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Dumbing down trails

Flynny's picture

By Flynny - Posted on 06 April 2011

Rant coming on.

First let me start by saying it's great that people a keen to get out and do a bit of trail maintenance but dumbing down perfectly rideable, if challenging, bits of track for the sake of it seems like a big waste of time and energy considering we've still got a lot of trail to build.

We don't have the challenging rock gardens you find on XC trails in other area so Richard had worked hard to design a course that took in some roll overs and challenging corners. B lines were put in if needed and there were options to build skill.

It's fairly disappointing then when obstacle get moved so corners can be straightlined or have a virtual highway of dirt packed either side for no other reason than to dumb down the obstacle and make the track easier.

It seems to be a bit of a growing trend in MTB. Every one wants a super smooth trail with banked corners... Sounds like track cycling or BMX racing to me.

Whatever happened to the joy of finding a challenging bit of trail and practising it to get faster? Improving your riding rather than dumbing the trail down?

I remember when I started riding we use to go up and do this snotty bit of trail. It was rutted, it was steep. It was strewn with rocks and tree roots. My mates would bomb through no worries.
New to the sport I'd baulk, take the wrong line or just plain stuff up. I reckon I went over the bars about 20 or 30 times before I finally got it.

I still remember the the feeling of elation as I cleared it that first time. I had learnt which line to take, when to brake and when to get off them and let it roll, when to float the front wheel and when to push it down into the corner.

I ride that section now no issues and looking back can't see how on earth I stuffed it up so many times. Thing is I didn't dumb down the track, I made my riding smarter.

By taking out the roll overs and straightlining corners you take a trail that has a good mix of challenge and turn it in to little more than a pedalfest.

Sure your intentions were good but if you have that much time and energy come along to a build day, find out why Richard is designing the trail to take in certain obstacles, normally every corner or roll over is included for a reason, and help extend the trail out rather than dumb down what is already there.

kilaton's picture

Completly agree with Flynny . I am not a great rider or even a good one , but I will have a go at most things on the trail . The whole idea of cross country or any racing is to test the ability of the rider , his skill and bike handling ability . most tracks do have B lines but again the tracks around here do not have the technical stuff that most tracks have .If you want a smooth cruisy ride go to road riding . Rydal is not a technical track as in rock gardens and drop offs or creek crossings but it does definitely test out your skills and attention span with its twisty and tight track work and its length where you have to pedal nearly all the time . Who cares if you have to get off and walk at a difficult part , have done it thousands of times , no one will care . Again if you want perfect trails with no bumps and straight lines go to the road .
Rydal is now a very good track , congrats to all the people who did all the hard work to get this track going , thumbs down to the people who are dumbing it down .

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