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  1. #1
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    MSC dead, dieing, or evolving?

    I've noticed a big delay in getting the MSC schedule/info online, and wonder what you think about;
    1. No Rabbit Valley Race, replaced by the local run race at 18rd? Multi lap vs 1 big loop?
    2. Only 4 venues for x/c racing, and DH?
    3. Lack of info about this year's series, even though last year we were due to start the series in 2 weeks?
    4. Is the the death throws of the one great CORPS, argueably one of the premier state/regional series in the nation?
    5. With all the great races in Co, who cares about the MSC anymore?

    My thoughts;
    1. Loved the big out and back spring race in the desert, can't get as excited about 3 laps of 18rd.
    2. I gave up in ski hill circuit races a long time ago. That's an outdated format used only for World Cup competition, most races I do now are one loop epics.
    3. Bigfoot is off the back? Never to return to the front of the group. Sad, but reflective of the change in racer interests.
    4. Evolve or die, sorry to see this once great series shrivel on the vine, I wonder if ski area expenses, and red tape had something to do with the decline of venues?
    5. The MSC was once the do all, be all for Colorado mtbike racing, but now with the RME series, and tons of local well run races, the MSC became less of a good value for my competitive budget, I always felt the MSC races had great courses, organization, and competition, but when I can get the same race product from a local small event, or a well run endurance series, it's hard to commit to an 8 or 10 race series that offers little more than prestige.

    Anyone else have these concerns? Or comments on the present and future of the MSC?

  2. #2
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    I did the Keystone race last year for the first time. I was shocked at how small the race was. We have bigger turnout for the local short track races in Fort Collins. For what it cost me $65 I don't think I will do it this year.

  3. #3
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    I never really considered the prices to be a "good value". Generally fun and generally well run events for sure but damn expensive imo

  4. #4
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    well back in the day.........................

    my no sense

    who cares xc racing is ghey all the way no matter how you take it

    going round and round at some resort for 65 bucks is how I wanna spend my weekend and what little money I have.

    Anybody remember riders del norte? Now that's bike racing.

  5. #5
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    I know some of the guys who work at MSC (and I am in NO WAY quoting them) but it comes down to the resorts. It is hard to work with multiple resorts; they all have their own agendas and with the low snow year they are all on a tight budget.

    I think MSC did a good thing, narrow it to a few venues and (hopefully) do a great job at those. As a DH racer it is hard to find a series. WP and SV hold some great races, but all the same mountain. Not that I don't like those races, sh!t Sol Vista has the best race vibe I've ever been too, but it is cool to travel to different places.

    For DH'er it's hard to miss Angel Fire, Crested Butte and Snowmass. AF is techy, CB is flowy and Snowmass is just wide open. 3 different style courses on the same series, that's a god damn good series.

  6. #6
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    I did the super D at Sol Vista last year and was not impressed. I paid the race entry fee and then they made me pay for a lift ticket to get to the top to race. The MSC website stated that the lift ticket was included in the entry fee, just like DH but the resort wouldn't give me a lift ticket. I spoke with the MSC people and they said there was nothing they could do. That was my first and last MSC event I will ever attend. I know it is tough to put on these events but the cost is getting so out of hand. As a comparison, the Oregon Super D series cost the same and you get free lunch, free beer, plus if you podium the prizes are quite good, not just some crappy medal. The biggest difference is that in Oregon they are trying to grow the series and think about the participants first. MSC thinks about their paycheck first everything else doesn't matter. Proof is by Ithnu's comment. The resorts had a bad year so you would think they would welcome any income from mountain biking. It seems to me MSC has their own agenda and it doesn't include growing the series.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    I did the Keystone race last year for the first time. I was shocked at how small the race was. We have bigger turnout for the local short track races in Fort Collins. For what it cost me $65 I don't think I will do it this year.
    Keystone had lower attendance than most of the other races for some reason.

    Crested Butte had over 900 racers, according to MSC. And, I'd believe it after being there.

    I think the MSC could be a little more organized, but it seems like most of the arguments in here are blowing things out of proportion. For instance, Keith has been posting a lot of info about the 2012 series info on the MSC forum (which sbsbiker has also posted/complained in); and this info was posted earlier than last year. Additionally, how about this new thing they're doing called Enduro racing?

  8. #8
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    I think that reports of the MSC's demise are a little premature. When your primary vendors for providing venues are ski areas, you're a little at thier mercy. Particularly with the growth of mountain affiliated bike parks. As Ithnu says, they're consolidating the DH venues and are expanding into enduro style racing.
    While Big Loop XC is great (at least that's what the really fit tell people like me that aren't fit), few ski areas are equipped for this kind of course, and it works against the image they're seeking. Even some of the big loop stuff is tough, anybody remember how many times I-70 was closed do to weather on Rabbit Valley weekends the last 3 years?
    I've gottten to see some of the volume of work that Bigfoot has put in this winter with USFS and other land managers to get the enduro racing off the ground, and it's taken a boatload of work (and paperwork) to get this done.
    There's no doubt that they're a little off the back information-wise, but all of the really impoirtant stuff has been up for awhile on the MSC website (dates, times, costs), some of the details of point structures, etc. that could use a little work.
    There is no doubt that evolution is occuring. Racers have more choices in where and what type of racing they wish to do. Recreational riders have a lot more choices. Bigfoot is trying to balance new growth and keeping their core riders happy, not an enviable task

  9. #9
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    I'm glad to see local races becoming more prevalent, and I see how MSC is trying not to duplicate those efforts. But it's inevitable that strategy will cost them the folks who can't travel 3+ hours from the Denver area for a race. It will be interesting to see what the race scene looks like in another few years.
    Best of luck to all the promoters out there.
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  11. #11
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    Everything goes in cycles. Interest waxes and wains. The CORPS series rose, had it's heyday (which I was a part of) plateaued, then declined. Organizers move on (it's often not a hard choice, when you figure out all the hours you put in with your payday you figure out you'd be better off washing dishes) and different generations have different interests. The funny thing is though, all too often what fell out of favor a few years ago can suddenly become cool again and a whole 'nother cycle begins.

  12. #12
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    so you are saying i will be cool again in a few years?........Nice

  13. #13
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    so you are saying i will be cool again in a few years?........Nice
    Hey. if it's true for me, it can be true for you too.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Everything goes in cycles. Interest waxes and wains.
    The Fluorescent Colors Rule. ^^

    You can judge a fads lifespan by the appearance of fluorescent colors during it's epoch.

  15. #15
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    This is a good topic and healthy debate. I was asked feedback from one of the inside guys at MSC last fall about my sporadic participation, and interests/quests going forward.

    The MSC is a good thing for our community. The promotion of rider, teams, junior development teams, kids, newcomers, etc is nothing but positive in the mountain biking community. I've made many friends with this scene, and have had great times as well. However, many of us had families along the way. Although it shouldn't change things, it will modify behavior and priorities.

    I represent that 30-40 DH group that watched DH racing in in its infancy evolve into what it is today. I started with XC racing in college, but after 7 years of watching one spandex fight break out on a trail after another, it got old. XC also became less of a 'mountain bike' race, and more of a fitness race. I yearned for the 'all mountain, all everything' race. It simply went to the way of applied roadbiking. Not my thing. DH racing was on the up, and something new meant fun and something to learn.

