The competition in our #TrailTales contest was fierce, with stories of high adventure (and misadventure) submitted from all corners of the globe. The essays were judged based on four different criteria:
- Cohesiveness of narrative arc
- Creativity of language and style
- Uniqueness of perspective
- Exactness of spelling, grammar, and punctuation
Pitting all of these unique essays against each other and attempting to determine which three were the very best was an incredible challenge, but after days of deliberation, here are the three winners! (Click the linked article title to read each essay in its entirety.)
1st Place: “A Honeymoon in the Alps” by Kristen Bonkoski
Kristen Bonkoski runs RascalRides.com, a website about biking with kids. She spends all her free time mountain biking with her husband and son in Salt Lake City, UT. They are currently preparing for a year on the road in search of epic singletrack, great micro-breweries, and quality time together.
2nd Place: “Mountain Biking Torridon: The Proving Ground for Scottish Riders” by Chris Gibbs
Chris Gibbs’ first bike as a kid was obnoxiously bright with neon flashes all over it, and his taste hasn’t really improved since! Chris is a professional mountain bike guide and instructor based in Scotland but has been lucky enough to ride all over the world. From Austria to Nepal, his bike has taken him on countless adventures. Chris is happiest on big mountain rides but loves all types of biking, from racing enduro to 24-hour cross country events, and lapping the Fort William gondola.
3rd Place: “911: A Near Death Experience, Courtesy of Mountain Biking” by Ray Southwick
Ray began mountain biking in 2005 in the Phoenix area, though he sometimes rides in Sedona, Tucson, and Las Vegas as well. Of average skills and limited bike-spending means, Ray proves that even with the predictable chaos of everyday family life, busy dads can (and should) bike too. He currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his patient wife and two very energetic young kids.
While these three essays were the very best of the best, many of the contest submissions are well-worth sharing and reading, so stay tuned to Singletracks as the runner-up essays trickle out over the coming months.
Thanks to Zoic, Smith, Full Windsor, and Five Ten for sponsoring the #TrailTales essay contest!