Adam Boggon – The Saga of Magnus

Issue 131 – The Saga of Magnus

If Adam Boggon says to you ‘I’ve an idea for a ride’, you probably shouldn’t go. His ‘Saga of Magnus’ tells the tale of a ride with only the barest of planning and preparation, significant vegetation, insignificant paths, ‘speculative’ route selection, and occasional riding. Woven in between the mishaps are historical facts and literary references, so by the time you reach the end of the piece you are thoroughly educated.

Education should be fun however, and Adam’s writing is full of funny anecdotes and observations. Having read his piece, can anyone look at a puffin without thinking ‘Oh my gosh!’? That word, ‘gosh’, could be straight from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, and the blind optimism and unflappable ‘jolly good’ attitude that comes with lashings of ginger beer seems to have followed Adam into adulthood. Or maybe that’s just what it takes to be a hospital doctor, as Adam is in his day job. Certainly it translates into a riding mindset of bloody determination that is funny to read about, but probably not quite so funny if you’re his riding buddy.

There’s no tech, no gnar, and apparently as much pushing as riding – which puts Adam’s ride in familiar territory for many of us who attempt to devise our own adventure. The Saga of Magnus is like our own tales of rides gone wrong – except very much better written.

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Barney Marsh – Catch my drift?

  • Issue 130 – Schralp
  • Issue 131 – Gnar

Barney’s series examining the linguistic oddities of the mountain biking world has proven that you should never play Balderdash with this man. Readers (and editors) are unsure as to how much – if any – of what he says is true. There’s the patently ridiculous mixed in with the entirely plausible. Citations of spurious sources, sentences of unlikely structure.

Younger readers may approach it from the ‘Dad, you’re so embarrassing, innit’ perspective, while the older curmudgeons chuckle in uncomfortable embarrassment recalling the last time they used the word under examination. Gnar, whip, schralp, thrutch – what is the etymology of these words? Do they have their roots in modern cultures, or ancient proto-languages? Are they nouns, verbs, or adjectives?

The ‘Do You Catch My Drift?’ series goes beyond mountain biking, into linguistics, socio-linguistics, anthropology and semiotics. Or, it might do, if any of it were true. Maybe some of it is true – the thing with Barney is that everything he says is said with such authority and verbosity that it’s very very hard to tell the truth from the alternative facts. Just hope that this elevation to awards finalist doesn’t bring his skills to the attention of any politicians.

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Carly Frame

With food – her natural habitat

Rather than creating the mountain biking equivalent of Brangelina here, by putting ‘Emma and Carly’ or ‘The Van Gals’ in as a single finalist, we’ve given Carly the title of finalist in her own right. Our (now sadly former) van dwelling duo (let’s be clear, they’re still a duo, but they now live in an actual house) quickly won a substantial fan base, but it’s Carly’s willingness to endure and expose her misgivings with good humour that has stood out.

Carly’s perspective of the second fiddle rider to the more experienced Emma is one that resonates with many readers, and her openness about the indignities of keeping up and embracing the #adventurelife are both funny and refreshing. While Carly might need cajoling up the climb with the promise of beer and biscuits, or take some convincing that living in a van is a good idea, her stories bring us a taste of what can happen when we venture beyond our comfort zone.

As well as the inspiration and entertainment they provide, there’s skill in the writing, with sharp observations and a turn of phrase that challenge the reader not to snort out loud. Carly might play the clown, but she’s a real and actual writer, and a real and actual mountain biker. Here’s hoping a solid roof over her head doesn’t make her sit back and relax too much.

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How to vote & enter our Muc Off prize draw

Once you have considered the finalists just click the circle next to your preferred winner below and then hit the submit button. Once your vote has been counted you will be redirected to our 2020 Awards page with the other categories so you can vote again in another category.

You can only vote once in each category and once your vote is submitted you cannot change your mind.

Each successful vote will earn you one ticket in our Muc-Off prize draw. Vote in each of the twelve categories and you will maximise your chances of winning. The winners will be chosen at random from the pool of voters on the 30th November 2020 and all winners will be contacted directly via their registered accounts shortly after that date.

Although the draw is open to anyone with a registered account, unfortunately we cannot deliver prizes to addresses outside of the United Kingdom. Overseas winners will need to specify a UK delivery address for any prizes if they win.

You must be logged in to vote.

muc-off awards straw2020
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