    The venues are what sort of killed it for me. I was able to drop a race and go to the others. With a family, it was harder to make Anglefire, Telluride and other far off destinations due to time and finances. It was one thing for me to go, tent it, or stay with teammates crammed in a condo, but when the whole family is involved, you now have hotel rooms, food, etc for 4, not one. All of the sudden the cost went to $700 totalled with everything. And i was asking my wife/kids to simply hang out while I rode all weekend (wife loves to ride too). One DH race for that price? no way.
    I stuck to the local hills, racing the MSC in CB, Keystone, Sol Vista, Snowmass, etc. Venues that were closer and easily accessed or something I could pull a trailer within a reasonable distance.
    I tried the Super D (not a fan of a mass start), thought that was my thing. Seemed to be applied XC on a moderate DH course. Not easy to pass. I got into the DS and 4X right about the time it was all being cancelled (this year). Bummer.
    I raced the G3 (first DH stage race in the area) and loved it. It was very social and fun to see the progression of riders. 90 bucks got you 3 different runs, and it was a weekend of beer, food, friends and families.
    Last year Winter Park hosted their Enduro DH. 5 races, one full weekend! That was a blast! I placed middle of the pack, but most of all, I had a blast with all my riding friends! there was a beer evening, food, fun, and the prizes? WOW! I did the Keystone MSC DH race... Whereas nothing changed (still fun), nothing had changed. Prizes were lacking (not that won any, LOL), the sponsors seemed to be pissy, and the reduced racers were somewhat of a shock.
    When I see SRAM handing out parts, fixing broken this and that for racers, I feel like the racers were appreciated. One of our junoir kids broke his deraileur; he had limited funds and didn't think he could afford a new one. The SRAM guys hooked him up. I got 1st class service on my fork and brakes. The prizes they handed out were far above and better than I've ever seen it for amatuer racing. WP enduro, SolVista TripleDhip, Red Bull 12 hour races... lots of riding and racing for you buck.
    I think MSC has taken notice to the rise of DH enduro racing. The Whole Enchilada challenge is where I'll be spending my MSC money. With the fact that I can't make one of the MSC races (and their not allowing any drops this year), whats the point of spending lots of money going to other places. I love what MSC does for the sport, but being a dad, husband with limited time, I'd like more of a weekend adventure than just a 5 minute DH run. One run isn't worth it; a bunch of them are.
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  16. #16
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    Anything USACycling gets their greedy little hands on eventually turns to ****.

    There is almost too many choices for mountain bike races now. When you have to decide between 2 or 3 on certain weekends it isn't surprising when the race that is further away, much more expensive, and less rewarding gets cut out of your schedule.

    (sounds harsh and sorry to anyone offended)

  17. #17
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    Promoting any given race is a lot of work. Kudos to those that can do it.

    I hope MSC is simply evolving. Like new products, people are always looking for something fresh and new sometimes.

    I'd like to have a local hill promote evening races. WP sort of did this, but it would be nice to have keystone or WP do the same thing this year.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    Promoting any given race is a lot of work. Kudos to those that can do it.

    I hope MSC is simply evolving. Like new products, people are always looking for something fresh and new sometimes.

    I'd like to have a local hill promote evening races. WP sort of did this, but it would be nice to have keystone or WP do the same thing this year.
    We have a local evening XC series that attracts 100-200 people per race. I think they've tried DH and super D but the numbers didn't make it worth it.

  19. #19
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    The older I get, the faster I was.





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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    I see your popcorn man and up you popcorn cat.


  21. #21
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    Does popcorn cat actually EAT the popcorn?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Does popcorn cat actually EAT the popcorn?
    There are a few pieces scattered on the ground so it looks like the little guy gave it a try.

  23. #23
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    The cat eats mushrooms, clearly.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    T
    Last year Winter Park hosted their Enduro DH. 5 races, one full weekend! That was a blast! I placed middle of the pack, but most of all, I had a blast with all my riding friends! .
    So, why not just go ride with your friends?

    Personally, I raced many, many years ago when the CORPS was big and did well, but it was always obvious who the really good, natural, chance to go pro guys were and eventually I just realized I would rather spend my money on other things, plan a weekend trip somewhere and ride with my friends.. and racing was cheap then..

    Now I spend my money on one big Pacific NW trip every year, may be a trip to Jackson etc..
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybobzia View Post
    So, why not just go ride with your friends?

    Now I spend my money on one big Pacific NW trip every year, may be a trip to Jackson etc..
    Good point. And I do ride with my friends!

    Racing for me makes me up my game, get better and locate skills I never had. Last year I took a little turn coaching because that became a serious weakness for me. Training (or whatever I call it ) for me is good, I set a few goals, work hard to get there, race a little, and then am a better rider in the end. Racing is fun and I measure myself to my peers when its an all out run. Yeah, they're quicker than me, which means there's something out there to improve.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    Good point. And I do ride with my friends!

    Racing for me makes me up my game, get better and locate skills I never had. Last year I took a little turn coaching because that became a serious weakness for me. Training (or whatever I call it ) for me is good, I set a few goals, work hard to get there, race a little, and then am a better rider in the end. Racing is fun and I measure myself to my peers when its an all out run. Yeah, they're quicker than me, which means there's something out there to improve.
    See... I've always taken a different approach to my recreational pursuits.


  27. #27
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    I agree with what IndecentExposure said. When you have 4 people to take on trips it gets expensive quick. I have to decide early where my money is going and what times I can get away from my job and not make my family feel like they take a back seat.
    Next year I'll be making a trip out west to do the Fontana series and most definitely the Sea Otter Classic. The MSC in my opinion just has it all wrong. Some of the people who work for MSC are cool as hell and I don't mean them when I speak of MSC, I mean the ones calling the shots. They pretend like they want the Regular Joes feedback but at the end of the day, they really don't care about us. The ones they care about are the ones in their inner circle (Anyone who works for Yeti, anyone who works for BFP, Selected others who hang around with the cool kids) it’s just allot of attitude and personally I can only take so much of it so I choose to spend my money elsewhere. Year after year they just nickel and dime you to death with increasing registration fees, late registration fees and other BS they come up with. I used to go to most events but now I can't afford it so I attend selected other events. Offer events people are interested in, don't follow the UCI, USAC trends just for the sake of it. Make it affordable and the people will come. GIVE THE PAYING CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT!

    I'll be attending a few MSC races this year because it's mountain bike racing and that's what I am into. In my opinion the Fontana series has it all together. They still offer all the things that I want to do. I want to race 4x and DH. I’d drive 20hrs to do so. If you've never been to Sea Otter, I highly recommend it. I’ve been for the last 2 yrs. in a row and it’s the most fun you can have racing bikes. 5 days of nothing but riding, racing and talking about bikes. The vibe is awesome and it's just tons of people who are all stoked about bikes. Tons of Bike Manufacturers with new parts that have been released since Interbike and all the top WC pros are usually on hand and you could spend all day bench racing with any number of people. It has the sickest dual slalom racing ever, XC, and DH. The DH is greatly improved after the Sol Vista boys whipped up some magic on that track last year. The DH track isn't techy at all but its high speed and has allot of really fun jumps and every lap is a blast. It's a super fun warm up event to get you mega stoked on the upcoming season. It's just the best of everything you want. Plus you are in Cali. There are any number of other places to ride within an hour or 2 (Aptos Post office DJ's, Santa Cruz Trails and whatever else) if you get there early or stay after the event.

    Bring the Sea Otter vibe to the MSC and it will all come back!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    See... I've always taken a different approach to my recreational pursuits.

    Sorry Skared, I call BS on this. I've seen your skiing, and passion for it, you're good, and although you may call yourself a hack you don't look it. OH sure, the mtb scene you have it nailed, showing up in cotton-turquoise bike shorts with a bright yellow 80's jersey. Those days are hilarious. But if you're trying to enjoy doing skiing poorly, PLEASE put on some jeans and a cowboys jacket.

    Take pics.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    Sorry Skared, I call BS on this. I've seen your skiing, and passion for it, you're good, and although you may call yourself a hack you don't look it.
    As my father always told me, "Fernando... it is better to LOOK good than to ski good."

    OH sure, the mtb scene you have it nailed, showing up in cotton-turquoise bike shorts with a bright yellow 80's jersey. Those days are hilarious.
    EVERY day of riding with me is hilarious.

  30. #30
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    Thanks for the reply on this topic, sounds like many of us have the same opinions about the MSC, and the reality of our lives vs. having the feedom and money to attend all the series. I hope that Bigfot can keep evolving their product and keep offering races. I wonder now that Steamboat has been removed from the schedule where the State Championships will be held, and by whom? I hope my posts and "complaints" serve to help Bigfoot in their mission to produce top quality racing for Colorado.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpatterson6 View Post
    I agree with what IndecentExposure said. When you have 4 people to take on trips it gets expensive quick. I have to decide early where my money is going and what times I can get away from my job and not make my family feel like they take a back seat.
    Next year I'll be making a trip out west to do the Fontana series and most definitely the Sea Otter Classic. The MSC in my opinion just has it all wrong. Some of the people who work for MSC are cool as hell and I don't mean them when I speak of MSC, I mean the ones calling the shots. They pretend like they want the Regular Joes feedback but at the end of the day, they really don't care about us. The ones they care about are the ones in their inner circle (Anyone who works for Yeti, anyone who works for BFP, Selected others who hang around with the cool kids) it’s just allot of attitude and personally I can only take so much of it so I choose to spend my money elsewhere. Year after year they just nickel and dime you to death with increasing registration fees, late registration fees and other BS they come up with. I used to go to most events but now I can't afford it so I attend selected other events. Offer events people are interested in, don't follow the UCI, USAC trends just for the sake of it. Make it affordable and the people will come. GIVE THE PAYING CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT!

    I'll be attending a few MSC races this year because it's mountain bike racing and that's what I am into. In my opinion the Fontana series has it all together. They still offer all the things that I want to do. I want to race 4x and DH. I’d drive 20hrs to do so. If you've never been to Sea Otter, I highly recommend it. I’ve been for the last 2 yrs. in a row and it’s the most fun you can have racing bikes. 5 days of nothing but riding, racing and talking about bikes. The vibe is awesome and it's just tons of people who are all stoked about bikes. Tons of Bike Manufacturers with new parts that have been released since Interbike and all the top WC pros are usually on hand and you could spend all day bench racing with any number of people. It has the sickest dual slalom racing ever, XC, and DH. The DH is greatly improved after the Sol Vista boys whipped up some magic on that track last year. The DH track isn't techy at all but its high speed and has allot of really fun jumps and every lap is a blast. It's a super fun warm up event to get you mega stoked on the upcoming season. It's just the best of everything you want. Plus you are in Cali. There are any number of other places to ride within an hour or 2 (Aptos Post office DJ's, Santa Cruz Trails and whatever else) if you get there early or stay after the event.

    Bring the Sea Otter vibe to the MSC and it will all come back!
    C'mon Billy,
    Everybody would like to have a vibe like Sea Otter for their local series, little bit like saying that a C.U. game, or the first Bronco's game of the season, should have the same vibe as the super bowl. Even then, Sea Otter's downhill track can be ridden on a hard tail with slicks. Not taking away from the DS track, aside from their crappy start gate. It's a good time and a great venue for DS, but not exactly DH heaven.
    As for Fontana, we've probably made as many trips out there as anybody locally. You're talking about a small hill with one steep section. Average time for Junior-X for the winter series was about 2:10 with 45 seconds of that (the wall) being the same kind of experience you could get sprinting out behind your local walmart (except there's more graffiti and tagging). The 4X track isn't complex and the brackets are so small that you're one-and-done when you race (after a 16 hour drive). The vibe is good, they're a good bunch of people, but it's also not the end all in racing.
    Same applies almost everywhere else. Northwest cup? Amazing track, good people, but you'd race the same venue 3 times in a row if that was your home series.To say nothing of having to drive to what seems like the end of the earth.
    Southeast? about the same as the northwest.
    Gravity East has it going, lots of racing, lots of venues, just a long ways away.
    Very few other venues offer the big mountain experience you can get with the Mountain States Cup. Maybe Northstar, but there's not a lot of tracks like Angelfire, Snowmass, Sol Vista, Telluride, or Keystone, that you can find to race. Maybe we just take it for granted after being able to race (or just go ride) tracks like this locally for so long, but (surprise!) the rocky mountains have some of the best race tracks out there.
    I share your pain on the loss of 4X, but wishing that promoters would support an expensive discipline that no longer has USAC support isn't happening. We've been more fortunate than many others over the years to get to do quality gated racing, but it's gone. The DS at the U.S. nats last year would have fit in the last straight at the Angelfire 4X. I'd love to see this change, but I'm just not seeing it.
    How any of us spend our precious recreational funds is a huge decision, and I fully appreciate getting as much for your dollar as you can, but it's not like it's a night and day difference with other series.
    Where ever you end up racing, keep the rubber side down, and have absolutely as much fun as you can!
    Cheers,
    Scott

  32. #32
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    just ride :O)
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  33. #33
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    After reading all of this I agree and disagree with a lot. I love riding with my friends, but there is something about a timed run that I really like.

    I'm still going to race most/all (vacation dependent not money) of the MSC this year. For DH it's a great series.

  34. #34
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    I guess I should have specified XC vs DH for the comments, for DH competition I don't know where else you could go in Co to get the type of product the MSC offers, for XC it's a much different world with lots of competition and alternative sources of racing.

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    MSC will never die because of the DH scene. This is a good thing.

  36. #36
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    I've been out of the racing scene from the past two years due to that job/family thing. I also have not done the MSC for over 3 years. Today I was bored and started looking up msc race results to see how my old friends were doing.

    I was shocked by the reduced number of races. The last time I considered the series there were a bunch of endurance events....too many actually. Second I started looking at race results. I think there were 3 people who did the state champs in my category (cat1). Guaranteed podium ? Other than crested butte there were less than 10 folks every race.... I remember racing against 30 at the close races and at least 20 at the others.

    I was condsidering jumping back into the fray for 2013, but the past years results have me wondering. Pretty sad to see.

    How was the attendance on the gravity side relative to the past?
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard View Post
    I've been out of the racing scene from the past two years due to that job/family thing. I also have not done the MSC for over 3 years. Today I was bored and started looking up msc race results to see how my old friends were doing.

    I was shocked by the reduced number of races. The last time I considered the series there were a bunch of endurance events....too many actually. Second I started looking at race results. I think there were 3 people who did the state champs in my category (cat1). Guaranteed podium ? Other than crested butte there were less than 10 folks every race.... I remember racing against 30 at the close races and at least 20 at the others.

    I was condsidering jumping back into the fray for 2013, but the past years results have me wondering. Pretty sad to see.

    How was the attendance on the gravity side relative to the past?
    Everyone is doing winter park now. Way better racing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard View Post
    How was the attendance on the gravity side relative to the past?
    Gravity attendance seems pretty level. I'm CAT 30-39 and there are still 20 or so people in my bracket.

    I remember in 2009 when I was in 19-29 at Angel Fire there were 55 of us. But that was the ProGRT influence I think. This year there were 45 in that bracket.

    Guys on my team race both WP and MSC. Although most prefer MSC. Only so many times you can race down the same course at WP; with MSC the venue changes are good. And really the MSC Angel Fire/Snowmass/T-Ride courses, IMO, are some of the best gravity trails around.
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    Maybe it hasn't changed much in the last couple of years, but turnout is not as high as when I was racing MSC gravity ('05-'08). Seems like there were 30-40 guys in 30+ expert (prior to the change to CAT classes), and around 50 pro men at pretty much every venue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard View Post
    ...I was shocked by the reduced number of races. The last time I considered the series there were a bunch of endurance events....too many actually...
    I think there were some problems with venues for XC.

    Any ski area that sells tickets for lift-served DH is going to be way into hosting a DH race. It promotes their business, and puts money in their pockets during the race weekend. So getting DH venues is no thang.

    XC is not a money maker to the extent that life served stuff is. I think I remember hearing that there were some SNAFUs with lining out some of the venues for the XC races in the MSC series this year. And I also think that the numbers of people interested in racing traditional XC are basically on the decline.

    Racing waxes and wanes, and the forms that are popular come and go. Some of it's demographics, some is technology.

    Most people think of the 90's as "back in the day". During the 80s lots of people got into mtbing as the equipment became more available and people started hearing about it, then by the 90's many of those people were racing. Offroad racing got huge. Bike shops hardly sold any road equipment at all. And racing was multi-discipline. There would be a CORPS race weekend where at one venue there was an XC race, a DH race, and Observed Trials. Lots of the people would enter all three, and were good at all three. And they'd often do all three on the same bike.

    Late in the 90's 24 hour racing came on. It was strong through the middle of the last decade, but now it's on the decline.

    Meanwhile, DH/AM equipment has become really good, and a new generation of riders who are into gravity, DJ, slopestyle, Super D, and red bull/monster/rock star are mainstreaming. Quite a few of those people have no interest in racing XC, and don't even have bikes suitable for it.

    The people who were racing XC in the 90s and maybe dabbled in 24 hour team racing, then 24 solo racing, are moving into dirt hundies and ultras. Look at the number of people who enter the Leadville 100 who are in their 40s and 50s.

    And bike packing is getting huge among lots of people who were XC racers in the 90s and distance racers in the 00s. (And lots of other people). Used to be that you'd take riding to the next level by getting into competition. Now lots of people are taking it to the next level by getting custom bags sown up and taking off to camp.

    Traditional XC (20-30 mile races) seem to be going away to a large extent.

    But that's just my take.
    Last edited by TomP; 09-13-2012 at 08:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    Maybe it hasn't changed much in the last couple of years, but turnout is not as high as when I was racing MSC gravity ('05-'08). Seems like there were 30-40 guys in 30+ expert (prior to the change to CAT classes), and around 50 pro men at pretty much every venue.
    I started racing in 07...but I'm not so old that I was in the 30+ bracket then.

    The CAT system seems to make everything confusing still. There are guys who would have raced Expert class who are now in CAT 2. But most Experts went to CAT 1. But some semi-pros went Pro and some went CAT 1.

    So CAT 2 is Export or Sporpert or something. And CAT 1 is semi pros and fast Experts, so semi-spert? Sounds like something a pill could cure.
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    Going back to the thread title, I think the MSC must be evolving...

    I just finished my first year racing the entire MSC series in 30+ Super-D only. Super-D seems to have evolved for sure. I love the two race format, one timed run where you race yourself and try to catch your 30 second guy in front of you, and one mass start race where the usual suspects are barking banter back and forth during the race ( in good jest mind you ).

    I also race Enduros, and was really excited that they have also started the BME series. Between these two, my racing addiction is pretty much satiated.

    If I were to give constructive feedback to the MSC, BF, TD, Yeti, and the powers that be it would be the following:

    - please, please, do more marking on Super-D courses that share differing variants on the same trail. We have to essentially learn two tracks in one day, and it is very easy come race time to make a stupid mistake... read as in the heat of battle I made a wrong turn onto the stage 1 variant in stage 2 at Telluride, got a DQ, and it cost me a top 3 in the season overall. My mistake, I take responsibility, but course intersections need much better taping IMHO.

    - I love the two race format: one of the races on a jump line and the other on a not so jumpy line. This mixes up the results a bit and "grows" those more accustomed to xc, and puts some lungs on the more gravity oriented riders.

    - Add more MSC events, i'd love to see a 6 event MSC season. Granted because I race Super-D and the Enduros, I essentially had 9 MSC races, 3 BME races, WP Enduro, and the Snowmass Enduro, and that is a good full season, considering the travel. But I can see things from a DH/XC persective I guess, though there are several DH, XC, and Enduro events outside the MSC every year if you look for them. Possibly as more resorts begin to take on their own race(s) and their own series, it cuts into the market share of the MSC, and were seeing fewer races because of this?

    - I think there was only one race where I actually knew where the finish was!! Several other people commented on this as well. I know it sounds stupid, but people did have this issue more than once.

    - Marshals, add more. While over the season, the number of switchback cutters did decrease, we saw some horrendous abuses of the magic 5ft rule. Granted, we as riders don't tolerate this and do report flagrant violations, but it happens none the less.

    - Add a 50+ class for DH, mixed cat if need be... then my Team Director will stop complaining and get back on his bike. : )

    - Add a few skills clinics, with discounts for MSC racers, though still open to the public. I think you would get at least 10 peeps showing up per clinic. Cornering, braking, jumping, etc... any racer who says "I already know how to do that" has stopped progressing and learning. Maybe dovetail in Lee or something? ( I have no affiliation btw ).

    - Put the hammer down on guys who are top 3 every race and never move up! People in non-pro categories should not be posting top 5 pro times every race... just saying.

    Overall is was a great year in Super-D I think... and I do believe things are evolving.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    I started racing in 07...but I'm not so old that I was in the 30+ bracket then.

    The CAT system seems to make everything confusing still. There are guys who would have raced Expert class who are now in CAT 2. But most Experts went to CAT 1. But some semi-pros went Pro and some went CAT 1.

    So CAT 2 is Export or Sporpert or something. And CAT 1 is semi pros and fast Experts, so semi-spert? Sounds like something a pill could cure.
    Hasn't it always been that way?

    I think if you look at the way it was in the early 90's most roadies who raced USCF Cat 1,2 were NORBA Expert Class MTB or maybe Pro.

    Cat 3's were sport or expert and,

    Crash 4's were... crashing.

    What a semi-spert? is that something you would see in a Cat 4 porn flick?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rodeoj View Post
    Going back to the thread title, I think the MSC must be evolving...

    I just finished my first year racing the entire MSC series in 30+ Super-D only. Super-D seems to have evolved for sure. I

    John
    Coasting downhill is not racing. So no. There is no evolution going on here. Only Darwinism. Just sayin.

  45. #45
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    My popcorn is gone, so I guess I'll say stuff.

    Most people that know me IRL know that I am pretty heavily involved with the MSC/BFP/BME stuff, but don't think I'm gonna get on the defensive or anything. Just a couple comments/observations. Good dialogue so far, BTW.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    ...And I also think that the numbers of people interested in racing traditional XC are basically on the decline.

    Racing waxes and wanes, and the forms that are popular come and go. Some of it's demographics, some is technology.

    Traditional XC (20-30 mile races) seem to be going away to a large extent.

    But that's just my take.
    This seems to be true. With Leadville, Bailey Hundo, Vapor Trail, the Growler, etc. all selling out quickly, it seems the interest in "Traditional XC" racing is on the wane. Non-traditional formats like the Breck Epic also seem to be gaining popularity. In the MSC, the XC race with the highest attendance in 2012 was the CB Fat Tire 40, a big-single-loop race with several thousand feet of elevation gain over mostly technical singletrack. The XC peeps loved it.

    Are the Winter Park XC races still a pretty traditional format? Seems when I peek at the schedule, the same races are always on there, year after year. Hill Climb. Tipperary. Etc. How's the attendance been for WPXC stuff?




    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    I started racing in 07...but I'm not so old that I was in the 30+ bracket then.

    The CAT system seems to make everything confusing still. There are guys who would have raced Expert class who are now in CAT 2. But most Experts went to CAT 1. But some semi-pros went Pro and some went CAT 1.

    So CAT 2 is Export or Sporpert or something. And CAT 1 is semi pros and fast Experts, so semi-spert? Sounds like something a pill could cure.
    Yeah the CAT system is confusing, but I think only if you compare it to the "old" system. If you just look at the times of the people racing now, it's pretty even and simple. Pros still have the fastest times, with CAT 1 guys slower except for the occasional handful of guys that are real fast and trying for the Pro upgrade. CAT 2 is generally slower than CAT 1, save the random guy that'll show up for his first race or two and figure out he's CAT 1 fast and just needs the results to upgrade. CAT 3 is typically the slowest, often being beginner riders/racers. Sure there's exceptions, but overall it all shook out in the end I think?




    Quote Originally Posted by rodeoj View Post
    Going back to the thread title, I think the MSC must be evolving...
    Lotta good feedback here, spot on. I personally would like to see the Super-D races at the MSC events get LONGER... to me a sub-10-minute Super-D is really just a lame downhill race. Many of the mountains have access to longer trails, that even have better passing zones, I'd like to see them utilized. My sense is that the Super-D's have been trying to appeal more to the gravity racer, but the reality is most of the people racing Super-D/Enduro/etc. aren't "gravity" racers as much as they are "mountain bikers" and don't mind a bit of the pedaly stuff, even encourage it as you said "This mixes up the results a bit and "grows" those more accustomed to xc, and puts some lungs on the more gravity oriented riders."
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    And I also think that the numbers of people interested in racing traditional XC are basically on the decline.

    The people who were racing XC in the 90s and maybe dabbled in 24 hour team racing, then 24 solo racing, are moving into dirt hundies and ultras. Look at the number of people who enter the Leadville 100 who are in their 40s and 50s.

    And bike packing is getting huge among lots of people who were XC racers in the 90s and distance racers in the 00s. (And lots of other people). Used to be that you'd take riding to the next level by getting into competition. Now lots of people are taking it to the next level by getting custom bags sown up and taking off to camp.

    Traditional XC (20-30 mile races) seem to be going away to a large extent.

    But that's just my take.

    Pretty much spot on Tom.

    We had fields of 75+ riders in the Sport class back in the late 80's and early 90's. That was the meat and potato's.

    The XC races got short, too easy and equipment has gotten too expensive to tear up. Guys my age moved on to distance racing, or got injured like me.

    DH equipment improved and racing DH became safer in some regards.

    Kids got interested in DH, Freeriding, etc... and so we've abandoned XC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    Coasting downhill is not racing. So no. There is no evolution going on here. Only Darwinism. Just sayin.
    Cuz ski racing isn't racing, either? Maybe I'm missing the sarcasm implied by the smiley?
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    Coasting downhill is not racing. So no. There is no evolution going on here. Only Darwinism. Just sayin.
    I see the smiley, so I know you're not being totally negative.

    I am pretty much an XC bigot, like I think you probably are. I like it that to be excellent at XC you have to be a strong pedaler, a strong bike handler, willing to turn yourself inside out when the time comes to be the first onto the singletrack, etc.

    But seriously, I do see gravity as real racing. The winners really do bring mad bike handling skillz to it. Quite amazing to see what a real bike handler can do on a gnarly DH course.

    But it's not nearly as multi-faceted as XC.

    And I know you're a trail maintenance pro. DH as a trend has made life difficult for people responsible for the care and feeding of trails on public land.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    ... roadies who raced...
    Yeah not following ya there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Yeah the CAT system is confusing, but I think only if you compare it to the "old" system. If you just look at the times of the people racing now, it's pretty even and simple. Pros still have the fastest times, with CAT 1 guys slower except for the occasional handful of guys that are real fast and trying for the Pro upgrade. CAT 2 is generally slower than CAT 1, save the random guy that'll show up for his first race or two and figure out he's CAT 1 fast and just needs the results to upgrade. CAT 3 is typically the slowest, often being beginner riders/racers. Sure there's exceptions, but overall it all shook out in the end I think?
    While common sense totally agrees with you, who ever said people were that smart? Not really that common if common sense is that elusive no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    But it's not nearly as multi-faceted as XC.
    Saying it doesn't take fitness to compete at the highest level of mountain bike DH would be like saying a sh!tty bike handler can win World Cup XC races simply by pedaling. The truth is, at the top levels in both disciplines it takes a heap of all facets of riding a bike. Now at the amateur level, fit XC guys that can pedal but can't hang in a rock garden can potentially win races. And likewise, an amateur gravity racer that can turn, jump, and plow through roots might win a DH race straight off the couch and eating Cheetohs, having never pedaled a meter.

    But this would be a debate for another time, another thread. And asides from that, I'd rather be drinking beer with you at Elevation Brewing after a sick ride on the Crest, slapping high-fives and whatnot, than arguing with you on the internets.
    Last edited by Full Trucker; 09-13-2012 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Okay, I gotta sneak off to the back and get my panties untwisted. Sheesh! :D
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    But seriously, I do see gravity as real racing. The winners really do bring mad bike handling skillz to it. Quite amazing to see what a real bike handler can do on a gnarly DH course.

    But it's not nearly as multi-faceted as XC.
    For the gravity racers perspective I don't think XC is that multi-faceted either. Those races are won on the fire road climbs. But at the elite level all XC racers have tech skills and all DH racers can pedal.

    Tracy Mosely (2010 DH World Champion) racing XC. She actually did a WC XC race too.

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    On the other hand, 29er moto whip...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Saying it doesn't take fitness to compete at the highest level of mountain bike DH would be like saying a sh!tty bike handler can win World Cup XC races simply by pedaling. The truth is, at the top levels in both disciplines it takes a heap of all facets of riding a bike...
    I never said it doesn't take fitness. I kind of implied that I guess...

    But I know that the elite gravity riders need fitness.

    I will openly admit that I know very little about gravity. Seems quite likely that it takes a different kind of fitness at least, but I will concede to being a dumbass who is simultaneously a know-it-all in this arena.

    But I never even said that it takes fitness to excel at XC. I said you need to be a strong pedaler. I have known some people who could basically get up off the couch after doing almost nothing physical for a month and still put the spank on almost anyone who came along in an XC race.

    But I know, depending on the course, being a strong pedaler can be important in gravity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    I'd rather be drinking beer with you at Elevation Brewing after a sick ride on the Crest, slapping high-fives and whatnot, than arguing with you on the internets.
    I just sampled a pint of their IPA for the first time on Monday. Pretty damn good. Even though they are located 5 miles from my house, it was the first time I'd had a chance to sample their oat soda.

    EDIT: That pint was purchased at your (and my) friend's new place at the Edge of the River.
    Last edited by TomP; 09-13-2012 at 01:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    Yeah not following ya there.
    Yes, of course I'm joking about DH ... lulz

    Old school line of thinking was we spent 70% of our training time on the road.
    New school seems to be Strava?

    When work allowed I spent
    Tuesday was sprint training on the road
    Wed was MTB training
    Thursday was on the velodrome or LSD ride
    Friday recovery ride on the road
    Sat/Sun raced road or MTB
    Monday recovery ride on the road

    Things have changed. Obviously.

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    Oh,

    One more item on the evolution list:

    - MSC or BME mega-avalanche - Run it in the spring so there is still snow up top for carnage : )

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    [QUOTE=Ithnu;9686112]For the gravity racers perspective I don't think XC is that multi-faceted either. Those races are won on the fire road climbs. But at the elite level all XC racers have tech skills and all DH racers can pedal."

    Old school x/c races were won on fire road climbs, Marathon, and long "epic" x/c races like the Fat Tire 40 are won on trails. I think that's one reason these type of events are more popular. I personally got sick of chasing down climbers that excelled on fire roads but could ride trail, up or down. In a race like FT40, if you can't climb and ride Singletrack fast, you don't have a chance.

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    If I think back....I really had fun at all the courses. Eudora was a cool race as it was more rolling rather than up/down repeat. Cool vibe up there too. Snowmass was awesome after the first road climb. Id catch back up to the skinny guys on the govt trail. keystone had a nice fast grade and that final ascent to the top was cool. Telluride was a hoot. I love the loamy steep climb. I liked chalk creek simply because I always did well there. The old crested butte course sucked IMO...but I hear the new one is great. Oh and angel fire....got my first taste of real racing there. That rock garden halfway up and that burly never ending descent made it a lot of fun.

    Kids....job....life got in the way. I was also very frustrated with the growing pains during the beginning of new ownership. I guess it's time to give it another chance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbsbiker View Post
    I personally got sick of chasing down climbers that excelled on fire roads but couldn't ride trail, up or down. In a race like FT40, if you can't climb and ride Singletrack fast, you don't have a chance.
    True story.
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  59. #59
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    [QUOTE=sbsbiker;9687672]
    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    For the gravity racers perspective I don't think XC is that multi-faceted either. Those races are won on the fire road climbs. But at the elite level all XC racers have tech skills and all DH racers can pedal."

    Old school x/c races were won on fire road climbs, Marathon, and long "epic" x/c races like the Fat Tire 40 are won on trails. I think that's one reason these type of events are more popular. I personally got sick of chasing down climbers that excelled on fire roads but could ride trail, up or down. In a race like FT40, if you can't climb and ride Singletrack fast, you don't have a chance.
    In my serious racing days in the old CORPS and early MSC I found that the level of all around bike handling skill and fitness was pretty good. Of course, some people were better at technical stuff than others and some were more fit than others, but overall, the guys I raced against in the upper part of the sport field (Cat 2) and then when I progressed to the mid pack of the expert (Cat 1) were pretty fast in all kinds of conditions. Very, very few were not at least competent descenders.

    The guys at the front of the pack - the pros and top experts - were all super fit, super fast and super good bike handlers. The guys at the back might not of been fast and/or fit, but they were learning and improving every weekend. I have never been a skinny little climber guy, even when I was well into single digit body fat, (those days are long gone ) at 6' I never got under 170 pounds. I never felt like the guys who kicked my a$$ on the climbs had inferior bike handling skills even though I was considered one of the faster descenders. They just plain beat me.

    The courses were quite varied too with all kinds of climbing and descending. Given, this was before or in early days of suspension and disk brakes (late 80s - late 90s), there wasn't a lot of stuff that would grace a Red Bull bike porn video, but there was no shortage of rocks, roots and singletrack mixed in with jeep road and smoother double track .

    Anyway, I think racing is cyclical. The local series here in Summit County is as well attended as ever, usually somewhere between 100 and 200 entrants with some races getting over 200. Races are usually fairly short - an hour or so for the lower classes, an hour and a half for the faster classes. Courses are of high quality, entry fees are reasonable, the races are well organized, there is a real sense of locally oriented camaraderie. The competition can be serious, but the emphasis is always on fun with a good party at the end. Everyone is welcome, slow people are supported and encouraged. As long as racing has those ingredients I think XC racing will always be around albeit with regular fluctuations.

    I don't know much about the DH or other gravity scenes so I wouldn't pretend to predict what direction that will take other than it takes extra infrastructure (mainly lifts but also a more purpose designed/built course(s)) so you need to take that into account when you consider what it takes to pull off a race. I suspect though, that the ingredients I listed above for successful XC racing apply to the gravity scene too.

  60. #60
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    Oh, fun topic. I enjoy seeing everyone's perspective.

    I didn't get into DH racing until I was married and already had a child, so for me local venues were better on the balance of family/costs than further ones (Telluride). Gas/lodging/race fees/meals were pretty high; and I didn't like coming home Sunday evenings.

    I've race many MSC's, and I've been racing the local WP stuff a lot this year. Participated in the WP Enduro, the entire Trestle Gravity Series, and the 12 hour red bull final Descent. Total, I did 14 timed races. The 12 hour brought me to my fitness knees, as of today, I think I can actually grab onto a beer without pain.

    Looking at the 50k foot view, I see more families with a DH rider at WP than I do at the MSC. For instance, most of the families with riders I know do the WP XC series, but my DINK or SINK friends will trend towards the MSC. I would find this probably is with the DH crowd as well. For us, WP lays out the red carpet, allows us to camp in the parking lots, and will allow a last minute entry. Something my wife ended up doing several times. The Kids play at the base area and know it well, again, something local and easy for us.

    A race weekend is 2 or more races, which makes things exciting. And no, we never went down the same set of trails, ever. It was also easier with kiddo activities to make WP on a weekend than Telluride with the family. With the No-drop policy, I was out. I like gunning for the entire series realizing I may not be able to make a race or two.

    MSC is swinging around though, the big mountain enduro's are pretty cool. Although the only one I entered was the Enchilada, but I have to cancel now due to unexpected travel.

    WP paid its racers with CASH. I won well over $200, my wife over $300. The Sponsors at the WP Enduro were better than ever (Thank you to RockShox / SRAM for just handing me a new shock, deraileur and chain). Again, the Enduro paid cash. MSC gave me a pat on the back for podium. The sponsors there were Fox and Shimano, Fox always did a great job of always fixing my Fox 40, something that made the race worth going to.

    There is something to be said for racing different mountains, different courses, etc. The allure to traveling to a new mountain town/venue has its perks, but is something I'd argue is more (not completely) for the non-family. If I didn't have kids or a wife, I'd race everything and ride everywhere.
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  61. #61
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    MSC numbers are available for about the last 4 years (DH)

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    Missing cells means either no race that year, or no data. When there was more then one DH race, I went with the more popular race.
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    Crested Butte 2011 is filed under "ProGRT" and not MSC. I've talked to Seb about this, I thought it would be under both. At any rate, the total number of competitors for that year was 393. Same for Angel Fire in 2012, it's under ProGRT. Total competitors was 328 this year.


    EDIT: It would be interesting to also see average per event attendance by year. Just looking at the numbers quickly, some venues are down, others are up. Only a couple seem significantly different?
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  64. #64
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    I wonder if the busted economy had an effect on the downturn in attendance.

  65. #65
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    Used to race MSC XC back in the days before Bigfoot and even a few years after. It used to be awesome! You'd see the same people every weekend, scratch and kick against the same dudes every race for good results, duke it out for team standings and it was a blast -- great people, great courses, usually big racing fields, lots of fun. Like IE and many others -- family, job, life -- gets in the way and this is the first year I haven't raced in about a decade.

    The sad truth is that MSC has been slowly dying for 3-4 years now -- fewer venues, fewer races, less organization, less professionalism and frankly less interest from FR racers, their bread and butter. I'm not sure if they stopped engaging the right market or if the market moved past them. Fine, so me and all my buddies are getting older and don't have the time for it, but I can't understand why there isn't a group coming up behind us to support it. The XC events at WP still draw pretty well, but it doesn't seem people are willing to drive and spend big dollars for a weekend of racing anymore. Again, not sure if it's a change in the market -- lots of folks showing up for FR CX racing in the fall -- or if MSC has failed to engage the right market. Regardless, it's too bad.

    I'm sure MSC will hang on for a few more years, but I've got to think Yeti is eventually going to pull the plug on it or sell it when it stops making financial sense. Love those guys are Yeti -- good dudes who make great bikes -- but from my experience, I'm not sure that managing a race series is in their core competencies.

  66. #66
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    I really don't think you can say XC is dying in any way. Just because DH is whats popular with the industry right now. Winter Park is doing grate all the XC stuff here in Fort Collins is doing really well. Hell we have 50 people for the sport class at the New Belgium short tracks. I did the whole WP series this year and it was one of the best races I have ever dun. I did a MSC race the year before and it wasn't even close to the quality of WP. I did the Voodoo Fire Half Marathon this year too and there was like 60 people in my class. XC is doing grate its alive and strong. As long as you have really good people putting on quality races like Winter Park and the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series people will race.

  67. #67
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    Traditional XC

    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    I really don't think you can say XC is dying in any way ... I did the Voodoo Fire Half Marathon this year too and there was like 60 people in my class. XC is doing grate its alive and strong. As long as you have really good people putting on quality races like Winter Park and the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series people will race.
    Just to clarify what I said, because I think I was the one who first suggested in this thread that what I call traditional XC is on the decline (never said dying):

    By my definition, traditional XC is the typical XC race from back in the day, when Sports and Beginners would race typically 15-20 miles and the Pro/Experts would go 25-35. Notice that I'm using the old names for the categories.

    Marathons, dirt hundies, etc to me are not traditional XC. They are endurance. May be XC style riding, but by my definition, not traditional XC.

    I don't care if anybody agrees with the way I use the words, but I do care that I am understood. What I would call an old skool short XC race is on the decline. I know there are lots of local series that are still doing that, like Fort Collins, Crested Butte has one, WP... But it's not like it was when we had the CORPS series rocking huge.

    At that time, XC was the main event. And the race winner's time would be like 90 minutes or two hours.
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  68. #68
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    Another change that coincided with the decline in numbers (from '06 or so) is the bag of schwag that came with an entry fee went away. Between that, some other issues with timing, and then paying separately for lift tickets made it feel like our attendance was not as appreciated as it once was, which made it easier to start giving my entry fees to races outside the MSC circuit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    Another change that coincided with the decline in numbers (from '06 or so) is the bag of schwag that came with an entry fee went away. Between that, some other issues with timing, and then paying separately for lift tickets made it feel like our attendance was not as appreciated as it once was, which made it easier to start giving my entry fees to races outside the MSC circuit.
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonvelocity View Post
    For my wife, the biggest insult was the award being worth less than the raffle prizes and prize toss.

    Amen Brother.....you two nailed it.

  71. #71
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    I'll chime in from an XC perspective. I've done at least one or 2 of the WP series each year since '08, and did almost the entire series this year.

    I have been racing XC since 1992. Did some 24 hour races in the late 90s heyday, and can safely say I have ZERO desire to sit on a bike for 4+ hours anymore. My butt just has no tolerance for the longer distances as I get older. My husband races the WP series as well and has done since '05. He says the same, but we maybe out on the tail of the bellcurve on this.

    For myself, I wish there were more weekend type events like I've seen in the past. I liked the WP format that had an XC race on Saturday, and a Super D the next day. I could also maybe get interested in a short track event the following day, but only if it was worth my time. I did not bother going to the WP STXC this year because it simply wasn't worth it to drive up from Boulder for one 20 minute event that cost $40 to preregister for, and we don't buy the series package for WP anymore having been burned by injuries / scheduling conflicts in the past.

    I can't speak to the MSC series because I've never taken part, but it has been on both our radar screens in the past. We always nixed it due to a combo of long drives / requirements to stay overnight plus having to buy a NORBA license to participate skyrocketing the cost.

    If costs for the WP series and Voodoo Fire / FR50 type events keep going up at their current rate, we probably won't continue racing them. It's generally easier to justify riding or driving 30 minutes up the road locally to spend $25-$30 for a crit or road race, and we both are road racers as well.

    We both race in the local CU short track series on weeknights because the cost:fun ratio is well balanced. Those races are really well attended.

    I can't speak to the gravity element, except to say I'd like to see more dual XC/SD weekends come back. It's easier to justify going up to Winter Park / Breck / Keystone / etc... for an entire weekend than just one day.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Just to clarify what I said, because I think I was the one who first suggested in this thread that what I call traditional XC is on the decline (never said dying):

    By my definition, traditional XC is the typical XC race from back in the day, when Sports and Beginners would race typically 15-20 miles and the Pro/Experts would go 25-35. Notice that I'm using the old names for the categories.

    Marathons, dirt hundies, etc to me are not traditional XC. They are endurance. May be XC style riding, but by my definition, not traditional XC.At that time, XC was the main event. And the race winner's time would be like 90 minutes or two hours.
    I'm right with you; it seems like what I consider "traditional" XC events are on the decline. Everyone's into doing stuff like 18 Hours of Fruita, etc... and the irony is that most everyone I know does it as part of a team... which IMO defeats the purpose of an enduro, but wtf do I know? I guess it's supposedly more fun or more economical that way? To me the cost and hassle of trying to get into events that sell out in 3 hours just doesn't make sense, but then I'm an old-skool curmudgeon so I'll go back to my corner and reminisce about how things were so wonderful back when we raced in toeclips with thumbshifters and shitty canti brakes that didn't stop you worth a damn.

  73. #73
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    I only race DH, did a few SDs and some 4X/DS. As a DH'er I compare tracks more than anything. If it's a great track I think a long drive is worth it. And some are only open for the race, like Snowmass, so if you want to ride that trail you have to race.

    With XC do you folks have favorite tracks and go for that reason or are you more interested in the amount of competition and cost? As you're on the trail with the other racers I can definitely see how competition can make a race worthwhile.
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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    With XC do you folks have favorite tracks and go for that reason or are you more interested in the amount of competition and cost? As you're on the trail with the other racers I can definitely see how competition can make a race worthwhile.
    oh yeah, I can totally see that. It's a little different to your Snowmass analogy since the stuff up at WP is basically always open/available to trail ride on. So speaking strictly for myself, it's the competition angle that really makes it. It's one thing to go out and cruise around on some trails with your beer buds, and another thing to stick a number on and toe the line eyeballing your nemesis who's just 2 points shy of you in the series or whatevs.

    I do have a favorite course - the new Rendezvous course they ran this year was about perfectly suited to my riding style. And conversely I faced the prospect of dealing with that new Arapahoe trail with dread and loathing every time it got posted on the course map. But that speaks more to my riding style and skillset and I think everyone likes to race their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. It's a big deal to me and my own personal W if I can clean some particularly irksome section of bother. Not folding up entirely on WTB this year comes to mind as a breakthrough, albeit a small one.

  75. #75
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    I raced the Winter Park series this year and can tell you it was phenominal. The attendence was great and the courses where fantastic except for the short track and the Hill Climb. They even added in a completely new course on the north side of US 40. They run a solid program that is well marked and have marshall's in all the right places.

    The other races I have run have been good also. RME is doing a great job and even Highlands Ranch race series had some real fun races with good participation.

    XC is not dead. Far from it. I'm very curious to see what MSC has to off in the coming years.

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  76. #76
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    I don't think the younger generation is racing because it costs a ton of money. Today's 18-24 year old's are the most affected demographic of the bad economy/high unemployment.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drop the Seat View Post
    I don't think the younger generation is racing because it costs a ton of money. Today's 18-24 year old's are the most affected demographic of the bad economy/high unemployment.
    This is very true. Most of my team (12 total) are 30+. I have only two in their 20s and one HS senior.

    The economic poop storm in the last few years has screwed the folks in their 20s the most; out of school/college, no experience, debt, bad job market competing against people with 10+ years of experience on ya. Rough out there.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  78. #78
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    Tough to go to a MSC race when the local Crested Butte race series is so good. It's free for XC and gravity (thanks alpine orthopedics!), the beer afterwards is also free, the pizza or pasta or whatever is free, the live music and crowds at the base area are free. Meanwhile, the level of competition is pretty high.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu View Post
    This is very true. Most of my team (12 total) are 30+. I have only two in their 20s and one HS senior.

    The economic poop storm in the last few years has screwed the folks in their 20s the most; out of school/college, no experience, debt, bad job market competing against people with 10+ years of experience on ya. Rough out there.
    Boo hoo. It must be hell being young.

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Boo hoo. It must be hell being young.


    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

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    it's dead already

  82. #82
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    This was my first year doing MSC races, and it will more than likely be my last. They seem focused on fattening their own pockets, and do next to nothing to give back to the racers. If you podium, enjoy your new keychain. This is pathetic for a race series that is so heavily sponsored as MSC.

    I'll save my time and money next year for series' and grass-roots promotions that care about the racers.
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    Did my first races in 1997, did my first corps/msc race that year, pretty funny stuff all the guys at the start with shaved legs, didn't know what to make of it. You girls know who you are cause your still around.

    When I started racing fees were cheep, gas was cheep, you packed into a condo or slept in a tent and it was all fun. My biggest problem was the format was classic back in the day, you went out into the woods and raced did a loop and came back to the start. Then everything went to a 4 mile loop that you do 5 or 6 times at a ski area. that isn't really that much fun to me. specially at 40 plus bucks

    This summer I didn't do one race for the first time since then. OLD AGE. time you name it. Turned out to be one of the greatest summers ever. All I;ve done is ride my mtb. I've barely touched the road bike, didn't worry about resting and training. It's been awesome.

    There are a million reasons why racing goes up and down. Most of it is what are you getting for your dollar.

    Right now, local races are hot, endurance races are big, dh is big, but the 1-2 hr all out race isn't that huge right now.

    Why does no one goto msc races yet the firecracker 50 sells out in two days?

    Why did all the top pros goto the teva games a few years ago instead of a national race. Because teva was throwing around cash for top placers. It was a wake up call for usa cycling but they still have yet to catch on.

    There has never been a 20 something class that has been that big, most 20 somethings are into partying and having a good time still, not to worried about the future of their health. Just like snow sports (even golf) less and less of a % of people are into active physical recreation anymore. Which doesn't help racing.

    (ask the bro brahs next door who smoke a pack of cigs play video games all day and night drink heavily and smoke lots of weed and wait for the snow so they can go shred the pow, can you really keep that up?)

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drop the Seat View Post
    I don't think the younger generation is racing because it costs a ton of money. Today's 18-24 year old's are the most affected demographic of the bad economy/high unemployment.
    Maybe we should bring back the draft, give 'em something to do.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonefrontranger View Post
    oh yeah, I can totally see that. It's a little different to your Snowmass analogy since the stuff up at WP is basically always open/available to trail ride on. So speaking strictly for myself, it's the competition angle that really makes it. It's one thing to go out and cruise around on some trails with your beer buds, and another thing to stick a number on and toe the line eyeballing your nemesis who's just 2 points shy of you in the series or whatevs.

    I do have a favorite course - the new Rendezvous course they ran this year was about perfectly suited to my riding style. And conversely I faced the prospect of dealing with that new Arapahoe trail with dread and loathing every time it got posted on the course map. But that speaks more to my riding style and skillset and I think everyone likes to race their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. It's a big deal to me and my own personal W if I can clean some particularly irksome section of bother. Not folding up entirely on WTB this year comes to mind as a breakthrough, albeit a small one.

    Its kind of the same for me. I didn't pre ride any of the WP races this year it was about the competition for me. I was sponsored this year so I didn't have any race fees I just had to get up and back down from Fort Collins. The racing is so close for WP the top 10 or 15 guys will finish with in 5 or 10min of the winner. It has to be some of the best racing I have ever taken part in.

    The Rendezvous course was fun but a little too short for me. I took off so hard on the start trying to get to the single track first I was spent for the rest of the race. I think I would have enjoyed it allot more if I had waited till the fire rd to make a move.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulser View Post
    The Rendezvous course was fun but a little too short for me. I took off so hard on the start trying to get to the single track first I was spent for the rest of the race. I think I would have enjoyed it allot more if I had waited till the fire rd to make a move.
    I can totally see that esp. for the Cat1/Pro men. I was surprised they didn't run a longer course for the men at least, but they may have had constraints from the neighborhood association to deal with. I didn't run into any passing issues, but then I race in a relatively small slow field anyway.

    tbh I am an old lady Sport racer, and come from a background of racing XC in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions where the furthest Sport distance was typically 15 miles, sometimes less for the women depending on the course & promoter; those would probably feel like short track races to the FR crew. So some days those 20-25 mile ultra-hilly romps thru the woods at the WP series, while fun and challenging, are simply too bloody far for me, but that's my own fault for not being fit enough and nothing to do with the races themselves. And besides we're getting more punishment, err, racing for our entry fee dollars, so who am I to complain?

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamhaid View Post
    it's dead already
    Seems like the writing has been on the wall for a while...
    Last edited by Full Trucker; 10-26-2012 at 02:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drop the Seat View Post
    I don't think the younger generation is racing because it costs a ton of money. Today's 18-24 year old's are the most affected demographic of the bad economy/high unemployment.
    That's exactly what happened. This is coming from an 18 y/o who raced MSC from Cat 3 up to Cat 1. I raced the series back when the cats were beginner, sport, etc. In the last 3 - 4 years when Keith took over it was on a roll, then they jacked prices on the endurance riders so high and started losing endurance venues. That is the last thing you want to do when a large part of the series supporters are endurance related. That was a big mistake in my humble opinion.. Coming from a kid who was loyal to the series until last year..
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    Crap. Well, I'll be missing the MSC. Hopefully something better is in the works.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Seems like the writing has been on the wall for a while...
    Wait, what?
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    Seems like the writing has been on the wall for a while...
    Um, do you know something the public hasn't heard?

  92. #92
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    Here's the news:

    thanks for the memories
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  93. #93
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    From the link above:


    "thanks for the memories
    it's a sad day here in MSC land. We will be closing the doors to racing. We hope that someone will put together another series and that it will expand in this current era of one off races. Thank you to all the participants, parents, land managers and ski area partners who made it possible A big shout out to Cath and John Jett, Westy and and all the amazing USA Cycling officials who came and helped us run these races.

    Kind regards,

    Keith Darner"


    Wow, I wonder if this means no Enduro series as well.

  94. #94
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    Ah crap, if I have to resort to the WP series for racing I may just throw in the towel.
    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

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    You still have the towel?
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  96. #96
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
    Reputation: SkaredShtles's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    11,951
    Wait. There's a towel? Where do I get one?

    You know... maybe I'll just grab Ithnu's when he throws it.

  97. #97
    Living the High Life
    Reputation: Ithnu's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    I have this towel. I may throw him out anyway.

    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  98. #98
    mtbr member
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    Something from the rumor mill, but someone else may know better. Rumor is that the BME was sold to another undisclosed entity. Does anyone have an info on this either way?

  99. #99
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bedell99's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    I bet winter park will see an increase in race entries.

    Erik

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